Frequently Asked Questions
Why iPads in Middle School?
There are many characteristics of the ipad that make it an excellent choice for our Middle School classrooms. Its small, unobtrusive size not only makes it easy to carry around, but also prevents it from becoming a visual barrier between teacher and student on a desk. Its instant-on capability coupled with the simplicity of its interface makes it easy for teachers to use them at a moment's notice or to easily transition from one activity to another. Its efficient use of battery power ensures that it is still going strong during the final class of the day. Finally, its slate form factor and high-resolution display make it easy to read and engage with digital content such as handouts and e-books.
How will the iPads be used in the classroom?
In class, the iPads will improve student organization, communication, and access to vast online resources. Most teacher produced content will be delivered to students electronically, and students will complete many of their assignments on the ipad. The ability to contact teachers and easily share documents means that students can correspond with peers and teachers more effectively when they need help. Students will leverage task management and calendaring apps to record and plan assignments, and some subject specific apps will help teachers to differentiate instruction and target particular student skill deficiencies. The ipad will also be used to collect and share multimedia learning artifacts such as pictures, audio, and video.
Will student textbooks be delivered on the iPad?
It is often a challenge to find high quality e-books designed for a Middle School audience. In our initial rollout years, we will deliver many but not all texts electronically. We expect this number to grow over time.
What if my child already has an iPad? Can he use it in school?
Through research and first-hand experience, we have learned that it is important for the school to limit the students' ability to install distracting apps and games on their iPads. We realize that many students have an ipad for personal use, but we strongly recommend that parents purchase a separate iPad from the school to be a "school-only" device. This creates a clear boundary between “recreational, personal devices” and “tools for school.” It also enables us to provide hardware service to the student's device on campus and ensures that the device is going to be configured identically to the iPads of other students, helping classroom activities to go smoothly.
We realize, however, that there are individual circumstances where purchasing an additional ipad simply doesn't make sense. In such cases, parents should contact the Director of Academic Technology (ext 3178) to discuss the logistics of using a personal iPad. Because we can not manage or support iPads bought elsewhere in the same way we support school-purchased iPads, permission to use a personal iPad will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.
Does my child need a "real" computer in addition to his iPad?
Parents do not need to purchase a separate computer for their child, but occasionally, a class activity may require a student to have access to a computer with Internet access at home in addition to her iPad. In most cases, a shared, family computer will easily suffice.
Can my child continue to use her iPad when she goes to the Upper School?
iPads are supported for three years from the date of purchase. Students who like their iPad may continue using it as a personal device. All students will need to purchase a laptop computer when they enter the Upper School, however.
Do the students find the technology distracting in class and during homework time?
Distractions are indeed a major concern. This is why we have chosen to limit what students can install on their iPads. Middle School teachers will also incorporate strategies for staying focused into their classroom lessons. The middle school will spend time on this topic at various times throughout the year, and deans will work with individual students and families who are struggling with this issue.
What type of training will students receive?
Sixth grade students will receive their iPads during the first week of school. Training will be embedded into each of their classes where teachers will guide them in how to organize themselves and manage the information and apps on their iPads. Students entering grade 7 and 8 will attend one of two half-day summer workshops where they will receive their iPad and learn how to perform basic operations such as where to save, how to print, and how to backup their data.
The iTunes terms of service require people to be at least 13 years old in order to open an account. How does this work if my child is not yet 13?
Students who are under 13 years old, will need to create a special student account with the help of their parents. In the summer, we will push out an invitation to parents asking them to complete this process and to share the password with their child’s account with us, so we can complete the preparation of his or her iPad. Please keep an eye out for this invitation.
What about keyboards?
Our research suggests that when schools require students to purchase keyboards along with their iPads, they are used by only a small number of students. If a student wants to use a keyboard with her iPad, she may purchase one in the school bookstore or from many retailers who sell apple compatible products. Classes that do a lot of typing will have classroom sets of keyboards available. All students are required to keep their iPad in the school-provided case, so parents should not purchase a keyboard / case combo unit that is not approved by the school. Our school bookstore sells a model of keyboard that works well with our program.
How will students protect their iPads from breakage?
All students will receive a rugged protective case with their iPad. This case will remain on the iPad in all classes to protect it from breakage.
What if it does break?
The fee that families pay covers enrollment in a 3 year protection plan. Students will be covered for up to 2 incidents of accidental damage with a $50 deductible for each incident. Note that broken iPads may be repaired or replaced with new or refurbished parts at the discretion of Apple Inc..
What is included in the price of the iPad? (approximate breakdown)
Apple iPad 9.5” 128GB $579.00
Applecare+ (3 years of coverage) $79.00
Loaner Pool $52.00
Protective Carrying Case $50.00
School Apps $60.00
Total Billed to Families $820.00
How are student computers used in Upper School classes?
The use of technology in the Upper School varies depending on the subject and teacher. In all cases, technology is used as a tool to enhance instruction and learning and is never an end in and of itself. Student computers are used to enhance student organization, communication, and access to vast amounts of online resources. Many students use their computer as the primary tool for collecting and organizing of class notes. In some cases, subject-specific software is used to enhance student understanding of a topic.
What computer choices are available to Upper School students?
The school will provide students with an Apple macBook computer, or students can bring their own Mac or PC, which we will help them connect to our network.
Can my child bring her own computer to use in school?
Parents are encouraged to purchase their computer from the school. This is the best way to ensure that it is configured appropriately to work on our school’s network and to ensure that it has the correct version of all the required software. It also allows us to repair the machine here at school if something should go wrong.
We do realize that there are situations where it is impractical for a family to purchase the school provided machine.In these cases, we ask that parents first review the school’s policy on personal computing devices to understand what services the school can and cannot provide for students’ personal devices.
Parents who wish to purchase their child’s computer elsewhere should contact the Computer Services Department to coordinate the configuration of the machine for use at school.
How do students manage distractions related to technology?
Distractions are a significant concern in any class where all students have access to computers. We spend time in our initial rollout and training program to discuss ways to be mindful of one’s attention span. We have recommended programs to help students stay on task and Deans sometimes follow up with students and families who struggle in this area. Parents and students are urged to treat their school laptop as a “school-only” device and to refrain from installing games and other programs that might create distractions during class or homework time. Social networking sites are restricted from access in classrooms during the school day.
What kind of training will students receive?
New students who enter the Upper School are required to attend one day of training in the weeks before school starts. This training covers how to use the computers responsibly, avoid breakage, and increase their organization and productivity. Students will learn how to setup a digital notebook and access network printers. Students will also learn how to successfully backup their data.
How will the computer be protected from damage?
All students will be issued a protective case for their computer. We will discuss strategies for avoiding breakage during our training session at the end of the summer.
What if the computer breaks?
All computers are covered by warranty for 3 years. Parts that fail due to manufacturing defects are replaced at no cost during that period. Accidental damage and theft are covered by an insurance policy. If a student breaks his computer, we will repair it here at school and file an insurance claim on behalf of the family. Families will be charged a $250 deductible for each incident of accidental damage.
What is included in the price of the computer?
Cost of Computer Hardware (w. 3 year warranty) $1400.00
Loaner Pool $140.00
Carrying Case $40.00
MS Office $90.00
Geometer’s Sketchpad $30.00
Total Cost to Families $1700.00