When New Albany Intermediate School students return from summer break, Thursday, Aug. 16, they will be equipped with iPads.
The new technology is part of the One-to-One Initiative at the New Albany-Plain Local School District that eventually will outfit all students with tablet computers to aid in learning. One-to-one refers to one device per student, said district spokesman Patrick Gallaway.
For now, though, the tablets will be distributed to about 1,140 students in the three grade levels at the intermediate school, said principal Katie Nowak.
The iPads will be distributed in each classroom when school begins, Gallaway said.
By the 2022-23 school year, every student in the district will be assigned an iPad, Nowak said.
“Students having access to one-to-one devices in our school district is going to allow them to collaborate, to communicate and create products that demonstrate their conceptual understanding in their learning from the classroom,” she said.
The district is paying $621,765 for iPads at the intermediate school this year, said technology director Michael Voss. The cost to outfit the entire district with iPads would be $1,163,482, he said.
The district opted to implement the tablet program gradually from building to building for funding reasons, Gallaway said. He also said district leaders were not yet looking to replace textbooks with the tablets.
Because many high school students already bring their own tablets or laptops to school, the district decided to begin the tablet initiative with the intermediate school, Gallaway said.
More than 90 percent of students in grades 4 to 12 are using Apple devices to access the district network, so district officials thought it made sense to choose iPads for the program, Nowak said.
The devices will be replaced every four years, she said. Each student will be charged a $35 technology fee for tablet replacements and repairs, she said.
The fee would allow for the replacement or repair of a damaged iPad for up to two accidents, Gallaway said. Complete coverage details would be distributed to parents in a handbook, he said.
Although fifth-graders and older students will be permitted to take home their tablets over weekends and holiday breaks, fourth-graders must leave their tablets at school, Nowak said.
In an email to parents explaining the new initiative, district leaders said students using the tablets at school would need to sign into the school network to access the internet to make certain protective content filters are active. Teachers also will be able to control the tablets.
Parents of fifth- and sixth-graders will have the ability to track the device usage when students aren’t on the school’s network, according to the email.
New Albany-Plain Local is one of several central Ohio districts with a similar technology initiative.
The Dublin City School District is rolling out its own plan that will culminate in 2019, at which point all students in grades 6 to 12 will have Chromebooks.
The laptops will not replace textbooks immediately, but rather will serve as another educational tool.
Hilliard City Schools began rolling out its program in January 2015. Sixth-graders received iPad mini tablets. The district gave devices to middle school students in January 2016 and iPad Air tablets to high school students in August 2016.
The Upper Arlington City School District implemented its one-to-one technology program in December 2016, with students in grades 6 to 12 receiving laptops. Students in grades K to 5 received tablets or laptops depending on grade level in the 2016-17 school year.
For more information on New Albany-Plain Local’s One-to-One Initiative, including a FAQ and the handbook, go to www.napls.us/Page/4318.