Willmar School Board reviews iPad handbook containing use guidelines
WILLMAR -- Willmar Middle School teacher Ann Hendershott said she knew after she purchased her first Apple iPad four or five years ago that it would change the way she teaches, and she started spreading the word.
WILLMAR - Willmar Middle School teacher Ann Hendershott said she knew after she purchased her first Apple iPad four or five years ago that it would change the way she teaches, and she started spreading the word.
Monday, Hendershott presented the school’s iPad Handbook to the Willmar School Board at its regular meeting.
Students at Willmar Senior High have had one-to-one iPads for several years, and this fall the program will be expanded to the middle school.
All students in grades 7-12 will have individual iPads to use in school and to take home with them. The school’s sixth-graders will have one-to-one iPads, but they will have to leave them at school.
The district has used its capital equipment budget to lease or purchase iPads, after a community fundraising drive helped get the program started three years ago.
Juniors and seniors had individual iPads in the 2012-13 school year, and freshmen and sophomores got them in 2013-14.
In the middle school, some classrooms had them, and some carts stocked with iPads were moved from room to room for the rest of the school.
The number of iPads at the school was growing, and the cart system was not as efficient, Jason Hulstein, the director of instructional technology, told the board last spring. “We don’t want more iPads at the school than students,” he said.
Sixth-graders will not get to take their iPads home, “just for this year, so we can phase this in,” Hendershott said.
Some of the guidelines will be different from those at the Senior High.
The Apple App Store will not be available to students, and they will not be able to purchase their own apps. Apps required for school purposes will be purchased by the school and available to students through Self Service App.
Parents and students will be required to attend “boot camp” meetings to learn about the iPads and their care. Families must pay a $50 technology fee and sign agreements about how the technology will be used.
The handbook also includes information about limiting access to technology and cyber bullying.
After the meeting, Hendershott said she was happy to see the iPad program grow.
Other teachers are looking forward to it, too, she said.
Math teachers are talking about developing a flipped classroom, where students study an assignment as homework and come to class prepared to look at the topic in more depth.
“I think the kids will be excited,” she said.
“For five years we’ve been planning and preparing,” said Principal Mark Miley.
The school has been adding technology to the mix as departments review their curriculum, he said. Advice from the high school and the work of his “great staff” have been a big help, he added.
“This is an educational tool to take home,” he said, and technology use is growing all the time on college campuses.