iPad Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
These are questions commonly asked about the iPad program.
Why do students need a mobile computing device of their own?
Secondary education is in an exciting, rapidly changing time. The iPad meets a number of specific curricular needs that Saint Mary’s has identified for its students in these changing times. In particular, the iPad offers students:
♦ Access to the internet and all the rich content it has to offer. Students are able to participate more directly in lessons and access information for discussion and consumption.
♦ A high quality portable computing device with the ability to create, access, and store educational based material in a single lightweight, portable device.
♦ Access to social media so that students are a part of, and not just consumers of, the intellectual conversations of the moment;
♦ Access to local storage for online books, databases, textbooks, audio & video files so they can carry their studies with them in a variety of engaging formats; and
♦ A personalized computing device that ensures ubiquitous and equitable access as well as options for personal customization, integration, and responsibility.
Why does that mobile computing device need to be an Apple iPad?
In principle, it doesn’t. The iPad happens to be the best device currently available for the type of teaching and learning activities in which our students are engaged. It has a number of design elements that meet our needs, such as its long battery life, flat profile, touchscreen, and robust app developer community.
What happens when something better than the Apple iPad comes out?
It is likely that something better than the iPad will come out, and when it does, we’ll switch the next group of incoming students to the new device. The device is just a tool to be used in the service of teaching and learning. The education must always come before any particular educational tool — whether a desk, a textbook, a ruler, or an iPad.
Are families buying the iPad?
Yes. Families will purchase iPads directly, including the AppleCare insurance. Families have the option of purchasing any accessories individual students might want. Some students may opt to purchase the smaller iPad Mini, which is about $100 less than the full-sized iPad.
Do students buy the apps for the iPad, or does the school?
Students all have their own Apple ID that they use to buy and manage the apps on their iPads. Part of becoming a responsible user of technology is knowing how to care for the device, including downloading, installing, using, and uninstalling applications. Additionally, upon graduation, students will be able to continue using whatever apps they have purchased on whatever new iOS device they happen to buy in the future.
Can students buy games? What sort of management will the school put on the student iPads?
Students have access to all of the apps and iBooks in the Apple iTunes Store with their Apple ID. There are two reasons that Saint Mary’s will not use monitoring software on the iPads. First, all of the apps in the Store have been vetted by Apple’s quality control, assuring us of their safety and propriety. Secondly, one of the skills that we want students to learn is how to care for and maintain a mobile computing device of their own.
What happens if my child downloads too many expensive apps without my permission – apps unrelated to schoolwork? Will I be able to refund those items?
All of Apple’s app sales are final, so it is essential that you discuss this with your child. If your child currently is downloading songs or videos from iTunes, most likely you already have had this discussion.
How will the school handle the theft or physical damage of a device?
iPads are insured under the AppleCare policy that every student is required to purchase. Apple covers many, but not all, accidents and events that can befall a mobile device. If an iPad is a total loss, then the family will need to cover the deductible associated with replacing the iPad. The specific details of coverage are explained in the AppleCare contract. Theft is not covered by AppleCare, and while Saint Mary’s is a safe campus where theft is not common, it is expected that, for all personal property, students secure their belongings thoughtfully.
What about accessories or cases?
Students are required to provide a case for their iPad, but aside from that, there are no other required accessories. We have prepared an iPad Apps & Accessories web page that identifies the apps that each student needs to have installed on their iPad, as well as recommendations for others, and some accessories that our faculty have found helpful.
Aren’t kids already overexposed to technology and social media?
We are aware of the dangers associated with overexposure to technology and social media. Our job is to make sure that students know those dangers, too, and become smart users of their smart phones and computing devices. Your child’s teachers will help in that endeavor. They have been trained to use the right tool at the right time. Sometimes it makes sense to put pen to paper or turn the pages of book, whether those are paper pages or electronic pages. Sometimes it’s important just to listen or to lead in a group discussion. And sometimes it’s essential to use an iPad to find the best answers, synthesize mountains of information and create something dynamic that will help transform our world. We also want to create a level playing field, without digital haves and have-nots. The new program will ensure that every student has the necessary digital tools to aid his or her education and growth.
What kinds of activities or content are prohibited in the classroom?
The polices in the Student & Parent Handbook in the section Code of Conduct will be enforced regarding a student’s use of the iPad. The general rule is that if there is something a student should be doing, then that’s what they should be doing. If the class is working on research, then that’s what all students should be doing; if students are on their own time, then they can choose what to spend their time on. Just as a student can get detention for being disruptive in class or listening to their music instead of their teachers, they can get detention for doing something on their iPad other than what they should be doing. Misbehaving is misbehaving.
How will teachers use the iPad in their classes?
An entire section of iPads at Peralta Park: A Guidebook for Students and Parents has been dedicated to answering this question. The short answer is that the iPad will be used to access information beyond the four walls of the classroom; it will be used in analyzing material from a variety of sources, and it will be used to communicate a student’s findings and conclusion, and engage with other learners.
When will students need their iPads?
Students will need to have their iPads by their class orientation session in August.
Will students be trained on how to use their iPad?
During orientation, there will be sessions on how to setup their iPad, how to maintain it, and some of the basics on using the iPad for class-related activities. Students who pick up their iPad in the beginning of the summer are encouraged to attend a training offered at any local Apple Store. Those who do so will have two months to become familiar with the device before they begin the next school year.