One-to-One iPad Program
All students in grades 4-9 are given school-owned iPads to use for their academic work at Fenn. These school-owned devices are strictly controlled and monitored, so that students are only be able to use them for homework and in-class work required by Fenn teachers. Family-owned devices are not permitted at school, which helps to promote student learning, minimize distractions, and limit screen time, among other compelling reasons.
Rationale for Going One-to-One in Grades 4-9
The decision to adopt a one-to-one mobile device program in grades four through nine was driven by the desire to support efficiently and effectively Fenn’s mission of promoting productive, life-long learning. A critical component of this approach is ready, consistent access to technology that allows teachers to support students as they explore concepts and ideas; collaborate with peers, teachers, and others; communicate their insights and understanding; practice important academic skills; and curate a record of their academic progress and accomplishments.
Program Goals and Device Choice
While schools have pursued a variety of formats for their one-to-one programs, Fenn focused its exploration upon choosing a personal technology platform that would:
- Meet most of the educational technology applications, uses, and needs identified as necessary by Fenn faculty with the caveat that there is not one “perfect” device that can meet all of the needs of any academic program.
- Ensure long battery life, eliminating the need for charging during the day.
- Provide quick “power-up” and immediate access to the internet, eliminating the unproductive downtime often caused by our current technology configuration.
- Offer opportunities for each student to customize the device to suit his learning style.
- Present an unobtrusive physical presence in the classroom when in-use and allow easy stow-away when not in-use.
- Prove durable and lightweight (including offering the possibility of further lightening backpacks by replacing large textbooks with e-books/e-texts).
- Ensure a level playing field for all students regardless of a family’s economic status.
- Promote the easiest transition possible for teachers and students into a one-to-one computing environment.
Guided by these objectives as well as our faculty’s experience with educational technology and research into successful middle school one-to-one programs, Fenn explored a variety of options – the Apple iPad, Google’s Chromebook, the MacBook Air laptop, and a “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) platform – before identifying the iPad as the device that would best meet a student’s educational technology needs.