One to One iPad Program
After substantial discussion and thoughtful planning, all students in grades 4-9 will be given school-owned iPads to use for their academic work at Fenn. You should know, however, that these school-owned iPads will be strictly controlled and monitored, so that students will only be able to use them for homework and in-class work required by Fenn teachers. Family-owned devices will not be permitted at school. We are making this change because we believe this will be in the best interest of promoting student learning, minimizing distractions, and limiting screen time, among other 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 is driven by the desire to support efficiently and effectively Fenn’s mission of promoting productive, lifelong learning. A critical component of this approach is ready, consistent access to technology which 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 which 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 which can meet all of the needs of any academic program.
- Ensure long battery life which eliminates the need for charging during the day.
- Provide quick “power-up” and immediate access to the internet thus 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 which would best meet a student’s educational technology needs.