Students to use iPads daily this fall

Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant

Noblesville High School students will be on the cutting edge of technology starting this fall. As part of its 1:1 program, the district plans to buy enough iPads for every student to use one throughout the school day and year. According to school officials, each student in grades 10 through 12 will receive an iPad they can keep until the end of the year and potentially even through summer break.NHS Principal Jeff Bryant said the 1:1 program began years ago. Through a grant, six English and two science classrooms received computer devices in 2007. Since then, the high school has purchased 1:1 laptop carts or iPad carts for all science classrooms.

“Teachers are doing some very engaging things with the iPads,” Bryant said. “They are excited about it. They know the impact it will have on students.”

Between the freshman and main campuses, Bryant said the high school had 2,000 computers.

“Students live with access to information every day and need that at school also,” he said.

Andrew Swickheimer, director of technology for the school district, said the total cost for the 2,100 iPads was $1,289,400 – or $615 per devise, which includes a case, insurance, management software and apps. Swickheimer said the district would enter a four-year term so the price would be $322,350 annually. It will be paid from the capital projects fund without increasing the budget. Students will be charged a $60 to $70 technology fee per year, which will generate $96,000 to $112,000 and decrease the total amount charged to the capital project fund to between $210,350 and $226,350, Swickheimer said.

“It’s more expensive to start up, but I think it’s the right way to go,” Swickheimer said, adding that students in the free and reduced lunch program will not be charged the technology fee.

Andrew Swickheimer

Andrew Swickheimer

Benefits of the iPads include the reduction of paper, an increase in student engagement, flexibility with learning and credit recovery and the elimination of most computer labs, which saves the district $175,000 and will provide five additional classrooms of space.

“It’s a tool that will make them more efficient in the classroom,” Swickheimer said. “Through Canvas, they can pull curriculum in advance so they don’t need the internet at home.”

The iPads will be school issued. Swickheimer said this allowed for a common classroom experience and allowed the devices to have apps and games removed and social media sites disabled.

“It’s a learning tool, not a device for games,” he said, adding that the district can buy the devices cheaper than the public and can buy a better insurance plan. Swickheimer said a $40 deductible will be paid by students if their device is broken.

“It will be more responsibility but being really engaged is an important part of learning,” he said.

The 1:1 program is used at the freshman campus for English, science, business and Project Lead the Way classes. Phase II calls for the 1:1 program to expand to the middle schools during the 2014-2015 school year. Swickheimer said that expansion for grades 6 through 8 would cost $1.8 million.

There will be an informational meeting for parents at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6 in the NHS Main Campus auditorium, 18111 Cumberland Rd.

“We’ll share with them what the learning environment will look like and how (the iPad) will be used,” Swickheimer said.