At its April 27 meeting, the Northfield Board of Education approved recommendations from the District Technology Steering Committee for the next phase of the Transformational Technology Project, including expansion of the district’s iPad initiative to provide personalized learning tools to students.
On April 13, Director of Technology Kim Briske presented the recommendations to the board, which were the result of a process that included a board update in January, 12 listening sessions, and surveys in each school and for community members. The process also included four Chromebook demonstrations for staff interested in seeing an alternative to the iPad.
In her presentation, Briske outlined the rationale for proposed new iPad leases and programmatic changes— including a new device management system that makes it possible to restrict access to the App Store and includes a classroom management tool to allow teachers to lock student iPads into a specific app or website. The Casper mobile device management system will be in place for the start of the 2015-16 school year, replacing the system that has been in place over the past two school years.
The recommendations also include a three-phase lease cycle of iPads and cases for staff and students. Beginning with the 2015-16 school year, iPads will be provided for 4th and 5th grade students and will be kept at school. A second lease beginning in January of 2016 will provide replacement iPads for staff and 6th through 12th grade students. A third lease in July 2016, coupled with the first lease of iPads in 2015, will also provide one iPad for every two students in grades K-3. In addition, keyboards will be made available for classroom checkout beginning next year.
The district’s proxy server, which filters the internet on school devices when they are off campus, will be discontinued due to interference with internet connectivity and access to software tools in Schoology and Google Drive. Web filtering will still be in place on all devices when connected to school WiFi, and the district will provide family resources for internet filtering at home.
For more information on the implementation and use of iPads, please visit the project blog, at http://northfieldschools.org/ipad.