The Corvallis School district has purchased 1,720 new iPads as a part of its effort to put learning technology in the hands of every student in Corvallis by 2014-15.
Rob Singleton, technology services manager for the district, told the school board Aug. 19 that the wireless networks at Cheldelin, Linus Pauling and Mountain View schools also were enhanced during the summer to prepare for the introductions of iPads at those schools.
“We are on track to have all of the additional Wi-Fi infrastructure improvements made for the first day of school.”
The cost of installing the new wireless networks was $366,776. The iPads cost the district another $688,000.
According to Singleton, every classroom at the schools will have Wi-Fi access and the schools’ networks have been improved to better handle the increased demand.
Every student at the three schools will have an iPad for use in the classroom, and students in third-grade and above will be able to take the devices home to use for school work and class reading.
Assistant Superintendent Kevin Bogatin said the district administration has talked to staff members at other districts that have already implemented their own one-to-one technology plans, and found that most students in grades three and up are responsible enough with their devices to take them home.
Bogatin said the schools already trust students with textbooks that cost $75 a piece, and many students have calculators worth $150.
Families will be expected to pay the repair or replacement cost on damaged, lost or stolen iPads, but Bogatin said the district will be offering an optional annual $45 insurance program, with a deductible in the $75 to $150 range, depending on the age of the iPad. The iPad mini that kindergarten students will use cost $329, and the regular iPads to be used by the higher grades cost $500 and up.
Bogatin said in a situation where a family did not want to take on the responsibility for the device the students would probably be able to check iPads out of their school’s library for class.
“This is an essential tool in the classroom,” he said. District staff see the devices as being used for classwork, educational games, homework and plan to use them to replace print textbooks.
Although, the buildings will have their infrastructure ready at the start of the school year, only the elementary classrooms will start the year with the devices. The middle school students will not get their devices until mid-October.
Bogatin said the phased rollout will give the administration time to address any issues that may come up with the wireless networks the schools have installed.
“We’re hoping this works well, infrastructure-wise,” he said.
Bogatin said the district already has begun the process of giving every teacher in the district an iPad for use in the classroom, and training the teachers how to use the devices.
Bogatin added that teachers are excited for the possibilities the devices bring to the classroom.
“They can really bring the classroom alive,” he said.