Culver Community Students to Receive iPads Next Year

Culver Community School Board
Culver Community School Board Members (from left, clockwise): Jack Jones, Ryan Seiber, Marilyn Swanson, Brad Schuldt, Eugene Baker, Jim Wentzel, Ed Behnke, Ken VanDePutte

With the use of technology in public schools on a quickly increasing trend, Culver Community School Board has approved a lease with Apple, Inc. to provide iPads for all high school and middle school students. Culver Community Schools will be spearheading what they’ve called the “One-to-One Technology Initiative,” which gives students the equipment and opportunities to “learn by doing.” Students would be able to bring these devices home at the end of the day, but they would be returned to the school at the end of the school year.

“We think it’s the device that works the best for the things that we need for our students. First of all, monetarily: we would put more devices in more kids’ hands. The applications that the iPad provides allow us to do almost anything we want to do with the students, so we thought it was the choice that was best for Culver Community,” said Culver Community High School Principal Albert Hanselman.

Included in this initiative is a lease with Apple to provide 515 iPads with bags, 90 laptops, four days of training for teachers and the IT department, one Mac MiniServer with the software to manage the iPads, and $50 for apps per student. The total cost for this is $415,719.75 over three years, and that is expected to take the place of current costs for technology equipment in the budget.

Hanselman gave a presentation to the board regarding the benefits of using the iPads both in the classroom and at home. Hanselman explained that the iPad is the best choice of technological device at this time for the classroom because of its compatibility with other systems, its user-friendly nature, and its robust collection of applications. The presentation was aided by a series of slides projected onto a smart board, and it was revealed during the meeting that the entire presentation was being managed and operated by an iPad, and Hanselman was able to use his phone to change the slides remotely.

Demonstrations of the various iPad uses were also given. Some of the potential educational uses of the iPad include word processing, access to the public library through wireless internet which allows for the download of books digitally to the device, and other uses, such as its dictation abilities, which allow students who have writing deficiencies to speak to the device, which then turns the speech into text. The device also has a built-in dictionary feature, and most programs allow users to highlight a word and look up its definition. The unlimited possibilities for application of the iPad in the classroom are a big part of why it was chosen.

“Obviously students today understand technology, and they want it in their hands, and we want to be forward thinking and have our kids using things to problem solve and create innovative projects and papers and things with the best technology that is out there, and if a student wants to be involved in that, Culver Community is doing it,” said Hanselman.

There is no cost to parents for this technology, and it is expected to save money on the costs of copiers, ink, toner, etc. due to its paperless nature. Students will be able to do homework on the device, and turn it in to the teacher without printing a single page. In addition, textbooks may soon be ported to the iPad, which would cause lower textbook prices.

“We mentioned in the meeting that there’s a possibility of a cost down the road, but that would be in place of textbooks, so it would be like a textbook rental fee. But we don’t see any cost increase to parents out of their pocket for this,” said Hanselman.

The iPads are expected to roll out to students beginning the next school year; but before they are distributed, there will be a meeting with the parent as well as the student to ensure that the technology will be handled properly. If the item is lost, the parent will be responsible for replacing the device at an estimated cost of $499. The school will handle all wear and tear on the item, and if there is a factory defect, the school will be receiving the Apple Care Package, which covers repairs for any hardware malfunctions.