The Eanes Independent School District Board of Trustees announced it will upgrade student technology to the iPad Air 2. This is five years after the Eanes District rolled out a Student Mobile Device Initiative that provided an iPad for every student. The decision follows 600 hours of meetings, symposiums, site visits, focus groups and presentations, as well as 6,000 survey responses.
The 64GB iPad Air 2 will be implemented for all grade levels from kindergarten through twelfth grade and was chosen for its flexibility, its support, and its ease of integration.
“Students and staff will have a model of iPad that runs 12 times faster, holds four times as much memory and now allows for split-screen multitasking, which was important to those surveyed,” said Carl Hooker, Director of Innovative & Digital Learning. “This also honors the work of many teachers who have utilized the iPad to improve student learning in their classrooms for the past four to five years and reinforces our work on the horizontal and vertical alignment of tools and curriculum within our district.”
One concern from teachers was that electronic devices in the classroom can cause distractions. This was alleviated by the introduction of an Eanes ISD App Store. This will limit apps that can be downloaded on the devices and better focuses the device both in and out of school on educational purposes.
“Parents, community members, students and staff participated in this process to make the most informed decision possible for the future learning of our students,” said Superintendent Dr. Tom Leonard. “Regardless of the device, our students will always participate in rigorous and relevant instruction, but the opportunities that a mobile device can bring to instruction are exciting and endless.”
Keyboard cases or plug-in keyboards also will be available based on grade level. This was found to be important especially for high schoolers “in that they allow for full keyboarding on a physical keyboard but also swivel into both kiosk and full tablet modes.”
Funds for the iPad Air 2’s come from a $52.5 million bond that included $5.041 million towards the Student Mobile Device Initiative. The funds will go towards the devices, cases, keyboards, apps, additional technology needed for the initiative, and management software. The iPad 2 inventory owned by the District will be sold.