- The advent of 1:1 programs across America puts Aquinas High School right in the middle of the curve when it comes to the new way of teaching and learning that will, in some ways, fundamentally change education.
- iPad use supports essential skill areas—complex communication, new media literacy, creativity, and self-directed learning. The incredibly immersive and active learning environment the iPad engenders and the unprecedented opportunities to develop personalized, student-centered learning is the essential reason for going in this direction. As a tool, iPads can also help improve teacher management of classroom time and space. At any given moment, when students have iPads, they have the world at their fingertips—anywhere they might be—a tremendous tool to assist teachers in directing and redirecting student learning and engagement.
- Differentiated instruction is supported by the use of iPads with the incredible flexibility they provide to vary and individualize learning activities at a moment’s notice. Aquinas High School has a tremendous opportunity to make a transformative shift in classrooms where students are empowered to navigate their own learning at their own pace under the direction of a teacher guide.
- A potential advantage will be the convenience and possible cost-savings of eBooks in the near (but not immediate) future. We hope eventually that a student could have all needed texts in electronic format at a reduced cost and carry no physical books.
Reasons for iPads vs. Bring-your-own-device [BYOD]
- iPads provide all students and teachers with the same platform/environment in which to work so that apps can be accessed and used in the same way.
- iPads provide consistency for teacher training—we are in this together; a teacher who discovers a great app or means of doing something can share an app more easily with all who will have the same understanding. Likewise, when a problem develops, everyone can share together in the solution. Training sessions will be more productive when all are on the same device.
- iPads allow our IT provider consistency—the IT people will know the answer (or research a solution, etc.) for everyone, teachers and students, as all will have the same device. Repair and replacement will be much simpler with only one device. In general, iPads do not break unless the touch screen breaks. There are virtually no maintenance issues.
- Resource and text consistency—access, locating , features like note taking, etc., will all work in the same way and save instructional time in assisting students than if students had different devices with different platforms.
- Socio-economic leveler—all students will have the same excellent device, not some with more expensive devices and others with something less expensive (and possibly inadequate). Everyone gets what our research says is the best device right now.
- The iPad has the reputation as the leader in educational technology at this time. It speaks cutting-edge, forefront, and innovation more than any other device. And this reputation is well-deserved.
Frequently Asked Questions for Students and Parents
Why do students need a mobile computing device of their own?
As part of our commitment to prepare young men and women to serve and lead in an ever-changing world, Aquinas High School is providing an iPad to each student. This device meets a number of specific curricular needs identified by the school as essential for 21st century learning. In particular, the iPad offers students the following:
- A personalized computing device that ensures ubiquitous and equitable access as well as options for personal customization, integration, and responsibility;
- Access to the power of mobile computing for engaging in the type of high-quality, data-intensive work our society now expects;
- Access to social media providing lessons in digital citizenship to ensure our students are positive contributors to, and not just consumers of, the intellectual conversations of today;
- Access to the Internet via our robust campus wireless network;
- Access to local and cloud storage for online books, databases, textbooks, and audio & video files so they can engage in their learning through a variety of formats anytime and anywhere there is a wireless access.
Why does that mobile computing device need to be an Apple iPad?
After much research it has been determined that the iPad is the best device available for the type of teaching and learning activities in which our students are engaged. It has a number of design elements that meet our needs, such as its long battery life, flat profile, touch screen, reliable functionality, and robust app developer community.
What happens when a new model is released and/or new technologies emerge?
Technology is changing and evolving constantly, and Aquinas High School will evaluate new products and make adjustments as necessary. For us, the device is simply a tool to be used in the service of teaching and learning. Education must always come before any particular educational tool — whether a desk, a textbook, a ruler, a calculator, or an iPad.
Are families/students expected to purchase an iPad for their student?
No. The cost of the iPad program has been built into the larger cost of an education at Aquinas High School. To keep costs down and to ensure that our students have the best technology to facilitate their education, Aquinas High School is leasing the iPads from Apple for two years. A freshman, for example, would have an iPad for two years, turn it in for a new one to use in the remaining two years, and then turn that one in prior to graduation.
May students opt out of using the iPad altogether?
No. The benefits of a tool like this can only be achieved if all students use the tool. This uniformity also allows all of our students to be on equal educational footing regardless of their financial means.
Do students get to keep their iPads when they graduate?
No. Because the school leases the iPads, they are the property of Aquinas High School. Students should back up their content (apps and files) to iTunes or iCloud if they wish to keep it after returning the iPad to Aquinas High School.
My student already has an iPad. Will he/she be able to use that one?
No. For the sake of the educational equality and school mission, Aquinas High School asks that only the school-issued devices be used. Aquinas High School will only offer support for school-issued iPads.
When do students first receive their iPads?
All students will receive iPads during the orientation days in August prior to the first day of class.
Will technical support be provided for students and their iPads on campus?
Yes. A dedicated IT support staff member will be available on campus to assist with technical issues. Loaner iPads will be available for students if their iPad is not functioning properly. Aquinas High School will only offer support for school-issued iPads.
Do students buy the apps for the iPad, or does the school?
Students will have their own Apple ID that they will use to buy and manage the apps on their iPads. Part of becoming a responsible user of technology knows how to care for the device, including downloading, installing, using, and uninstalling applications.
Will Aquinas High School provide a discount on required apps?
The school will provide a discount on some of the required apps for specific courses at orientation in August. However, there may be apps that an individual instructor requires which must be purchased. Aquinas High School faculty and administration are committed to providing the best possible educational tools for the course curriculum at a reasonable cost to its students and are studying the best means to do this.
Can students install their own apps outside of what is required for coursework?
Yes. Students are encouraged to make the iPad a productive learning tool. However, students must always maintain enough memory on the iPad for the work required by their teachers.
Can students sync the iPads with their other devices?
Yes. Students should feel free to do so to make the iPad a more useful tool. However, students should be aware that what is on the iPads should follow school policies outlined in the Student-Parent Handbook.
Will students only be using digital books (eBooks)?
Not exclusively. Traditional textbooks will still be used in many classes. Even though it is our goal to reduce the cost and weight of textbooks, Aquinas High School uses the best available materials for each learning environment. The academic department chairs, with the approval of the Vice Principal for Curriculum and Instruction, select materials for department instruction, including digital sources and traditional textbooks. With this hybrid approach, the school hopes a significant savings will eventually be passed on to families.
What accessories will be provided with the iPad?
All students will receive an iPad from Aquinas High School. The iPads come with a charger, ear buds, and a manual. The school will also provide a cover for each iPad.
What happens if an iPad gets broken, lost, or stolen?
If at any point the student damages, misplaces, or has his/her issued iPad stolen, the family will be financially responsible for the cost to the school for all repairs and/or replacement involved.
Should parents purchase insurance to cover student use of the iPad?
No. Aquinas High School has insured all the iPads issued to the students. This insurance may not cover all types of damage, so students are expected to demonstrate proper care for and use of the iPads.
What happens if my student is out of compliance?
If your student is out of compliance there is a discipline process that is followed. The first time they are out of compliance it is a warning. The second time they’re out of compliance it is a Saturday detention. There is a list of apps that are not allowed for students to download and have on their iPad.