1:1 iPad Initiative Information

The Weld RE-5J School District is beginning a 1:1 iPad initiative with a goal in mind of every student in grades 4-12 having an iPad available for daily use in the 2014-15 school year. In order to reach the goal we would like to rollout iPads in two waves.  
The first wave is the 2013-14 school year iPads would be purchased for 4, 5, 6, and 9th grades.  Those iPads would then be rolled to the next grade level within the building for those students and additional iPads would be purchased for grades 6, 8, 9, 11, and 12 for the 2014-15 school year.

What is 1:1?

1:1 is an initiative in which every student in a class, school or district has an electronic device available.  Some districts are moving forward with 1:1 initiatives in a way in which student bring their own devices to defray cost, however, in this manner a class, school or district is fragmented as students will have varying devices with varying capabilities and programs.

Why an iPad 1:1 for Weld RE-5J?

Through purchasing iPads for student use in Weld RE-5J School District students across the district will have uniform devices.  As students have the same devices, this will make for planning and instruction by teachers relatively simple, instead of planning for multiple types of devices.  Additionally, curriculum and grade level teams can seek out resources to utilize within their curriculum that are iPad friendly and accessible.

PC World compared a number of tablet on the market and stated, “Tablet Reliability and Satisfaction: iPad Comes Out on Top”.  The iPad led all tablets in the nearly all areas tested, including reliability, typing on touchscreen, overall ease of use, battery life and touchscreen responsiveness.[i]  The iPad is the top of the line tablet and as such will allow staff and students alike to quickly learn how to use it and implement it in the classroom.

Along with the reliability of the iPad, the iPad is also very lightweight, and with a case is quite durable.  The ease of carrying an iPad around a school building and in a backpack is much easier than carrying around a laptop, and an iPad has a great deal more functionality than a netbook.

Educational Use

In the classroom the iPad will provide another avenue to engage students in a manner they are familiar with.  Statistics show that 74% of teens (ages 12-17) currently utilize mobile access to the Internet[ii].  By utilizing technology in the classrooms that students are familiar with they will most likely be engaged and more eager to learn.

The 1:1 iPad initiative will also provide teachers with a simpler method to differentiate for all students.  As teachers will move to providing assignments on the iPad the teacher will then be able to more easily provide differentiated lessons and activities for both the gifted and the struggling students.

Previously, the district would make large purchases of a curriculum for each subject area, which often times would cost $750,000 or more.  Once the purchase was made the teacher, school and district were excited about the growth and opportunities the curriculum provided in its first years, but after time the curriculum grew outdated and stale.  With iPads in the district, curriculum committees can select up-to-date resources to use to teach and engage students.  As research and best practice changes over time, so can the curriculum and resources used to teach.

What ways can curriculum be delivered on an iPad?

Curriculum and content can be delivered on an iPad in a variety of ways.  iPads have a built in web-browser (Safari) so students can access educational resources directly on the web.  For example, if boundaries of a country change, students can look at the most recent maps of the world the next day, they no longer have to wait for a new map to be printed, ordered and installed in the front of the room.  Student can also use the web for collaboration and real world application of what they are learning.

The Apple App Store has over 300,000 apps that can be downloaded.[iii]  There are many apps that are made for content specific apps that can be utilized in conjunction with, or replace, a traditional textbook.  Apps are available that allow students to practice and reinforce learning that has taken place.  Students can also utilize apps on the iPad to create work to demonstrate their understanding and mastery of concepts.

Not only has Apple created an education friendly App Store ecosystem, but they have also made it very easy to integrate iBooks into the school setting.  A number of the traditional educational publishers have begun creating iBooks (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill, and Pearson) that are interactive that include a variety of features not available in traditional textbooks – 3D and interactive images, galleries, highlighting and note-taking in the book that creates study cards, ability to share notes, embedded reviews and videos.[iv]  Not only are the traditional publishers creating iBooks, but also so are a number of experienced teachers and districts creating books that meet or exceed the quality of the traditional publishers.  All of the books available are far below the price of previous textbook adoptions with the added bonus of updated content.

As iBooks have grown, so has the ability to create iBooks.  A new program, iBooks Author, allows teachers and curriculum teams to create their own iBooks.  These iBooks can be easily created by teachers utilizing their expertise and knowledge of their classes and students, then distributed to their classes for use.

Will Teachers Receive Professional Development?

Throughout the Weld RE-5J School District 1:1 iPad initiative and beyond, teachers will receive professional development on how to shift instruction from previous methods to a 1:1 setting.  A few of the many topics to be covered during the professional development are:

  • Classroom Management
  • Integrating Digital Curriculum Materials
  • Utilization of a Learning Management System
  • Electronic Assessment
  • Utilization of the mobile device management program

Existing curriculum committees will meet during the school year to select common digital curriculum materials that can be used across the district to ensure materials are meeting the Colorado Academic Standards.  During these meetings additional, content specific professional development with iPads may take place as well.

For more information on teacher professional development, visit the 1:1 iPad Initiative Professional Development Outline.

Future State Assessments

The Colorado Department of Education is currently in a transitional time with standardized assessment with the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program.  Beginning in the spring of 2014 students will be taking new assessments in the areas of Science and Social Studies and the desire of the CDE is to deliver these assessments electronically.  Additionally, Colorado has joined a consortium of states in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)[v] for assessing English Language Arts and Math beginning in the spring of 2015.   PARCC is also planning on all of their assessments to be delivered electronically as well.

As students have the opportunity to utilize the iPad daily in an educational setting, when it comes time for high stakes testing, the technological aspect of it will not be foreign, but just part of the day to day routine.  As students are challenged daily to learn and apply their learning in an electronic format, this will put them at a great advantage when it comes to the standardized assessments.

How will the iPads be managed?

All district owned iPads (student and teacher) would be managed utilizing a mobile device management (MDM) program.  This MDM allows the district a variety of options with the iPad.

First of all, the MDM will provide us with an inventory of all iPads across the district.  Additionally, the MDM will allow the district to do the following:

  •  Place restrictions on the iPad
  • Send out approved educational apps
  • Unlock if a student forgets the passcode
  • Only allows the iPad to be open to one app (for assessment)
  • Remote wipe an iPad if it is lost or misplaced
  • Filter the internet through a district proxy 

When will students get the iPads and can they take them home?

Students will receive the iPads on an iPad deployment night.  Each school will designate a specific evening, and assign times, for students to receive their iPad.  During this deployment event, students will login to the iPad and the MDM, put a protective cover on it, login to the App Store and receive a cord and charger.

The iPad will now be a virtual backpack.  The iPad will contain most, if not all of the student’s daily work.  As that is the case, a majority of the student’s homework will also take place on the iPad.  By taking the iPad home, the student will have the availability of much more educational content at their fingertips, then they would by lugging home a big textbook that they are only to read a few pages from. 

However, in order to take the iPad home, parents/guardians will need to choose to opt-in to the program.  The parental approval is required because of the cost and the ability of the iPad.  The district has created a 1:1 agreement that outlines the expectations of the students with the iPads and the loss and damage policy in which the student and parent/guardian are responsible for.

If a parent/guardian chooses not to opt-in, then the student will be able to utilize the iPad at school each day, but will not be able to take it home.


[i] http://www.pcworld.com/article/244603/tablet_reliability_and_satisfaction_ipad_comes_out_on_top.html

[ii] http://www.pewinternet.org/~/media/Files/Reports/2013/PIP_TeensandTechnology2013.pdf

[iii] http://www.apple.com/ipad/from-the-app-store/

[iv] http://www.apple.com/education/ibooks-textbooks/

[v] http://www.parcconline.org