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Students can now keep school iPads for the summer

When the Farmington School District introduced iPads into the classroom four years ago, the idea was to make it easier for students to expand their learning opportunities beyond the walls of their school building. Starting this summer, they hope the tablets will allow students to expand their learning even beyond the last day of school.

Starting this year, students will have the option to bring their school-issued iPad home for the summer.

The district has been interested from the beginning in letting students take their iPads home during summer break, instructional technology director Andrew Baldwin said. But technical issues including operating system changes and the need to update the district’s device-management software meant the district needed all of the iPads in its hands while students weren’t in school.

Those barriers are gone this summer, so the district is allowing students who are interested to keep their iPads with them during the break.

Some of the district’s subscription services will be available over the summer. Students won’t be required to use the devices for educational purposes, but Baldwin said just putting the tools in their hands can lead to good things.

“I think it’s an opportunity,” he said. “You think of the tools kids now have on a 9.7-inch device. It’s really quite impressive that they have the opportunity to do some videos or do some photographs if they go to the zoo.”

The district will be able to monitor how much the iPads are used over the summer and whether students log into the subscription services that are available to them, but it won’t otherwise be able to track what apps students are using.

There are logistical reasons to send the iPads home with students, too. If students keep their iPads over the summer, the district will not have to check them in before the end of the school year and check them back out next fall. All students from third through 11th grades will be eligible to take their iPads home. Graduating seniors will have to check them in before they collect their diplomas.

Students who want to hold on to their iPad will have to sign an agreement with the district and pay an additional charge on the district’s protection plan to cover the devices over the summer.

Enrollment for the take-home plan started last week, and Baldwin said students are already signing up. He hopes to close enrollment by May 31.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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