Just over a year ago, the South Washington County School District in Minnesota issued roughly 5,000 new iPads to students at Crestview, Newport and Pullman elementary schools; Oltman Middle School and Park High School, the South Washington County Bulletin reported.
The administrators' plan was to increase the amount of learning while focusing less on logistics. The new mobile devices had a successful first year. According to the source, district administrators said student engagement and overall test scores were much higher after implementing the new devices. The school district plans to publicly release a full evaluation on the student's progress with the new devices.
"We're still crunching the numbers," said Tom LaBounty, the director of research, evaluation and assessment for South Washington County Schools, according to the source. "Just the introduction to technology itself is not necessarily going to have a positive impact in student learning. It's just a tool."
Increase education on iPads and insurance
Through the first year, the school district found that many parents had questions about the iPads and what sort of coverage was available for the devices. Numerous schools that have instituted iPads or other tablets into their educational process will not let the students take the devices home.
Damaged screens, broken buttons and cracks on the exterior can cost schools a fortune to repair. Additionally, many schools that do invest in iPad insurance still have many restrictions that don't protect all aspects of damage or theft.
South Washington County parents quickly found out through the first year the $28 insurance fee didn't cover damages to the iPad's cord, charger or case, the Bulletin reported.
Other schools in the state are asking parents to help invest in insurance for the iPads. According to the Pioneer Press, several Minnesota public schools with iPads purchased insurance plans to help protect the devices. Students who use iPads are only getting younger, and with the amount of devices in the classroom, protecting the school's investment is a serious concern.
Many school districts want to avoid handling the claims process when it comes to protecting the mobile devices. However, trusting a second or third grader to take care of an expensive piece of technology is a lot to ask. With younger students, more accidents will happen, but having fully insured devices will make sure schools don't lose money and see a return on investment for their broken devices.