Many school districts across the nation are prepping for the introduction of new iPads, MacBooks and other mobile devices to their classrooms as a new school year begins. According to CBS affiliate WBTW, Horry County Schools in Conway, South Carolina, are entering their second year of the personalized digital learning initiative that hands out iPads to students.
However, School officials told WBTW that nearly 900 devices were damaged in the first year, which cost taxpayers $100,000 in repairs. The school district is now taking efforts toward enrolling in an education-based insurance policy for the mobile tablets.
"The taxpayers in our county and this school board have invested a great deal in being able to put technology into the hands of the students, and we want to see the breakage rate whether accidental or not reduced to a minimum," said Teal Harding, a spokesperson for Horry County Schools.
Insurance allows students to take devices home
Harding explained that a $50 insurance payment would help cover the costs of any damage or replacements needed for students' devices, the source cited. The new iPad insurance fee will also allow students from grades six through 12 to take their devices home.
Scott Davidson, an instructional technology coordinator for Eisenhower High School located in Decatur, Illinois, explained that with fee-based insurance policy for students' mobile devices, kids would be able to do out-of-school projects that would be impossible to complete without the device, the Herald-Review reported. Additionally, the policy gives teachers the freedom of setting more curriculums around the mobile devices.
"Having a device for each student all day long can impact learning," said Davidson, according to the source. "Homework won't be dependent on the device, so students who don't take the machines home won't be hampered."
The integration of personal devices is helping districts save money on keeping computer labs available for students because they are no longer needed, the source reported.
However, some board members in Conway believe there's a big age difference in who is handling the expensive devices. Janice Morreale, a Horry County School board member, explained there's a disparity between an 11-year-old sixth grader and a freshman in high school, according to WBTW.
While the devices are set to be rolled out again in Conway, the school district can rest easy knowing it is covered with iPad insurance for its students.