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Questions and Answers

Questions and Answers

Apple IDs

Each student will need his/her own Apple ID for use with the iPad. Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, students will use their school Gmail address for a school-specific Apple ID for their iPad to properly work at PBSD. Siblings should not share the same Apple ID and should create their own. One Apple ID per student is required.

May I bring my own iPad to school?

If you are in a grade using iPads provided by the District, you will be asked to use a school-issued iPad due to app licensing and the instructional materials that will be loaded on the devices for classroom learning. In the future, we may explore opportunities for student/family owned devices to be used, but for now we will only use school-issued devices so we can manage the apps/licensing, settings and configurations within our network. If you are not in a grade using iPads provided by the District, you are welcome to bring a laptop, iPad, or other personal electronic devices for educational use only. Use of personal devices at school must:

  • Adhere to District Technology Policies
  • Be used for educational purposes only
  • Not create a distraction or disruption to the learning environment

Teachers have the discretion of allowing or not allowing the use of electronic devices during instructional time. Please respect and follow your teacher’s instructions.

Will I use an iPad in all my classes?

Teachers have the discretion of allowing or not allowing the use of electronic devices during instructional time. Please respect and follow each of your teacher’s instructions. If teachers permit use of electronic devices, users must adhere to District Technology Policies, be for educational purposes only, and must not be a distraction or disruption to the learning environment.

Should students invest in a wireless keyboard?

We suggest holding off on buying an external keyboard. From our experience, after a few days of using an iPad, students become faster typists. Some have returned an external keyboard they had purchased due to lack of use. But everyone is different. Once you get a feel for how comfortable typing you are on your iPad you can better decide what works best for your needs.

Does it make sense to get a stylus for writing on the iPad for the various activities and projects?

Using a stylus is a personal preference. Many students have discovered that a finger can be just as precise. Therefore we do not suggest purchasing a stylus until you get a feel for how comfortable you are writing on your iPad so you can better decide what works best for your needs.

I am curious to know whether students will be able to add Dropbox to their list of applications? If not, what method are you using to allow her access to saved documents?

Students use a Plum Borough School District Google Apps school account and use Google Docs (educational version) for cloud storage with their iPad. This method is similar to Dropbox.

Will the wireless network handle all of these devices?

Yes. The schools' wireless networks have grown with the program to meet speed and capacity needs. All students may access the wireless network to use portable computing devices. The wireless network has the same filters the student computer network has and all District Acceptable Use policies apply to use of the wireless network.

What is the cost to families for the iPad program?

Just as there is no cost to students for textbooks unless lost or damaged, there is no cost to students for the iPad unless lost or damaged.

What if students are experiencing technical issues?

Overall, technical issues in the iPad program have been minimal compared to other significant technology implementations. Of the 349 student iPads used during the first semester of the 2011-12 school year, four iPads that needed to be replaced: one with a screen coming apart, one with wi-fi issues preventing connection to the Internet, one shutting down unexpectedly and one with a home button not working. Since then, technical issues have remained minimal even as the amount of student iPads in use has increased greatly.

When technical issues arise, teachers understand and students are not penalized. Teachers do not prohibit students from completing assignments on paper. Media Center staff and classroom teachers are happy to meet individually with students to help troubleshoot technical issues. Occasionally, a student may need to drop off the iPad during the day, but since all work is saved to the cloud, there should be no disruption to accessing work.

An important life-skill for students is to learn to save and back-up work (on a desktop or other device). Using the cloud storage, iPad students specifically back up their work on the iPad into Google Docs. Students have received instruction on this process and teachers remind students the importance of doing so frequently.

As with many types of technology, some technical issues have been beyond our control. For example, in October 2011 Google changed their application programming interface (API) in which immediately affected all applications that integrate with Google, including two iPad apps Minnetonka students used regularly on the iPad. Until the companies that produced these applications released updates that fixed this integration, students were instructed on work-around procedures.

Will the only method of security be a password?

All iPads are bar coded and have asset tags for inventory. We are also encouraging students to personalize their case and have their name on their case. Students are welcome to decorate their case for easy identification. Students are also instructed to set up an Apple ID and use the Find My iPhone app. This app helps a student locate the missing device on a map, play a sound, display a message, remotely lock the device, or erase all the data on it.