Ipads in Schools

Updated on June 05, 2013
S.G. asks from Beverly Hills, CA
15 answers

Hi. My son is going into middle school in the fall. Our school division is starting a new program in the fall that will provide every middle school student with an ipad mini. The ipads will replace all school computers as well as the textbooks. Students will keep their ipads for three years, they will come home with the students daily and over holidays. Students can download extra apps to customize their tablet.. It sounds wonderful and we are very excited about this. I was just wondering if any of the parents here have experienced this program with their kids, and how is it working out? Have there been any issues or drawbacks?

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So What Happened?

Students will be responsible for the ipads, however they do realize that they are children and stuff happens. Incidents will be handled on a case by case basis, and they are hoping to have insurance policies in place at a low cost to parents.

It turns out that for what the school currently pays to lease 12 laptops, they are able to lease 42 ipad mini's.

The point Laurie A brings up is one of the main reasons for moving to the ipads. Information is changing so rapidly that textbooks are obsolete by the time the students get them in their hands.

I think my son will have to get used to charging his ipad overnight, because he won't be able to work if his device isn't charged!

Our kids will be supplied a cover and two chargers with their ipads.

Thanks Amber C. Lots of good info.

Featured Answers



answers from Sacramento on

Wow, that's amazing! Schools in California can barely afford books and paper, let alone iPads. Enjoy!

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Denver on

My daughter's school (middle school) started using iPads this last school year, so we just finished our first year with them. Mixed reviews. The kids did have access to amazing information and learned a lot about technology. The school had its own server (or wifi or something techy) so that the kids could only download approved apps and couldn't get online in a real world sense. So there was some protection.

But I say some protection, because the kids are crafty. They figured out, for example, that one of the approved apps had its own access to 'real world' internet and they got on that way. It's crazy, but the kids really are smarter than the adults! It was tough to stay ahead of problems. It was only when a parent realized something was going on and let the project admin know that it was dealt with.

The other thing that was an issue was pictures. You know how kids love to take pictures of themselves and others. This became a privacy issue, WAY too many pics of all the kids, most without consent or even knowledge. Nothing racy or weird, just parents didn't like that so many pics were taken. So they changed that rule.

So bottom line is that they will likely have some baseline rules, but a lot of it is about playing catch up- solving problems as they arise because they are so hard to anticipate.

I could go either way, there are some cool things about it. But if the school said that they wanted to stop the program, I wouldn't be upset in the least. And they had the kids turn the iPads in over holidays, which I liked. Forced some screen-free time! Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I think it could be great, and helps close the gaps between the haves and those students who can not afford to have a computer of any kind at home. I do hope they offer insurance though.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Our high school started this 2 years ago for students taking AP and ECE (early college experience) courses. Students can use the ipads in all of their classes if the teacher allows it. For example, my daughter was the only student in her world geography class that had an ipad, her teacher allowed her to use it.

I-pads were issued at the beginning of the year and the student is responsible for it, there is no insurance available. They are allowed to download their own aps. We (parents and students) need to sign agreements. The ipads are returned at the end of the year.

So far my daughters have only told me of 2 that were damaged, one in a house fire and the parents needed to replace it.

There are obvious advantages. My daughter often takes pictures of her textbook, so she doesn't have to carry all her books back and forth to school. They use twitter. They use other aps to communicate with each other.

However, here are a few of the issues we have come across...

1. There was a problem with the ipad. My daughter turned it into get it fixed. The school districts tech people took 5 weeks to fix it.

2. The pilot program teacher is a techie type. He used it in his classroom daily, and it was used for homework, etc. He showed them how it could be used as a valuable educational tool. However, this year several of the teachers were not fully trained and although most kids chose to use them for notes, etc, it wasn't integrated into the daily lessons. So if the teachers aren't trained, it seems like a waste of funds.

3. A majority of the kids use them as "toys". They often play games and text during class, rather then use the ipads as an educational tool. We are talking about the students in the top 20% of their class, therefore, I would think this problem would only get worse with more students using them.

4. I don't fully understand the problem, but there have been lots of issues with the emails. Also, the email system will not allow many types of attachments.

So IMO if the school is fully prepared to deal with the "issues", then this can be a great opportunity for the students.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Wow, your tax dollars at work😀.

Just curious, what happens when a kid drops it and the screen breaks? Or it is lost? Will the child do without or are the parents responsible for replacing it?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Our school district provided ipads and chrome books to the students in certain grades (including some elementary grades), but only at school in a particular class in which they were using them. They were not assigned to a particular student, and were passed out and collected at the beginning/end of each class (language arts mostly).

Daughter was in 6th grade this past year (they are out for the summer now) but is currently doing a Science/Technology/Engineering/Math camp provided by the district for G/T kids. They are meeting in the school cafeteria and using Chrome books for all of the research they are doing during the camp.

I think there are pros and cons to any technology, and much like "the internet" it is up to the person using it, what is done with it (good or bad). You have kids using it, so there will be childish usage, but also some crazy amazing things that they can think to do with it that adults would be "too grown up" to think of.

It's a tool, like anything else, and the adults managing the program will need to be on top of things just like with any other tool. Kids have used chemicals in science labs forever... but not many explosions happening in high school science labs, are there? The adults in charge are familiar with what to watch and how to monitor, etc.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Yep! Both of my little girls will have Macs next year. The older one (6th grade) will have a MacBook Pro, and the younger one (4th grade) will have an Airbook. I think it's great. Not a day goes by at work where I'm not on the computer; this is something they'll need to be very good at for their further education as well as for their future jobs. How nice is it that the teachers won't have to haul around massive stacks of paper, either? They can accept all of the assignments via e-mail or drop box. No missing work, easier grading - seems like a win-win.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Our school district is considering this, but hasn't yet. I think soon these tools will be needed in schools to teach kids how to function in the real world. My auto mechanic uses one, restaurant servers use them (or phones) to place orders, doctors, my ex uses one when he volunteers at the zoo to show visitors info, among many uses/users that I've encountered.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I wish our schools would do this. Some textbooks cost so much and the minute they are printed they are obsolete. Each text book can cost over $100. They are just like college text books.. Have you ever had a child lose a textbook? You have to pay the school here. and I have seen the price lists!

I am assuming they will be insured. I dropped my first ipad right after my warranty went out. The good news is it was just the screen, which can be replaced for $100.

I also am sure there will be instructions at meetings for parents to learn how to make sure they are locked to certain sites. Be sure to attend and get the contact info for the school technology people so you can refer to them when you are concerned.

Just like anything, you will need to guide your child.
The world is changing so fast. It is awesome that kids today are not afraid of change.

But we as parents also must learn so we can parent our children.
Teach them responsibility on the road and the internet highway.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My niece's school does. The kids screw around more then anything. They have caused SO many problems. The whole program is under fire, here. I don't see it lasting long. I would hardly call the results successful.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

In my neck of the woods, private schools do this.
Many of them.
But mostly, it is MAC laptop computers that the kids use.
Some do the iPad programs.
But again, this is private schools mostly.

There will be lots of kinks to work out. Being this is the first time they are doing this at your kid's school.
They don't even have... an insurance policy in place, but yet are already "starting" the program. That is, poor planning.

Kids break things. Even if unintentional. They drop it. Accidents.
Then what?
Who pays for it.
Same for band at schools... the kids have use of the instruments and bring it home etc. But if they break it, the parent, pays for it. And that can be $400 bucks to pay the school for it. Just as an example.

iPads, are not computers. But some say it is.
I really hope, that school district fully researched this decision.... before just doing it.
And, per that school district, hopefully their Dept. of Education's, curriculum is all up to date... and made for an iPad. If the district's tech and curriculum, is not up to date, then it will not be "made" for an iPad.

Here is an informative link:

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answers from Houston on

I am so glad that I am retiring in 7. 4 years. I am so behind technologically and at my age have no desire to learn to use ipads, ipods, smart phones, digital cameras for uploading... I am still with cds, blackberry, email, texting and finally FB.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Wichita on

Hmmm....where to start? :)

I am a HS math teacher, and we just finished our first year of 1-to-1 iPads. There are benefits and drawbacks to any type of technology, I will be the first to admit that I was very leery of going to this.

I have learned that your school really, really, really needs to have a strong policy in place for dealing with the iPads. There are some excellent questions that other parents have brought up in their posts. I'm actually pretty pleased with most of our policy, as it has addressed those questions, but I will be the first to say that we spent a lot of time looking at other schools' policies to develop ours.

Here are a few things that we do:
*EVERY student must have a password on their iPad...it is too easy for another student (I would imagine especially at the MS level) to walk by and get on another student's iPad without that password.
*If a student leaves/forgets their iPad somewhere in the school, they have to pay $5 to get it back from the office. This is a mild deterrent to help keep students responsible for their iPads.
*If there are ANY issues with the screen (scratches, cracks, etc.), the student must pay $100 to get it fixed. Our tech person is trained to replace the screens. We had a lot of angry students at the end of the year who didn't want to pay for theirs, but it wasn't a choice...they signed the agreement before accepting their iPad. In the case where students refused to pay (we didn't have any), then they are told that in the case of seniors, their transcripts won't be released until they have paid all school fees. In the case of lower grades (typically this is during the school year), we DO fix the iPad screen, even if they cannot pay for it, and then the student AND a parent have to visit with the principal to set up a payment plan to pay the $100...even if it is $20 a month. The student has to go to the principal's office to check the iPad in and out during the classperiods where the iPad is needed, and the student cannot take it home until it is paid for.
*We require that EVERY student get a cover for their iPad. That cover MUST have a coating of some sort that fully covers all 4 corners of the iPad. You'd be surprised how many cracked screens that has prevented!
*NO STUDENT is allowed to take a picture/video/record ANYONE without permission from the other person. I take this a step further and require that a student ask me for my permission to take any sort of picture in my classroom...everytime.
*iPads are not allowed to be on a student's lap...they must be on the surface of the desktop when in use (seriously, would YOU want to walk around and try to stare at a student's lap to see if they're doing what they're supposed to be doing? Eeek!).

With respect to the teaching side of things, I will be the first to say that just because teachers have training on iPads does not mean that they are going to be fully integrating the iPads right away. By the very nature of their capabilities, iPads work very well in English and History classes. Speaking from experience here, iPads do NOT work nearly as well in a math class (have you ever tried typing out a math equation?). There are a lot of FREE notetaking apps where a student can use a stylus to write on the screen (and some of my students really enjoy that), but there is usually a slight delay with the writing appearing on the screen, and it does tend to frustrate people. Not to sound arrogant here, but I am probably one of the top 5 people in my district who has a strong knowledge/understanding of how the iPads can effectively be incorporated into the classroom, BUT because my subject area is math, I am somewhat limited on the things that I can do with iPads in my classroom. I continue to try to come up with ideas and further my training, but it's definitely going to take a lot more time (and to further clarify, there are a lot of things you can do with lower level math that I cannot necessarily do with my upper level math...not many apps for Trig, Calc, College Algebra, etc.).

Also, please remember that iPads are not intended to completely replace teaching/learning as it was. There has got to be an effective balance and understanding that some classes are going to use the iPads more than other classes.

Discipline problems? This depends on the classroom. We were very much told (as teachers) that we were expected to handle the iPads in our classroom just like we would handle any other discipline situation. It is a CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT issue when a student is spending their entire class on a game/facebook/snapchat/fill-in-the-blank. Obviously we cannot catch everything, and I am certain that there are times that students have broken the rules during my class, but I work hard to build up an appropriate level of respect and trust with my students, and I do not hesitate to enforce when they're doing something they're not supposed to be doing. There are some teacher (who also struggle with regular classroom discipline) that have problems with this.

I'm really sorry...I could go on forever on this. Feel free to send me a message if you have questions about something else. :)

One last word of caution...depending upon the level of security, you may have to pay extra special attention to your child's iPad. At our school, students can go into the settings and switch their iTunes account from the school's account to their own account. This allows them to download whatever apps they want. WE, as a school, have allowed our high schoolers to do this, knowing that they're going to figure out a way to do it anyway. They do sign their contract at the beginning of the year to make sure that they are not doing anything inappropriate on it (I know, I know, it still happens), and we do random iPad checks often, where the tech people go into a room, take 5 or 6 iPads and check them.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I love this idea and I hope it's taken up everywhere. I am not in the US, but in my country, children, usually high schoolers have to carry very heavy books in their backpacks. It's actually been shown to create back problems for them. Having access to textbooks online on their iPads will be cheaper for text distribution, and better for chiropractic health!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

Our district has a similar laptop program. I've heard talk about making a shift to tablets in the future.

1 mom found this helpful
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