Middle and high school students in Beaufort County schools could be using iPads in their classrooms next year after the Board of Education approved a $5.6 million technology initiative as part of the 2012-13 budget.
About $1.8 million of that would come from the district’s general fund. The initiative includes purchasing classroom sets of iPads for schools across the district.
On Friday, at a special meeting to review the initiative and pass the budget, school board members learned a bit more about the proposed roll-out of the initiative and other components.
Where will the iPads be?
iPads will be purchased for all middle and high schools in the district, except for Bluffton High School.
Title I middle and high schools, which are schools with a high percentage of students on free or reduced lunch, will have the most iPads.
At Whale Branch, Robert Smalls, Lady’s Island, Beaufort and Bluffton middle schools, iPad carts will be placed in English, science, social studies and math classrooms. In total, the district plans to purchase 4,200 iPads (30 for each of the 140 classrooms). The total cost for these schools, which will be paid for with Title I funds, is $2,736,060.
There are two Title I high schools: Whale Branch Early College High School and Battery Creek High School.
At Whale Branch High, the school’s “one-to-one” computer program will become a “one-to-one” iPad program — each student will receive and iPad that they can use in every class and at home. The total cost of this, paid for with Title I funds, will be $355,560.
At Battery Creek High, students will used iPads in English, science, social studies and math classrooms. The total cost of this, paid for with Title I funds, is $488,800.
At H.E. McCracken Middle School and Hilton Head Island Middle School, iPads will be placed likely be placed in math and science classrooms. District officials said those two subjects are not set in stone, though. This will be paid for by the district, at a cost of $682,336.
In ninth-grade classes at Beaufort High School, H.E. McCracken and Hilton Head Island High School, iPads will be used in 50 English, math, science and social studies classes. That comes at a cost of $979,800.
Except for at Whale Branch High, students won’t be taking the iPads home.
How will teachers be trained?
About $75,000 has been set aside or professional development. Teachers will have to be taught how to use the devices and teach with the devices.
On Friday, superintendent Valerie Truesdale and district director of virtual learning Cory Tressler outlined the training timeline.
Principals and district leaders will receive iPads in June and learn to use them to access student information, record classroom observation and track data, especially in schools using the Teacher Advancement Program.
Teachers will get the heaviest dose of training at “summer institute,” a three-day training session in late June.
There, Title I high school teachers will receive training on one-to-one teaching and learning.
Teachers will also learn to use Edmodo, an online social network aimed at helping students and teachers collaborate. That’s already being used in some classes in the district, such as Jill Brown’s flipped classroom at Beaufort Elementary School and in Bluffton Middle courses.
Teachers at the district’s 15 Teacher Advancement Program schools will attend five days of training on how to integrate iPads into their TAP work.
Training for teachers will continue in July and August.
Parent meetings on expectations of students at all middle and high schools will be Aug. 21-25. Students also will receive training on how to use the iPads in class.
What other costs are involved?
About $324,000 — both in Title I and general funds — is included for maintenance and repair of the devices.
Have any questions?
The presentation by district officials lasted a little over an hour and a half, so these are just a few nuts and bolts.
Have something else you want to know? Leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to answer.