Digitally Delivered Teaching and Learning Materials
The information age is transforming the way students access learning materials. More and more private providers of educational materials are moving from a traditional textbook format for delivering content to digital platforms like websites and ebooks. This move by textbook companies into digital content has lagged behind a more significant change in educational materials, the development of Open Educational Resources (OERs). OERs are free, high quality, openly licensed, digitally delivered teaching and learning materials. Some of the largest OER partnerships are comprised of the country’s top educational and science institutions as well as some of its most innovative companies.
In order to provide students with equitable access to digital learning materials, the Santa Barbara Unified School District will begin working to provide an iPad to all students in grades 4 through 12 to use during the school year. Using lessons learned from a four year iPad pilot at three of the district’s elementary sites as well as our alternative high school, we will begin issuing devices devices to students in August of 2017. Deployment will take two years to complete.
The following is a breakdown which grades will be assigned take home devices:
2017-2018: 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th
Classroom devices will available for students not receiving a device during the 2017-2018 school year iPads and Chromebooks in carts will be available to students in K-3 as well as grades 6, 9, and 12.
The iPads that are distributed to students will be managed by the district. Students will only have access to apps that have been requested by teachers and are educational in nature. Some limited exceptions may be made for entertainment apps like Netflix. Messaging and other features that may serve to distract from the primary purpose of using the device as an educational tool will be disabled. Teachers will have the ability to control each device in their classroom through an easy to use interface. This interface will allow teachers to view what students are working on while in their classroom, lock the screen of one or more devices, lock students into a single app and place students into groups.
Collection and Partnership
At the end of each school year, student iPads will be collected, cleaned, and wiped of their content in preparation for fall distribution. Students will not receive the same iPad from year to year. Families wishing to keep their student’s iPad from year to year can choose to participate in our techEQUITY Partnership Program (TEPP). Our TEPP program allows families to purchase their student’s iPad by making small, interest free, payments of approximately $12 per month for 36 months. TEPP iPads are managed in the same way as non-TEPP iPads with the previously noted exception that students keep the same iPad for three years and get to take it home over the summer months. Once all payments have been made, the iPad is the family’s to keep and is removed from district management. No credit check or bank account is needed to participate in TEPP.
Distributing devices to students is only the beginning of our equity work in technology. We realize that access to low cost or free wireless will continue to be a barrier for many of our students. The district is actively engaged finding a solution to this community problem. More information about this work will be made available in the coming months.