What is the holistic technology strategy for St. Cecelia School?
The technology team has designed a holistic technology strategy for digital transformation that will continue to evolve and adapt. It is designed around 4 key components:
- Enabling Devices
While the first phase of any digital transformation is one of implementation, training, and adaptation, the next phase will be focused more fully on integration of technology in the classroom, followed by future plans to build out innovative collaboration space.
Rationale for going 1:1
In order to anticipate the changing educational environment and the needed skills of 21st Century children and adults, technological resources can no longer be an add-on to instruction. Rather, technology must be a fully integrated part of every student’s daily learning. Appropriate and effective use of technological tools and online resources are essential life skills, necessary for the workplace and for participation in society. As a Catholic school, we must claim our place in this new world of education by striving for this same integration within our Catholic identity.
The model of the stand-alone computer lab or mobile computer carts serve this mission only partway. Sharing very limited resources, students seldom develop true mastery or comfort with machines. The very act of leaving the classroom for a “lab” emphasizes the distinction between this work and the “real” learning in the classroom. Likewise teachers are not pushed to create regular lessons using technology, limiting this integration to the occasional project. Most educators acknowledge that we are moving toward a 1:1 environment, students each having their own devices for use at any time at school or at home. Among the advantages provided by this environment are :
- Instant access to resources far beyond those available in a traditional classroom
- Valuable instructional and assessment tool for teachers and students (formative and summative)
- Comprehensive, organizational tool for research, note-taking, polling, storytelling, and so much more
- Reduced printing costs, paper usage, photocopying, and textbook purchases
- Increased opportunities for differentiated instruction
- Increased opportunities for interdisciplinary learning
- Increased opportunities for ownership of information and engaged learning
- Increased opportunities for development of skills beyond those of a “paper and pencil” environment
- Increased opportunities for the classroom to extend beyond the traditional school day, encouraging and engaging students individually and collaboratively
Are we ready to do this initiative now?
Yes, we have been researching and planning this initiative for well over a year. We have visited several schools to observe and evaluate similar initiatives. Using this data, we were able to develop the best course of action for St. Cecelia School. With the help of a donor, St. Cecelia School will complete outfitting all classrooms from PreK4 – 8 with SMART devices (i.e. Boards &/or Projectors). We have also substantially upgraded our infrastructure over the past couple of years, including security and access points, to ensure our ability to handle such an initiative.
A number of factors played into the decision to purchase iPads. Some of the factors include; functionality, mobility, design, size, battery life, variety of education applications, ease of use, and price. We also wanted the staff to have a device with the same capabilities and potential.
How will the iPads be used in the classrooms?
The iPads will be a powerful tool for students and teachers to enhance teaching and learning by providing more opportunities for students to personalize their learning through authentic tasks. Students will have instant access to tools that allow for improved communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. These tools will allow students to research, take notes, and complete assignments in a more efficient manner: examples include note taking, writing for a variety of audiences, project-based learning, varied presentation formats, multimedia production, communication, collaboration, and so much more.
“Last year, during a 3-hour car ride back home from my grandfather’s house, I did my Language Arts persuasive speech assignment on my iPad. Normally, I would have done this at home on my parent’s computer. Instead, I started fiddling around with ideas on my iPad. It totally paid off. I wrote my entire speech on an app and then emailed it to myself to print out later. I used the recorder to video and time myself giving the speech and then watched it. Then, I created an iMovie production with web images, text, and music to go along with my speech. I did all of this in the car! It was so much fun and my speech was way better than I ever thought it could be.”
– 7th grade student
All SCS teachers were given an iPad at the end of last year. They have been provided with instruction and access to additional learning to develop their skills. Many are already utilizing the iPad in their classrooms. Teachers will continue to receive ongoing professional development and training to learn how best to incorporate this technology within their respective disciplines. SCS will be working within the framework of an Integration Matrix designed by the Florida Center for Integration Technology (FCIT) at the University of South Florida to support teachers and students with this technology integration. Additionally, St. Cecelia School is in process of hiring an Information Technology Integration Specialist to aid teachers in embedding the use of technology in all of their curriculum.
How will the apps be provided?
Many apps used on the iPad are free or available for a very nominal cost. Any paid apps required by teachers, will be volume purchased and students will be allowed to download the app to their iPad during one of our iPad Orientation Sessions in August or December. Parents may need to purchase a minimal amount of apps at a minimal cost. However, SCS is trying to absorb most of these costs under the SCS tech fee.
Will there be internet filtering?
Yes, on campus and during school hours. St. Cecelia School is in compliance of CIPA – Children Information Protection Act and all traffic within the school goes through mobile management filtering and security software. Please be aware that these security measures only take place on campus and during school hours. Any activity outside of these parameters is under parental control.
Will there be content monitoring?
Yes, on campus and during school hours. SCS will be using a mobile management software to monitor content accessed by students. This will safeguard against students using content or applications which are unrelated or inappropriate to student learning, and encourage them to stay focused and engaged in school-related activities only. Please be aware that these monitoring measures only take place on campus and during school hours. Any activity outside of these parameters is under parental control.
Does my student need to “wipe” our home iPad for school-use?
SCS will not require students to bring a “clean” iPad to school. Internet filtering and content monitoring will help ensure against inappropriate use at school. However, experience has proven that less temptation, less opportunity for misuse. Therefore, it would be recommended that all iPads brought to school have personal applications and content (such as games, photos, videos, and applications such as Facebook, etc.) either “wiped,” “locked-down” or stored to a personal iTunes account.
iPad Requirements and Accessories
Any iPad model (2nd generation or beyond, including mini) with a minimum of 16GB is acceptable; iPad Air preferred.
Cases, headphones, and keyboards are mandatory. Other accessories, such as stylus, are optional.
We strongly recommend the purchase of a robust and protective case. The majority of iPads which break fall from a relatively low height, striking the ground on the iPad’s corner — and cracking the screen.
We also highly recommend that families buy insurance for their iPad that extends beyond the simple manufacturer’s warrantee against defects. If a family happens to be buying a new iPad directly from Apple, they offer their AppleCare+ protection plan. BestBuy, like Apple, only offers its insurance, Geek Squad Protection, on devices purchased from them. SquareTrade offers a cost-effective insurance option, regardless of where you have bought the iPad. Other insurance options can certainly be found online.
Where can I purchase an iPad?
If a family needs to purchase an iPad, there are several options, which is one of the advantages of a BYOi program.
Typically, families buy iPads from:
- Best Buy
The Bizco Technologies Team is an Apple Authorized Solution Provider and is ready to provide consultative services to all SCS parents as we move to our integration of iPad devices for our student body. In addition to assisting parents with the selection of the right iPad, the Bizco team can also help find the right cases and accessories to fit your child’s needs. A percentage of all purchases will be donated back to SCS. Please contact Jeff Scott at 727-754-2697 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
These companies are not being endorsed by SCS and other options can certainly be found online. As with every major purchase, please consider the source, the product, and the price.
The following costs were taken from Apple’s official website: http://store.apple.com/us **Special financing is
available through their iPad for Education Program.
- New 16GB iPad Air – starting from $499
- New 16GB iPad with Retina Display – starting from $399
- New 16GB iPad Mini – starting from $299
Financial Assistance – Where can I get help?
Please know that we recognize the potential financial burden this may cause some of our families and we are prepared to work with them to make individual iPads a possibility for every 4-7th grade student. Please contact the Business Office regarding assistance.
** If you are interested in becoming a Ghost Donor to help support families with their technology needs, please contact the Business Office.