A few weeks ago, Brandon Jones (a current teacher and Education Technologist at RHS) and I gave an iPad Parent Workshop at Rockhurst High School, discussing the purpose for moving forward with iPad integration for teachers and students. All students will be required to have an iPad to use for academics starting in Fall, 2014.
The holiday season is here! Before you swoop out shopping, Brandon and I would like to share some straightforward information as you begin shopping for the right digital tool. This information can also be helpful for other parents out there, who may be interested in purchasing an iPad for their child to use for school as well.
1. Buy the iPad 3 or 4 (iPad 2 at the minimum). The iPad Air is another new option but it could be more expensive. The Air is currently selling at the same price the iPad has always been, $499, but you can find the other versions of iPads from third party vendors (hopefully at a discount). The only difference between the iPad Air and iPad 4 is that the Air has a slightly more sophisticated processor and it's lighter. In my opinion, those two reasons are not enough to spend more money. NOTE: Brandon has the iPad Air and loves it!
2. Invest in a durable case. I also work with Cristo Rey High School. They purchased iPads for all their students (9-12) in Fall, 2012. 30% of their boys broke their iPads the first few months of school because they had cheap cases, now they are required to have a Griffin or Otterbox case:
Otterbox (get the Defender if you choose this brand, the Reflex series has a cover which can be difficult taking on and off):http://www.otterbox.com/ipad-4-with-retina-display-cases/ipad-4-with-retina-display-cases,default,sc.html
If you buy one of these cases, you could skip the insurance.
3. You might want to avoid the iPad mini, some research shows the bigger the screen the better for reading comprehension and avoiding eye strain.
4. Space: get the 16 GB version of the iPad. All students will receive 30 GB of cloud storage with their Google Drives. Students do not need the 32 GB (iPad option) and it's usually a few hundred dollars more. That being said- if your boys like to load a lot of games, those could potentially take up quite a bit of space. RHS expects education apps to be first priority. For example Notability will trump Duck Dynasty: Battle of the Beards! Have them save any videos or pics to their Google Drive or free apps like Dropbox, Shutterfly...
5. No extra cellular data needed for wifi access. There is WiFi at RHS and at home. If they need to access wifi outside of home and school, I'm sure they can find a cozy coffee shop or place which offers free wifi easily. Here's a list of KC places with free wifi, just in case.
We will have more helpful tips on how to continue supporting your Digital Native as he/she takes flight into more progressive uses of technology devices. Parents often feel like Digital Immigrants, don't fly solo, we are all in this together!
NOTE: If you are interested in more information there is a FAQ document, please click here. Feel free to contact Brandon Jones or me. Special thanks to Brandon for contributing to this blog.