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Minnetonka Public Schools seeing bang for its iPad-buck

Posted in: Education

This summer, we collected 1,600 three year old iPad 4 devices from all freshman and sophomore students and have repurposed them to kindergarten through grade four classrooms, resulting in a 1:3 student to device ratio in those grades. Last summer, iPad 2 devices were replaced for students entering grades 5, 6, 11 and 12. That was half of the 6,250 students in our 1:1 program for grades 5-12. We were pleased to get additional years of use out of these older iPads, some were five years old. (See A Big Bang for Your Buck: The iPad for $0.44/day: Less than a Chromebook). Old student iPad 2 devices were sold in June 2016 with the revenue placed back into the purchase of new student iPads. With this revenue due to the residual value in our old iPad 2 devices, the total cost of our five year old iPad 2 devices ended up to be $0.38/day! This cost was even lower if you factor in the use of iPads over the summer. Staff who teach in grades 5-12, who currently have an iPad 2, also had their iPad updated and old iPad sold.

Students and staff receive the iPad 64GB model. The iPad is bigger, better and faster. It brings marked increased processor speed, download speeds and a powerful split-view, picture-in-picture multitasking function. Plus, it has a bigger storage capacity.

Students not receiving new devices hang onto their iPads over the summer. Students have support over the summer for any iPad issues that occur and the ability to use this tool beyond the traditional school year. Students who are receiving new iPads will pick them up this summer and get them all setup and ready to go before school begins in September.

In addition to this hardware upgrade, our bandwidth utilization continues to grow. This is evidence that our web-based instructional platform is being fully utilized by students and staff. We currently subscribe to 4 GB/second service. We invested in new wireless infrastructure over the past few summers. With over the air management of iPads, most of these new iPads will never be touched by our IT staff, which is another efficiency and cost savings.

Now in its seventh year, the Minnetonka 1:1 iPad program has quickly moved beyond adoption of the device to deeper implementation with more meaningful integration of the available tools. Professional development for staff focuses on much higher levels of integration. Not only is Minnetonka’s 1:1 effort featured as one of the eight dimensions in the Teaching and Learning Instructional Framework, but there is general agreement that all dimensions of learning are enhanced when the instruction leverages technology in the classroom.

Essentially, our students are creating, collaborating, critically thinking and communicating in more personalized, authentic situations based largely on the integration of the iPad into our classrooms. We are continually excited to bring this hardware and features to our staff and students and see how they leverage this new technology for their learning!

Dave Eisenmann is the Director of Instructional Technology & Media Services at Minnetonka Public Schools.

This article originally ran on The Next Tech Thing blog.