District administrators plan to offer all students new technology

District+administrators+plan+to+offer+all+students+new+technology

Ji-Ho Lee

Currently, all students enrolled in an AP class receive iPads. All students could soon receive an electronic device from CPS.
RBHS offers an iPad Mini to each student enrolled in an Advanced Placement (AP) class. Next year, the school will provide all students with some sort of technological device creating a one-to-one student-to-technology ratio.
Certain grades and schools in the district, including fifth graders, three middle schools and Battle High School have already implemented a one-to-one program over the past three years. The trend may soon apply to RBHS.
Principals and coordinators have had the discussion for the last two months at our monthly meeting,” RBHS principal Dr. Jennifer Rukstad said. “Technology services took the discussion to principals and district coordinators and asked for our opinion … We’ve been having this kind of discussion in the principals’ meetings, [and] we made some recommendations to the superintendent about moving forward.”
A primary question regarding the new policy is what form of technology will be distributed. Dr. Rukstad sent an email to all staff, writing, “The principals have decided the device will not be a tablet (ie. iPad) and it will look and function more like a laptop.”
While the reasons for giving students laptops as opposed to iPads are many, the primary purpose is the productivity.
[Students] just don’t choose the iPad unless they want a game or to use it for entertainment purposes, whether that’s gaming or music or video,” Dr. Rukstad said. “We have have a lot of iPads in this building.We don’t see students working on them much. So that’s the biggest thing — paying attention to student use.”  
Junior Danielle Simpson said her concerns are the technology could be more destructive and distracting than productive. She emphasized that those students who could use the laptops as a source of entertainment are not deserving of the laptops. However, she also explained that the laptops could clear the nearly constant congestion in the media center.
Ultimately, she said the new technology would generally be beneficial.
“Since a lot of us use our phones anyway I think that going on [the laptops] would be helpful; and since we will always have it, I think it will be beneficial for everyone to have one so they can easily access it,” Simpson said.
While the new laptops may decrease idleness among students, three primary questions are raised along with the new policy: the functionality, the funding and the digital citizenship. Dr. Rukstad said the devices will be fully functional, regardless of whether or not it is connected to an internet network, but they will not be founded or based around apps, which could pose problems for teachers and students.
In terms of funding, an obvious issue when dealing with the mass distribution of technology, certain plans have been proposed to assist with the situation.
The district has an extinction plan on all their devices and so I can say with great certainty that the extinction plan will help with funding,” she said. “Beyond that, there are other plans but it’s beyond me.”
The school will also have to investigate the unceasing issue of digital citizenship. Dr. Rukstad said a “freedom with responsibility” approach will be taken with the new laptops.
We are really going to have to look at digital citizenship, for everyone but especially students,” Rukstad explained. “You have a responsibility for how you use [technology] and what comes through it into the world. Nothing goes away, it’s all still there … We probably need to have a more intention digital citizenship approach especially if we’re putting devices in each students hand.”
Ultimately, Dr. Rukstad said, the superintendent will make the final decision in regards to the laptops. She, however, will select and enlist certain staff members and students to be a part of a district team and make a decision about the new devices by May.
What do you think about a device? What would you most want to use?