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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 1:29 am | Fair 46º


Santa Barbara School District Distributes iPads to Students for techEQUITY Program

iPads, Apple TV technology and wireless access points.

What sounds like services from an Apple store will be what Santa Barbara Unified School District teachers and students utilize in their classrooms this year.

The school district has been handing out iPads to students for years in pilot programs and is now committed to give every student a tablet computer to use at school and at home.

All students in grades 4 through 12 will have iPads by next fall, and will be required to return the devices to the district at the end of each school year. 

This fall, staff started distributing the district-owned devices for students in grades 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 11.

La Cumbre Junior High School received its handheld technology last week and Principal Jo Ann Caines said the iPads alleviate some book costs.

“There are no more expensive and heavy textbooks that become obsolete as soon as they are distributed,” Caines said.

“Information now comes through technology, and we are excited to be a part of this. Teachers and students will have more flexibility and ability to research, work independently, and access textbooks and support online. 

Even if students don't have an internet connection at home, Caines said, they can use their iPads and work offline. 

Students underwent a digital literacy training before they could access their devices. Teachers at La Cumbre received iPads and laptops several years ago, Caines said, but the new technology distribution completes the transformation into the digital age.

“The iPads are controlled by the district, so that students are restricted in the apps they can use — all educational,” Caines said. “While there will always be glitches with a new program, the students and teachers are excited.”

Veronica Binkley, principal at Harding University Partnership School, said the district’s techEQUITY Program staff accompanied each class with internet safety orientation.

“This deployment is bringing equity and access to all SBUSD students,” Binkley said.

Santa Barbara Unified approved leasing more than 10,000 Apple iPads for all students in grades 4 to 12, a decision which came after a four-year pilot program at three elementary schools and a continuation high school. 

Some state funds will be used to support the program, according to the district. 

SBUSD has also installed Apple TVs in every classroom and this summer, the conference room display mode was turned on, which can mirror teacher and student iPads on the large screen. 

“The idea is that a teacher can project what is on their computer screen or iPad and the students can share their work with the entire class,” said Todd Ryckman, chief educational technology officer for the district.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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