Technology has forever changed the world in which we live. The majority of the people in the world are online, in one way or another, all day long. Our phones and devices have become reflections of our personalities, our interests, and our identities. They hold much that is important to us. In the school setting, we cannot ignore the importance of technology in our students’ future. Over the past few years at St. James R-I Schools, we have been one of the leading districts in the area of technology infusion into the classroom. There will always exist debates on how much is needed and when it’s appropriate. Although we are a trailblazing school of technology, we understand it is just a tool for good teachers to use when instructing their students. Good teachers will never become obsolete. Students may be digital natives, but they still need help in locating and using digital resources for learning. Today’s teachers help students learn how to build knowledge for themselves from the excess of tools and information that exists. The best teachers have always been good at using the most up-to-date tools and at finding ways to inspire students to do their best. And that will never go out of style.
Our district is excited to announce that we are transitioning to iPads as our primary student device beginning in the 2019-2020 school year. During the fall semester, our technology department, instructional team, teachers, and students spent many hours vetting Chromebooks and iPads to determine which device would best meet the needs of our faculty and students. Throughout this process teachers and students had the opportunity to use the devices and provide feedback. A comprehensive report with our findings can be found at: https://tinyurl.com/STJTechPilot
We are confident that iPads are one of the best learning tools for our district. Students and teachers have powerful and creative tools at their fingertips, along with the app ecosystem, to create engaging learning experiences and authentic work. The iPad is a powerful and flexible device which gives students the freedom to create and explore.
All students currently in grades 5-11 will receive their school issued iPad in May of 2019. iPads will be deployed to students year-round, allowing them to be utilized outside of the school year for additional learning opportunities. Parents and students will be able to opt-out of year-round deployment if they choose. Additionally, the district is offering the use of the devices at no cost to students and families. For the 19-20 school year, there will be no annual usage fee.
We will continue to provide the best education to the children of our community and believe this transition will positively affect the educational process in our district.