iPads at Westminster

Westminster 1:1 iPad Program

This year, all 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students will be expected to come to school equipped with an iPad. Integrating technological devices such as the iPad is an important step in equipping students for learning, leading, and serving in the 21st century.

 

Mandatory iPad Orientation

(all 7th grade and new 8th and 9th grade students)

Thursday, August 3, 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m.
Tuesday, August 8, 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m.
Thursday, August 10, 9:30 a.m.-11 a.m.
Saturday, August 12, 9:30 a.m.-11 a.m.

Parents and students must attend this meeting together and bring the iPad that the student will use during the school year. Please RSVP by Tuesday, August 1. (*Note: You must have your iPad in order to complete the registration process.)

View printable iPad information sheet

What to Buy

Recommended Devices (one of the following):

  • iPad Pro (12.9 in or 9.7i n)
  • iPad

  • iPad Mini 4

Recommended Capacity: 32GB

The iPad must run 10.3 or latest iOS.

Connectivity: Wi-Fi

We recommend purchasing a Wi-Fi-only model. We do not recommend 3G/4G connectivity. The school does have control over the Wi-Fi network and can safeguard against inappropriate web access. The school cannot filter or control the 3G/4G cellular access.

Please acquire your student’s iPad no later than Monday, July 31, to ensure that all families can submit the required information on time and attend the mandatory iPad meeting fully equipped.

iPad Accessories

Case Options

We expect each student to protect his/her iPad with a case of some kind. When selecting a case, the three most important elements are:

  1. Impact protection at the corners
  2. Protection for the glass screen
  3. Ability to prop up the iPad at an angle for better typing ergonomics. Below are some case makes and models that have received positive reviews from students, faculty, and/or outside experts.
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  • GumDrop Cases
  • OtterBox
  • Black or Pink Survivor
  • Trident (currently used on Westminster’s iPads)

Stylus Options

A stylus is helpful in a variety of classes for drawing diagrams and handwriting notes. There are many options, but personal preference is key when it comes to this tool.

  • Cosmonaut
  • Griffin Stylus
  • AluPen
  • Bamboo Stylus
  • Boxwave Mini

Headphones/Ear Buds

We recommend that students have manageably sized headphones or ear buds for listening to audio files that teachers use during lessons in class.

Have questions about the best path for your family? Don’t hesitate to email Deana Vandegriff. We are happy to help you through this process.

Why is the iPad such a great tool for students?

We believe students today need a 21st-century communication tool that they can use to collect, synthesize, and produce evidence of their learning.

Westminster has been researching laptops for students since 2010 when it was evident that mobile technology was changing the social, economic, and educational landscape globally. As the iPad 1 was introduced, it was clear that education was on the verge of something uniquely compelling and different from the desktop and laptop computers. The improvements to the product and the global adoption of the tool make its integration into the educational life of students an obvious step for schools to take.

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Some key reasons that Westminster has chosen the iPad to be the device used in school are:

  • The long battery life means that students can make it through an entire school day without recharging.
  • It allows for easy face-to-face interaction, avoiding the barrier between students and teachers that occurs with a traditional laptop lid.
  • Drawing on the iPad’s screen is useful in a variety of disciplines.
  • Handwriting on the iPad’s screen is useful for quick note-taking in all classes.
  • Pen-based annotation of documents and books is quick and easy.
  • Reading textbooks and other long-form materials on the iPad is more comfortable than on a traditional laptop screen.
  • The iPad’s small size allows it to fit conveniently in student lockers and backpacks.
  • The broad developer base provides numerous discipline-specific apps.
  • The iPad’s instant on/off capability preserves class-time for meaningful learning activities.
  • The built-in camera takes quality pictures and movies and is easy to use for in-class activities. With one or two simple taps, the images taken by the camera can be accessed and integrated into a seemingly endless array of iPad apps.
  • There are fewer pieces and components on the iPad than on a traditional laptop, reducing maintenance.

What kinds of iPad skills will be taught?

As students become familiar with the iPad through the course of the school year, they will learn a wide range of skills.

It is our goal for each student to have a strong working knowledge of the functionality and capability of his/her digital device. Although this is not an exhaustive list, we have outlined some baseline skills for both device usage and a few key productivity apps that will be utilized across the curriculum.

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Device Usage

File Management

  • Find, open, save, and close local files located on the tablet

  • Find, move, copy, open, and save files stored in the cloud

  • Create new folders, and navigate through nested folders

  • Follow standard filename conventions

  • Change existing file and folder names

Network Skills

  • Identify key features and practices of email etiquette

  • Locate and select network printers

  • Change printer settings (e.g. duplex, portrait vs. landscape printing)

  • View classes and assignments via Veracross

  • Download attachments and post to forums

  • Use myWestminster to view announcements, school schedules, and access classes

  • Learn how to access information through student portal on school website

  • Learn how to change passwords

Productivity Skills

Pages

  • Bold, italicize, and underline text

  • Change font style and size

  • Change the alignment of text

  • Change the default document template

  • Adjust page borders

  • Insert page numbers

  • Insert footnotes

  • Insert and format a table

  • Insert and format an image

  • Create columns

Numbers

  • Insert and format text

  • Sort by columns

  • Graphing

Keynote

  • Select a predefined theme and apply it to all slides

  • Insert and format text

  • Insert and format an image

  • Insert and format a table

  • Change font style and size

  • Bold, italicize, and underline text

  • Record voice-over narration

  • Insert a hyperlink

  • Insert a video clip

  • Build elements onto a slide

  • Transition between slides

  • Insert and format shapes

Google Apps

  • Send and receive email through the iPad Mail app and through the website link

  • Setup iCal to access their Google Calendar

  • Add and edit events in iCal/ Google Calendar

  • View Google Docs

iMovie

  • Film video

  • Insert video clips and still images into a movie

  • Insert text

  • Apply transitions between scenes

  • Record voice-over narration

  • Insert a song or recording

  • Export video to Google Apps for Westminster’s private YouTube

Note-Taking

  • Use note-taking apps (e.g., Notability)

  • Annotate PDFs and other documents

Digital Citizenship

Students should be familiar with the attitudes and behaviors associated with positive participation in online activities related to:

  • Intellectual property rights, plagiarism and illegal downloading of music and video files

  • Responsible posting of messages and pictures to social networking sites and email

  • Understanding and responding to cyber bullying

  • Balancing appropriate amount of screen time with other activities

  • Using proper methods for documenting and attributing content

FAQs

Why does every incoming middle school student need his/her own iPad?

Simply stated, with the iPad, classroom walls are virtually removed. Both inside and outside of the school building, each student can seamlessly maintain and extend the learning process. Additionally, each student will have access to his/her own particular device and be able to customize it based on his/her own individual educational and organizational needs and preferences.

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The device itself allows students to engage learning in a 21st-century context. The iPad is a device that is:

  • Connected: The Internet and its expansive information is a touch away.

  • Mobile: Learning, information, and communication is possible any time, anywhere.

  • Collaborative: Social media enables students to join global discussions.

  • Resourceful: Students can build their own library of thousands of resources such as online books, textbooks, and audio and video files – all at their fingertips in a wide range of engaging formats.

  • Ubiquitous and Equitable: All students have access to the same resources of everyone else around the world.

  • Personal: It is a tool that allows for individual customization, integration, and responsibility.

Why does the device have to be an Apple product, and specifically, an iPad?

By requiring all students to use an Apple product, the educational experiences can be shared by everyone. The receipt and submission of material can be accomplished more seamlessly, as well. We are strongly recommending the iPad over an Apple laptop because of the app features associated with the iPad. MacBooks and other laptops will not support the app features. While there can be some alternative projects and assignments given, this will significantly limit and change the learning experience the student receives and, at times, could be frustrating.

The iPad is currently the most versatile and highly effective product for what we hope to achieve in the classroom. Additionally, the long battery life, touchscreen format, and vibrant app developer make this product appealing. Finally, our teachers and students have been using Apple products for a number of years. Utilizing the mobile device created by Apple streamlines the training and implementation of the technology within classrooms.

What happens when the next version of the iPad emerges or something better than the Apple iPad comes out?

There is no doubt Apple will continue to roll out newer versions of iPads regularly. We will not ask families to upgrade every year a new model is launched. Any required iPad model upgrades would be passed along to an incoming 7th grade class.

It is a common perspective that most laptops begin to wear down and/or fall behind technologically after approximately three to four years. It appears that the iPad is similar to the laptop in this way. It is likely that families will need to consider if a newer model of iPad would be necessary for their student after three to four years of use.

There may eventually be products that are or will be better than Apple’s. However, as long as Apple remains one of the forerunners in technological advancement, we will not need to change the product of choice. If its products are significantly surpassed in an educationally meaningful way, we would consider switching a class of incoming 7th grade students to the new device at that time. For us, the device is just that: a tool to be used in the service of teaching and learning. The education must always come before any particular educational tool, whether a desk, textbook, ruler, or an iPad.


Are families paying for the iPad?

Yes. This is because the iPad should, ideally, be personalized by each family to be an effective and positive tool for both home and school life.

Can a student download games or social media apps on his/her iPad? Will the school monitor what is being downloaded to the iPad?

As of the fall of 2016, students will no longer be allowed to have games or social media on their iPad.  At the completion of our three year iPad pilot program, we gathered feedback from parents, teachers, and students. While the vast majority of feedback was positive, distractibility was the primary concern raised. So in an effort to support families and learning, the iPad must be for school use only. It is important to us to partner well with families and to respond to their concerns. While the school will not be actively monitoring the apps on each students iPad, students will be held accountable for having unapproved apps on their iPad should they be discovered.


How will the school handle the theft or physical damage of a device?

The iPad is your family’s personal device. It will be the student’s responsibility to ensure its protection and security. When purchasing the iPad, insurance against damage is available. Additionally, there are apps that will track and locate misplaced or taken devices. iPad covers and protectors are also available for purchase.

How will you make sure that students don’t spend too much time using technology and social media?

We recognize that technology and social media can become an excessive, even obsessive, element of life for anyone. We will make it our job to educate students about these pitfalls. We want students to become wise, godly users of their computing devices. Our teachers are vigilant and thoughtful about how to use the right tool at the right time, but this must be a partnership. Westminster cannot set family rules and parameters for technology and media in the homes, nor can our voice be as strong or impactful as the parents’ voice in the life of their child. Having a balanced and biblical view of life in regard to technology will require parents and the school to work together. We believe God will work through our committed partnership.

What are the learning benefits of the iPad?

With the iPad, focused learning can happen all the time, in all places, with the most current information. Students will have a wide variety of learning tools available for use at all times (e.g., note-taking ability, calendar and planner, word processor, presentation applications, videoconferencing, file storage/management, etc.). Students will also have access to instant feedback through both formative and summative assessments. The availability of this data will enable teachers to develop more focused, individualized, and collaborative learning experiences for students (e.g., using applications such as Pages, ePub, Notability, iBook, iMovie, Keynote, etc.). Furthermore, teachers will be able to upload documents and tasks to iBooks, and students will be able to download them onto their iPads to better manage all of their materials in one central location.

What kinds of activities are prohibited in the classroom?

The general rule is simple: the student should be using the iPad productively and for his/her learning. If an activity does not fall into this category as determined by the teacher, it is not to be done. As you might suspect, activities like playing games, using Facebook/social media, watching videos, or taking pictures outside of a teacher’s lesson plan would not be allowed.

Are there system safeguards and filters at the school to keep out inappropriate content?

Yes. We will continue to use the same safeguards and filters that we currently use to protect students from inappropriate content. Please note that this is why it’s important that you purchase an iPad with Wi-Fi connectivity. We strongly recommend you not buy a model that offers 3G connectivity. While the school has control over the Wi-Fi network and can, for the most part, safeguard against inappropriate web access, we cannot filter or control the 3G/4G access. NO filter, including ours at Westminster, is guaranteed to be 100% effective. We recommend that you occasionally review the content on your student’s iPad (such as Internet history and messaging) and other Internet devices.