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Orangewood Christian school is educating our students for the future and beyond. It is our goal to help our students gain deep content-mastery as well as develop a broad range of creative and soft skills so they can be productive and prosperous Christian Leaders. These skills include the 4 Cs: critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creative problem-solving. Our iLearn@OCS technology initiative will provide the tools the "iGeneration" needs to obtain these skills while ensuring our device strategy is Consistent, Reliable and most importantly SAFE - (CRS). In order to address these needs while also providing flexibility for us to grow and change, we are adopting the National Association of Independent Schools’ (NAIS) framework for innovation: “Magnetic Mountain.” You will see below a pictorial representation of our “journey through innovation” here at OCS and where we will be “ascending” in the future.

Once we have our first "day hike" completed with the CRS device strategy, we can begin to enhance the "Personalized Learning Environment" of our students. This change will directly impact student engagement and creativity while improving their four Cs in and out of the classroom. You can easily see the results of personalized learning with iPads by doing a Facebook or Twitter search for #EveryoneCanCreate or #AppleEdu.

Today's students view the world through a different lens. They have to navigate digital Babylon too many times on their own. Their brains make connections to content differently than what we may have experienced in the classroom. We can't turn off "their channel" when they enter our school building. Instead, we need to keep them “tuned in” and engaged with the wonderful learning experiences our teachers offer. The iLearn@OCS initiative will allow our students to excel at the most demanding curriculum while also being safe. We are so excited to be able to announce for the 2020-2021 school year that:

Every student will be issued:

  1. A school-owned iPad
  2. A school-owned case
  3. A school-owned charging brick and cable

Every student will have access to:

  1. An Apple Pencil or Logitech Crayon for enhancing their use of a touchscreen device in the classroom. 
  2. A keyboard in the classroom.

*We are also in the process of testing additional tools for students to use next year that will enhance their digital experience in the classroom. We look forward to sharing more with you once final decisions on the products being used are made.

Accidental damage coverage will be available to purchase for the school-issued iPads in the following school year. We will ensure it’s easy, affordable, and has the option for flexible payment options.

What’s GREAT about using an iPad in Education:

  • It’s on instantly! You have what you need now instead of waiting for a laptop to power on.
  • It’s fast! Every interaction is fluid, quick, and big. It is much better than using an iPhone or iPod Touch.
  • Reading books on it is outstanding! There is a built-in ability to highlight, take notes, or even have it read to you.
  • The battery life is incredible. You can use it all day on a single charge.
  • You don’t have to save anything. Students can just hit the Home Button and come back later. Their work is still there.
  • There is nothing to learn. You just use it!
  • The Apple Teacher Certification program will partner with our faculty to allow them to learn and grow at their pace. 
Why do we need iPads?

1. Consistency: 

Currently, we have over four different devices used at various grade levels in Lower School. Having different devices, that are not always
personalized for the student, creates management issues for teachers and loss of class time for students. In Middle School and High School, our BYOD policy creates other challenges besides teacher management. Since devices are personally owned, OCS cannot control the content on them. In addition, students have the ability to bypass our content filters and firewall protections with an easy “hot spot” from their cell phone in their backpack or pocket. Our students also realize that by doing a five-minute Google search, they can easily find other ways to bypass our CIPA-compliant safety measures. As a teacher, it’s extremely difficult to manage different devices in the classroom, and the school has no way to ensure a secure testing environment in tools like Canvas with this device strategy. 

Finally, there is an equity issue with BYOD. Those that can afford it normally purchase Macbooks. Macbooks come standard with extra creative software that other platforms like a Chromebook do not. We realize it would be unfair to ask students to use a lot of creative tools for projects when not everyone has access to them. Just like school uniforms, if everyone has the same device and access to creative software, then the playing field is easier to manage for teachers and fair to all.

Having a school-issued iPad will solve all of these consistency issues. We will be able to secure the testing environments and have the ability to lock students into specific apps. Teachers will have the ability to view every screen in their classroom with the simple push of a button. In addition, every student will have all the apps they need sent directly to their device. This provides a level playing field for all students, especially once we enhance the personalization of curriculum and project-based learning. Finally, because the iPads will be school-owned, students will not have the ability to install VPNs nor any other software deemed academically inappropriate. Students will not have access to apps like iMessage in the classroom that can pull their attention from meaningful learning opportunities.

iLearn@OCS will not only address the CRS strategy but is designed to ignite the creativity in every student! Apple’s education website states, “Every child is born full of creativity. Nurturing it is one of the most important things educators do. Creativity makes your students better communicators and problem solvers. It prepares them to thrive in today’s world — and to shape tomorrow’s. For 40 years, Apple has helped teachers unleash the creative potential in every student. And today, Apple does that in more ways than ever. Not only with powerful products, but also with tools, inspiration, and curricula to help schools create magical learning experiences.”

Read the 2019 Gallup report on the impact of creativity and technology in learning

2. Reliability: (The focus of this article is our 6th-12th BYOD program) 

Eventually, everyone experiences hardware failure of some sort. The rule of thumb in the IT world is, “If it has a moving part, it’s not if but when it will fail.” Our BYOD program requires parents to deal with hardware and software issues and many families feel unequipped to handle these ongoing problems. I have seen first hand many of our students attempt to navigate their school day with a non-functioning device. 

What does this do to the overall OCS experience in the classroom? First, the teacher has to send the student down to the IT department to see if we can fix their issue. This ends up being a major loss of instructional time with no assurance the issue can even be addressed or fixed at the school level. Parents are then challenged with, “How do I fix the issue? Where do I take the device to be fixed? When can we fit this into our schedule?” The length of time it takes for families to resolve technology issues on their children's devices varies, but my experience is that the average time ranges between two to four weeks. During this time the student is at a disadvantage with their studies.

Have you checked your student’s laptop battery to see how long the device will last on one overnight charge? My guess would be that not many parents think about how battery life affects the student experience in the classroom. I can tell you that most of our students get three hours of computer use before they need to “plug in” somewhere to recharge their computer.  Both students and teachers get frustrated when devices are not charged and teachers must figure out ways to accommodate students with battery charging needs.

Having a school-issued iPad will solve all of these reliability issues. With iLearn@OCS, damaged student iPads will be replaced by the school, dramatically improving the workflow for students to ensure they are not missing valuable instructional time. 

Because all of the devices are owned and maintained by the school, we will purchase extra devices to provide a “hot-swap” experience to students when they have a hardware issue that can’t be solved. The student will be handed a hot-swap device and their device will be sent out for repair. iCloud will re-sync all of their apps and data to their new device within about 30 minutes (for students on the Upper School campus). 

We will be offering Accidental Damage Coverage which families can elect; this will cover two damage and/or loss instances in the school year at a cost of $80 per year. That cost can be broken up over 10 months if needed. Parents that do not elect our Accidental Damage coverage will cover the cost of the damage to a device in the event of an incident (such as screen breakage). The typical cost for damage charged to the school from Apple is $255.95 per incident. See Apple’s Damage coverage here.

Finally, the iPad truly has a 10 hour battery life and can survive all seven periods on one charge. This is going to be a tremendous improvement for the classroom experience. No more students trying to figure out when to use their computer or where they can plug in to recharge their device.

For more in-depth information, please attend one of our “Tech Talk” sessions in Feb, March and April. A formstack will be sent out next week to schedule your time to learn. You can also visit our website under “Technology”.