‘iPad on the Go’ a new tool at Taylor
by JOYANNA WEBER, Banner Staff Writer
Feb 11, 2013 | 2547 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TAYLOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL fifth-grade teacher Jessica Wooten, far left, explains where to sign the iPad agreement to parent Peyton Brewer and student Sierra Stewart. Banner Photo, JOYANNA WEBER
TAYLOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL fifth-grade teacher Jessica Wooten, far left, explains where to sign the iPad agreement to parent Peyton Brewer and student Sierra Stewart. Banner Photo, JOYANNA WEBER
Continuing learning at home is the focus of a new opportunity for Taylor Elementary School fourth- and fifth-grade students.

Students now have the opportunity to take their school-issued iPads home with them each night and over the weekend.

“The focus of this ‘iPad on the Go’ initiative at Taylor Elementary School is to provide tools and resources for the 21st century learner. Individual use of iPads is a way to empower students to become organized and directed learners,” Principal Sherry Shroyer said.

Students and parents were introduced to rules and expectations of taking home the iPads before the technology tools were released.

Every student in fourth and fifth grade has an individual iPad for use in the classroom. These iPads were purchased with Focus grant funds as part of the Race to the Top state initiative.

Students enjoy using the new technology.

During the presentation, Shroyer stressed the importance of the responsibility in taking care of the devices.

Parents were required to sign a commitment form before the iPad was given to their student to take home.

Some families are opting out of the take-home option.

“We’ve already had some parents let us know that they didn’t want to assume this risk,” Shroyer said. “And we’re fine with that. We want them to be comfortable with it.”

Cost of any damages to the iPad are assumed by the parents of the students.

Parent Peyton Brewer said the replacement cost of $550 was a little intimidating. Yet, she did not think she had anything to worry about with her daughter Sierra Stewart.

“I think it was a really good thing. Everything is going with computers these days and its important for them to learn how to use that,” Brewer said.

Sierra said she was excited when she found out about the opportunity to take the iPad home.

Taylor technology coach Sharon Prohaska said the school has purchased recovery support for the devices, so repairs to the device may not reach the full replacement cost.

She said she is excited about the opportunities the iPads have brought to students.

Each device is enclosed in a protective case to add a layer of safety.

“Students here (in this community) don’t (generally) have Internet access, so we are trying to give them tools to expand their learning without Internet access,” Shroyer said. “The downloaded apps allow them to do electronic work without Internet access.

The educational apps are already loaded onto the iPads when students receive them. Students and parents are not permitted to add or delete data from the device.

The devices also give teachers the opportunity to provide individual educational help by downloading apps dealing focused on a subject with which a student may be struggling.

Shroyer said the iPads add additional support for students who cannot stay after school to get additional help.

“We wrote the focus grant with this in mind,” Shroyer said. “The Tennessee Department (of Education) called this a bold initiative, but they were all for it.”

Charleston and Waterville elementary schools also received Focus grants.

There are 85 students in fourth and fifth grade at Taylor Elementary

The iPad take home policy guidelines were adapted from a high school’s guidelines that Taylor educators were introduced to at a iPad training.

Violations of the policy result in students not having access to the device. All classwork is still expected to be completed.

Students are expected to bring the device back to school each day.