First- and second-graders at Lincolnshire's Sprague School could get iPads

  • Students at schools across the suburbs use iPads for classroom education. Lincolnshire-Prairie View School District 103 officials are considering expanding their program.

    Students at schools across the suburbs use iPads for classroom education. Lincolnshire-Prairie View School District 103 officials are considering expanding their program. Courtesy of High School District 211

 
 

All first- and second-graders at Sprague School would be assigned district-owned iPads for classroom use under proposed changes to Lincolnshire-Prairie View District 103's 1-to-1 computer initiative.

Those students now have the option of bringing their own iPads to school for educational activities. Most bring their own from home, said R.J. Bialk, the district's director of technology and assessment.

The diversity of iPad varieties, software versions and privacy settings causes problems and delays in the classroom, Bialk said.

"They're not moving as quickly (because of) little, small things," he said.

Administrators want to tweak the program to ensure uniformity.

Under the proposal, which Bialk unveiled during Tuesday's school board meeting, all district-owned iPads now being used by students would be given to first-graders for the 2016-17 term. Those students would use the same iPads when they progress to second grade. The iPads would be "specific to them," Bialk said.

He didn't say where next year's second-graders would get their computers from.

Additionally, first- and second-graders would be asked to pay a $150 annual fee for the ability to use the computers. Such fees are typical at schools with 1-to-1 programs.

District 103 has three schools: Sprague School, which is for prekindergarten classes, first-graders and second-graders; Half Day School, which is for third- and fourth-graders; and Wright Junior High, which serves fifth- through eighth-graders. Next year, fifth-graders will move to Half Day School.

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District 103 launched a test 1-to-1 program in 2013 for students in the second, third, fourth, sixth and seventh grades. It expanded to all other grades, except kindergarten, over time.

Each kindergarten class has five iPads per room and access to a shared cart of more tablets for larger activities.

Public and private schools in Gurnee, Mundelein, Palatine, Schaumburg and other suburbs have similar programs. Some use iPads, while others use various tablet brands or laptops.

Bialk said District 103's effort has led to increased student engagement, better motivated students and more personalized education.

It also prepares kids "for the world in which they're about to travel," he said.

Seventy-seven percent of the first-graders at Sprague bring their own iPads to school, Bialk said. In the second grade, 72 percent of students bring their own computers to school.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

If the district assigns taxpayer-funded computers to Sprague students as proposed, the district will handle all repairs, program installation and other tasks, Bialk said.

Under the plan, students in third- through eighth-grade classes would continue to be able to use district-owned iPads or bring their own. Rental fees would be assessed for district tablets.

The school board could approve the proposed iPad program when it next meets Jan. 19.

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