IPads for all next year at Round Lake High

  • Fifth-graders from Indian Hill School in Round Lake Heights demonstrate their Google Classroom skills at last year's Wonder Showcase at Round Lake High School. Last week, the District 116 school board approved a plan to greatly expand the computer program.

      Fifth-graders from Indian Hill School in Round Lake Heights demonstrate their Google Classroom skills at last year's Wonder Showcase at Round Lake High School. Last week, the District 116 school board approved a plan to greatly expand the computer program. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer, 2017

 
 
Updated 6/11/2018 7:48 PM

Every Round Lake High School student will be issued an iPad to start the next school year as part of an upgraded technology plan approved by Round Lake Area Unit District 116 officials.

The expansion of District 116's computer plan, called "1:Wonder," also calls for more middle and elementary school students to have devices in their classrooms next year. The changes were approved during a special meeting last week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Dejan Kozic, the district's director of technology and innovation, said officials are finalizing a three-year lease with Apple that will cost the district $322,606 annually.

"This is where we need to go as a district," Kozic said last month after a presentation to the school board. "We need to prepare students for life beyond Round Lake."

The new lease won't cost the district much more money than anticipated. Kozic said officials already planned to spend $250,000 to replace classroom computers and other technology needed at the high school for students to take standardized tests. Now that each student will have an iPad, fewer communal computers will have to be replaced. During the first two trial years of the 1:Wonder program, teachers were allowed to choose whether they wanted to use iPads, Windows laptops or Chromebooks. Now that every Round Lake High student will have an iPad, the other computers can be used elsewhere.

"We were able to fund it creatively based on what we had already," Kozic said. "It's a win-win-win."

The first two years of the program included teachers who expressed interest in using technology in their classroom.

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"We did the opt-in format because we wanted them to tell us what they could do with the tool rather than vice versa," Kozic said.

Officials asked teachers what functionality they needed from their devices, Kozic said. Based on that, and what officials learned from other districts, a district committee decided to go with the iPad.

The plan calls for the number of iPads in the district to rise steadily during the next three school years. This fall, iPads will be in the hands of every high school student, in 38 of 73 classrooms at the middle school level and in 48 of 150 classrooms at the elementary school level. In the 2019-20 school year, every middle school student will have one, as will elementary students in 86 of 150 classrooms. And in 2020-21, every elementary school student will have an iPad.

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