Digital delivery: Middle school students receiving iPads this week

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, October 3, 2012

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FIRST BITE OF THE APPLE – McCarroll Middle School Principal Dewayne Tamplen watches as the first group of students receive their Apple iPads Tuesday morning in the school’s library. For information on the iPad deployment, go to Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The Decatur ISD’s mission statement says the district is “committed to providing a quality education where students will learn digitally, think creatively and compete globally.”

On Tuesday, the next generation of students began receiving the tools to carry out that mission.

Following a parent orientation session, the first group of McCarroll Middle School students got their Apple iPads Tuesday morning. More orientations are scheduled throughout the week for parents, who are required to attend one of the sessions before an iPad 2 is delivered to their students.

For a list of times and more information on the deployment, visit

Parent Brett West attended the first orientation session and said he was shocked when his daughter, Melody, told him she and her classmates were receiving iPads.

“I think it’s neat. It’ll be interesting to see how it works – how they use it,” he said.

He added that the iPad will give educators an improved tool over traditional textbooks.

“As things change, you can update information instantly,” he said. “And the ability to update information will save so much money without the cost of reprinting textbooks.”

Textbooks won’t disappear immediately. According to information provided by the district, the school is in a “period of transition from sole dependency on textbooks to a digital environment that allows access to a much greater range of educational materials and experiences.” The plan is to eventually adopt digital textbooks and resources in all content areas.

As part of the orientation, parents are given information on how to care for the devices, how to teach their children about the importance of Internet safety, and technical support.

There will be a station in the library where students experiencing problems with their iPads can take it to the iDoctor, as Principal Dewayne Tamplen said students have dubbed it.

Each iPad comes with a protective case, and parents are required to pay a $45 annual usage fee that will assist in the maintenance and management of technical support.

As students were given their iPads Tuesday, they were given a quick tutorial on getting started and participated in an online survey using their new devices. Survey questions included asking students about the iPad, their experience with other digital devices such as computers and smart phones and the use of technology in the classroom and outside of school.

The school board in May approved spending up to $374,718 for the purchase of 725 iPads for students in grades six to eight and 50 iPads for teachers. Teachers received their devices this summer and have been attending training since then with Apple professional development.

TAKING THE SURVEY – The first thing students did with their iPads was take a technology survey. Over the next few days, students will receive their iPads for use in the classroom and at home. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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