Liberty County educators Wednesday told parents of high school students about iPads that are to be issued to their children.
The school system sponsored two sessions to inform parents about the “Liberty Learning Experience,” LCSS’ name for its district-wide iPad initiative. Starting this fall, LCSS will issue iPads to every student in grades 4-12.
LCSS Chief Information Officer Dr. Patti Crane began with an overview of the initiative.
“The goal of this Liberty Learning Experience is to afford all students — we’re going to level the playing field — the opportunity to participate in a one-to-one learning environment, where learning is personalized, engaging, meaningful, collaborative and student-centered,” Crane said.
She said the initiative is not about technology for its own sake, but rather about teaching responsibility and opening educational doors.
“It’s not about using the iPad 24/7,” she said. “And for that matter, it’s not really about the iPad at all. But it’s a great starting place and it’s a great advantage for our students to open the entire world up in a responsible way.”
Crane then introduced the PRIDE handbook, which she said will be issued to every student and posted to the district’s website for parents. The acronym stands for personal responsibility, respect, individual readiness, demonstrate learning and effective behaviors.
Crane said that she hopes to foster an open environment and encouraged parents to be involved in what their kids are doing with the iPads.
“Any school employee, once the child has brought the device from home, has access to those pictures, to that Internet-browsing history, to the email,” she stated. “It is an open book.”
Director of Technology Innovations Melissa Roberts demonstrated how to check the iPad’s Internet-browsing history as well as photo contents, giving parents a first look at the equipment.
Crane also reminded parents to be mindful of the iPad’s limited storage capacity, saying students whose iPads don’t have enough memory available for school work will be asked to delete non-school-related material.
“Education has to come first on these devices,” she added.
Walter Helmick, commander of the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 46 and parent of two LCSS students, welcomed the initiative.
“I think it really is actually overdue, way overdue,” Helmick said. “This generation, the students that are in school now, they need that edge.”
After the session, he said his only concern was the possibility of iPad theft.
“People like to steal things, and that’s a very hot item right now,” Helmick said. “So, as parents, I think that we need to keep a little bit of a sharper eye on our children to make sure they remain safe until they get to school.”
Crane said LCSS is working with law enforcement to keep tabs on the iPads, which have been equipped with tracking software.
Parents also had the opportunity to buy iPad insurance at $23 to cover a tablet against accidents for the year.
Two more sessions have been scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 5 and 6 p.m. Aug. 11 at the Performing Arts Center. Parents can buy the insurance at these sessions, as well as at school open houses Aug. 5 or in students’ homeroom classes once school resumes Aug. 6.