An Iowa high school has announced it will provide each of its students in grades 9 through 12 with an 11-inch MacBook Air. Ames High School will provide the Apple notebook computer to the students for use through the 2013 school year.
The program, approved by the Ames Community school board in May, is intended to enable the school to offer more personalized instruction to students. Tim Taylor, superintendent of schools in Ames, said the computers will allow teachers to reduce “one-size-fits all lecture formats and rote instruction in the classroom.”
While students and parents are excited about the potential impact of the program, school officials caution the devices themselves are merely a tool.
“The magic is in giving students and teachers the tools they need to create, collaborate and communicate,” said the district’s Director of Technology Services, Karl Hehr.
Students will pay a $25 deposit upon receiving the MacBook Airs, and will not be allowed to modify the software configuration of the devices. If the students damage or lose the computer, they will be required to pay a maximum fee of $50 for the first incident, and $150 for the second. If the loss or damage is judged to be the result of “gross negligence,” the students may be required to pay the full replacement cost of over $1,000 for the device.
Iowa State University will be monitoring the program’s progress and will suggest improvements as it moves forward.
As 1:1 initiatives gain in popularity, many school districts are implementing similar programs. The Los Angeles Unified School District is equipping all 640,000 students in its school system with iPads by the end of 2014.