The Round Lake Area Unit 116 board is considering giving an iPad to every student at Round Lake High School next year and increasing the number of district middle and elementary school students with devices as well.
If the board were to go ahead with the plan, it would be the second expansion of its free computer program in the last six months.
Dejan Kozic, the district’s director of technology and innovation, said their students and teachers have done wonderful things with technology so far and they are excited to expand the plan.
“This is where we need to go as a district,” Kozic said after presenting the plan to the board Monday night. “We need to prepare students for life beyond Round Lake.”
The program started in the 2016-2017 school year in 30 classrooms across the district. In November 2017, the board voted to expand the program to 90 classrooms starting in January 2018.
Teachers apply to participate in the program and have been able to choose whether their students use iPads or Chromebooks, a small laptop made by Google. The idea was to have a variety of devices to better learn what kind would be best.
A district committee reviewed internal data from the pilot program as well as surveys of students and teachers and decided on iPads.
The plan calls for the number of iPads in the district to rise steadily over the next three school years.
This fall, iPads would 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 would have one, as would as elementary students in 86 out of 150 classrooms. And in 2020-21, every elementary school student would have an iPad.
Expanding the program would cost the district about $334,000 next year. That figure would cover the cost of a three-year lease for the new devices. Kozic said the expansion wouldn’t cost much more than what the district had already planned on spending on technology next year. The board could vote on the expansion as soon as the June meeting.