Parents: FAQ About iRock

The questions listed below have been gathered from a variety of sources:  iRock Parent Nights and Orientations, Community Forums, Twitter Chats, and via the Contact Us link on this website.  Check back frequently for updates or additions.

Where will iPads be placed in our schools for the 2013-14 school year?

Grades 4-8

On March 25, 2013 our school board voted unanimously to proceed with the iRock technology initiative and provide all students in grades 4-8 with a mobile learning device, an iPad, to use at school and, hopefully, at home. The iPads, which will be distributed during the first few weeks of school, will provide students with the flexibility to learn anytime and anywhere!   Each iPad will be customized through unlimited apps and digital textbooks based on a student’s individual needs and learning style.

Parents of students in grades 4-8 who would like their child to take the iPad home must meet three requirements:

    1. The student’s family must purchase a Device Annual Protection Plan for $65. The protection plan will cover damage, malfunction, and a one-time loss or theft replacement for one year. Families who are in crisis and cannot afford the $65 may apply at their school for assistance.
    2. A parent, or guardian, must attend an orientation session on the district’s Mobile Computing Guide. Orientation sessions will be held in each school, so please check your school’s website for dates and times.
    3. A parent, or guardian, must agree to and sign the terms set forth in the Mobile Computing Guide.

Kindergarten – Grade 3

The iPads that were purchased for students last fall will still be used. However, there are not enough iPads for every child, so each elementary school will decide how the iPads will be used. Devices in grades K-3 will not go home, therefore parents of children in these grades need not pay the $65.00 Device Annual Protection Plan nor attend the parent orientation.

Grades 9 – 12

Each high school will receive several hundred iPads.  South Pointe High  has chosen to implement in Grade 9.  Northwestern and Rock Hill High have chosen to distribute  iPads to select teachers for use during class.

For 2013-14, only students at South Pointe High School will have an opportunity to take the device home . The same requirements that are in effect for students in grades 4-8  apply.

If I have children enrolled in multiple schools, must I attend an orientation session at each location?

No.  Additional copies of the required signature pages will be available at each orientation session.  Be sure to sign one for each of your children.  We will then route  signatures to their appropriate school/destination.

Payment for the Device Annual Protection Plan must be made at each school.

Must I attend a parent orientation session if my child does not bring the device home?  What if we own our own device?

The parent orientation sessions will be designed to be informative and useful to all parents, regardless of whether their child brings a device home or currently owns a device.  Participation is encouraged for all families, but required of those where the device will go home.

My children attend an after-school program.   What should I tell the director?

The school district has attempted to make contact with the larger after school care providers in the area.  Many are excited and have expressed a desire to learn more on incorporating the device into their programs of study.

If your after school provider is not aware of iRock, there are two things you can do:  1.  Point them to this website for details and specific information on the 2013-2014 implementation  2.  Ask them to use the Contact Us link at the top of each page to submit questions or requests for assistance.

I would like to purchase an iPad for my child instead of using a district device.  What considerations should I make?  

The school district will purchase the 16 GB iPad 2.  While newer versions of the full sized iPad are acceptable, the iPad mini is not an approved device for the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  This online assessment will replace P.A.S.S. in coming years.

The district will provide a Griffin Survivor case to protect district-owned devices.  This case has been utilized in our demonstration classrooms and has proven to be very sturdy and reliable.

The district will provide classroom sets of wired keyboards that teachers may “check out” for use during long writing assignments or online testing.  Logitech and Macally  produce the wired keyboards currently under consideration.

Are there plans to expand the initiative in subsequent years?

Based upon the success of our 2013-14 implementation and the availability of funding, the district will explore options to expand the initiative in subsequent years.  The long-term goal of iRock is for every child to have access to a personalized learning device.

Will there be an MDM (Mobile Device Manager) for the devices?  How will you manage apps and student temptations?

The current plan calls for student-managed, district-owned devices.  In this scenario, students (or parents) would register devices using their own AppleID.  The purchase of apps would be the responsibility of the parent.  Ownership of these apps would remain with the student via the iCloud.

We are encouraging the use of free apps in our work with teachers.   Use the Student, Teacher, or Parent and Community menus at the top of each page for recommended APP lists.

How are you going to teach children ethical use of these devices?

Our district has a long history of teaching safe and ethical practices in the use of electronic devices.  Our media specialists train both students and teachers in best practices related to internet safety, prevention of cyber-bullying, copyright,  etc.  The district has sponsored several parent workshops on these topics and will continue to provide training to students, teachers, parents and community members.

For parents who would like to educate themselves on the issues surrounding ethical technology use, visit our Parenting in the Digital Age series of online workshops, available via the Parents and Community menu at the top of each page.