Middle School FAQs

Middle School iPad Program

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

St. Stephens Lutheran School began its middle school iPad program with the 2013-2014 school year. The iPad program means that students will use an iPad for learning both at school and at home.

We understand that the world of the present and the future will require our students to be highly comfortable and competent with using many different types of hardware and software resources in order to work, play and live. As such, middle school students will use the iPad technology, and they will still use the classroom and computer center PCs so they will become "bilingual" tech students … able to learn and function through different operating systems.

The scope of appropriate and inappropriate use of the iPad at school is covered in our Acceptable Use Guidelines. Students who do not comply with the guidelines face disciplinary action.

1. If middle school students have their own computer, does this mean they will no longer use pencils, paper, and books?

A: Using technology such as iPads, PCs, and other electronic devices does not mean that we never use conventional tools like paper, pens, and print books. There will be times when using these traditional technologies are the most appropriate way of meeting learning goals. However, our goal of allowing students to utilize electronic devices is to increase their digital age learning skills, giving each student confidence and competence in using technology appropriately in order to assist their learning and development.

2. How often will my child use the iPad at school? Will he be sitting in front of a computer screen all day?

A: It is not expected that your child will use the iPad for every class on every day … some classes are best taught without using technology. Your child will used the iPad at school every day, more on some days than others. And we assume your child will also use the iPad at home to complete homework assignments and projects.

3. Will my child be allowed to play "games" on the iPad during the school day?

A: Our primary purpose is for students to use the iPad for learning purposes. There are many educational apps that are developed in a game format and these may be incorporated in our daily learning. There may be limited times, however, when students have (or earn) the option of supervised "free time" (to use entertainment apps) on their iPad.

4. Who needs to purchase an iPad for next year?

A: Middle school students. The school will provide iPads for our teachers and Preschool-Grade 5 classrooms.

5. Which iPad should I buy?

A: We recommend purchasing the iPad4 (4th generation) or new iPad with 16GB and Wi-Fi connection. The iPad2 and iPad Mini are also acceptable, but may not be as useful for future student learning.

6. Where can I buy the iPad?

A: iPads can be purchased locally at Best Buy, Target, Walmart, or other stores.

7. What are the suggestions for protective covers?

A: For the safety and protection of your iPad, each student is required to have a heavy duty case for an iPad, and you may want to consider a protective sheet for the screen. These can be purchased at Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Office Max, Office Depot, or other stores. These items will remain the personal property of the students, and as such, may be customized. Remember, the best insurance for accidental damage is a heavy duty cover.

8. Should the cover have a wireless keyboard?

A: It is simply a matter of preference. Some students prefer to use the touch screen keyboard, others may prefer the wireless keyboard.

9. Why iPads? Why not laptops or netbooks?

A: The iPad allows for a greater variety of learning tools. Students will still use the classroom and computer center PCs so they will become "bilingual" tech students … able to learn and function through different operating systems. In general, we prefer the iPad for these reasons:

  • Apps (extensive library of educational apps)
  • Size and Weight (mobility)
  • Battery life
  • Touch screen

What happens if my child uses the iPad without permission or in an inappropriate manner?

A: The iPad will be confiscated and retuned to parent. Multiple offenses will result in a loss of iPad privileges during the school day and other disciplinary consequences may apply. See our electronic device policy.

11. What about the iPad camera?

A: The camera can be a useful tool for digital projects. Any inappropriate camera use will result in confiscation of the iPad and other disciplinary consequences may apply.

12. What happens if my child causes accidental damage to his or other iPads?

A: It is the responsibility of the parent and the student to maintain the iPad. We encourage you to talk with your child about his responsibility and care of the iPad. Any damage loss or replacement is at the expense of the parent. Parents may want to consider an extended warranty and possibly even student laptop insurance to protect against repair/replacement costs.

13. What happens if my child loses his iPad or someone steals the iPad?

A: We encourage you to talk with your child about his responsibility, care, and security of the iPad. Any loss or replacement is at the expense of the parent. You may want to consider activating the tracking feature on the iPad. And we require that both the student (or family) identification be printed on the iPad and cover.

14. Will the school provide an iPad to use if a student forgets his iPad?

A: No. Students need their iPad every day for use at school; the iPad is part of the student’s daily school supplies.

15. What are apps?

A: Apps are applications or programs that are installed on the iPad (or other mobile devices) for useful purposes.

16. Which apps are students required to purchase?

A: The school will provide an iTunes card (or similar gift card) to use to purchase some basic required apps …the school assumes this expense in lieu of purchasing print textbooks and other software. We are still compiling the list of school-related apps.

17. Do I need wireless internet connection for the iPad to be used in my home?

A: No. Many apps (including e-textbooks) do not need internet access. Internet access can be used once a child arrives back at school if needed. However, some features do require internet service.

18. Will SSLS provide internet filtering?

A: Students who connect to the internet at school will be protected from inappropriate content by our internet filter. During school hours, this filter will also prevent access to sites like Facebook, YouTube, or other sites that could distract students during class. This filter works only while students are connected to the school wireless network. The parent is responsible to monitor their child’s internet use at home. We encourage families to provide internet filtering at home or install software to guard or monitor student use away from school.

19. What if the battery runs out during school?

A: Students are required to have their computers fully charged for the start of each school day. A student that comes to school with a dead battery is just as unprepared as a student who forgets their book or their pen or pencil. The iPad has an expected battery life of over 8 hours per day, so the battery should never run out during the school day. Students may not bring the charger to school …battery charging should occur at home.

20. Will students still be instructed on the IBM-compatible computers?

A: Yes, Windows PC instruction is still an important part of our curriculum, and a needed skill for today’s workforce.

21. What about printing?

A: The iPad is designed for a "paperless" society, and as such, file sharing is done electronically and a print feature is not readily accessible. We are installing printers on our network that will connect with the iPad for printing. Students will have access to our PC network for printing purposes, too.

22. Will the school teach students how to use, maintain, and update their iPad?

A: Our teachers will be able to assist students and show them how to use web tools required for class activities and projects. While there will be times where they may also have time to assist our students in providing some tips and direction in the maintenance and updating of their devices, the ultimate responsibility will rest with the student and their parents.

23. How do I clean the iPad?

A: To clean your iPad screen, never use any type of cleaning solvent such as Windex or similar chemical products. Use only a small amount of water. Ideally, use water with a lint free scratch resistant cloth (microfiber is best) to clean your iPad screen by dampening the cloth slightly. Then clean the screen using soft, even strokes.

24. What happens if it won’t turn on?

A: Insert the charger and plug it into an outlet. It may just need to be charged. If you still encounter a black screen, try holding the home and sleep buttons together to restart/reboot your iPad. Be sure to hold the two for at least 10 seconds, perhaps longer.

25. May I add other applications without the school’s permission?

A: Yes, this is your personal iPad. We encourage you to monitor the purchase and installation of apps, and as such, we strongly encourage you to conceal the Apple ID password from your child (this is your best way of monitoring the iPad use and features). And as the iPad will be used extensively at school, we ask that you comply with the school’s Acceptable Use Guidelines in purchasing and installing apps.

26. How do you monitor internet access and downloads?

A: This is accomplished by our partnership of home and school. We both have a responsibility to teach and educate on God-pleasing ethical use of technology. Internet use on campus with iPads is covered by the Internet Usage Policy already established on campus and protected by our filter. Monitoring internet access away from campus will be the responsibility of parents.

27. How can I protect the online safety of my child at home?

A: It is strongly recommended that families secure a filter that provides safety from inappropriate content and the like when away from campus.

28. What if I cannot afford the iPad for my child?

A: We recognize that the iPad requires a significant purchase. The school has limited resources to purchase iPads and "sell" them to families. We will divide the cost over 10 months …we will add $50 to the monthly fee until the iPad is paid in full (10 months @ $50 each = $500).

29. Can’t the school get a significant discount by purchasing multiple iPads? Can these iPads be sold to parents at a discounted price?

A: The school does not receive any significant discount for multiple purchases …we buy iPads for the same price as parents at local retailers. Your best deal is the same as our best deal.