Technology FAQ

Why is there a need to increase digital access?
Central DeWitt Community School District wants to provide our students with an opportunity to move beyond the norm.  Our goal is to develop 21st century skills.  Those skills include becoming a self-directed learner that relies on critical thinking, communication, and problem solving as opposed to the traditional recalling of facts.  Collaboration with others next door or around the world is another opportunity to discover more, learn more, adn reach the goal of a 21st century skilled individual, prepared for a world in which the jobs they will have are not known at this time.  For more information, see the compelling “Iowa, Did You Know?” video

How will things look in a few years?  What is our vision?
Computers have been in common use in industry for 30 years. They are no longer considered special and are seamlessly integrated into normal business operations. Computer use within education has been the exception. Our vision is to have technology seamlessly integrated into the teaching and learning environment. So much so, that if you walk in to a classroom, it’s not the technology you notice but the teaching and learning that the devices are enabling.

How much does it cost?
For the 2011-2012 school year, a laptop will be provided free of charge to each student in grades 4th-12th for his or her use throughout the school day.  Ekstrand Elementary School will have approximately 180 iPads for use PreK-3 and each classroom will have newer desktop computers added for increased accessibility at the elementary level.

What does each student receive?
Each student in grades 4th-12th receives a Macbook laptop computer, a charger with an extension cable and a sleeve to protect and carry the computer. Students are to ALWAYS use the sleeve provided with the computer.Ekstrand Elementary School students will have access to iPads and computers in school, but they will not be taking any devices/computers home.  There will be approximately 6 iPads available to each grade-level classroom and newer desktop computers will also be added to each classroom.

How do computers change what happens in the classroom?
Good teaching practices are STILL good teaching practices! Knowledge acquisition by students is STILL important! However, computers/iPads provide teachers and students a learning “environment” in which teachers can provide the resources needed for students to practice the skills they need in our digital, fast-paced world. The teacher’s role in the Digital Learning Environment is to support students as they become more effective learners.  Traditional classes become Blended Classes − combining the best of face-to-face interactions with the best of digital learning. Technology isn’t a “what,” it’s a tool that increases student engagement, the quality of instruction, the rigor and relevance of learning, and the opportunity for students.

Will my child use the laptop or iPad in all lessons?
Technology will be integrated across the whole curriculum, which means the computers/iPads will be used in all subjects. It does not mean they will be used all of the time. Use of the computer/iPad during a lesson will be at the discretion of the classroom teacher.

Can my child access inappropriate web sites, such as pornography, using this laptop ?
Laptops will be secure with the Central DeWitt Community School District’s web filter, no matter whose Internet the student is using.  Regardless of the location of the laptop, any Internet activity will go through the District’s web filter.  Still, no system is foolproof.  Teachers will supervise student use here at school and parents should keep an eye on their children at home.  Encourage your children to work in or near the room you occupy. The Central School District retains the sole right of possession of the computer, and reserves the right to collect/inspect the computer at any time, including via electronic remote access; and to alter, add, or delete installed software or hardware.  Click here to access the District Acceptable Use Policy.

What if my child already has another model or brand of laptop computer or my his/her own iPad?
Students will be required to use the school district issued computers/iPads for school purposes. This is necessary to ensure that they have a device that gives them network capability and the ability to run the software they need in their classes. The Central DeWitt Community School District is also limited to provide maintenance service or assistance for only district-provided machines. For these reasons, other mobile computers or laptop computers will not be used on the Central DeWitt Community School District network at school.

What happens if my son/daughter forgets to bring his/her laptop to school?
Forgetting to bring their laptop will be viewed in the same way as forgetting to bring any other required materials to school. It will therefore be dealt with in the same way.  The District will maintain a number of “hot swap” laptops for use when a student’s laptop is being repaired. These laptops may be available should a student forget to bring their laptop to school, but may also be already used by someone else having computer difficulties. However, this option should not be seen as an alternative to bringing their computer. Another alternative will be to allow the student to “look-on” with a classmate and/or collaborate, then catch up with the work at home.  Teachers deal with unexpected circumstances daily, and it’s part of their work.  Our students are digital natives and live in a digital world, it is less likely they will forget to bring their laptop.

What happens if the laptop’s battery runs out during class?
It will be expected that students bring their laptop to school each day fully charged. Battery life will be about 7 hours. This should be more than enough for a normal school day’s use.  If charging is necessary, power points in classrooms and the Media Center can be used.  Right now, if students forget their materials, class continues.  We know each student has different circumstances and differing needs.  District staff will handle each situation accordingly.

Can I use the same MacBook computer and software throughout my career?
Yes, during the academic school year. For example, a freshman will retain the same MacBook for four years. The MacBook will be returned to the school each May and the same machine re-issued the following August.

If I purchase software in addition to the available software provided through the district, will the Technology staff load it for me?
All software and hardware purchases must be coordinated through the District. No personal software will be installed on the district laptops.