By Alyssa Schnugg
The Oxford School District is considering providing iPads to students in grades 3-12 and doing away with the current MacBooks.
On Monday, assistant superintendent Bradley Robertson explained the reasons behind the administration supporting the change during the Oxford School Board of Trustees meeting.
The plan would be to purchase the iPads for distribution for the 2020-21 school year. Currently, only students in grades seven through 12 have a MacBook provided to them.
If the district moved to the iPad, Roberson said the district could purchase one for all students in third to 12th grades; however, the iPads for students in the third through six grades would remain in school and not be allowed to be taken home.
Students in seventh through 12th grades would be able to take the iPads home as they do with their MacBooks now.
Roberson said there has been no decision made regarding what the district will do with the MacBook’s should the district go with iPads.
“The district may choose to sell them in bulk or redistribute them in carts to schools,” he said.
If OSD decides to transition to iPads, the district could purchase iPads for students in grades 3-12 for approximately $70,000 more than just purchasing new MacBook computers for students in grades 7-12.
It would be an additional $200,000 to purchase iPads for students in grades 3-6 and still purchase computers for students in grades 7-12.
Roberson said the district does a computer refresh review every three to five years to examine what equipment needs upgrades or replaced. It was in the most recent round that the committee started to examine the feasibility of using iPads rather than the MacBook.
Roberson said the new iPad 7th Generation has an updated operating system that has more functionality than the older educational models. Some of the upgrades include: allowing multitasking buy using a split-screen function; ability to connect SD cards and jump drives; are more durable than the MacBook and cheaper to replace; enhanced video features and a 10.2-inch screen.
The district would also provide keyboard cases to students in grades 7-12; however, Roberson said they are still considering whether to provide keyboard cases to students in grades 5 and 6.
“We start to teach some keyboarding skills in fifth and six grades, so if that trend continues then we will look at purchasing them for those grades as well,” he said Monday.
The board voted to advertise for bids for the iPads and keyboard cases.
Superintendent Brian Harvey said that allowing the district to seek out bids doesn’t mean the board is obligated to approve purchasing the iPads.
“We haven’t allocated any funds or agreed to purchase anything,” he explained. “If the board decides this is something we aren’t going to do, it can be undone.”