Frequently Asked Questions

Does the District offer an insurance program for the iPad?

Yes. Full details about the insurance program and instructions on how to purchase insurance can be found here.

Apple IDs

Each student will need his/her own Apple ID for use with the iPad. Students will use their school Gmail address for a school-specific Apple ID for their iPad to properly work. Students who began the 1:1 program earlier may use an existing personal Apple ID not associated with their school Gmail. Siblings should not share the same Apple ID, but create their own. One Apple ID per student is required.

Can my child bring his/her personal iPad to school?

If your child is in a grade using iPads provided by the District, he/she will be asked to use a school-issued iPad due to app licensing and the instructional materials that will be loaded on the devices for classroom learning. In the future, we may explore opportunities for student/family owned devices to be used, but for now we will only use school-issued devices so we can manage the apps/licensing, settings and configurations within our network.

If your child is not in a grade using iPads provided by the District, they are welcome to bring a laptop, iPad, or other personal electronic device for educational use only. You may wish to consider some of the apps being used in the program. Use of personal devices at school must:

  • Adhere to District technology policies
  • Be used for educational purposes only
  • Not create a distraction or disruption to the learning environment

Teachers have the discretion of allowing or not allowing the use of electronic devices during instructional time.

Should students invest in a wireless keyboard?

We suggest holding off on buying an external keyboard. From our experience, after a few days of using an iPad, students acclimate to the on-screen keyboard. Some students have returned their external keyboard due to lack of use, but everyone is different. Once students get a feel for how comfortable they are typing on an iPad, you can better decide what works best for their needs.

Does it make sense to get a stylus for writing on the iPad for the various activities and projects?

Using a stylus is a personal preference. Many students have discovered that a finger can be just as precise. Therefore we do not suggest purchasing a stylus until students get a feel for how comfortable they are writing on the iPad so they can decide what works best for their needs.

How will students save their work?

Students use thier Minnetonka Google Apps school account and use Google Docs (educational version) for cloud storage with their iPad.

Will the wireless network handle all of these devices?

Yes. The school wireless networks have grown with the program to meet speed and capacity needs. All students may access the wireless network to use portable computing devices. The wireless network has the same filters the student computer network has and all District Acceptable Use policies apply to use of the wireless network.

Do students use an iPad in all classes?

Minnetonka teachers have the discretion of allowing or not allowing the use of electronic devices during instructional time. The versatility of the iPad's touch screen and built in keyboard make it an ideal tool for all subjects, from art to Chinese to music to history.

When teachers permit the use of electronic devices, students must adhere to District Technology Policies, use the devices for educational purposes only, and must not cause a distraction or disruption to the learning environment.

How can students suggest new apps for the school iPads?

Students in the iPad program are enrolled in an iPad Schoology course. We encourage students to share suggestions for enhancing the educational use of the iPad. Please encourage your child to contribute to the conversation by making suggestions through the iPad Schoology course.

What is the cost to families for the iPad program?

Just as there is no cost to students for textbooks unless lost or damaged, there is no cost to students for the iPad unless lost or damaged. An optional insurance program is available.

How is the iPad initiative being funded?

Our District has a dedicated Technology Referendum Levy which was originally approved by the residents of the District in Fall 2002 for tax collections through 2012. It was renewed and extended in Fall 2007 by the residents of the District for collection through 2017, and in Fall 2015 the Technology Referendum Levy was again renewed and extended by the residents of the District for collection through 2025.

This fund provides:

  • Smart Boards and sound distribution systems for every classroom in Minnetonka
  • A consistent technology replacement cycle
  • Stable network infrastructure, storage and filtering
  • Increased access to online resources
  • Staff development for effective technology integration throughout our curriculum

Technology dollars do not compete with other school funding for ongoing operations, classroom teachers or classroom supplies. By law, the Technology Referendum funds can only be used for technology and instructional equipment.

Why has Minnetonka's iPad Program been so successful?

Early indications for our iPad pilot showed measurable results with student organization, student achievement, increased student collaboration and an increase in the number of formative assessments teachers use to ensure student learning.

We are unique in our deployment of the iPad program:

  • Our District is a national leader in using technology to accelerate learning. Since 2002, when we installed our first SMART Boards, teachers have been digitizing curriculum and learning materials. Unlike many other schools using iPads, we are not relying solely on third-party apps to teach; our teachers are relying on Minnetonka curriculum to teach. Teachers continue to post course notes and assignments, which students can download to their iPad, add their own notes, complete assignments and return homework to teachers via the iPad.
  • Our teachers focus on formative assessments (practice homework and quizzes) to assess student learning throughout a lesson. Research is clear that when teachers use frequent formative assessments, they are better able to gauge student learning, reteach material if needed, or move on if everyone understands. The iPad tools, combined with Schoology or Skyward formative assessments, allow teachers to more efficiently administer and grade formative assessments, allowing more timely intervention if a student doesn't understand a concept.
  • Our students take the iPad home, just as they would take their textbooks home. The iPad stores their text, homework, teachers notes and all the papers they would normally keep in a folder, all together in one spot. Students are more organized, and have homework handy anywhere, anytime. When students are reading a novel, students can read and take notes directly on the iPad, which also has a built in dictionary and notes summary.

Learn more about how iPads are used in Minnetonka classrooms

Tool for learning or too much distraction? - YouTube & Games

Technology as a potential distraction is a reality for today’s youth. Our staff have had many discussions about the need to teach students to use technology responsibly. We want to do that teaching when they are in school, so they are not graduating with bad habits, but instead know how to handle the distractions when they are on their own.

Many school districts use YouTube. Our team discussed the value of YouTube as an instructional tool and the implications of opening YouTube to student users. Students can access YouTube from their iPad. We believe that creating multimedia presentations to express ideas is a critical 21st century skill. If necessary, parents and/or teachers may consider using Guided Access or Restrictions which allow websites such as YouTube to be blocked.

In order to build capacity in the use of a new technology, people need to be able to use the tools for both tasks and leisure. There are games on the iPad, such as solitaire, that are free and age appropriate. We believe that there's value to teaching students that there is a time to be on task, and there's a time for relaxation. We want them to learn these important self-discipline skills while under the supervision of parents and teachers, not when their job is on the line as an adult.

It is also important to note that the games available on the iPad are also available on the web, and can be easily accessed by students from any desktop computer or cell phone.

Teachers are using a number of strategies to make sure students are engaged and on task while they are in class, but like any other class we need to continue to monitor. We have seen students doodle in electronic ink, just as we see them doodling on paper. But, we see fewer distractions when students have the technology in hand with an engaging lesson than when they are taking notes on a lecture.

Is cheating a problem with technology?

Academic integrity is a top priority. Minnetonka teachers, like all teachers, are concerned about cheating and regularly talk about strategies to prevent cheating in all classes.

At this point, mainly formative assessments (homework and practices quizzes) are administered on the iPad. Summative assessments, which account for 85% of the grade, are still mostly administered on paper and pencil, with the exception of English papers which are submitted through to check for plagiarism.

If students choose to cheat on formative assessments, they are short-changing themselves because then their teacher doesn't know what students need additional help learning. Like an athlete who slacks off in practice yet still wants to play the game, if the skills needed haven’t been developed, the athlete will end up on the bench and learn to take practice more seriously. It is important to remember that formative assessments are academic practice and total only 15% of the overall grade.

How can parents still monitor a student's online behavior, when the iPad can be used anywhere at home?

All Minnetonka School iPads have built-in filtering software blocking access to inappropriate sites regardless of whether the device is at school or off campus. This built-in filter overrides any filtering you may have at home. Many home routers do allow for time limits to be set for network traffic, so parents may choose to do this. Parents can setup additional site blocking, such as blocking YouTube if desired, through the iPad's Guided Access and Restrictions.

Children often have complete, unrestricted access to inappropriate sites on other devices such as home computers and personal cell phones. Experts strongly suggest installing software to filter and block inappropriate content on your wireless home network. Some possible filters to consider include OpenDNS (free version available for computers and Wi-Fi) and Curbi for cellphones. Read more about filters on our Digital Health & Wellness page.

What sort of security is used?

All iPads are bar coded and have asset tags for inventory. We also encourage students to personalize their case and have their name on their case. Students are also instructed to set up an Apple ID and use the Find My iPhone app. This app helps students locate the missing device on a map, play a sound, display a message, remotely lock the device, or erase all the data on it. All iPads require a password to be set by the user.

What if students are experiencing technical issues?

When technical issues arise, teachers understand and students are not penalized. Teachers do not prohibit students from completing assignments on paper. Media Center staff and classroom teachers are happy to meet individually with students to help troubleshoot technical issues. Occasionally, a student may need to drop off the iPad during the day, but since all work is saved to the cloud, there should be no disruption to accessing work.

An important life skill for students is to learn to save and back-up work (on a desktop or other device). Using cloud storage, iPad students specifically back up their work on the iPad into Google Docs. Students have received instruction on this process and teachers remind students the importance of doing so frequently.

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