iPads to all CVUSD students

Safety and security is a concern

Thermal, Calif. - By the end of 2013, every student in the Coachella Valley Unified School District will have an iPad. 

Five thousand of them have already been distributed, and 15 thousand more are scheduled go out before Christmas. 

The Los Angeles Unified School District has had problems implementing a similar program, with devices being damaged and students breaking through the security firewall to access websites that are off-limits.

"Security is a huge concern," said Coachella Valley Unified School District Superintendent, Dr. Darryl S. Adams.

"We've taken some steps that maybe LA Unified didn't take," Adams said. "We've incorporated those throughout our process. We feel like our devices are more secure than what you've seen on the news in LA."

Adams says in the 18 months since the Measure X mobile learning initiative was passed by voters, two iPads have been lost. One was stolen and recovered.

"We'll be able to track the device and deactivate the device if its lost or stolen. Whichever occurs," Adams said. "So we have a lot more steps that students will have to go through. But also, we have a way to find the device and deactivate it if necessary and to track it. So, it would do no one any good to steal the device because it won't be usable and we'll know where it is."

While 15 thousand iPads are scheduled to go out in the next three months, five thousand are already being used in pilot programs like the one at John Kelley elementary.

Fourth-grade teacher Herachlio Elizondo says the devices have improved student achievement in his class.

"Within education there's a big discussion as to whether technology affects student achievement," Elizondo said. "From our evidence here in 4th grade, we see that it does. Ever since we've brought these devices into the classroom, our kids have met or exceeded the California state bench mark for the API."

Elementary school students can't take the iPads home, but middle school and high school students can.

The bond measure is for 41 million dollars, which is expected to fund the program for 10 to 15 years.

Adams says half the money will be spent in the first three years. Some of the cost has gone to updating and installing wi-fi connections on campuses, and training teachers to effectively use mobile devices in the classroom.

"We will be the first in the nation to do this. Pre-school through high school," Adams said. "By a vote of the people. Our community voted. 67 percent to support Measure x which is what our bond initiative is designed to do. Provide an iPad for every student and rebuild the wi-fi infrastructure so they can connect at school."

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