Camden Hills' students to use iPad Air 2s starting in fall

Jan 09, 2017

Camden — After weighing a variety of options and in anticipation of future increases to the budget, the Five Town CSD Board voted unanimously Jan. 4 to equip Camden Hills Regional High School students with an iPad Air 2 and keyboard next year.

The school has purchased the high school machines through the state’s Maine Learning Technology Initiative program the past eight years, but next year will venture out on its own, in part because the future of the state’s program is unknown.

According to a press release from the district, the decision was a difficult one, as most feedback from parents, teachers, and students favored a move to laptops.

The board recognized that in an ideal world, the district would be able to afford one to one MacBook Air’s, but financial realities dictated a less expensive option.

The Five Town CSD is likely to see an increase of more than $500,000 to its expense budget once the bond for the new Mid-Coast School of Technology’s building comes due (expected in the fall of 2018). In addition, the board recognized the possibility of a new Camden-Rockport Middle School and the impact that would have on Camden and Rockport taxpayers. The four-year lease on laptops would increase the technology line and lock the district into paying more than $200,000 per year for technology.

“Without sacrificing a lot educationally, we can comparatively save over $100,000 for new, better iPads and keyboards. We need to be thinking ahead; it is important to balance the marginal benefit of technology with controlling costs for taxpayers,” said Superintendent Maria Libby in the news release.

The district also plans to purchase more powerful and effective software such as the Microsoft Office Suite for all teacher and student devices. The district will return current iPads to the state at the end of the year as part of the agreement through the MLTI program and purchase new ones through Apple that will be distributed to students next fall. The district has a longer-term vision of moving to a “bring your own device” model. In that model, instruction would move to a platform neutral environment and students would bring their own devices.

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