iPad Learning Program FAQs

Durham Academy's iPad Learning Program, established in 2012, earned the school recognition as an Apple Distinguished School in 2013 and 2015. The school is committed to providing students with one-to-one access to Apple notebook computers or mobile devices. The program is constantly evolving, and we have assembled a list of commonly asked questions below. We welcome your feedback!

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Can students opt out of using the iPad altogether?

No. Because Durham Academy issues the iPads to the students, they may not opt out of using them. We encourage all students to maximize the use of the iPad to reduce the number of items in their backpacks.

Will there be training for parents on how to help their students use the iPad?

We will offer parent education events. In addition, parents are encouraged to make use of this webpage.

Parents should also read Common Sense Media advice articles available here.

Can students install their own apps?

No, students will not be able to install any personal apps. Durham Academy, as owner and manager of the iPads, will place certain limitations on what students can do with them to ensure they are used for educational purposes and in a consistent manner. DA will purchase apps that have been vetted by teachers and administrators for use in our educational program, therefore, these apps must be used and cannot be deleted from the iPads. Students will perform the installation of the selected apps at the beginning of the school year.

Students or parents are invited to suggest apps that they believe would benefit their learning.

As a parent, can I control the apps my child installs?

No, only Durham Academy is able to install apps. All apps that are installed by Durham Academy have been vetted by teachers and administrators for use in our educational program. Parents are invited to suggest apps that they believe would benefit their child’s learning.

What about paid apps that the school requires students to use?

Durham Academy will provide a system for students to get updates to apps that the school has purchased.

Will textbooks be available on the iPad?

Yes, some of our classes, including seventh- and eighth-grade language arts, sixth-grade science, sixth- to eighth-grade French, and sixth-grade science will be using an electronic text. We will continue to evaluate our current textbooks and the electronic offerings available to insure the electronic versions fulfill the needs of students and teachers.

What about classroom novels and library books that are required in some classes?

More teachers have provided the option to use electronic versions of some books that are required in their classes. We install the Kindle, Nook, and iBooks app on all iPads so parents can purchase books from these vendors and use them on the iPads. The Middle School library does offer some e-books via our library system. More information on this will be provided to parents during information sessions at the beginning of the school year.

My student already has an iPad. Do we have to use the one from school?

Yes. All students must use an iPad that is issued and managed by Durham Academy. This ensures that the correct applications are installed and that the configuration will match our school setup.

Can we use our own iPad if we get the correct apps installed?

No. Middle School students must use an iPad issued by Durham Academy.

Will the Internet be filtered on the iPad?

While on campus, the DA-issued iPads will be filtered in a manner similar to what is being used for our school computers. If parents are concerned about off-campus filtering, they can inform their child's advisor and they will get in contact with Mr. Schaefer and Mr. Hoyt to see if off-campus filtering may be an option.

Do you have any tips for managing distractions while using the device?

Parents have some options for helping students manage distractions on their iPads:

  1. Talk to your child about expectations for when and where their iPad can be used at home.

  2. Set a device cut-off time for when the device is put away to be charged.

  3. Model the behavior you want your children to have by also not being distracted by your device.

  4. Get more tips at Common Sense Media: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/video/advice

  5. Customizable Device Contract (PDF link): https://www.commonsensemedia.org/sites/default/files/uploads/pdfs/phase3_customizabledevicecontract_design1_interactive.pdf

  6. Set limits on screen time: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/screen-time

  7. Use a device like the NetGear Router and Genie to manage your wireless: http://www.netgear.com/discover/apps/lpc

Am I required to have wireless internet access at home for the iPad program?

All iPads come with built-in Wi-Fi. Durham Academy recommends that all families have internet access in order for students to use the device at home. If internet access is not available at home, students should take steps to ensure they have all files they need on the iPad before leaving school.

What happens if the iPad gets broken, lost or stolen?

Durham Academy requires families to purchase insurance for the iPad. We provide protective cases for students as well as training in proper care for the iPad. Families will be responsible for the insurance deductible if the iPad is broken, lost or stolen.

What will the iPad program cost each family?

Durham Academy purchases the iPads, so there is no direct cost to families other than an insurance policy. In the future, we may make adjustments to the activity fee to cover the cost of the program.

If a student's iPad is sent off for repairs, will they be at a disadvantage in class?

No. We will have spare iPads available for checkout. Provided the student has been backing up his or her iPad at school, as well as using Evernote and Google Drive, little or no work will be lost.

Will I need to create an Apple ID?

With the start of the 2015-2016 academic year, we are requiring all students have an Apple ID. Students who attended the Middle School for the 2014-2015 academic year already have an Apple ID, so they will not need to create one.

For any student under the age of 13 on Aug. 1, 2015, parents have either set up the Apple ID or given permission to DA Office of Information Technology to set up the Apple ID.

For more information, see http://www.apple.com/education/it/appleid.

Parents of students over 13 will set up an Apple ID for each student using the directions from Apple. Because these students are over 13, we cannot assist in the same manner as we can for those students under 13. For more information, see http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2534?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

For the Complete Guide to Apple IDs for Parents, visit this link (PDF) https://www.apple.com/education/docs/Apple_ID_Parent_Guide.pdf

Won't the iPads distract students in class?

Teachers have adjusted to the use of the devices in class continue to monitor student use. Durham Academy continues to offer professional development for faculty members on how to best utilize the device in the classroom. In addition, there may be iPad-free classes, periods or times when the iPad will not be a core class component. Some courses will use the iPad more than others.

What should our family do to make sure the iPad is being used wisely at home?

We offer these suggestions:

  • Set a power-down time when your child needs to stop using the iPad. For example, 9 p.m. may work for older students while 8 p.m. may be appropriate for younger students.
  • Have your child use the iPad in a public area of your home and not in his or her room.
  • If you have concerns about your child using the iPad at night, put the iPad where your child cannot access it.
  • Use tips from Common Sense Media like the Family Media Agreement.

Will the iPad come with a case?

Yes, all student iPads will be installed in an Otterbox Defender case. This is one of the most sturdy cases currently available for the iPad.

Will the iPad come with a keyboard or stylus?

Yes, all student iPads will be installed in an Otterbox Defender case. This is one of the most sturdy cases currently available for the iPad. 

A keyboard and stylus will not be included with the iPad. We have found that students did not use these accessories when they were made available. For students who would like to use a keyboard, we recommend something like the Belkin Bluetooth wireless keyboard or the Logitech wired keyboard. There are many types of styluses available and there are pros and cons with each type, so it is difficult to provide a recommendation that will be a good fit for everyone.

How do you back up an iPad?

We are relying predominantly on cloud-based services such as Evernote and Google Apps for our iPad implementation. This greatly decreases the need for making frequent backups because the data in these apps is automatically synced to servers operated by Evernote and Google. In addition, a main goal of the Apple ID program is for all students use that iCloud account to backup the iPad over the air.

When do students first receive their iPads?

Middle School students receive iPads during their first week of classes.

Is there training for students on how to use the iPad?

All Middle School students will have opportunities to learn how to efficiently and ethically use the iPad as a learning aid.

What grade levels receive iPads?

All students in grades five through eight receive iPads at the beginning of the school year.

Evernote Partners with Durham Academy
Middle School Technology Faculty

Karl Schaefer
Chair, Computer Science Dept.
Middle School Digital Learning Coordinator

919-489-9118 (x4335)

528 Digital Learning Blog

An independent, coeducational day school, pre-kindergarten through grade 12.
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