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Hampton/Shaler

Hampton students receive iPads and laptops

| Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, 8:03 p.m.

Last month, students in Hampton Township received the much-anticipated personal technological devices as part of the 1:1 Initiative, which is part of the district's new digital transformation.

Dr. Michael Loughead, superintendent of the district, provided a report on the distribution process for the initiative approved last school year.

This year, the program provided iPads to students in second grade, and laptops to those in fourth, seventh and ninth grades.

“The process went very smoothly,” said Loughead. “I was confident this would go well and it exceeded my expectations in distribution and implementation.”

There were five distribution nights, one for each school building, including grades four, five, seven and nine. Currently, second-graders will not be taking their devices home until later this year, said Loughead.

Along with using it for instructional use at school, each student will have his or her own personal device to take home and use for educational purposes. Students have shared technological devices from carts in the past.

A total of 896 devices were handed out on special distribution nights last month.

And aside from a few alternative dates, practically every family was able to make the few distribution nights last month as scheduled, according to Hampton's technology director, Dr. Edward McKaveney.

He also commented on how well the process went.

“You were in and out within five minutes,” said McKaveney.

Loughead said he received a lot of positive feedback from families so far. He was excited to hear that the fourth-graders were already accomplishing a lot on their new devices, even experimenting with PowerPoint documents.

“These are signs that our students were ready for these,” he said.

There were also 126 families who participate in the free and reduced lunch program that also obtained devices, and had the opportunity to waive the initial $25 insurance fee. McKaveney said the fee is adjusted to families with more than one student in school receiving a device.

Loughead said several of these families expressed gratitude, stating they probably wouldn't have been able to afford an electronic device on their own.

This is year one of a four-year digital transformation.

Aside from a few tweaks or minor fixes, the devices have been working well, said McKaveney.

They do have help desks for students, mainly at the libraries, if needed. And they are evaluating technological assistance needs from the technology department “to keep up with timely support,” said McKaveney.

Loughead said only one or two families opted out of students taking the devices home with them. These children will leave them at school at the end of the day.

McKaveney said they eventually plan to issue a survey to families in the district once they've had time to use the devices for school and at home.

Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.

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