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Junior Activity Week 
We invite all students at any level to bring their personal devices to school to integrate their learning both inside and outside of school. 
Those devices might be a netbook, a laptop, a tablet or a smart phone – any internet capable device can assist learning. Over recent years the school has invested significant resources in ensuring that we have the very best infrastructure to allow us to move into this new age. We are not saying everyone has to have a device. We are saying if the student has one, bring it along and make the best use of it at school. If you are planning to buy one, we can give you some guidelines on what to consider in making your purchase. 

In 2014, all Year 9 students will be need to bring a wifi internet capable device with them to school each day for learning. 
Scroll down for further information or click the links on the side. 

In 2014, all Year 9 students will be need to bring a wifi internet capable device with them to school each day for learning.

The iPad Mini 16GB wifi (rrp $450) is our recommended device for students but if you already have a laptop or tablet bring that. In cases of hardship the school will be able to issue a device to students.

The Reasons 

Modern Learning

A school's role is to prepare our students for their future. We are charged with this without a full comprehension of what the future will hold. We see this initiative as preparing students for a future where technology and creative thinking will be at the forefront of society. Our teachers are working hard at designing learning activities that will harness the power of the internet to build creativity in our students, engaging them in self-regulated lifelong learning.

Research shows educational benefits of one to one devices are:
▪ They give students access to anywhere, anytime learning.
▪ They enable students to learn independently, collaborate with peers and communicate their understandings using rich media.
▪ They complement the existing school curriculum by providing digital learning tools that link with planned classroom activities.
▪ Their use in the classroom will evolve as students and teachers become familiar with the new tools.
▪ Improved student attendance and motivation and achievement

Demand for connection

Our basic desktop machines are getting out of date. We can't afford to provide new machines for each student at the school, yet the demand for access to technology keeps growing. Your sons and daughters are getting access to computer technology once, maybe twice per week in different subjects. As a school, what we want is 1:1 access to technology, access to the internet as needed, when needed. We can’t afford to do that by ourselves so we need parent help. We need you to purchase a 1:1 learning device for your student.  Our strong preference for that device is an Apple iPad.

Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB)

The school is currently installing a UFB connection. This will mean a significant speed increase in accessing the internet. The internet is a tremendous knowledge resource for students. By having a 1:1 learning device students will have this high speed access to the internet at their finger tips. Teachers are developing new learning experiences to harness this tremendous resource for increased student engagement. 

Why the iPad?

The decision to recommend the iPad was based on offering our students the best learning experience. The iPad empowers students to create products within any subject context, physical space and even on the move. This is why the iPad is so important in transforming education into a genuine learning experience, not a knowledge absorption space. 

First and foremost our focus is on learning. With this in mind we want a device that is reliable and simple to use. It needs to last a school day with as little management or interruption as possible. Simply the device just needs to work. By design the tablet form suits school use as it has no moving parts (to break) and is highly mobile. The iPad, with a battery life of up to 12 hours, leads all other tablets. It has excellent wireless capability and provides an excellent environment for learning to flourish. 

The iTunes app store has almost over 300,000 apps designed for iPad with many dedicated to education. There is no other provider that comes close to this coverage. It is not just about quantity of apps though. With the creation of the app store, Apple has created an environment where app developers can easily profit share in sales. This means cutting edge app development is occurring on the iPad more than any other device. Further to this, the approval process for apps on the iPad is very stringent meaning the quality of apps available are usually of a high standard.

The iPad offers the most secure platform for learning. There are very few problems with the viruses or malware often associated with android or windows platforms.

The iPad (the mini in particular) represents excellent value to parents and students. Our recommended device is the 'iPad Mini 16GB with Wifi'. With a RRP of $450, we believe this device to offer the best value of the range. While you may find other tablets at a lower price, the iPad offers reliable design and hardware, especially with wireless. It offers exceptional wireless performance with dual band advanced wi-fi technology. It comes with two cameras with one able to record in full 1080p HD video or 5 megapixel stills. Students will also be able to share their learning easily using the airplay system.

Having everyone within the school working on the same device provides a consistent experience, which makes it easier for the teachers and the students.

The iPad does not require extensive technician support. It’s a universal problem that organisations’ technical support people are more interested in ‘their’ system and technical arguments, than what the users are actually trying to get done. This is particularly the case in schools. We are placing the user (learner) at the centre of our purpose. The iPad is a self-supported, easy-to-use, self-backing-up teaching system that only requires the technicians to ensure there’s wireless.

Frequently asked questions:

What about Android?
Android is based on open source ideals which means developers and programmers can take the code and do whatever they like with it. Unfortatunately this makes android devices more open for those with malicious intentions. The result of this environment can be a system more buggy and prone to viruses and crashing. Android devices can also have wide variations of hardware quality. When student learning is paramount these issues represent significant distraction to lessons and learning activities.

What about Flash?
Yes, iPads don’t natively play all those Flash based educational websites. The reason is because Flash is very inefficient and quickly swallows up battery life. Adobe, the company who make Flash, have stopped making it. New Windows 8 tablets will not play Flash either now. This is meaning websites are slowly moving to more efficient code formats.

My son/daughter already has a laptop or netbook, do I now have to go out and buy an iPad?
The answer is No - certainly not.  What you do have to ensure is that they bring that device to school next year. Many of our learning activities will work on any device. The only difference will be that they will not have the educational applications of the iPad as other students. The teacher will have an iPad with apps projected up to the data projector and students will be able to access similar tools.

So you are already allowed to have devices at school now? What's the difference?
Our teachers are preparing innovative learning experiences specifically designed for students with their own individual internet capable device. Currently not many students bring laptops and tablets to school, therefore teachers are teaching in much the same way as they have always taught. Digitalisation of current teaching is happening in the classroom to a degree, eg the data projector, Ultranet etc. When asked, teachers say why would I do anything different when only 5 or 6 students in my class bring laptops to school. Likewise, when we asked the students why don’t you bring a computer to school, the answer was “Why would we, there is no point. Teachers don't do anything different. They still give us paper handouts, and still expect us to hand in work on paper”. Fair call – it's a chicken and egg. We have to break that cycle. Both parties would gladly move to a more IT rich environment of learning but we have to get the one to one situation started.

What about security?
My son or daughter will break their iPad, drop it, lose it – someone will steal it – it's going to cost me a fortune. We would hope most people would look after their expensive electronic equipment like they do with their phones. They look after it and they keep it safe. Part of learning in life. Part of when we grow up, we will be given expensive equipment, and it is up to us to look after it. The experience of other schools has been that security and care has not been the issue as initially thought. When the norm is that everyone has a device, theft is not so much an issue. In addition to that, there will be depositories around the school where students can hand their iPad’s in to be locked away in a safe place and retrieved after lunch, interval or after their Physical Education classes. We would advise parents to purchase a suitable protective cover with solid corners and case as screens are vulnerable. A free App is available to track the iPad if lost or stolen.

What about NCEA exams and writing with pen and paper for 3 hours?
Of course the physical act of writing will still be part of teaching and learning at Horowhenua College. However what is important is the quality of the students thinking and the use of one to one computer devices has shown (especially with boys) to improve the quality of thinking and writing electronically. Students are more likely to review and change their writing and thinking if it is in electronic format. So if we are teaching the students to think better in their heads, through this rewrite process on an electronic device, when eventually it comes to a three hour exam the physical act of writing that has been practiced will be supplemented by clearer and more concise thinking.

What about battery life?
iPad's are sealed units with a battery that lasts between 10-12 hours on one charge and is rated for 1000 full cycles that is 1000 full charges. It is a little complicated how all this works but that is usually AT LEAST 3 years of good operational use. After that the battery time that you get out of a full charge will deteriorate but still be useable. Our advice and observation and research of literature shows this to be far better than any other device. 

What about the security of my work?
Your son or daughter’s work will live on their ipad just like a Netbook. An application called a “DropBox” (free) is one method to store information. Google drive is another way of storing information and of course the machines automatically back up to icloud. You need to use this facility.

Is there a danger that emphasis may shift from the basics of the “Three Rs” to using these devices?
No. Using ICT and technology enhances learning if used wisely. Good teaching using the best tools at hand is our goal. Yes, the way our teachers teach and our students learn will need to shift a little, but in general the technology will enhance learning as it does now in the school. The current problem is that demand greatly exceeds the access.

Will I still need a calculator?
The calculator scenario is similar. Schools used to provide class sets of calculators. This became unsustainable and students were required to purchase them. The iPad has a free calculator app, or various calculator apps that can be purchased including graphics calculators. The cost of an app is considerably less than the cost of an actual calculator and can be shared amongst four other people.

How much do the Apps cost?
The students will be required to purchase some predetermined apps for each subject, as well as some core apps. In some cases those apps will be free, in others there will be a cost. This cost is off set by the fact some subjects are already saying students will not have to purchase homework books or text books. Students will be able to purchase a school app bundle online at a significant discount (details to follow).

What about upgrades? Will I need another better model in 2 years?
No, it is the same as any technology; once you purchase it then something better will always be around the corner. But the operating system will remain useable. The battery, the apps and the connectivity to the internet all will remain useable. There may be one or two improvements in newer versions but the model you buy will be fine.

So you have convinced me. I have to buy an iPad for my child but I can't afford it? What can I do?
The price on apple products is usually very similar across all retailers but we have a few suggestions:

▪ Our first recommendation is to save and wait. Apple is likely to release a new model sometime before Christmas. Normally pricing on new models remains very similar. Older (current) models may be available on special at this time. 
▪ Starting now develop a savings plan with your child.
▪ Many retailers offer interest free payment terms
▪ Combine the purchase as a Christmas and birthday present.
▪ Shop around for cases, covers and accessories. There can be a significant difference in pricing on these items.

We are working with a number of suppliers on purchasing options and packages for our students. More details will follow. In cases of real proven hardship the school may be able to issue a device to students.

What are the specifications for the recommended iPad?
We are recommending the 'iPad Mini 16GB with Wifi' which currently retails at $450. With case and apps we would expect parents to budget approx $520 all up. We expect an updated iPad Mini towards the end of the year with very similar pricing. If affordable a larger full sized ipad or more storage capacity could be purchased but this is not required. To assist with managing student internet use, we would ask parents to refrain from purchasing cellular models of iPad.

If you have any further questions please call the school office, email office@horowhenua.school.nz or private message the school Facebook site. 

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