New iPad app helps failing students

Many school districts across the country have been successfully rolling out 1-to-1 computing programs using both iPads and MacBooks for their students. However, a new application may help teachers reach out to kids who are struggling in school. In Ellsworth High School in Maine, a faculty-designed app allows instructors to tag students so they can help them before they fail a class.

The school received the grant for the iPads in 2010 because of low standardized test scores over a three-year period. Ellsworth principal Renee Thompson then created the app to facilitate intervention with struggling students. On average, around 80 percent of the student body is tagged.

The app can be accessed by teachers and students alike. The way it works is that faculty can tag a student they want to see in study hall because they are falling behind on schoolwork or need to make up a test. The kids can then access the application to see which teachers have marked them so they know where they have to go to study hall.

"It has been the single most successful effort to catch kids before they fail," Thompson said.

Michigan school has high rate of kids playing games on iPads
Allowing students to iPads for school purposes but preventing them from accessing distractions such as Facebook and games is an issue for many school districts. Chelsea High School in Michigan has had difficulty with this problem, as kids have deleted the management application and are using the devices to play games.

The school had implemented the iBoss app, which limits Wi-Fi connectivity outside of the classroom. However, there was a bug and the school had to update it. These changes then gave access to the app store, which students are using to download games to play during class.

"I have seen a lot of kids playing games in the middle of class. I know it's a really prevalent issue with a lot of the teachers – that they find kids playing games. What you kind of have to do is take their iPad away," sophomore Nicolas Arons said. "If we're using them in class to work on a project, it's also hard because you don't want to just stand there watching over them as they're working on their project to see if they're playing games or not."

The school is trying to curb the problem by issuing a three strikes policy in which the device is ultimately taken away from students who are found using the iPad for non-school related tasks.

For schools with 1-to-1 iPad programs, iResQ offers a 1-to-1 repair service to handle all iPad repair services should devices become damaged.

Marcelina Hardy

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