• EMS iPad/Chromebook Initiative

    Ellicott Middle School provides an iPad to every student in 6th-7th grade and a chromebook to 8th grade. Students may take the iPad/Chromebook home with them to work collaboratively on group projects, or do web based research on their own. Learning is no longer confined to the hours of the school day; with today's technology, it can happen any hour of the day from anywhere.

    Ellicott Technology

    Frequently Asked Questions by Parents

    What will be provided to my student?

    Every middle student will be assigned an iPad or Chromebook for their use along with a protective case, and charger.

    Why iPads?

    The opportunity was part of the 2013-2014 Best Grant school construction project; a portion of the contingency funds were made available for this awesome 21st century technology opportunity for our students. The EMS iPad Steering Committee regularly meets to address issues and next steps.

    Some of the specific requirements that were met by the iPad and considered by the committee included:

    • Long battery life (the iPad can make it through a full day of school on a single charge)
    • Robust accessibility features to support students with special needs
    • Ease of use and low need for technical support
    • Access to video and audio recording tools for projects
    • Ease of access to mail, calendar and web
    • Preferred format for screen based reading

    Why Chromebooks?

    Following extensive research and the success of a pilot program at the High School. EMS voted to take advantage of the new and emerging technology of the Google Chromebook. Its mass adoption into post graduation environments will give our students an edge over others by building skills and knowledge that will serve them in the workplace and college.

    Why do we still provide access to labs?

    While the iPad/Chromebook can meet many of the day to day needs for student and teacher learning tasks, there are times when a Microsoft computing environment is needed. In addition, as state requirements for online assessments are being developed, the availability of a dedicated lab environment still makes sense. Finally, our move to a 1:1 environment where each student is assigned a device will require adjustment and shifts in how we do our work. For all of these reasons, it seemed prudent to continue to refresh labs for the foreseeable future.

    As we move forward, we will continue to assess the need for dedicated labs in each school and adjust the technology planning accordingly.

    How will this impact my student’s learning experiences?

    The Ellicott Technology Plan (ETP) provides extended access to digital tools that help students investigate, communicate, collaborate, create, model, and explore concepts and content in authentic contexts.

    In parallel with the ETP device decisions, the next phases are: exploring a transition to digital resources and focus on 21st century skills. In addition, each school is actively planning for the incorporation of technology into their core programs.

    What rules or expectations will be set for my child?

    The Student and Parent Internet Use Agreement expectations outline the behaviors expected of users as well as the commitment your school and the district make to ensure success. In addition, more specific rules may be set by schools and classroom teachers which will be communicated to you.

    Can my student use a personally owned device instead?

    No, bring your own device (BYOD) is not an option provided at this time. The decision not to adopt a BYOD devices was based on network device management limitations, for security and safety reasons.

    Can I restrict what my student does?

    Yes, you can restrict your child’s access at home using your internet service provider’s parental controls. In compliance Child’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), Ellicott Middle School will control and limit access through our district content filter and remove access to the itune and google store. Students will only have access to the apps that we centrally assign to the device. We realize that you may wish to place further limits on the types of allowed use and want to encourage you to do so. We believe that this device should align with your family values and the best way to do that is to work together as partners in these decisions. Please note that students have the ability to reset their devices. When a device is reset, parental restrictions may be removed, but district restrictions will remain in place. It would be a good idea to check in with your students regularly to ensure settings meet parental expectations.

    Can I opt out of the program?

    A family has the option to request that nightly secured storage be made available for the device at school so it does not go home. For requests beyond this, please speak to your school administrator.

    Is there any research backing the program?

    Several excellent examples of using tablets/chromebooks to support instruction are available including information from Project Red, which we are using to guide many of our implementation decisions. 

    Are there any low cost options for home Internet access?

    Depending on your location your available internet providers can vary greatly. Due to that we cannot recommend any actual providers but we can recommend some questions of benefit. You will need to do your own research in that area.

    • Does your service provide any sort of virus protection?
    • Does your service provide any sort of content filtering?
    • Does your service provide any sort of Military or low income discounts?
    • Does your service provide any free online backup or storage?
    • It does help to contact your service provider once a year usually around Christmas(usually the best deals) and see if they have any sort or special pricing you can take advantage of. 99% of the time they do and that simple call can save you a bit of money throughout the year.