CONWAY — New iPads were distributed to all Horry County Schools middle school teachers earlier this month as the first step in the district’s Personalized Digital Learning Initiative, which will provide a digital device to every student in third through 12th grades over the next three years.
The district ordered about 10,000 iPads with retina display for the middle school rollout, which begins for students in January. The new version of the device will replace other iPads - mainly iPad 2s - that previously have been in use.
Setup for the devices is taking a lot of manpower, as each has to be set individually, said Charles Hucks, HCS executive director of technology, at the Horry County school board’s last meeting. More than 100 students from ITT Technical Institute will assist with the iPads and gain their required community service hours.
Each iPad must have an iTunes account, which can be obtained by children 13 and older, but two-thirds of middle-schoolers are younger than 13 and will require parental consent, Hucks said. The district is working with Apple on a new capability that will facilitate obtaining permission from parents.
Hucks said L.A. Unified, the country’s second-largest school district, recently rolled out around 12,000 iPads in the first phase of its digital initiative, and there already have been multiple reports of hacking. The devices weren’t hacked, Hucks said, but they were reset, which removed the protections that had been installed.
“As of today, there is no way to prevent someone from resetting the device - it’s meant for personal use,” said Hucks, adding this is going to happen at some point during the district’s rollout. “The students were mischievous enough to do something they weren’t supposed to. ... If they do those things, we will know they did it, but we can’t keep them from doing it.”
Students will be required to take a citizenship course before receiving the device, and Hucks said warnings will be issued to tell students and parents that resetting the devices will be treated as an undesirable activity by the district and will be punished accordingly.
Contact VICKI GROOMS at 443-2401 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_VickiGrooms.