Horry County Schools to begin first phase of digital initiative with iPad distribution

vgrooms@thesunnews.comJanuary 3, 2014 

Myrtle Beach Middle School students will receive iPads Monday as part of Horry County Schools' personalized digital learning initiative.

VICKI GROOMS

Horry County Schools will launch its personalized digital learning initiative Monday by distributing iPads to students at Myrtle Beach Middle School.

The initiative will put a digital device in the hands of each student in grades three through 12 over three years and is starting with grades six through eight. Distribution will continue at the district’s other middle schools throughout the month as follows: Aynor, Jan. 22; Black Water, Jan. 21; Conway, Thursday; Forestbrook, Jan. 13-14; Green Sea Floyds, Jan. 27; Loris, Tuesday; North Myrtle Beach, Jan. 15; Ocean Bay, Jan. 23; and St. James, Jan. 10.

Each school’s distribution method may differ, but Myrtle Beach students will get their devices by grade level, beginning with the eighth grade, said Ashley Gasperson, HCS coordinator of digital communications. Teachers will have an instructional video that will guide them and the students through the set-up process, which Gasperson said isn’t difficult, but each student will have to input their information to personalize their device.

The iPads will come with Gumdrop cases, which school officials say are used in most schools, and students will be required to complete a digital citizenship course to help them understand the responsibilities that come with their devices. Students must have signed permission forms from their parents, which allow them to receive a device and to be set up with the necessary online accounts, before they will be given an iPad.

The district’s technology staff will be on hand at each distribution to help teachers and students, Gasperson said, but the instructional video will be available to help students who are absent on distribution day or who enroll late to set up their iPads.

The rollout will continue next year for grades four, five and nine, and for grades three, 10, 11 and 12 in the third year. HCS Superintendent Cindy Elsberry said the devices will allow students to use digital content to actually produce work - such as presentations, brochures and documents - that looks similar to what is found in the real world and to work independently on their own level, but also to create a more dynamic classroom for learning how to problem-solve, collaborate and communicate.

Contact VICKI GROOMS at 443-2401 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_VickiGrooms.

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