There are many reasons why Kimball Union has chosen to adopt a universal laptop program. First and foremost we want our students to be equipped with the technological academic skills that will ensure their success in college and beyond. Offering tools that will allow both access to technology and the complementary academic innovation accompanying it facilitates learning and provides efficiencies within the entire educational program. As the need for content mastery becomes less significant, students must learn to navigate and evaluate the tidal wave of information that is readily available to them at the push of a button. The opportunities for collaboration, itself a crucial skill, are strengthened by leveraging a common computer for students and faculty. In a purely practical application, uniformity of platform, invites teachers and students to make use of technology more readily. Less class time is taken in managing multiple computers — some in different languages, software, malware, etc. Additionally, this program allows tremendous efficiencies in the support of technology within our program. The Technology Department is able to concentrate more attention on training and the development of innovation, versus trouble shooting and problem solving issues that could be rendered moot.
No. While the technology may be equivalent from a hardware perspective, there is a difference in terms of ownership and control, and therefore integration within the KUA network. When considering a school-wide initiative like this, there are efficiencies and benefits achieved by KUA owning and controlling all computers on the Network. A standard image can be created and deployed to all computers. All computers can be managed to provide the greatest access to network resources (network storage volumes, printers, library resources) and to ensure a safe and productive academic computing environment. The student-owned computer presents a number of obstacles in configuration for true network integration (not standard image), falls outside of the ownership and therefore control of maintenance of the asset, and cannot be considered a “KUA computer” from a software licensing perspective, thereby limiting licensing agreements with our software vendors. We are intentionally moving away from a model where student-owned computers limit the ability of teachers to leverage those assets within the classroom due to lack of control, maintenance and standardization across all aspects of academic computing.
It is important to the program that students feel as though these computers are their own, and we will allow students to store personal files and load their own applications to the computers. From a practical standpoint, however, these will be KUA computers, and KUA needs to maintain the ability to reimage a machine if necessary, so unfortunately that means a student could potentially lose personal files if they have not been backed up to another location. The same is actually true of student-owned computers that experience a failure, those files would be lost if not backed up regularly. The KUA Laptop Program will facilitate backups of student files. We currently have a network storage array in a RAID configuration for redundancy which is backed up daily to tape. Through the benefits of computing standardization, we will be able to facilitate access to a secure individually-assigned student folder on the network. Possible exceptions to the backup rule would be very large student iTunes music or movie libraries and photographs. We will advise students to back these up or maintain these on a student-owned external hard drive if they want to minimize the possibility of losing those during a maintenance event.
The decision to work with Apple on our Laptop Program was based upon the recommendation from the KUA Academic Council, as well as the KUA Department of Technology which found the platform to be a safer and more productive operating system for our academic needs. The software tools provided through the program will most easily allow teachers to foster a productive classroom computing environment, and the skills developed during their academic time at KUA will be transferrable to any computing platform in college and beyond.
Advancements in mobile technology are rapidly changing the nature of education. Students are able to remain connected to valuable digital resources within a single digital device which have previously required multiple resources (e.g. phone, camera, book, notepad, computer). Kimball Union is currently focused on leveraging these digital devices for the delivery of e-books to replace traditional bound textbooks. As of the 2014-15 academic year, courses which are designated as Freshman or Sophomore courses will utilize e-books, to be delivered on the iPad platform. As education continues to embrace greater adoption of electronic media, Kimball Union feels it is important to develop skills in navigating these flexible and dynamic resources. As an added incentive, we expect the KUA iPad Program to offset the cost of more expensive paper bound textbooks over the course of the student’s 4 years at the Academy.
The KUA iPad Program requires that each student in the program arrives with an iPad Retina (3rd generation) or later with a minimum of 32gb of storage. If the student intends to store larger photo, audio or video libraries on the iPad, in addition to the digital books and App content they will need for their coursework, a greater storage capacity may be beneficial for that student.
While developments in mobile technology have made great strides in providing real-world computing capability in mobile devices, like the iPad, Kimball Union feels that there is still significant value in the laptop form factor and the flexibility of a laptop configuration to work with a variety of input/output devices and for the creation of substantial digital content (e.g. research papers, digital video editing, scientific data collection and analysis). At the same time, Kimball Union recognizes the value and flexibility of the iPad platform for delivery of e-books, note taking, research and portability to enable students to access their academic content without having to also carry textbooks and computers to every class. The continuing development of mobile computing may ultimately provide all of the advantages in a single device, but at this time we see value in adopting both platforms to develop a broader range of technological fluency. As of the 2014-15 academic year, the iPad Program is required for all students enrolled in traditionally Freshman or Sophomore-level courses which utilize e-textbooks.
Kimball Union Academy | Meriden, New Hampshire 03770 | p: 603-469-2000 | f: 603-469-2040 |email@example.com