DALLAS - Starting this week, Dallas ISD is distributing 60,000 iPads, laptops and hotspots to elementary school students so they’re ready for the first day of virtual learning.
It’s been a massive undertaking for the district.
District employees and extra contract workers are pulling extended hours to get it all done. They’re confident they can get this technology into the hands of students and get them all up and running in time.
Boxes of iPads arrived at Dallas ISD partner school Mi Escuelita in Cockrell Hill. On Friday, the pre-kinder students there will be among the first to receive clear backpacks with all the technology needed for virtual learning.
iPads with a stylus crayon will go for students in pre-K through second grade. Chromebooks will go to third through fifth-grade students.
Sean Brinkman is the assistant superintendent for information technology services. He says if a student was already enrolled in a DISD school, parents don’t need to do anything additionally. There will be a device assigned to that child and new students as well. The district is aiming to make it as user friendly as possible.
“We’ll configure them and, in theory, all of the district applications that we are going to be using will already be pushed out to the device,” Brinkman explained. “He should be able to turn on the device, click an app and get to his learning resources with minimal intervention.”
That kind of set up means lots of tech hours.
Dallas ISD is covering the $20 million tech investment with general operating and 2015 bond funds as well as support from its educational foundation and community partners.
In April, the district equipped its middle and high school students with devices. Now, they’re building on lessons learned and cramming a year’s worth of work into a matter of weeks with school beginning both in-person and online Sept 8.
“It really is a massive undertaking for Dallas ISD. It’s unprecedented to distribute this many devices to students in such a short amount of time,” Brinkman said. “I’m super confident that we are going to be able to pull this off.”
When it comes to pickup, parents will need to fill out a form to accept the technology. That’s something they can do on their phone. Then they’ll go to their school on a specific day and certain grades at certain times.
There are windows available for walk-ups as well.