BY MICHAEL OLOHAN
OF NORTHERN VALLEY PRESS
ENGLEWOOD, N.J. –– Thousands of new laptops – and other new technological support – will soon be available in classrooms throughout Englewood as part of the city’s new $3.6 million five-year partnership with Apple that runs through 2023.
Englewood Superintendent Robert Kravitz told Northern Valley Press Jan. 9 that the district hopes to have hundreds of new computers including Macbook Air laptops, iPads, Apple TVs and other computer equipment distributed throughout the district by Jan. 31.
Previously, nearly 3,000 students in the district shared approximately 700 computers, he said.
The new laptops will be used for students to take annual PARCC, or Partnership for Assessments of Readiness for Careers and College, exams and they will be able to study and do research using their own computer, he said.
The new five-year agreement with Apple will benefit students in all grades, and hopefully lead to a “culture change,” said Kravitz.
Approximately 3,000 MacBook Airs and 550 iPads will be handed out, he said. He said the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes will use iPads, and other grades will get laptops.
Kravitz said having the computers in the hands of students in every grade “will give them an opportunity to try them and help them develop some independent skills.
“The (partnership) provides ongoing training for the teachers and students,” said Kravitz. “We want to offer the best and most opportunities with the best resources. When we look at this, what we’re doing is we want to create the opportunities for success for all our students,” he said.
Kravitz said some high school students will learn how to repair the Apple devices from AppleCare staff and they may eventually be able to repair the laptops and use their new skills to secure a future career in technology.
“Everybody knows that in this district the time to do this was now. It’s just a matter of how people accept it. Either way we’re going to help you. That goes back to the culture change we’re making here. We’re going to make it happen,” he said.
The $3.6 million tab includes $2.9 million for Apple devices including MacBook Air laptops, iPads, Apple TVs, plus a partnership with Apple to open a “Genius Bar” at Dwight Morrow High School for students and city residents. He said the district spent approximately $1 million to upgrade its digital infrastructure.
Initially students will not be able to take the devices home, but that day may come in the future, Kravitz said. The first step is to integrate the laptops and iPads into daily educational lessons.
“This is brand new. It’s not just a rollout of technology but slowly these devices will help drive the change in our educational model as students and teachers learn how to utilize the technology to access learning and other opportunities,” he said.