Moffat County School District flips more than 600 iPads into personal learning devices
When the Moffat County School District shut down, Vicki Haddan and her crew of Heather Higgins and John Meinhart had to get going.
It hasn’t stopped since then.
“We have parents coming in every day with kids,” Haddan said. “We have 2,000 devices out there. It’s not going to be perfect every day.”
It’s been that way in every IT department, for sure, as employees moved to working at home, learning how to shut off Zoom when they go to the bathroom and needing help when something breaks down. But the technology department at the school district got themselves bunches of new clients to go along with an already demanding core of parents and students when the virus hit.
The department had to get iPads to all students in grades 1-4 once the news broke that students would be home.
That’s more than 600 iPads, and they essentially had 48 hours to do it.
“We’d been planning it for three weeks,” Haddan said. “We knew it was a possibility.”
Sure, but the problem was grades 1-4 share 10 iPads in a classroom. It’s not worth it yet for kids that age to have an individual iPad.
“Research just shows it doesn’t have the benefit for kids until the fifth grade,” Haddan said. “They do get great gains from it, but they just don’t need it all the time.”
That obviously wouldn’t work for a quarantine. Once the technology department had the iPads, getting them by piecemeal, such as taking them from staff members and physical education teachers around the district, they had to load each one of them with the right apps and clean them up for each student.
“I can tell you, we were hustling,” Haddan said and laughed. “I have an amazing crew though. If we need to get something done, man, we can get it done.”
Haddan doesn’t know how many hours they worked in a day — it was kind of a blur — but she told her staff to be patient with the parents rather than expect patience. They, after all, were facing a tough situation too.
“I told them to offer the parents a lot of grace,” Haddan said. “They were going to need it. We didn’t get all of it right either. Some of the iPads had the wrong apps on them.”
That’s why Haddan didn’t mind the extra visits every day during the virus lockdown.
The department will collect the iPads from students and look to next fall, when the district will eventually have to make a decision as to whether to stay at home or go back in the fall.
Haddan isn’t sure what will happen. But she knows she and her department will be ready.
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