Upper Arlington schools will begin the final phase of a technology push this weekend that will outfit all students with computer devices.

Upper Arlington schools will begin the final phase of a technology push this weekend that will outfit all students with computer devices.

Last December, the district launched a "One-to-One" technology initiative to provide all of the approximately 3,200 students in the middle schools and at Upper Arlington High School with MacBook Air computers in an effort to enhance more personalized education and to maximize time and resources to support individual student success.

Beginning Friday, Aug. 19, that program will be extended to K-5 students.

The district has scheduled what it calls "Elementary Device Distribution" Aug. 19, 20, 26 and 27 at Hastings Middle School. Kindergartners will receive iPad Air 2 tablets after the start of school. Registration for the Aug. 19 and 20 distribution events are filled, but parents of students in grades 1-5 can register for their children to receive devices Aug. 26 and 27 through the district's website at www.uaschools.org.

At the distributions, students in first and second grades will receive iPad Air 2 devices, and third-graders will be given iPad Pros with keyboards.

Fourth- and fifth-graders will be outfitted with MacBook Air laptop computers with built-in keyboards.

"We believe strongly in providing a personalized learning experience for all of our students," Superintendent Paul Imhoff said. "One-to-one technology is an amazing tool to help our teachers meet the needs of every student at their own level."

Students pay a $50 annual fee for the devices, which the district is purchasing from Apple. It spent $750,000 to provide 3,200 middle school and high school students with their devices.

The district also purchased 2,040 computer tablets and 955 laptops to K-5 students at a cost of $524,500.

District Treasurer Andrew Geistfeld said the equipment will be paid for by reallocating a portion of annual permanent improvement tax revenue, as well as funds set aside each year to pay for textbooks and professional development.

According to teachers in classrooms where the One-to-One initiative was introduced last school year, the devices offer new ways for students and teachers to access information and share work being done on assignments.

"Once we received devices in the middle school, teachers were able do so many different things to increase students learning," said Lauren Piunno, an algebra teacher at Hastings. "Devices have made it possible to show students things that we couldn't before. It has given students the ability to explore concepts and discover things on their own.

"They now have the ability to create projects and demonstrate what they know in many ways. What I have observed is the students are very engaged with the devices, and I love how it is helping them to prepare for their future in this technology-hungry world."

Katie Coplin, a second- and third-grade teacher at Wickliffe Elementary, is a building "iCoach." Her classrooms began using devices last year as part of a "field test" for lower grade levels.

Coplin said the integration of devices into her classroom was "a very positive experience."

Coplin said the devices don't completely replace traditional teaching and learning methods, such as the use of books and blackboards, but do give students options to choose how they want to read or complete assignments.

She added that while students might choose to complete art projects using traditional materials such as paper and pencils, they also learn how to create works via the tablets, which helps better prepare them for jobs in the global marketplace.

"The whole point of going One-to-One is about the learning opportunities that are created when a tool is available," Coplin said. "These iPads don't replace good teaching, but they help to enhance the teaching and learning that's already happening. The tool opens up the whole world and you can find facts instantaneously.

"What's really great about these devices is students learn from each other. They're a collaboration tool and there are apps. So, when kids create a document, they can share it with each other and work on it together, or they can share that with me and I can provide pretty quick comments and suggestions."

nellis@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNate