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Darlington County students get iPads

December 1, 2017 GMT

DARLINGTON, S.C. – Every student in Darlington County schools now has a personal computing device.

District staff members passed out 328 iPads to students at St. John’s Elementary School on Thursday morning. This completes the district’s one-to-one technology initiative.

Diane Sigmon, director of technology for the district, said giving students digital tools will help them become better critical thinkers.

“There’s just so much available from an information perspective that we had no idea that we could tap in the classroom,” Sigmon said.

Bill Boyd, the district’s acting superintendent, said technological devices will not replace teachers.

“The board does not want this to be the primary teaching source,” Boyd said. “This will certainly be another resource to help us as we instruct, but it will not be the primary instructional piece.”

Boyd said devices could be an equalizer for students. Students from all backgrounds will have the same access to information on devices.

“This will help our students to be in touch with the world,” Boyd said. “It will help our students to upgrade their skills when it comes to their online testing, so we are just excited.”

The district saw a decline in test scores after moving to online testing. Boyd said that students are at a disadvantage when they are unfamiliar with technological devices. He said he is hopeful that going one-to-one will increase students’ familiarity with technology and improve test scores.

The district has distributed more than 10,000 iPads and MacBooks to students, and every teacher has an iPad and a MacBook.

The push to one-to-one began in 2011, and the district achieved its goal of being completely one-to-one by the 2017-18 school year. Every student from grades 4K to 12 has a personal computing device.

Sigmon said Apple products were an appealing choice because of their ease of use.