One of the district’s principals, Jeff Reiche, said that some of his days are spent on iPad repairs only. The district spent about $870,000 for the devices, and distributed more than 1,000 of them to students.Students and teachers in Wausau, WI school district may have access to a large amount of iPads in their classrooms, but what’s catching many people’s attention is not the learning benefit that the iPads bring to the classroom, but rather the cost of repairing them when they break. The Wisconsin schools recently started their new semesters, and if last year was any indication, the district can expect about 20 percent or more of its iPads to break by the end of the term.
At Reiche’s school, more than 135 iPads were handed out to students. Of those, 25 needed repairs. As many consumers know, Apple products are expensive to repair. Apple itself doesn’t actually perform repairs, which leaves third-party businesses with lots work to do. The school reported a typical screen replacement for an iPad costs $275, and so they started requiring parents to pay into an insurance program. Parents pay $34 per school year at a special group rate. Since the iPads go home with some students, some parents homeowners insurance comes into play.
While the repairs and the costs are occupying the administrators time and efforts, most of them say that the bill is worth it.
“Without a doubt, students are more engaged,” Reiche said. The tablets tend to keep students interested in work, even at the end of the year when students are “checked out.”
“The iPad is a tool, not a teaching strategy,” said Tera Fieri, a Wausau science teacher. “The use of technology has to work as part of the teaching strategy.”
The district may also wish to add to Fieri’s words and inform students that the iPad is not a toy. Kids will be kids, and things will be broken or damaged. But as iPads and other iDevices begin to factor more into education, maybe we’ll see students exercise more caution with their Apple devices.
If you are one of those administrators or educators , you have multiple options instead of paying for the repairs. Protect IT protection plan is a great resource for saving money and can be tailored to school districts and educators.