Digital Learning Device Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


    1:1 Devices - General Questions
    The purpose of this section is to collect some commonly asked questions that deal more with the "what", the general facts related to our 1:1 device deployment.  


    Which grade levels are currently participating in the 1:1 device deployment?

    6th through 12th grade are 1:1.  This means that they get to take the devices home.

    K-5th grade devices are kept at school in carts, with enough devices to have 1 per student.

    Online students keep their assigned device at home.


    What specific devices are students using?

    K-8th grade students use an Apple iPad.  The specific model (currently a range of 5th through 8th gen) varies by grade level.

    9th-12th grade students use a MacBook Air. The specific model (currently a range of the 2018 through 2021 M1 model) varies by grade level.


    Where can I find information about digital learning device roll-outs (distribiution) and roll-ins (returns)?

    Those schedules can be found here.


    Will the devices have cases?

    The iPad uses a plastic and case usually with a rubberized shell and screen protector.  MacBooks do not have a case but all students are issued a protective sleeve-style case to protect the MacBook when carried in a bookbag or left in a locker.


    Is Internet access filtered on these devices?

    Yes, there is filtering.  We use the Lightspeed Relay filter.  Filtering is never 100% effective and is a "best effort" practice, so we encourage families to impose whatever "house rules" make sense to manage device access and use within the home.


    Will students be able to access the App Store?

    We have set up a Shakopee App Store, shown on the device as Self Service.  Within the Self Service area users will find a selection of apps that have been specifically chosen for their grade level or subject area. 


    Do students need an Apple ID account?

    Students are set up with an enterprise (school-managed) Apple ID.  This facilitates having an Apple Classroom account for each student so that staff can use Apple Classroom (particularly on iPads).  It also allows devices to back up data to iCloud, which can be useful in the event that a device needs to be replaced due to damage or defect.  The account does not work on the app store or and sort of ecommerce and does not support instant messaging through iMessage.  

    What does the insurance plan cover?  

    Specifics can be found in the Digital Device Agreement.  Generally, accidental damage and theft are covered; damaged or lost accessories such as any cables, chargers, or cases are not. Removing the iPad from the case voids the insurance.


    How much does insurance cost?

    Fees for 2021-2022 will be: $20 for iPad and $50 for MacBook.  This is an annual cost.  We allow the MacBook insurance to be paid in multiple installments.  Students with financial hardship or who qualify for free or reduced lunch may request a waiver of the insurance fee.  


    What are the replacement costs for commonly lost or damaged items?

    Typical costs are as follows (list below)

    2021-2022 Prices:

    • iPad charging cord: $20
    • iPad charging brick: $20
    • iPad case: $35
    • MacBook charging brick: $70
    • MacBook bag: $25
    • iPad Full replacement: $290
    • MacBook Full replacement: $900
    • iPad Repair: Varies - Estimates provided upon request.
    • MacBook repair: Varies, estimates provided upon request.
    Replacement costs will vary based on actual age of the device; the totals above are the highest possible cost. 

    Do students get brand new devices each year?

    No.  New devices are deployed at 2nd grade (iPad), 6th grade (iPad) and 9th grade (MacBook).  Our anticipated use/replacement cycle is 3-4 years for the iPads and 4 years for the MacBooks.  Kindergarten iPads are currently on a 5-year replacement cycle with those devices cycling back and forth between K and 1st grade.

    Our process at this point is to try to keep a device with the same student as much as possible.


    What if we do not have wi-fi access at home?

    Families can apply for a mi-fi device, which provides Internet access via cellular service.  If you qualify for such a device, there will not be a charge for it.  Please contact your school office, counselor, or an equity team member to get a form to request a mi-fi device.


    Can we buy the device when a student graduates?

    Unfortunately, no.  District policy (see Board Policy 802) and state law prevent us from selling a device directly to anyone.  Devices will be disposed of in 1 of 3 ways: Any large batch will be sold through a  competetive bid process.  Small batches may be sold at auction (think eBay, for example). Occasionally, devices that are beyond repair or not viable for auction will simply be recycled.


    How is tech handled for PSEO students?

    District provided Macbook is supported for use within the Shakopee School District for curriculum.  When provided device is used for Post Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) at approved colleges Shakopee Technology staff will provide best effort support. Due to colleges network and curriculum design / requirements a District managed Macbook may not work as desired.  This could include printing, web pages, and applications.




  • 1:1 Devices - Technical Questions
    The purpose of this section is to collect some commonly asked questions that deal more with the "how", or tips and info for technical issues related to our 1:1 device deployment.  

    Can students print at home?

    Usually, yes.  There is a program on the MacBooks called Self Service, which houses our software and print drivers.  Start self service.  Go to the Printers section (listed on right side of window).  Install one of the “generic” print drivers for the brand of printer you have at home.  We don’t have a generic driver for every brand, but most major brands are covered.

    AFTER the driver is installed, you can attempt to connect to a home printer.  Please note that this is not guaranteed to work, but there is no way we can support every possible printer that might be at home.




    Where can I get technical help?
    Please visit our tech support contacts for help options.

  • 1:1 Device Policy Questions

    The purpose of this sextion is to collect some commonly asked questions that deal more with the "why" or the rationale for certain policy choices related to our 1:1 device deployment.  
    Why can’t students use their own device?
    There are several reasons for this, which can be broken down into a few areas:
    Curriculum: Requiring that all students have the same or comparable devices ensures that the curriculum we put in place will work with the device. Committees met several years ago to assess various hardware (PCs, Chromebooks, iPads, & MacBooks) and made decisions about which devices would best fit the needs we would have moving forward. For more specifics on this, see the question “Why iPads and MacBooks” below.
    Management: District devices are all centrally maintained through management software. This enables us to:
    • provide software directly to the devices 
    • ensure that the software being provided is properly licensed and is the expected version
    • utilize tools for locating or disabling lost devices
    • maintain device inventory 
    Equity: A common standard of devices provides a consistent experience for all of our students regardless of their background.

    Why iPads and MacBooks?
    Let’s start with MacBooks. These are used from grades 9-12. The curriculum includes a number of classes that use products such as Adobe digital design software (Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Lightroom, etc.). Other software is comparable on Mac and PC platforms, such as Microsoft Office, Google Apps, and programs related to assessment. PCs with comparable technical specifications (such as power, battery life, weight) can end up costing just as much as a MacBook. Chromebooks were also considered, and while they are less expensive they do not tend to hold up as well over time and would only handle a fraction of the software we use daily throughout the curriculum.
    iPads are used in grades K-8 (and also show up in early childhood classrooms). The choice of iPads basically comes down to the wide variety of apps available and the ability to establish a common set of apps that fit the curriculum wile also being able to acquire apps for specific needs. An example would be GarageBand for music classes. The iPads have a reasonable price point, can make it through a school day when fully charged, and satisfy the majority of our curriculum-related needs.
    For what we are doing in the district, the iPads and MacBooks meet the majority of our day to day curriculum needs. Still, we do maintain smaller fleets of PCs and Chromebooks for some specific needs where they may be better suited.
    PCs: The majority of student contact with PCs occurs in classrooms using the Project Lead the Way curriculum. This program uses a highly specific set of software that is currently written primarily (but not exclusively) for PCs running Windows. It is likely that a larger portion of the Project Lead the Way curriculum will be available for MacBooks over the next few years, so the number of PCs in the district will start to decline as that happens.
    Chromebooks: Chromebooks are fairly inexpensive and are a convenient device for word processing, typing practice, certain web-based activities, and standardized assessments. We will maintain a small fleet of Chromebooks for those purposes mostly throughout the K-8 buildings.
    Why would I want to pay the insurance fee?
    We set the insurance rates at a level that is designed to be reasonable and allow for all of the breakage and loss that occurs during the year to be covered.  The district isn't making money off of the insurance fee; we try to set the rate so that we are as close to break-even as possible.  It is 10-15% cheaper than third party coverage.  We are occasionally asked about coverage through homeowner's insurance; that is dependent on individual policies but something to keep in mind with that is the deductible; that can vary as well but can often be more than the cost of replacing or repairing the device anyway.  Another option we are asked about is personal AppleCare coverage; this is costlier up front and would require families to handle repairs themselves through an Apple store.  All things considered, the insurance fee is not a bad deal and provides some peace of mind.
    Can students buy their own software and install it / Do we support installations beyond the regular curriculum software?

    The short answer is no.  What we have pre-installed and available in self service is what we support.  Occasionally, the district will choose to make an accommodation or exception for a student based on a need identified through an IEP, due to a CAPS requirement, or as a result of a teacher recommendation.