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iPads multiply in SUHSD Robert Moreno | Sat, Oct 26 2013 12:00 PM

The Sweetwater Union High School District started the 2013-14 school year with more iPads than the previous year.

About 13,000 iPads were assigned to students and faculty this school year, which is nearly double the 6,690 iPads issued last year.

Of those 6,690 iPads, 30 were lost, 64 were reported stolen and 30 were deemed as having a manufacturer defect, according to district figures.

The district reported that 279 iPads were returned but damaged. How many iPads were repairable is not known.

Director of Grants and Communications Manny Rubio said cracked screens are the most common type of damage that is reported.

Rubio said determining if an iPad is lost or stolen is a tough task.

A student who lost or had an iPad stolen is questioned about the iPad, then the district makes a judgment call in deciding whether the device was lost or stolen.

Overall, however, students have been careful with the devices.

“The kids in the district have been pretty responsible with them,” Rubio said.

The 2012-13 school year was the first of a six-year plan for iPad implementation across the district.

“Our hope is to roll out a program similar to this in  the high schools,” Rubio said.

Last year, all seventh-graders and their teachers were assigned 16-gigabyte iPads, this year iPads were given to every seventh and eighth grader and their teachers.

Rubio said because Granger Junior High School in National City is the only seventh- through ninth-grade school in the district, those ninth-graders also received iPads.

Just like textbooks, every iPad has a barcode attached to it that traces it back to the student.  Rubio said if an iPad is not accounted for or  is broken, the student is held liable for it.

The Sweetwater District works with Absolute Software for iPad theft recovery. The software corporation provides endpoint security and management solutions for an array of electronic devices.

The district also works with law enforcement to help recover any stolen iPads.

Rubio said he does not know the cost for the district to use Absolute Software.

The school district adopted the iPads program because it wants its students to learn technological skills of the present and future.

“We want our kids learning 21st century skills,” he said.

He also said the district is catching up with technology.

Rubio said it would be ideal for the district to ditch textbooks altogether in favor of the iPads, but he said that’s not happening anytime soon.

iPad implementation has been a success, Rubio said.

“It’s been a great program so far, and we’re looking forward to continuing it,” he said.

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