Athens City Schools will soon be upgrading the technology used by teachers and students throughout the system.
The Athens City Schools Board of Education passed a resolution during its meeting Thursday to acquire new equipment for the system as part of the Power UP program.
According to Melanie Barkley, the technology coordinator and secondary curriculum coordinator for ACS, the system is looking to upgrade its technology by replacing old MacBooks used by students and teachers with new iPads. Teachers will get new Macs, along with the new tablets, to have more flexibility.
“We have had the Power UP program for almost seven years now,” Barkley said. “Because of that, we have been able to buy certain grade-level devices, but we haven’t had a full refresh.”
Barkley said some of the older devices cost so much to repair now that it outweighs their value. She said the school system’s goal is to provide new iPads for every student, pre-K through 12th grade.
“Previously, sixth through 12th grade students have had Macs,” she said. “To be honest, Apple has increased the cost, and they no longer make the 11-inch Macs we provided our students with originally. Because of that, we felt the best option is to go to the newer iPads.”
Barkley said another benefit of switching to tablets rather than laptops is more opportunity for “creativity and innovation.” She said the school system will retain some Macbooks for certain classes.
“You can write and type on (the iPads),” she said. “They come with a keyboard and a case. For cost value for what you are getting, the difference is enormous.”
ACS is working on upgrading devices used by teachers and will move on to student laptops afterward.
The school board voted June 11 to deem the Macbooks that are being phased out as surplus and sell them.
Teachers in the system will have the chance to buy their old Macbooks before the sale is opened to the public.
“It will take us a few weeks to prep them,” Barkley said. “We have a lot of software that we license through the school system that we have to remove. What you will get is a clean device, as if you bought it at the Apple store.”
She said the system will advertise when it is ready for the sale, which could be as soon as mid-July.