While policies govern the overall technology program in APS, Discovery Elementary School is unique, as is any school. This page describes how technology is used at Discovery. (Please note that this information does not pertain to emergency online learning situations, such as the pandemic of 2020-2021.)

Grades PK-2

Students in Grades PK through 2 have access to classroom sets of iPads through their teachers. These devices are exclusively used for instruction, and only with direct teacher supervision.

In an internal action research study conducted in April of 2017 and confirmed in the Spring of 2019, students in early grades use an iPad for instruction an average of 14 minutes total for the day, on days when the iPads are in use. iPads are used on average of 2.7 days per week across this age range. Students in Grade 2 use the devices in a range between 10 minutes per day three times a week to 40 minutes a day four times a week, depending on the learning activity at hand. Students in Grades K-1 use the devices far less.

It is essential in the 21st century that children have the opportunity to utilize devices that will be ubiquitous in their futures under appropriate, supervised, educational conditions. Additionally, students are able to experience individualized and immediate response and feedback from the few apps that we use, which have been hand-selected for educational value, developmental appropriateness, and safety, including a “zero-tolerance” policy for marketing that is in place at Discovery.

They are not issued to students, and are kept in the classroom, for use in educational technology-integrated lessons designed by the teacher, often in concert with the educational technology administrator, who coaches staff on best- and research-based practices in effective, developmentally-appropriate uses of these devices for learning. Students are not permitted to use these devices simply “to play around.” Their use in the classroom is circumscribed and intentional. Please visit the Parent Media Academy to learn more about this.

Grades 3-5

Students in Grade 3 at each school in the Arlington Public Schools are issued an APS-owned, APS-issued iPad. This is referred to colloquially as a “1:1 program,” pronounced “one-to-one.”

In an internal action research student conducted in January and February of 2016-17, on average, these devices are used for instruction an average of 90 minutes each day, across upper grade levels. This research was confirmed as consistent in 2019. Students in Grade 4, for example, use the devices between 45 and 90 minutes per day, most days. They are not used every minute of the day, nor are they allowed to be used, by policy, during:

  • Lunch, to promote prosocial interaction
  • Recess, to promote free physical play
  • Extended Day, unless specifically granted permission by the teacher and the family to use the device for an academic purpose in a supervised setting (Please see Extended Day below)
  • Reading for pleasure, which must be done using a physical book, as recent research↗ indicates that while many students prefer e-readers, many students’ comprehension performance in non-article text is slightly better on physical paper

The iPads issued are purchased, owned, managed, and maintained by the APS Department of Information Services↗.