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The Perfect Pandemic Pupil Device (That's also great anytime)

The Perfect Pandemic Pupil Device (That's also great anytime)

2020 is finally over! Teachers and administrators deserve unending praise from parents, students, and their local communities for making the year as normal as possible. Thank you!

From a technology perspective, this has been a year for all students to give distance learning a trial run. As schools made sure their students were able to continue their education from home, schools were purchasing technology devices of all types, from hotspots to Chromebooks. 

So, what is the best device for students to use for both in-person and remote learning?

Back in 2016, the U.S. Department of Education released its first major update to the National Education Technology Plan (NETP). The second page of that plan had a graphic that stated the NETP is “Making Possible…Everywhere, All-the-Time Learning.”

If a school truly wants to provide students with devices that make everywhere, all-the-time learning possible, it would be ideal to purchase devices that can connect to the internet from anywhere, without additional hardware.

One option to meet this goal is an iPad with a cellular antenna built in. It raises the price from the standard iPad by $130, but it provides school districts flexibility, especially for those students who do not have internet at home. NOTE: If the school sells the device back in three years, the buyback price is $120 vs. the standard $100.

What sets a cellular iPad apart from other devices:

  • The cellular antenna makes a hotspot unnecessary.
  • Its lightweight design, just over one pound (without a case), allows the student to tuck it under an arm or put it in a backpack.
  • Its rear camera allows students to record events around them. Great for science lessons or to record a partner in a group lesson.
  • Besides having a browser to take advantage of Google Apps, there are thousands of educational apps that can be downloaded.
  • While using many downloaded apps, an internet connection is not required.
  • A touchscreen allows students to draw on the devices with their fingers or optional styluses.
  • An accelerometer allows the screen to rotate from landscape to portrait. Portrait is great for reading books.
  • An optional keyboard cases can be purchased or Bluetooth keyboards can be connected.

So, if you want to have the flexibility to provide students with devices that would allow them to learn from anywhere, consider purchasing iPads with cellular antennas. 

As always, if you need any help with technology or just want to brainstorm ideas, reach out to the OPSRC tech team at

Kurt Bernhardt

Director, Technology

Kurt serves as OPSRC's technology director.

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