Middle School Bring Your Own iPad FAQ

The following information will help you understand more about our Middle School Bring Your Own iPad program. Please take a few moments to read through each response.

For more general information about TASIS technology use, please visit the Learning Technologies page. Additionally, all students are expected to follow our Technology Responsible Use Policy, which can be found in the Student Handbook

Why is TASIS requiring MS students to bring their own iPads?

We believe the iPad is powerful enough to handle most day-to-day student tasks at a fraction of the weight and size of a traditional laptop. Since most students are already familiar with iPads, there is a lower barrier to use, meaning less time spent teaching the technology and more time using it for core content learning. Additionally, we have found that most students already own iPads, making it easier to ensure every student has a similar computer while empowering students to learn how to manage their own devices.

Why iPads and not other tablets?

Currently, the iPad is the most reliable and powerful tablet on the market. The iPad’s app ecosystem is vast yet controlled, giving teachers and students access to a huge variety of educational, creative, and productivity apps without worrying about malware or unsavory content. With the introduction of iOS 9 multitasking and trackpad features, the iPad has greatly improved its utility as a productivity tool. Additionally, the TASIS WiFi network and app distribution system are optimized for Apple products, which means iPads will work well on campus.

Can students bring laptops instead of iPads?

Personal laptops are permitted, however we recommend students leave them at home due to their weight and bulk. In the case that a student brings a laptop to school, the student is still expected to have an iPad.

We do recognize that the iPad is not perfect for every computing task. To complement the iPads, Chromebooks are available in key areas of the MS campus. Students can log into them with their School-provided emails accounts to access the internet and all of their files in Google Drive.

We strongly encourage students to leave their laptops at home and use the Chromebooks when the iPad does not meet the needs of the task.

Can my student opt out of the iPad program?

TASIS believes the ability to use technology effectively is part of the modern student’s education and all students are expected to bring an iPad to school. If you have any concerns about your child’s participation in this program, we urge you to talk with our Pre-K to 8 Learning Technologies Coordinator or MS Academic Dean.

Will students be using computers every day, all day long? Don’t they need a break from technology?

While we believe that computers play an essential role in the modern learning experience, we do not see them as the only tools for learning. We want our teachers and students to find the most effective ways to use them, but we are not mandating iPads be used for every task. Paper, pencils, face-to-face conversations, and many other non-technological methods of learning and teaching are valuable and we encourage everyone to take a balanced approach to get the most out of their education.

Which iPads can students use?

Most iPads can be used successfully for learning. However, we do have suggestions (below) that will provide a smoother experience. For new iPad purchases, we highly recommend that families buy AppleCare+ (description in English, Italian), which reduces the repair fee for accidental damage. At this time, we discourage students from bringing iPads with 3G or 4G/LTE cellular access, or at least leave SIM cards at home. A cellular connection is typically slower than WiFi and cannot be filtered by the School’s firewall.

    • Suggested Models
      • iPad Air 2 or newer, 32GB or more storage
      • iPad Pro 9.7", 32GB or more storage
      • iPad Mini 4 or newer, 64GB or more storage
    • Acceptable Models
      • iPad 4th generation or newer
      • iPad Mini 2 or newer
      • iPad Pro 12.9"
    • Unsuitable Models
      • iPad 3rd generation or older
      • iPad Mini 1

How can we purchase a new iPad?

If you already own an iPad that meets the criteria for the "Suggested" or "Acceptable" lists in the section above, you do not need to purchase a new iPad.

If you do not own an iPad or your iPad is listed in the "Unsuitable" section above, you can purchase one online at apple.com, or visit an Apple retail store or other retailers like Manor or MediaMarkt. You can also take advantage of Data Quest's English Education Web Shop, which offers discounts on a wide variety of products, as well as providing the option of buying Apple laptops or keyboards with U.S. or British keyboard layouts. You may be able to find discounts at non-Apple retailers, especially on non-current models. The list below shows Apple's starting prices for the different models.

iPad Mini 4 CHF 479
iPad CHF 389
iPad Pro 9.7" CHF 679
iPad Pro 12.9" CHF 899  

What accessories should we have?

The only accessory we strongly recommend is a case that covers the front and back of the iPad for protective purposes. We have noticed that some students benefit from typing on a physical keyboard, so we recommend determining if this is a good option. Below are common accessory types, including a few notes on each.

  • Cases: These come in a huge variety of styles and colors. We commonly see students with a portfolio style case that provides a minimum amount of protection, but is lightweight and allows the iPad to be propped up at variable angles (e.g. Apple Smart CaseLogitech Hinge, or Targus 3D Protection Case). Some families may want a heavy duty case that can protect from drops (e.g. Otterbox Defender or Logitech Blok Protective Case). Keep in mind these ultra protective cases also add significant weight and bulk. Cases with a keyboard attached to them may be appropriate for students who are more comfortable typing on a physical keyboard. See below for example models.
  • Keyboards: If students feel more comfortable typing on a physical keyboard, they can get a keyboard case (e.g. Logitech Canvas Keyboard Case, ZAGG Folio, or Belkin QODE Ultimate Lite). Students may also borrow a TASIS Chromebook during the school day for typing-intensive assignments.
  • Headphones/Earbuds: Students may want to carry a low-cost pair of headphones or earbuds with them for use when creating or consuming content with audio. Any set will do, though students should think about comfort and portability when deciding which set to bring. MediaMarkt and microspot.ch have large selections.
  • Styli (Styluses): These also come in a large variety of styles and their use depends on personal preference. You can find them in most stores like Manor, MediaMarkt and InterDiscount, or online starting at CHF 4.

Should students have their own Apple IDs?

Students should have an Apple ID to download free apps and to use iCloud features like Find My iPadiCloud Drive, and iCloud Backup. For students under 13 who do not already have an Apple ID, families can use Family Sharing to create a personal Apple ID for the student.

Do students have to pay for required apps?

No. TASIS uses a mobile device management (MDM) system called Casper Suite and Apple's Volume Purchasing Program (VPP), which allow us to buy apps in bulk and distribute them to devices enrolled in Casper Suite.

Information on how to enroll in Casper will be provided at the start of the school year. Students who opt out of enrolling in Casper will not be able to receive apps for free from TASIS.

Can students have non-academic apps on their iPads?

Yes. However, they will need to make sure there is enough storage space available on their iPads to install the required academic apps, as well as to store their schoolwork. Students are still expected to adhere to the School’s Technology Responsible Use Policy, found in the Student & Parent Handbook. In particular, playing video games during the school day–even during breaks–is not permitted.

How should students manage storage space for personal and school use?

TASIS will do its best to limit the number of required apps in order to leave as much space free as possible for content creation and personal use. However, students can do several things to keep space available on their iPads:

  • Students can delete apps and games not being used.
  • All students have access to unlimited storage space in Google Drive through their TASIS email account. Any completed work (e.g. essays, videos, presentations) can be uploaded to Google Drive and then deleted from the iPad.
  • Photos and videos can take up a lot of space and often aren’t needed on the device after they are used. Students can use online services like Google Drive, Google Photos, or Flickr to automatically upload photos and videos, then delete them from the iPad*.

 *Remember to also delete all photos and videos in the "Recently Deleted" album when freeing up space.

Who will back up the student iPads?

Students will be responsible for backing up their iPads and should do so each week. Since students own their iPads, they can create backups with iTunes (Mac or Windows) or iCloud.

If more than 5GB of space is needed for iCloud backups, a monthly subscription can be purchased. Typically, the 50GB storage plan for about CHF 1 per month is adequate.

What happens if an iPad is stolen or damaged?

The first step is prevention. Students are responsible for keeping track of their personal belongings and should avoid leaving valuables unattended in public spaces. Lockers are available to safely store personal items when not in use. TASIS will not be held responsible in the event that any personal items are lost, stolen or damaged.

In order to identify a lost or stolen iPad, it is important that you document the device’s serial number, which can be found in the Settings app in the General tab under the About section. In addition, Apple has a built in location tracking feature called Find My iPad, which we strongly suggest all students enable.

We highly recommend that families purchasing new devices also purchase AppleCare+ (description in English, Italian), which reduces the repair fee for accidental damage. If a student’s iPad needs to be repaired, you can bring it to any official Apple Store or an authorized repair center like iCenter.

What if my iPad doesn’t work properly or needs to be repaired?

If an iPad does not seem to be functioning properly, there are some first steps to take to possibly alleviate the issue:

  • Always have a recent backup. We recommend students regularly back up their devices with iTunes or iCloud.
  • Make sure your apps are all up to date.
  • If it is only one app that is not working, quitting the app and re-opening it can fix it. If the app still does not behave, back up any files in the app that you need (email them to yourself or share to Google Drive), delete the app, then reinstall it.
  • If the iPad in general is not working properly, reboot the iPad by holding down both the Sleep and Home buttons until you see the Apple logo appear on the screen (about 15 seconds).
  • If you are still having problems with your iPad, contact our IT Support team (support@students.tasis.ch) or Mr. Venchus (tim.venchus@tasis.ch).

A more comprehensive iPad troubleshooting guide can be found here.

If a student’s iPad needs to be repaired, you can bring it to any official Apple Store or an authorized repair center like iCenter. Students can talk to Mr. Venchus about checking out a Chromebook while the repair is being completed.

What if students forget their iPads at home or if the iPad is out being repaired?

Similar to other materials like folders and assignments that are left at home, students will be responsible for making sure they bring their iPads every day. Missed assignments or class work due to a forgotten iPad will be handled in the same manner as forgotten paper-based work. In the case of an iPad out for repair or forgotten at home, students can talk to Mr. Venchus about checking out a Chromebook for the day.

How should students manage charging their iPads?

Typically a full charge is more than enough to get through an entire day of use, so students should fully charge their iPads every night to be ready for the next day. Learn more about maximizing your iPad’s battery life here.

Will students be able to print?

One of the opportunities a 1:1 iPad program gives us is the ability to use less paper and share work in a digital format. In the case that printed work is needed, students can email files to themselves or upload them to Google Drive, then use a home or TASIS computer to print.

I have more questions. Who can I contact to get them answered?

Feel free to contact our Pre-K to 8 Learning Technologies Coordinator, Tim Venchus, with any questions you may have. He can be reached by email at tim.venchus@tasis.ch or in person during the school day.

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