I sat down this morning with the intention of writing a post about things schools should consider before rolling out an iPad implementation. This was going to be a great list, covering everything from network needs to classroom setup to content management. But then I realized I already had already read this list. iPads in Education published a blog a while back titled “Preparing Your School for an iPad Implementation.” Their list, which is much more comprehensive than anything I would have created on my own, can be found here.
I would however, like to take a few moments to delve deeper into a few questions raised in the article.
“Have you discussed how the use of iPads will be integrated into your educational processes?”
This is a very important topic to consider before bringing iPads into your school. Many schools turn to iPads in the hope that this new device will turn everything around. They are quick to implement them without really thinking about how they will be used to aide students and encourage learning. The iPad is not the source of learning; rather, it is a tool for delivering personalized education to students. Be sure to have a plan for how to use this new tool before jumping in.
“Have you allocated sufficient ongoing time for staff professional development? It’s vital that that faculty have regular sessions where they can learn and exchange experiences with each other.”
Ensuring teachers know how to use the new iPads will greatly improve the experience of deploying them in your school. If the teachers aren’t comfortable using iPads on their own, they won’t be comfortable using them in class. Provide plenty of opportunity for teachers to play with the iPads before they are expected to use them in class. Also be sure to provide resources for them to find new applications and innovative ways to incorporate iPads into their class. Once the iPads are in use in classes, provide time for teachers to meet on a regular basis to discuss how they are using the iPads in their classroom and to learn from the other teachers at the school.
“How will you push content out to students? Do you need a procedure for periodic deletion of iPad content?”
On its own, an iPad is simply a new way to access the internet. But combined with apps and other content, an iPad can become a valuable learning tool. Instead of handing out paper instructions, you can now virtually distribute them through the iPad. But in order to do this, you are going to need to think about how this will be accomplished. With the MediaCAST iPad app, teachers can easily distribute videos, images, documents, PDFs and much more to groups of student iPads. Instead of connecting to each iPad individually, an incredibly time consuming effort, teachers are now able to push a button and have the materials distributed to all students in the class simultaneously.
Additionally, many resources have licenses that must be considered. If a licensed resource stays on a student’s iPad indefinitely, then other students are no longer able to use that resource. With the iPad app, teachers can set expiration dates on all materials before distributing them to students. This ensures that resources are always available for the next group of students.
What do you think it the biggest factor schools must consider before a school wide iPad implementation?