iPad Implementation in Schools

ipaduseinschools 300x200 iPad Implementation in SchoolsI 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?

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4 Responses to iPad Implementation in Schools

  1. kmuyskens says:

    I think its so important that you have a plan before you start implementing new technology. Too many times we as teachers just want to throw technology in for the sake of technology without thinking about if it will have the educational impact we want.

    I’ve used iPads in my chemistry and physics class for the past year and a half and it has been a really great process but it’s been a learning process too. Originally, I had a few ideas about how to use the iPads but over the past year and a half those ideas have taken a lot better shape. This upcoming year I hope to be completely paperless in my chemistry class. Apps like Notability allow students to write on any pdf file I send them and Dropbox allows students to share those documents back and forth. I also plan to integrate wikis and use Moodle, both of which students can access from their iPads.

    In class we’ve also used the iPads to create movies about things we are studying, such as elements on the periodic table. Students can record and edit, all on the device. I’ve used flipped teaching in several of my classes and iPads are great ways for students to watch videos I’ve posted online. Because not every student has wireless access at home, this year I plan to create an iBook which will have those videos embedded in it so they can watch them at any time. Also, I currently am trying to convince my school to purchase cases with keyboards so students can do all their typing on their iPads.

    With all these things the iPad simply is a tool to access all of those things. It still comes down to finding good ways to teach the concepts. The technology just makes things more engaging and more interesting for the students.

  2. Man, when I was a kid all we had is Lisa Frank folder – LOL! I think it’s important to integrate new technology but schools don’t necessarily need to jump on every new device that comes out since resources are finite. I think netbooks would have more overall usability than an iPad, although it all depends on the application and of course I haven’t personally used an iPad yet. I think it may also depend what the classroom is teaching and the ages and needs of the students. For example, I have heard that iPads are an absolutely marvelous tool for many parents of children with special needs such as autism. As with anything, a little thoughtful consideration and appropriate implementation will be hugely beneficial for kids.


    • MediaCAST says:

      You have hit the point right on. Before any technology is added to a school, time must be put into considering the appropriate tool. As you have said, for some, a netbook would be better and for others an iPad. There is no one-size fits all solution to technology. The ways the tool will be used as well as the needs of the students must be considered before adding any technology.

  3. Charles says:

    I agree that it is critical to have a plan of how the technology will be used before investing time and resources. Probably the most important factor would be identifying specific web sites and software to be used in classrooms, along with teacher training so they can properly use and instruct students. A very close second would be making sure to have adequate network resources in place, including web filters and anti-virus software installed. Allowing students free reign of the internet is just asking for trouble, and a single virus or trojan working it’s way onto the school network could cause far more trouble than any benefits obtained.

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