iPads in Education

Exploring the use of iPads and mobile devices in education.

We are piloting iPads, but I can already see some dilemmas.  Training is challenging.  Unlike PC/Mac applications, there are no standard menus or behaviors - each app has a different interface.  The relative newness of apps means that the set of apps will change over time - new apps will be introduced, some apps will disappear, and others will overcome their major limitations. The fluid nature of apps worries me given that teachers are not always the most adept at managing change.  

I am hoping to find some thoughts on:

  • How to balance building a standard set of apps with supporting teachers' individual app choices?
  • How to train students for the broad array of apps they will use?  Think of how many note-taking apps students will have to learn is each teacher prefers a different app.  On the other hand, it is unlikely that one note-taking app will work well with all subjects each and every year.
  • How to keep teachers abreast of which apps are available and their important features and major limitations?
  • How to monitor the success of each app to determine if a switch is warranted?
  • Does anyone ask teachers to contribute their feedback and commentary (like an Amazon book)?

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Tags: ipad, professional_development, training

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Comment by Jan on February 17, 2013 at 5:51am

Over the last year we've rolled out about 700 ipads in carts, in singles, in groups to schools across our district. Its been a challenge in organization - schools were not prepared to organize nor understand what they had yet demanded more.  Since then, we in the middle of a large scale org - all schools get one Apple iTunes acct; district specialty groups get one that's designated theirs.  This way they share apps.  We use Casper Suite to enroll all ipads (Using a set security) - staff have passcode; students do NOT. We use restrictions post Casper.  

Unlike our standard computer images, each school goes thru their own review of apps with rubric guidelines for review. When they come up with something that's worked for them, they add it to a google spreadsheet that we host on our website. This is organized under content subject, and tools. The freedom of choice is kept at the school level rathr than locking it down to a standard. Conversations are held at the schools to continue to connect curriculum goals with apps chosen. 

I have a district series: iPad-Now What series which walks thru basics, config, choosing apps against a rubric, some recommendations.  We just developed a very cost effective sync process (USB hub connected to pc) is developed for those schools who have from 5 ipads onwards who require syncing.

Good luck with your implementation. Let me know if you need more. 

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