Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My iPad Adventure

First semester has just ended and I am finally taking a breath and a moment to blog. I know it has been forever. I've been in the thick of teaching 7th grade English and setting up an iPad pilot for our school. Both have been extremely time consuming.  In this post, I'll focus on my iPad adventure and save my 7th grade English stories for another day.

The Plan:
We purchased 30 iPads this fall and have disseminated them to one faculty member in each department. In addition, we will be piloting 2 iPad classes starting in the second semester (next week). We have chosen a geometry class and an art history class for our pilots, primarily because those teachers volunteered to give it a go (and their class sizes worked with our numbers).

Figuring out the set up process and actually setting up the iPads has taken an enormous amount of time. We are using the Apple Store Volume Purchasing Program to pay for our Apps. In order for the school to own the Apps, I had to create separate Apple IDs for each of our faculty members and students. I also had to set up email addresses for each Apple ID and separate email addresses/Apple IDs for the VPP program. Getting my head around all of the steps in this process was exhausting. I think I have finally figured it out.

We also had to work out an iPad agreement and an iPad insurance plan for parents and students. Thanks to all of you who sent me prototypes. I used a little bit of everyone's agreements. Thanks especially to Patrick Larkin, principal of Burlington High School and to Scott Reisinger, headmaster of Bancroft School who have helped clear the path to make this easier for the rest of us.

My Progress
At this point all of piloting faculty members have received their iPads (right before winter break). I have met with them as a group once to show them how to purchase Apps. I am planning to meet with each of them one-on-one in the next two weeks and we are meeting as a group at the end of the month. I have to finish setting up student iPads this week and will hand them out next week at the start of the new semester.

The Future
It is hard to budget for a future iPad program when you aren't sure you really want one. The difficulty is that this is all based on the success of the program. It may be that we don't think iPads are right for us or there may be some newer technology that we think is even better.  At this point I'm taking this journey one step at a time. I can't quite see the end of the road, but I'm confident each step will bring me closer.

Have you tried piloting iPads? Do you have any wisdom to share? Are you thinking of trying out your own pilot? I welcome your comments, questions, and suggestion!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've love to hear more from the teachers point of view as and when you meet. A few members of staff are going to be experimenting with ipads v.soon at our establishment.

syded06 said...

Hi
We are just about to set off on the iPad journey with a trial for 30 students. Any info would be appreciated, particularly your funding source?

Cheers Dan
@syded06

Anonymous said...

Should have made clear the iPads were for teachers only at this stage and we're only getting a few to trial with those staff wishing to use technology to enhance learning. Using the journey metaphor we're still working out what journey to set out on! Martin

Patrick Larkin, Principal said...

Liz,

Thanks for the mention and your leadership as a technology-integration leader! I have learned a lot from following you and I am glad that we were able to repay some of that debt.

Matt Montagne said...

Liz, at the school I worked at I lead a faculty study group where we gave every participant an iPad. Participation in the group was on a voluntary basis. We documented our work over at: http://castimobilelearning.blogspot.com/ . I can't say our work was very deep, but it did corroborate many of my initial skeptical thoughts. Best of luck as you move down this path with your community.

Mariah said...

Hi,
I am a student teacher and am very interested in integrating technology into my teaching when I get a job (hopefully) this coming Fall.
I have heard quite a bit about using iPads in the classroom, but have yet to hear specifics about how the students would use them. Would it be as a replacement for a laptop in a one-to-one scenario? Have you come across any advantages an iPad has over a netbook? My mentor teacher has an iPad through the school, but hasn't found any real applications in which it makes sense in his high school English classroom. I am intrigued, but also a little frustrated at the seeming dearth of information.
I am eager to continue hearing about your adventure, and exactly how this particular technology is used!
Mariah Price

Paul said...

Thank you for this post! What are you using for management? Do you have a central "image" or "backup" that you can restore back to? Are you allowing your teachers to have full access to customize the iPad or did you lock out app movement and addition?

Just a few questions! Thanks!

I have two articles so far about Hopkinton, MA's deployment in the elementary schools, feel free to check them out!

http://elemitpro.blogspot.com/

Liz B Davis said...

Paul
At this point we are doing all of the management ourselves. We only have 30 iPads right now. If we continue down this road, we will have to figure something out for next year.