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!
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