iPad devices are wonderful pieces of technology that can enhance the collaboration, creativity, and engagement already present in your classrooms. An important thing to remember about them, however, is that they are designed for personal, not shared, use. This does not mean they should not or cannot be shared; it simply means that sharing them presents us with challenges which we do not necessarily encounter with a normal board/district imaged (standardized, centrally controlled and maintained) computer, and have historically rarely encountered with school technology. Some of these include:
- loss of files
- anonymous subversion of apps, settings, and files
- difficulty in saving, transferring, and organizing files
- an inability to personalize apps
- because they are very portable, greater chance of physical damage.
We have had difficulty having our current iPad cart booked out from period to period because of this. The thing to remember about iPad devices is that the software is not maintained or supported by Information Technology Services as they are ‘stand-alone’ devices (not controlled centrally). Up until now, and moving forward, they are ones which the classroom teacher must maintain, update, and solve problems with on their own.
This is why it is much better to have iPads in your class for an extended period of time, so you grow accustomed to working with them, as they are not necessarily devices that are ‘grab and use for a period’. This is also why it is much better to password protect each iPad, so it’s not as possible for students to anonymously change the settings on each device.
With this in mind, we would like to start a new signing out process with iPads in which teachers sign them out for an entire month, so that they can benefit classroom learning to the utmost, and so you can learn how to administer them.
Thanks everyone! Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.