My school is the proud owner of about 70 iPads. Some are being used to their fullest potential, while others are locked away, protected in the closets or being used as card catalogues in the various libraries on campus. As in many cases the difference is made by the teachers. Those who are not afraid to try using new apps, not worried about kids breaking an iPad and then having to pay for the device and not overwhelmed by the idea of changing their lesson plan, have embraced the devices and are using them for learning in the classrooms. We can all imagine what is happening with the iPads in the on the other end of the spectrum.
Here are some ideas that I have regarding questions schools should ask, before signing the purchase orders…
1. Your school must have a plan, no plan… do not buy the devices. What should be in the plan?
- Why do you need iPads (or any device for that matter)?
- How will they improve learning?
- How are you going to measure the improvement in learning?
- How will you make sure that all students have equal access to the devices?
- What type of professional development will be needed, who will conduct it and how frequently will it occur?
- What will be the cycle for updating devices and upon what will it depend?
2. How will apps be managed on the devices?
- What account(s) will be used to purchase apps?
- Who will manage the account(s)?
- How will money be added to the account? Will you use electronic gift cards or will the account be tied to a credit card without a limit?
- What criteria will be used to assure that the apps being purchased meet the learning needs of students.
- How often will the apps be updated?
- What are the laws, in your country regarding the number of devices on which an app can be installed.
3. How will the devices be taken care of?
- How and by whom will the devices be cleaned?
- Where will the deviced be stored?
- What is the policy regarding teachers taking the devices off campus?
4. Decide what will happen if an iPad is broken or lost.
- Who will have to pay for it?
- How will they be charged?
- Under what circumstances will the school cover the replacement cost?
- How quickly must the device be replaced so that learning time will not be lost?
5. What extras are needed and how will they be paid for?
- How many stylus pens are needed and what design best suits the needs of students?
- What cases will be used?
- Do you need stands or tripods, so that the device can be used for recording?
- What accessories will help make the iPad a more powerful learning tool? Do you need earphones, adaptors to connect the iPads to a projector or is the best route for your school connecting to Apple TVs?
Devices can be powerful tools but they are only as powerful as the least convinced/empowered teacher who is employing it in their classroom. How can you guarantee the effectiveness of its use in your school? Start the conversation today. For more resources related to iPads in the classroom please take a look at my Pinterest board.