As this school draws to a close and my iPad project is in its final stages, the time has come to pass the torch. Yesterday, the Science department in my school learned they are to be the recipients of 15 iPads from my project as a means of prepping the department head for such an undertaking, I composed a list of things I learned about using them with three different classes. After rereading my email, I decided to post it here in case it is helpful for others running their own classroom iPad projects.
So here are just a few things I learned along the way about the physical operations of the iPads, not about how I used them in my teaching. (That will be a post all of its own sometime in the near future.)
-most of the apps I used are free with the exception of iMovie
-I didn’t download a word processing app but rather encouraged the use of the Evernote app
-you can download the apps directly to an iPad and most of the time they will sync across the other iPads or you can do it manually by plugging the iPads individually into the netbook
-most of the apps are need of an update but since I didn’t get time to update them all, that might need to be done (the students kept bugging me to give them the password so they could do it, but I didn’t think that was the best idea… 😉
-I created a chart in word that had the student’s name, iPad number assigned to them and made them sign so that if anything happened to that particular iPad, I knew who the culprit was (we had an incident with a student looking up inappropriate content but I knew which three students used that iPad and checked the browser history to have him dealt with by admin)
-please remind the students to sign out of Facebook and Twitter!
-the iPads are numbered and were always stored in the cabinet in their numbered order to ensure that they didn’t grow legs
-I let the students use the netbook if they found it more convenient than the iPad
-we cleaned the iPads with eye glass cleaner every couple of weeks
-if you don’t already have one for your personal iPad, I would recommend investing in the adapter so that you can plug an iPad into the projector (I found my 2P’s loved sharing their work with the class that way)
-I didn’t charge the iPads every night – it’s better for the battery to let them run out on a regular basis and they can go usually two full days without needing to be charged
-I also made the kids in charge of telling me when the iPads needed charging – I put a chart of the board -> one side 0-20% and the other 21-40% and asked the students to write the iPad’s number on the board so I knew when it needed charging (I didn’t check each iPad every night- that’s just insane!) and if someone got one the next day that needed to be charged, too bad because they didn’t write their number down for me (it’s all about accountability and student responsibility to me)
-with each class that used them, we had a discussion about “expectations” surrounding their use and I let the students tell me what they thought were appropriate guidelines for their use instead of me dictating the “rules”