The manifestation of tablets like iPads in the classrooms is ever-present, and bound only to grow with time. Apple CEO Tim Cook even told investors, "The adoption of the iPad in education is something I've never seen in any technology.” Using iPads and other tablets as learning tools can provide so many ways to enhance education and augment new learning opportunities. So, it is very easy to see why so many schools are implementing solutions like BYOD and 1:1 to incorporate them into education.
There is so much to consider when integrating these fantastic little gadgets into the classroom. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just hauling them all in and passing them out. Make sure your school has done all the necessary planning and preparation for iPad implementation success. Below is a useful list of 8 things to consider when preparing for iPads in the classroom.
Set out a clear, consistent mobile device policy for faculty, staff and students. Everyone needs to know what is expected and the acceptable use guidelines before they have the privilege of using iPads in the classroom. This can not only possibly save the schools behind, but also prevent iPads from being used as a distraction.
Test and try out different apps/methods before you put them in the hands of students. Think about the apps you might have them use and have your teachers try them out first and make sure they are effective. Make sure your educators are informed and prepared to use and assist students with the using the iPads in the classroom.
Most importantly, check your school wireless network infrastructure. Make sure you check your signal strength and distribution as well as capacity. You will need a more robust network with a strong, reliable connection to support all those mobile devices. If your wireless network isn’t adequately prepared to support all these devices you are wasting your time even bringing the iPads in.
Okay I know they say there is an app for everything. Well it seems like there just about is these days. That doesn’t mean there’s an app for every lesson. Yes there are tons of really cool, engaging educational apps out there, but no, the apps aren’t meant to teach the lesson. Make sure your educators know the iPads are a learning tool to enhance education, not replace the teacher.
Start with your educators first. Give the iPads to your teacher over wintere break or over the summer so they have time to play around with them and learn how to use them. You want to definitely make sure your teachers are comfortable using them, before you pass them out to the students.
Remember it’s okay to start slow. Give your students some time with the devices to get familiar with them just like you did your teachers. Start off slow with just one or two apps then go from there. Don’t overwhelm them. Yes, most of today’s students are pretty tech-savvy, but keep in mind some aren’t and may need some extra guidance. So take it slow.
Think about how you will allow teacher and students to display their work to share with the class. The method most schools are choosing right now is using the Apple TV with a HDTV or projector. It’s pretty cool because it lets you stream movie and TV shows available on iTunes and display your iPad screen. Any iPad can actually be mirrored to the HDTV or projector, so the teacher can choose to select any students work on the iPad for display at any time. This will keep students on their toes and on task.
Periodically ask for feedback. In order for your school to get the most benefit out of having iPads in the classroom, you need to get feedback and make changes accordingly. Ask the students, teacher, parents, and staff how everything is going, what improvements, struggles, and success they have experienced with the iPad and work with them to make positive changes or improvements.
Although this may seem like a lot of challenges to overcome, having successful iPad integration is definitely worth all the work. Check out this post “8 Studies Show iPads in the Classroom Improve Education” to see the impact iPads are having in education. If your school is ready to take advantage of all the great benefits of having iPads in the classroom, you can contact us here for a free consultation or with any questions you may have. We have helped schools all over the implement iPad programs and we are always happy to help. Good luck!