Apple revolutionized education when they created the iPad. Since their release in 2010, Apple’s iPads have swept the nation. The usage of 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.” iPads in education provide so many benefits and ways to enhance education and augment new learning opportunities. It’s no wonder schools around the world are putting ambitious plans in place like BYOD and 1:1 to adopt Apple’s iPads in the classroom.
With the implementation of this fabulous learning tool that is beloved by students and teachers alike, comes great responsibility and planning. Deploying iPads in education can be an extensive process. There are many wireless network infrastructure and other considerations to review to make sure your school is ready to implement the iPad on your school wireless network.
Here’s a list of the top 10 things to consider for successful iPad implementation in schools:
1) Signal Strength
iPads require a strong reliable connection to the web. Your school wireless network must be able to support a large volume of devices at the same time without sacrificing network speed. Is the signal being distributed evenly and reliably? Have you tested all parts of the campus at various times of day?
2) Wireless Network Infrastructure
Does your school have a robust enough wireless network infrastructure to support all these devices? Make sure you test it to make sure it can successfully handle a large volume of devices at the same time.
3) Connecting to the School Wireless Network
Since iPads require web access to use apps you need to make sure you determine how they will connect to the web. Will they connect through a separate network or student guest network? Think about creating separate policies for the iPads with rules as to what they can access.
4) iPad Management
Do you have a plan as to how you will keep up with all these devices? Will you allow your students to take them home or will they be kept at school? What plans do you have for how you will maintain and update them?
5) Classroom Layout
One of the greatest perks of having iPads in the classroom is that they allow students to be mobile throughout the classroom and collaborate in groups. Are your classrooms laid out to accommodate this type of learning environment? If the iPads won’t be going home with the students is there an area in the classroom to store all of these devices? Will you be using a mobile cart?
6) iPad Distribution
As you distribute them how will you identify each iPad? Will you have a numeric or algebraic system as you assign them to users? Have you thought about how you get them to each student? Dividing them up by classroom and having the teacher assign them might be a good option.
7) Device Protection
Before putting iPads in the hands of students you think about how you will protect your iPads. Consider using screen protectors and protective cases. Also think about how you will keep them clean? You know how messy those little ones can get, so it’s important students and teachers know what to use to clean them.
There’s a ton of stuff to consider here. How will you distribute apps to the iPads? Will teachers be allowed to download apps? Will you block students from purchasing apps? How will you segment purchasing of apps? Consider Apple’s volume purchasing plan which grants around a 50% discount on volume app purchases and is legally required if you plan on synchronizing and distributing apps to sets of iPads. Who will be in charge of selecting those apps and synchronizing them?
9) Teacher Training
Not only do you need to train your educators on using the iPads itself, but also about the application of using them in the classroom. Invite teachers to share their ideas on how they plan to integrate them into their lessons. Maybe even consider holding a training session monthly to discuss new apps and implementation techniques.
Although listed last it is certainly not least. All these iPads as with any other mobile device create new challenges for IT departments ranging from new sets of securities, configurations and management. It is critical to authenticate and authorize each user and the device as well.
The proliferation of iPads in the classroom will only keep accelerating. These are just 10 of the many thing you must consider when implanting iPads in the classroom. Without the proper preparation, technology initiatives such as this are liable to become expensive failures. If your school is considering an iPad in education program and has any questions we are happy to help. We are experts on mobility in the classroom and bringing these devices and others like them to school wireless networks. Just contact us here with any questions or for a free consultation. Good luck!
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