Planning is the most important step to any technology initiative. Deploying iPads in education can be an extensive process, but it’s well worth it all in the end. iPads can be such incredible learning tools that can really enhance the learning experience. When preparing your school for iPads in the classroom, there are so many things you must consider. Here are the most important ones to get you started in preparing your school for iPad technology in the classroom.
1) Get Everybody on Board
First, you need to get everyone on board with your iPad roll out plan. Unlike the students, sometimes teachers and parents can be pretty difficult to convince. They must be presented with a well thought-out plan with the goals of this program and explains how having these iPads in the classroom will enhance learning, engagement, and collaboration. Providing success stories from surrounding schools and school districts is definitely a good idea. You will probably still have some reluctant educators, so make sure you follow my next suggestion to gain their acceptance.
2) Prepare your Educators
Most likely the main reason some of your teachers are not ready to jump on the iPad lovers band wagon yet is because they are not familiar with them or aren’t sure how to integrate them into their lessons successfully. You need to be sure to give your educators plenty of time and training to get comfortable using this new technology in the classroom.
Hold classes that show them not only how to use these devices, but also how to use them as learning tools. Make sure they have adequate time to try them out before you pass them out to the students. Also, make training/classes available throughout the year. As teachers are discovering successful ways to use the iPads as learning tools and as new apps come out they can share their successes with others and make sure everyone is up-to-date.
3) Review Current Campus Wireless Infrastructure
The most vital step to preparing your school for the iPad or other mobile devices is that you must to evaluate your current campus wireless infrastructure. First things first, you need to check your signal strength. iPads require a strong and reliable connection especially since your network will be supporting a large volume of devices connecting at the same time.
Thoroughly test your signal strength and distribution throughout all times of day. You need your signal to be evenly and reliably distributed to all parts of the campus. Upgrading your current wireless network infrastructure for the future of wireless is essential. Make sure you have an experienced wireless network consultant help you with all the planning. Bringing all those cool, new iPads into the school will be a complete waste of time if your schools wireless network is not prepared to handle all of them.
4) Create a Mobile Device Policy
Whether you allow iPads in the classrooms by implementing a BYOD or 1:1 strategy, having a policy in place is absolutely essential. It’s important student s and teachers know what acceptable use on their iPads is. This policy needs to be well laid out, clear, and carefully planned. Your policy should be provided to everyone involved in using the iPads or other mobile devices-teachers, faculty, students, and yes parents too.
The policy should cover all the rules, acceptable us and expectations, policy violation consequences, responsibilities, and IT support. Make sure everyone is provided a copy and signs the acceptable use agreement to protect your behind from any issues later on. This policy will not only help you set expectations for the program, but also make sure everyone is well informed. Your IT staff will be happy to not be overwhelmed with a million questions as well.
5) Address Security, Tracking and Visibility Concerns
Mobile devices like iPads create new challenges for IT departments ranging from new sets of securities, configurations and management. It is critical to authenticate and authorize each user as well as the device itself.
When devices are authenticated and authorized to access the school wireless network, your IT department needs to have the ability to track wireless network access per device and user. This also provides extra network security. With this capability, the IT administrator will be able to see all employee-owned devices, student devices or guest devices, even classified by device type.
So as you can see, there are some important things to consider when preparing for iPads in the classroom. If you are considering implementing iPads in the classroom we are here to help. SecurEdge has worked with schools all over the country. We are experts in classroom technology and school wireless so we can help you through the entire process. Feel free to contact us here with any questions or a free consultation. Our goal is to be a resource for you!