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The How of iPads: Lessons and implementation

Earlier this week, I posted a few thoughts about the Why of iPads and a few thoughts about How to screw up iPads. I think a lot of schools are jumping on the iPad wagon, not because they believe that iPads will improve learning but simply because other schools are doing it.

There’s no real thought to their purpose. And sometimes, even if the Why has been thought through, there’s not much discussion about the How of effective deployment and use.

So today a few thoughts and resources to help understand the How.

1. Start by asking some good questions:

  • Are there times to share best-practices?
  • How will you measure whether iPads are successful?
  • What is the curriculum vision for the  iPads? Does it align with the school’s mission?
  • How can you involve parents?
  • Do you have enough wireless bandwidth?
  • Do you have enough access points?
  • Will students be allowed to take the iPads home?
  • What AUP will you use?

2. Give teachers an iPad to play around with long before kids get them. Playing is good, it’s how the brain learns. Don’t think that because your teachers have used computers before, that this is the same thing. It’s not.

3. Teachers need the iPad accessories. A good case is essential – and let the teacher pick the case. A VGA dongle is a no-brainer. Many teachers prefer using a stylus.

4. Even better than a VGA dongle is a HDMI projector and Apple TV combo, providing a truly mobile experience for teacher and student. If the HDMI projector is too expensive, go with the VGA projector / Apple TV / converter box option. If that doesn’t work for you, and you have Mac computers running Lion, go with the inexpensive Reflection app that does pretty much the same thing for 20 bucks.

5. Make sure teachers have some training and guided practice time. Nothing’s gonna kill an iPad rollout quicker than teachers who don’t feel comfortable with the device.

6. I was wrong. Nothing kills an iPad rollout faster than forcing teachers to wait two weeks until the building app committee meets to approve teacher app requests. If I was in charge, each teacher would have just one personal iTunes account. The school would provide iTunes cards or redeem codes and, yes, teachers would then “own” the apps. Let ‘em have them, it’s gonna be okay. You can get more.

There are other ways of making it easy for teachers to have instant access to the App Store but this puts decisions in the hands of the people at the point of the spear – teachers.

7. Kids are a different story and it really depends on how your iPads are deployed. Single user vs. cart makes a difference. But the best thing for learning is still to put as much app installation power in the hands of the end user as possible.

8. Discuss the issue of workflow between teacher and students. School eLockers and eBackPack are some of the first to start looking for ways to control iPad workflow. They are also the most expensive. A few other ideas can be found here and here. Also be aware that printing can be an issue. Also understand that part of the point is to get away from using paper.

9. Think about app selection in a way that makes sense. Use a rubric.

10. For teachers, the biggest question of all – how can I actually use iPads in class?

You can start by looking at apps aligned to Bloom’s Taxonomy here and here. A Google search will find more. Brad Wilson from 21innovate has put together an extensive Google Doc that lists apps with suggested activities by content area and Bloom’s thinking verbs.

Then look at ways that others are using iPad apps that are aligned to McREL strategies.

Head over to Apptivities, a great name for a handy website that has activities and lesson plans tied to specific apps.

The Mobile 2012 conference just ended a few weeks ago. Get all of the presenter handouts, materials, and links on their conference wiki.

Browse through an incredibly bulky but useful website listing iPad training sessions. Click any of the session dates and you’ll get workshop agenda, links, handouts, lesson plans, and instructional ideas.

And finally Lisa Johnson. Known as TechChef4U, Lisa has a wonderful assortment of iPad lessons and goodies.

Have fun!

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. iPads will not replace SMART Boards. They are a complementary technology fulfilling a different role and adding unique capabilities to the classroom. The SMART Board is great for large-scale collaboration; the iPad is a more personal device. That’s not to say either is restricted to those uses. I have found that the iPad is a great second display when using a SMART Board. The iPad connects to the iMac using Air Display or a similar app and allows control of the SMART Notebook software from the iPad. Essentially, the iPad becomes a wireless slate, but being able to write/touch on the display is simpler for young students and uncoordinated teachers. As an Ed. Professional who trains teachers daily, I use iPad, iMac, MacBook Pro, SMART Board and *gasp* even a Windows laptop. All these devices are used to complement the capabilities of the others. Simply replacing one technology with another is to not properly understand the nature of teaching with technology. I seem to recall a similar idea floating around in the late 90s that suggested laptops would replace desktop PCs. Desktop sales may have declined slightly as a percentage, but it would be ridiculous to suggest that there is no reason for anyone to buy a desktop. Likewise, the iPad will not replace the laptop or the SMART Board or the iPhone or the notepad and pen. There’s room for them all – the trick is knowing which device will help you reach your goals the most efficiently.

    May 23, 2012
  2. Reblogged this on News & Notes on LEADERSHIP AND LEARNING.

    June 22, 2012

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