iPad Pilot Project at BISS Elementary Media Center

The Eve of our Elementary IPad Pilot Project

After very inspiring weekend at the Beijing Learning Summit sharing ideas on how to integrate technology with our overall pedagogical objectives Julie, our e-learning coordinator just informed me that 7 new iPads were ready to rollout in the library-media center. I couldn’t be more excited.

There are no words to express how grateful I am to Ann Krembs, the Elementary librarian at ISB, who has been nothing but generous in sharing her experiences, insights, and pearls of wisdom with me on the implementation of iPads at her school.

I am cross-posting from the BISS iPad wikispace we have just created to reflect on what is going right and what not so right,the contents of the posts I am just sharing in “Learning for the 21st Century” but here you will find some pieces of information you may find helpful in order to ipad along in your classrooms. Feel also free to leave comments, suggestions, recommendations on the discussion tab of the wikispace.

Preparing our school for an iPad implementation

Because I’ve been receiving a few emails and want to share the entire ipad pilot process with you, here is a brief synopsis of where we are; we hope to be in full circulation within the next week or so as we finalize the details of our ipad program.

For the library’s own purposes the ipads have been this morning label as ipad 0001, ipad0002, etc. and classified as equipment in Destiny, our library catalog. This way I can keep track of which teachers have which ipads when it comes to loans and to downloading apps for them.

Planning is imperative for any technology initiative – iPad or otherwise. We need to ensure that we clearly understand and communicate how the technology integrates with our overall pedagogical objectives. Too many institutions purchase technology and then leave it collecting dust on the shelf.

Planning needs to consider both infrastructure needs and the educational applications of the new technology. Without the proper preparation, technology initiatives are liable to become expensive failures. Here are some considerations we are figuring out:

1.  Group Device Management:

     –  Where will the devices be stored and charged?: We are actually on our way to design an ipad cart that can store and charge a classroom set of 25 ipads.

     – Do we have a clearly defined procedure for using, distributing and collecting the iPads?: On our way too in documenting clear procedures for this.

     – Do we have a set procedures for how and when the iPads will be synchronized and updated?: This has been an exciting discovery. At ISB, Ann Krembs is managing a set of 25 ipads by using 25 different itunesaccounts. This can truly become a nightmare and a time consuming experience when it comes to downloading apps for each one of the devices as our ipad programs move on in the years to come.

However, the release of iCloud has come handy. iCloud is a new free cloud based Apple service that works to allow you toseamlessly sync information from several different Apple based applications to almost any device connected to your iCloud account. It stores your apps, music, photos, apps, documents, and more. And wirelessly pushes them to all your devices –automatically!!!! Through iCloud we have found out an easy way to manage content in our set of iPads. Now we no longer have to worry about downloading the same apps on several iPads again and again. As soon as I start downloading an app in my homebase iPad (iPad number 3), the rest of iPads automatically begin the same downloading process. Plus we can do so by using one single iTunes account!!!!!

2.  Solid incoming bandwidth:

Can we support a large volume of devices connecting at the same time? This is critical. Just because one device can connect with adequate speed doesn’t ensure that a classroom full of devices will be able to connect.

At this point, I am finding our simultaneous downloading process very slow through BISSWLAN during school time. I had to leave our iPads downloading several apps overnight and this morning they were all successfully installed and ready to go. We still need to find out if there is a way to connect the iPads through our faster PACNet wireless connection.

At this point, we are testing several free apps and classifying them in folders (Interactive books, math, reference, science, creation, etc). Any feedback on how would you like the different apps to be classified?

I am also planning on making a resource list for each Kindle in Destiny OPAC (i.e. Kindle 1) and adding each app to each list. However, at this point, all seven ipads will have the same apps downloaded.

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