Article: 5 important things to consider when implementing iPads in your school

Derrimut Primary School adopted the Apple iPad as our technology tool for teaching and learning beginning 2013. This meant that all students in years 3-6 were provided with a 1:1 school leased iPad whilst our students in Prep to Year 2 had access to shared iPad trolleys. In previous years, netbooks were our 1:1 device... View Article

Derrimut Primary School adopted the Apple iPad as our technology tool for teaching and learning beginning 2013. This meant that all students in years 3-6 were provided with a 1:1 school leased iPad whilst our students in Prep to Year 2 had access to shared iPad trolleys. In previous years, netbooks were our 1:1 device and we did have great success with these in supporting student learning. However, with our lease ending at the end of 2012 we had the opportunity to revaluate our technology resources. Following a successful trial in 2012, the Apple iPad was selected as the device of choice for our 1:1 program. A year on, we what have we learnt?

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  1.  A mobile device management (MDM) system is essential
    If your 1:1 program involves anything more than 50 devices then you are definitely going to need a Mobile Device Management (MDM) system. MDM software allows you to monitor, manage and support mobile devices deployed across your school. At Derrimut Primary School we use the free Cisco Meraki system as our MDM to monitor our iPads. Meraki allows us to deploy profiles to our devices (including restrictions and internet settings), push out both paid and free apps to our iPads, see student activity on their iPads and as a security feature track where our iPads are located. And best of all we can do this all using the web based application!

     

  2. Purchase Apps in bulk using Apple’s Volume Purchasing Program for Education
    If like us, your 1:1 iPad Program strategy involves providing selected paid apps to students then you must register for Apple’s Volume Purchasing Program (VPP) at www.apple.com/education/ipad/volume-purchase-program. The VPP will allow you to purchase apps and books in volume at up to 50% discount for purchases of 20 apps or more. When apps are purchased you are provided with a list of redemption codes which can either be entered manually onto each iPad or better yet, distributed using your MDM.

     

  3. Don’t get “App-Happy”,  keep your core app list focused
    With over 900,000 apps (as of June 2013) available in the iTunes store creating a core app list for your 1iPads can be quite overwhelming. There is an app for everything, but do you really need everything to have its own app? At Derrimut Primary School we identified the key learning support or outcomess we wanted the iPads to provide and then matched the Apps to our student needs and purpose. We now only have 15 or so key apps that we all use regularly and for a number of different purposes. We then encourage our students to independently identify and use other Apps which meet their learning need.

     

  4. iPad projection is vital
    The iPad is a great personal learning device. However at Derrimut Primary School our philosophy is that learning is socially constructed. So how can one support the other? Projection is the key! There are several techniques for sharing your iPad to a large projection screen. Your iPad can be connected to a projector, TV or IWB using a cable, however we found this to be fiddley and very unreliable. Alternatively, we discovered a better option is to connect wirelessly using the iPad’s Airplay functionality.  An Apple TV device connected to a projector or TV allows you to send both image and audio wirelessly. At around $100 per Apple TV unit it’s not the cheapest option, but it is a great way to avoid messy and unpredictable cables. Even better, if you already have a computer connected to the projector, TV or IWB a far more economical option is to use AirServer. AirServer is a small application which you download online and install on the computer connected to your projector, TV or IWB. It provides the Apple TV functionality without the need for the device. At around $4 per license (when you purchase more than 20 licenses) it is a far more economical option.

     

  5. Students will drive the change 
    At Derrimut Primary School we have a group of student technology leaders called “The Techxperts”. Our iPad program would not be as successful if not for this group of young technology enthusiasts. The Techxperts assist our teachers and other students with any of their technology needs.  They are trained in assisting with everything iPad including technical needs, how to use the apps and connectivity. Their skills also extend to assisting with other technologies including the interactive whiteboards, TVs, netbooks, printers and the different software applications we use. Throughout the year they have held workshops for our school community to introduce new applications or address identified issues. Whilst also being available to provide just-in-time assistance within their classes.

    I would be lying if I claimed our iPad implementation at Derrimut Primary School had been all smooth sailing. If we had our time over again, there are certainly things we would do differently. However, when we consider where we were and where we are now we can’t help but celebrate the success we’ve had in student learning and engagement off the back of our 1:1 iPad Program. 

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Damien Meunier
21St Century Learning Leader

Derrimut Primary School