My community school system chose to pilot a 1:1 iPAD program with 12 core teachers and 311 6th grade students. I know what you’re thinking…. BRAVE!
Our pilot began with the help of many people- district administration, technology support, school administration, and all of the many volunteer hours put forth by our teachers and staff to get this pilot program off the ground.
Getting the word out about the program began at the end of last school year. In May of 2013, the upcoming 6th graders with their parents were invited to a night at their future school. This was a great chance for teachers and administration to set the tone for the 2013-2014 school year. Students learned expectations for the upcoming year and were treated to the surprise announcement that they were chosen for this iPAD pilot program.
Over the summer, teachers and staff met to begin hammering out the potential problems, concerns, and possibilities opened up with the 1:1 pilot. Coming up with a district policy for students and for teachers was a giant “crawl” which help to place our expectations for the program and how these “tools” will be used safely and to their fullest potential.
With the desire to get the iPADs in the hands of our students as soon as possible, two parent orientation nights were set for first full week of school. At the orientation nights, the parents learned the specifics of the program, paid a usage fee, and filled out official paperwork.
With the backing of the parents, almost every student received their iPADs on Friday. Thankfully these were rolled out during their math classes. Students were taught how to set up their iPADs and download/configure apps for school use.
Over the weekend, students downloaded books, apps, and had time for discovery. With that discovery, we (students and teachers) learned what settings needed to be changed, what apps needed to be removed, and what future support we needed to give to our students. Checking syncing and app capabilities was something that we continue to address.
Every Friday we have a protected 45 minutes for iPAD meetings. At these meetings we discuss issues, successes, and dream of the 1:1 future of our school and ultimately our district.
At last Friday’s iPAD meeting, we came up with common expectations for iPAD organization. Each teacher/subject has their own folder on each student’s iPAD. My folder contains e-readers: overdrive, kindle, ibook, etc.; dictionaries, literature etext, and so on. There is also a general education folder where students place note taking, study aids, and other apps that are used in multiple classes. Students were also given one “Home Use Only” folder in which they could put 20 apps of their own choice (age appropriate). We are hoping that this organization will help address some of the teacher concerns with students no being able to find their apps for in class use and the concerns of the parents with the obsessive use (and downloading of apps) at home.
Please continue to watch us crawl… some day walk….and eventually run with our 1:1 Pilot.
I welcome comments, suggestions, and praise.