Implementing a 1:1 iPad Scheme

Planning is always the key to implementing any new mobile device scheme into an educational establishment. Many questions need to be asked and solved in order for the scheme to be successful. Having already implemented a very successful 1:1 Macbook Pro laptop scheme, the ease of implementing a 1:1 iPad scheme is somewhat easier. Like most developments in education it is very important to have your staff (the teachers) on board and willing to adjust their pedagogy style to adapt to new uses of technology and learning in the classroom.

I have tried to include relevant areas to consider when implementing a 1:1 iPad scheme, however this list may change depending your school, the type of establishment and other educational considerations – (especially budgetary).

Areas to consider:

1. Wireless Network – ensure the relevant areas of the school have the correct wireless coverage and that iPads can easily connect to the internet. Ensure you can manage bandwidth by using a management based system (like Aurba), consider the policy management – does it need to be different to other mobile devices that connect to your network? Check that a large number of iPads can connect successfully at the same time to the network, if you already have a 1:1 laptop scheme this will probably cause no concern. Always have a trial time with a specific Year Group to test the system as well as allowing teachers to become accustomed to using the new technology.

2. iPad Device Management – consider how you will securely store and charge the iPads. My suggestion is to use something similar to the Bretford mobility cart as illustrated with the picture below. These carts are strong and well designed and can be easily moved from classroom to classroom if required. (Another good company for storing iPads is Datamation Systems Inc, their storage devices also provide syncing capabilities too). Ensure that some procedures and guidelines are put in place for taking and returning the iPads to the cart and that all teachers are aware and adhere to them. Also host a short training session for teachers on how to use the carts, what to do if an iPad is damaged, how to report the damage or problem, then create a small typed notice which can be put on the inside of the cart door, as a reminder.

3. The iPad – consider how you will protect the iPad, try to find a cover that can stay on all the time, but allows for charging and storage in the mobility cart. The cover needs to be strong enough to protect the iPad from the occasional small fall and all the knocks and bumps from continuous use in the classroom. Install Orbicule Undercover software, in case of loss or theft. (Recently my school managed to retrieve one of our learners 1:1 Macbook Pro’s that was stolen/lost at Heathrow Airport in the UK, within a week , the people who had stolen the laptop were arrested and the Macbook Pro was returned to the learner!). Consider how to identify each iPad, how will you number them? My suggestion is to engrave a unique number (think of a numbering scheme that fits with your establishment) on the back of the iPad, as stickers are easily removed, however, be aware that if you are using an iPad case that covers the engraving it may be difficult to see the number. Also, consider how your learners will use the iPad, will they use the same iPad all the time ( a 1:1 iPad scheme makes this easy) however, many schools will share the iPads amongst a few classes. How will you deal with settings on the iPad such as arrangement of apps, wallpaper images, etc, do you give admin rights to the teachers, learners or the technical department? Do you need to buy a set of Ear-buds? – my suggestion is that the learners buy their own ear-buds and keep them in school, possibly better for health reasons. Although it’s always good for a school to have a few spare pairs, or invest in some larger headphones.

4. Application Management – consider how you will purchase and distribute the apps, will you have one account or multiple accounts? My suggestion (for a school) is that you have one account for each of the age groups, for example in the British Educational system there would be one account for KS1, KS2, Ks3, Ks4 and KS5, this would enable the same apps to be used by the similar groups. As stated in point 3 above, do you allow teachers to install apps on the iPads and therefore block learners from installing apps? (this could be achieved through parental controls and or admin rights). In the USA, remember it is possible to use Apples volume purchasing plan, this gives a 50% discount to bulk purchases of apps. However, as yet the VPP is not available in Asia, although we are currently in discussions with Apple to introduce something similar for education. This is an informative article about syncing by parat solutions.

5. Content Management – consider how will learners/users login to and store their work on an iPad? Will they be able to email their work to another device, computer, laptop. Will they save their work in a cloud based application or both? If learners are given unique school email addresses, then these can be used by the students to move data. However, this is not always particularly practical when we are looking at learners aged 3 or 4 who may need an easier way to save/share their work. I like to use Dropbox for iPad, which allows students to share their content across multiple platforms. Consider also, how often to clear the contents of the iPads, possibly on a yearly basis, iPad storage memories can fill up pretty fast with media based content.

6. Pedagogy, Teaching Styles and Professional Development – introducing any mobile technology device into the classroom, will also require a change or shift in pedagogy. If you already have a 1:1 laptop scheme running in your school you will appreciate how much this changes the style of classroom teaching. Teaching needs to become much more student centered, inquiry based, project based and investigative. The use of ELP (Extended Learning Projects) or CBL (Challenge Based Learning) are great ways to allow students to use mobile devices for inquiry and investigative research as well as creativity using a variety of media for presentations and multimedia. Consider also how much professional development do you provide your teachers, is it internal PD or provided by an external company. I have always found internal professional development more valuable, where the trainer already has an understanding of the learning style and needs of the school. External training or bringing a trainer to the school also has some benefits by giving or providing training from a different view point. I am also keen to link classroom IT usage and pedagogy to teacher appraisal, at the end of the day there is no point employing (or continuing to employ) a teacher who is unwilling to adapt or develop their teaching style in an IT rich environment. The use of Professional Learning Networks (PLN’s) can be a very valuable aid in assisting educators with ideas of using IT (iPads) in the classroom, I would recommend Twitter for this.

7. The Possible Downsides – consider your classroom environment, is it conducive to learning and the use of iPads? Is there somewhere to store the mobile cart or a place where this can be accessible, for example some schools have the same Year Group classrooms on different floors, without an elevator how will you distribute your iPads? Do you have the correct lighting in the classroom, do you have blinds to adjust the light? Sometimes the glare on the iPad screen can make reading difficult. Invest in non-glare screen protectors to avoid this issue. Remember that Flash based applications cannot work on the iPad, there are still many learning games and other web based applications that require Flash, these will not run on the iPad. Just because you have an application on your laptop or desktop computer, doesn’t mean that it will also be available for the iPad, research and test applications well before using them with a class.

8. Costs and the Community – consider the costs of implementing the scheme, will the school purchase the iPads or lease the iPads. Will the learners take the iPads home or leave them at school. Should parents pay for the cost of the iPads, do they need credit facilities or assisting with the purchase. Should you include the cost of Apple care warranty? Does the 1:1 iPad scheme change with different age groups, for example – the younger year groups keep their iPads at school and this is funded by the school (through school fees) and the older year groups purchase outright their iPads and then take them home. Is there any benefit to learners of having both a 1:1 laptop scheme and a 1:1 iPad scheme? (probably not?), although this maybe dependent on age – for example, as learners get older they may need to use a laptop for specific applications. Always inform the community first of your plans, involve everyone in your planning stages, parents, teachers and the board of governors or local authorities.

There are a lot of other areas to consider that I have not mentioned here. This is partly because I have already covered them in my previous article about implementing a 1:1 laptop scheme (please read this to get some additional ideas). Also there is a lot of difference between schools which are government funded and how to plan for an iPad 1:1 scheme, especially when compared to private/independent/international schools.

Please comment with possible areas that I have forgotten or areas that you have found work well in your school or educational establishments.

Check out this document regarding 21 steps for successful 1:1 implementation – an excellent document!

Written by Steven David Pearce 24/03/2011 updated 10/10/2013


Reverse Instruction and 1 to 1 Laptop Schemes

Thoughts and ideas about “Reverse Instruction” and 1 to 1 Laptop Schemes

As I have mentioned previously on this site, the key to implementing and developing a successful 1 to 1 Laptop Scheme in a school is about adapting teaching styles and pedagogies. With the increase of more 1 to 1 Laptop schools, the ability to introduce “Reverse Instruction” to our 21st Century learners is becoming even more popular. However, I see “Reverse Instruction” as just another learning tool that can be added to an innovative teacher’s repertoire and should not be seen as a method for teaching and learning on its own or instead of the valuable student centered classroom environment.

The idea or concept of reverse instruction is good, but isn’t it just a technological advancement of what our excellent teacher’s have already been doing for years, but now using different media? For example, as educators we often ask our students to go home and read a book, review a chapter, critique a picture and then we will discuss it and go through it in tomorrows lesson.

Now we are saying – go home watch my video and at school tomorrow we will discuss it and go through any questions or problems you have about it.”

I think it is a positive development in education that we can use video sharing websites to upload our classroom lectures or specially designed lessons. That our learners can review these videos at home, in their own time and then in the classroom we can spend the time collaborating, reviewing, questioning and solving problems related to the learning contents of the video. One of the positive uses of this method is that the learner can stop, rewind, and repeat the viewing of the video, which means that they are tailoring instruction to their own learning speed. One of the negative areas of this method is that students have to watch the video home as part of their homework or in their own time.  What happens when they don’t do their homework or they don’t review the video at home?  Does this mean they cannot take part in the corresponding lesson?  Where is the collaboration while they are watching the video, surely the video would be more beneficial to the students if they could watch it as a group and discuss it instantly in the classroom, stopping and starting the video at key points. If they watch the video at home alone, isn’t this just passive learning absorption?

What age group in our schools can we use “Reverse Instruction” as a teaching pedagogy? It’s probably more suited to our older students in High School and beyond, rather than our elementary schools. Although, our younger learners are now quite capable of watching an inspiring, exciting video at home, which could be discussed the next day in the classroom. In answering this question, I suppose it depends on the content of the video that the learners need to watch? Most of our learners who are aged between 4 and 11 have the technological skills to watch videos at home from a video sharing website.

Reverse Instruction also depends on the ability to have Internet access at home or at least the ability to download the video on to a laptop that can be taken home. This is not usually a problem with 1 to 1 Laptop schools, where students can take a computer home and nearly all students have Internet access.

There still seems to be a lot of talk about educational establishments using old fashioned methods for instruction and that they should adopt more innovative learning styles. For example;

During class time, the teacher will stand at the front of the room and hold forth on the day’s topic. Then, as the period ends, he or she will give students a clutch of work to do at home. Lectures in the day, homework at night” Daniel Pink –Think Tank: Flip-thinking – the new buzz word sweeping the US

I believe that the assumption that schools still follow this ‘traditional’ method of instruction are outdated and few and far between. The schools that I know use a variety of innovative instructional pedagogies that engage student learning and collaboration, using a variety of different mobile technologies and digital resources (one of which would be “reverse instruction”)

There are many success stories of using “Reverse Instruction” in the classroom, especially in Higher Education and I still believe that it has value as another digital teaching/learning tool. I also believe that different forms and methods of distance learning will also increase in their up-take and development in the next few years. Learning from home will increase as students have more access to a faster Internet and mobile learning technologies. This will enable students to progress, access and engage with their own content, at their own pace of learning and take more of a role in charting the path best suited to their own talents, interests and abilities. However, if we do use “Reverse Instruction” or “Flip Teaching” we must not forget the importance of collaboration, teamwork, and the importance of the face-to-face interaction with the teacher.

For further reading please see work by Daniel Pink and Karl Fisch.

Written by Steven David Pearce 20/01/2011

Learning, Learners and International Schools

Learning, Learners and International Schools

I was surprised recently by the number of international schools that are still focusing on teaching rather than learning. Having returned from a conference in Kota Kinabalu with over 900 Administrators, Heads, and Educational Leaders it was evident that content driven learning and classroom power is still in the control of the teacher and not the learner. Of course there were a few schools that have actually realized that what we learn, how we learn and when we learn is in the hands of the learner (our students).  Learning is the responsibility of the learner – we can guide them, facilitate them and teach them how to learn using the right tools, knowledge and experience. The article published by “Chris Watkins” Research Matters – Learning, Performance and Improvement 2010, reinforces some of my own personal beliefs about education and I believe is well worth reading.

In one of the Keynote speeches during the conference, an elderly School Principal came and sat next to me – the Keynote speaker was talking about motivating our learners. The School Principal then turned to me and whispered in my ear “ all we want is for the little buggers to sit still and keep quiet!” I said nothing to him, just smiled in return. However, I was horrified by his remark, was this really a Principal of an International School today?

In another seminar at the same conference there was another High School Principal talking about examination success, he was describing how his teachers achieve excellent exam grades using content driven lessons, drill and practice and that this was the whole point of his educational organization, to churn out students who could repeat the answer to questions, who knew content, but had very little knowledge or skills of how to use that content as long as they could get into University. In the “Chris Watkins” article he states two key areas that are worth considering:

1.     to recognize that passing tests is not the goal of education, but a by-product of effective learning

2.     to recognize that even when we want pupils to do their best in tests, pressure and performance orientation will not achieve it.

The example I have given above, I am sure is fairly extreme and schools are often influenced by many factors, like society, parents and University requirements. However, I believe that if we use AFL strategies, formative assessment, co-construction, inquiry and investigative-based pedagogies in the classroom and allow our learners to learn and give them the right tools to do that, that effective learning will bring about educational results. Our learners will pass the necessary test to gain entry to higher education and have the skills to continue their own learning to a higher level at University and beyond.

written by Steven David Pearce 10/11/2010

Digital Resources in the Classroom

Click here for the original WORD document – Digital Resources for the Classroom

Today’s youth spends up to 6hrs a day online using digital resources. Try using some or all of these digital applications in the classroom.

Shared Prezi’s in the classroom for collaborative presentations
Podcasting weekly news letters from senior managers and subject departments as well as student podcasts
Digital e-portfolios – Learners can create and showcase their best work
Blogs for reflection, assignments, motivation and world collaboration

e-Publishing and iBooks – Learners can create and publish their own stories and books

Learning through creative media – iMovies and animation

Publishing on Youtube, using Youtube and TeacherTube constructively in lessons

Online education – more students are learning from home. Also course could be offered that the school does not have resources for.

Wikis for collaborative learning and sharing.

Shared Google docs, sketch-up, Picnik, Picasa, Blogger, Calendar, Page Creator – Educational Searches

Classroom activities, discussion, collaboration –Posters, dates, school info, reading lists, links

Individual Personalised Year Books