iPads in Education, is this the future? Part 1
Having aired my passion for digital technology and being a massive advocate of Apple products at the my children’s school PTA meeting, I was quickly asked if I could help to integrate the iPad into the primary school to assist as a teaching aid in the classroom. Hell yeah! I said in an over enthusiastic voice, which probably wasn’t the apt thing to say seeing as the school is a CofE school!
But seriously I thought this was a really interesting thing to help with and wanted to learn more in the process. I was also really impressed that our little school was stepping into the unknown (for the UK anyway) and really looking to push the boundaries of technology within education. Obviously having technology in the classroom isn’t new of course, most classrooms have a PC or a Mac (if their lucky enough) or at least have an IT suite or library, there are laptops, digital whiteboards and some classes even use pen and paper still! But iPads is a whole new ballgame together.
So off I went thinking piece of cake, no problem, I know all about iPads after all I’ve had one since they were very first released in the states. I also have a lengthy career and knowledge of using Apple products, systems and networks, but this was a challenge I slightly under estimated. What I gained in IT skills and the iPad, I lack in education and the curriculum, and especially how to get a commercial device to work in that environment.
My first task was to negotiate a deal for the school in buying the iPads, luckily this happened exactly when the iPad 2 was about to be released. So I saved that whole game of waiting till the very latest version was coming out, as we all do. Not to my surprise there is virtually no movement on discounting from Apple on the smaller devices, even it’s for education. So I ended up contacting an Apple reseller who specialises in schools and went with a company called Stormfront based on their expertise and super willingness to help. I did also manage to haggle with them a bit and get a small discount that came with support and assistance.
Now that was the easy part, what I didn’t take into account though was the other things that you seriously need to consider, for example; security of the devices, multiple syncing, purchasing apps, creating a school account on iTunes, networking, training on use of the devices and then more importantly the strategy of using the devices in the classroom across all years within a Primary school.
But I love a challenge and challenge is what I got!
Part 2 coming soon…