Last year we proposed to start a 1:1 iPad initiative with our 5th and 6th graders. That didn’t pass in our community. I wrote about it in this post.
So, back to the drawing board we went. We did get some iPads with funds we had available. Our preK-2 school already had 2 carts. This year we got 3 carts at our grades 3-8 school building. The challenge facing us – sharing iPads, which are ideally a personal device, among many students.
When I was at ISTE this summer, I was especially focused on finding sessions, resources, or people who were sharing iPads. That was not easy- almost everyone had some sort of a 1:1 setting. I didn’t find answers to my questions.
So, I thought I would share this post with some details about what systems and logistics we have put in place in our schools to help others in our situation.
1. Pledges and Promises: Leave the iPads ready for the next user.
- Teachers and students must clean off photos and videos when they complete a project.
- Teachers and students must remember to sign out of any accounts they’ve signed into.
- We’re not printing from iPads. Period.
2. Signing Out iPads:
We have carts with 30 iPads. Within that, the iPads are grouped in 5’s. Each group of 5 iPads has a different color case. And there’s a sticker on the back that has a letter. Therefore, if a student starts a project on the blue iPad with the letter C on it, they easily know which iPad to get when they resume their work.
Teachers use the Google calendars to sign out iPads. They can sign out as many groups of 5 iPads they need. Some sign out one group of 5 when using them as a small station or project with a small group. At other times, teachers sign out 4 or 5 groups of 5 iPads to have a whole-class set for a specific task or project.
Teachers view availability on the calendars before signing them out. They also commit to returning iPads promptly when finished so that they are present for someone else who signed them out just after their time slot. Students may help get and return iPads as long as there’s an appropriate number of students to the number of iPads for safe handling.
Here are some of the ways in which we’re working to share things created ON the iPads and/or get them OFF the iPads:
Email- we have email accounts set up specifically for the iPads. There’s not one per iPad, but rather for each of our grade spans – K-2, 3-4, 5-8. We can email photos or other projects from the iPad to teachers or student email account to access later.
Dropbox – we have installed the Dropbox app. At this point, teachers can use their own Dropbox accounts. At some point, we may set up Dropbox accounts using the 3 email accounts above. We’re wondering who will manage those accounts and keep them relatively clean for others to use when getting close to the storage limit. This one isn’t fully developed yet!
PhotoSync– We installed PhotoSync on all iPads. This is already helping to solve issues we’ve had in the past. iMovie trailers created on iPads are generally too big to email. Sharing a collection of photos, rather than one at a time is challenging. PhotoSync allows us to share from one device to another (already helping some of our Special Educators) or to Drive or even to a computer via an IP address. So far, this is a very helpful app.
Drive– teachers and students can use Drive to access their GAFE accounts to create documents, spreadsheets, etc. on the iPads and then can access them again later on a computer, if necessary.
YouTube – we set up 3 YouTube accounts using the email accounts for each grade span listed above. This way we can upload straight to a YouTube channel and have this channel as a showcase of student work produced on iPads or with other tools. We hope it will be a way to share with our larger community and demonstrate what we are creating with iPads.
We’re off to a great start and teachers are very open-minded and exciting about new opportunities ahead. I’d appreciate any more insight, ideas, and suggestions for systems and logistics that work for others.
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