19 Nov 2015

Using 1:1 iPad minis in the Classroom

I can't compare using these devices to anything else like netbooks or laptops or BYOD as I have not had a school where we used these.  What we do have here is 1:1 iPad mini's provided by the school.  I have put together the most important aspects of what it is like to teach with these devices.  Our campus is only year 9 and they are with us for one year.


Focus and Distraction
iPads are a great distraction, there is so much they can do.  It is easy to get absorbed in the screen, I guess that is how they are designed.  We do spend time teaching students how to stay focused on tasks on the iPad as well as refocusing on the classroom when needed.

Teaching Appropriate use of Electronics
We use a profile system through out the year.  They all start on Profile 1 and have few priveleges attached to this.  With appropriate use they will progress through the year to Profile 4 in term 4 where they are allowed games, social media and a lot of personal access.  If they get strikes which we record on a google doc then their progression may be delayed or even get demoted for intentional and malicious behaviour.

Easy access to the Internet
It is so easy to say get your iPads out and.... they will be in business within 30 secs.  They are easy to carry around.

Accounts and Logins
We have found that it is important for us to have every account they use to be administered by us.  This is so much easier when trouble shooting things like, forgotten passwords, authenticating accounts, using a different device, permission.  We devote time at the start of the year to this housekeeping task.  We set up outlook email (for the wider school), google account for drive, app store account.  It seems simple but for 100 people is rarely goes well for all.

Multiple Device Mangement MDM
We use Caspersuite to manage our devices.  We can install profiles on them so they can have wifi passwords and allocate them apps from our VPP subscription then remove them at the end of the year.  We also put on profiles with restrictions associated with the appropriate use Profiles.

Getting evidence from the real world
One of the key things that is great is collecting photos and video from their learning to use as evidence in assessments or presenations.  So easy with an iPad

Storing things in the Cloud works
We had heaps of trouble with iPads getting broken or not being charged or needing to be formatted and then important work was not accessable.  Since we started using services that store information automatically and in the cloud it doesn't matter if students need to change devices or even onto a desktop their work is still there.  We use Google Drive for a lot, starting to use things like, Google Classroom, Hapara, Seesaw, Kidblog, Youtube.

Multitasking is hard
Trying to complete work on one app and then reading an assessment rubric in another is challenging swapping between.  I still print out rubrics so they can have their work and the rubric in front of them at the same time.  While you can swap apps easily, with just a swipe, students don't seem to use it.

Cracked screens seems to be an unescapable reality
Always happens, what can I say.

Websites can be challenging without Mobile version
Services that we use regularly are only ones that have a easy to use mobile interface, whether that is an app or on the site.  Small buttons and complex web pages are to hard to use regularly.

Relies totally on having Wifi
Without wifi we are pretty stranded, and start going to back ups.

Apple TV
It is great having apple Tv's hooked up to our projectors.  Whenever a student has something share they just make a few taps and it is on the big screen and hooked into the speakers without leaving their seat.  This is great... When there are no wifi issues.

It comes down to apps
If there is a good app that helps us achieve our teaching and learning aims then we will use it.  That is what it comes down to mostly.

I really like have 1:1 devices in the classroom.  I plan for it and use them as much as I can.  The hard thing I find is to use the technology in ways that only that technology is capable of.  Rather than just doing the same of thing on an iPad like writing an essay.  It is cool to be able to collaborate on a google slide inserting youtube videos and ideas from the web.  I am just starting to explore virtual worlds on the iPad and it is going to be revolutionary to my classroom.  Being able to have every member of a class in the same virtual world interacting together has a lot of potential.  iPads have their limitation for this it seems as most virtual world software is based on computers.  I am exploring minecraft for next year, check out my other posts for my progress on that.

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