DISCLAIMER: I am a self proclaimed Apple disciple. I just completed the full set over Christmas and my household is now the happy owner of 1 iMac, 2 MacBook Pros, 2 iPads, 2 iPhones, 2 iPod Touches, 2 iPod Nanos, a iPod Classic and now an Apple TV, all linked by a network controlled by an Apple Airport Extreme. The point: I was always going to be asked to do this!
In mid 2011, my wife’s boss invited us over to dinner to get me to set up his new iPad. At the time, I didn’t have one but as a long time iPhone user, I was up to the task. The following week, after having a good play that night and getting used to it, we got ourselves a brand new iPad too. It was meant to be a shared experience for the family…but it quickly became an extension of my body at school and the good wife had to wait for after dinner to get her fix of Flight Control HD!
At around the same time, the iPad entered the scene in our local school area and the principal was quick to seek them out, having seen me use it constantly at school. Being a rational thinker, I asked her to explain her rationale for wanting to purchase the iPad. Being unsure, I suggested that I would put together a proposal to present to the Leadership team, outline the pros and cons of the wonder tablet ( Apple disciple or not, I’m careful not to pretend there are not issues!)iPad-proposal
After the presentation, which was much appreciated by all, I was asked what to do next. I proposed a small purchase of 8 test iPads to put in the hands of willing testers. The next day I was handed 18. OK, so I had 18 iPads to set up and distribute but who for? We decided to get them in the hands of the teachers first but set up a user policy and testing program that was open to anyone prepared to follow my rules.ipad-agreement They were allowed to hand them over to the children to test as well.
At least one teacher from each level took on the task of testing the iPads out, as well as members of Leadership and the PE teacher. On different levels and for different reasons, the initial reaction was very positive and many uses were quickly discovered. They quickly became note taking tools for assessment, task organisers/calendars, book readers, video cameras, story creators, and as I started adding educational games to the iPads, many games were tested out for their usefulness. Enthusiastic teachers attended Techie brekkies to learn how to use them and ask questions. It was all going well…until endofyearitis set in! It was then I realised it was time to get the iPads in the hands of the children – it was their turn to show us what tech can really do. The challenge for 2012 is how to get the children involved.