A four-phase approach to nailing down your iPad rollout. Key questions and components to consider during the planning and implementation process.
There are two aspects that have a significant impact on the whole program – how you organize iTunes account and the ration of iPads to students (and whether they have 24/7 access or not). Read more below about these.
PHASE 1 – VISION
Why are you doing this anyway? If you can’t answer this question, you need to figure it out before you do anything else. Try to get it down to two sentences. Your leadership should also be able to articulate why. At some point, your teachers, and parents and students, should be able to explain it, too.
Is your leadership on board? Senior admin, board members, key parents? Who does it take to make a program fly? This is a show stopper if you don’t have the right people pushing this forward and supporting you as you have to make hard decisions. During this process, you will need buy in from lots of key folks, and you’ll need leadership to understand that.
It ain’t cheap, and costs add up. Make sure you have both the money to start the program and a financial model to sustain it. Who pays for what pieces? Is it a fundraising effort to start and then built into the budget thereafter? Will parents pay for any of it? If so, get buy in….Think about all the parts from device to software, from support to repair/replace. Time is money, too. How much money can you spend, really? Also consider which costs are reduced (like textbooks and xeroxed copies of things).
When you bring in new technology, it might fit in seamlessly with what you have in place. This 1:1 may be the first significant technology you will have at your school. Whatever it is, a significant influx of technology can have an immense impact on current systems. Make sure you imagine what this impact might be. Be intentional about it, not REACTIVE. Don’t get jerked around by new technology, get a handle on it and ride that wave (and keep working to stay on top of it).
How will this new technology affect your curriculum? Technology offers your a chance to do things you couldn’t do before. Is your curriculum and are your teachers in a position to re-evaluate and recreate what they are doing in class? Curriculum work is inevitable if you are going to take full advantage of new technology, so start thinking about it. Which school leaders need to be involved? What curricula do you want to start looking at?
Who are the key people you want and need to be involved? Each phase will involved key people to make this work. You will need to add more and more as you move to each phase. At phase 1, be political and practical–who has pull and who has energy? Leadership is important, but broaden the circle to include well positioned allies.
PHASE 2 – KEY DECISIONS
This is the most impactful decision for your iPad program. Who owns the iTunes account? Decentralizing this (allow students to have their own) allows easier management with most MDMs and allow students to update and download apps without a bottleneck through you. BUT, more freedom, more trouble lurking. Teachers need to be on board and you need to decide what your policy in on device content. Get parent partnership on this. ALSO, students under 13 cannot officially have their own iTunes account, so you need to address that.
Type and Ratio
Are you traditional 1:1, 1:1 modified (keep in school), or some version of a shared program? Are you piloting shared and moving towards 1:1? Are you starting with a modified 1:1 with the goal to have students take them home? If so, make sure your configuration (and iTunes accounts) will allow this shift. Are your iPads in carts or in classrooms? Ease of access is important for a successful program and sometimes, even small obstacles that interfere with access cause a failed launch. Write down your plan now.
Lots of pieces here:Is your wireless and network fast enough and can your access points handle the load? Remember that your network will get hit hard all at once, then have no traffic at all. Are you filtering web access? At home? What are you using to backup iPads? What are students and teachers using for workflow now? Will that work with iPads? What about printing? Will AppleTV and the Bonjour protocol affect your network?
You need some policies that everyone understands (students, teachers, parents, admin). Acceptable Use Policy should cover content, use, repair, consequences, etc. (see my iTunesU course). Draft this document as you go. Some of your policies may not go into the AUP, but may be great to have online as FAQs or as part of a presentation. https://itunesu.itunes.apple.com/audit/COX7FXR5RA
Are you managing, what are you using, and how are you doing it? Look at Configurator, JAMF Software, Absolute, Meraki and others. You need to know what you really WANT to do and WHY before you look for a solution that does it. Do you need to manage these at all? Many of the limitations are imposed by Apple, not the management software. What is management worth to you? What is your school’s philosophy: Education or restriction or somewhere in between.
Curriculum and Content
Do you need to create PDFs? How and who will do it? Do you need other digital textbooks, workbooks, resources? Do you want teachers to create these? When? With what support? Can your teachers build new curriculum now that they have new tools? You need to set aside time and money to do this, but it also can only be well done when the new tools are understood. Do you give teachers some time with iPads before they are truly rebuilding curricula and resources? Flip teaching? Multimedia? Lots of accessible resources possible now. What about digital textbooks? What are your options? Teachers will have to look at the resources out there.
This is Phase 2 of your PEOPLE piece. Which lead teachers can you gather to really carry this torch? You need your champions. What is their role? Make sure they know responsibility and commitment. How will you cultivate them? Help this group feed off each other. This can be a microcosm of the bigger community when momentum starts going. What kind of training do they need? Collaborative meetings? Shared digital space to collect knowledge? Conferences?
How are you buying, distributing, and updating apps? Be careful not to make yourself the bottleneck here. Great thing about low or no cost of apps is that students and teachers can really be the explorers here with the right guidance and citizenship training. You certainly want to take advantage of VPP but not limit access or delay updates. How do you ensure that all students have the right apps when they need them?
You need one. This is time and money, and more specifically time. You also have to consider all the constituents – teachers, students, and parents. You want teachers to feel confident using the iPad but also open to learning with and from students and others. Students need to have some good practices under their belt and good digital citizenship skills. Parents need to feel like they understand what their child is doing with their iPad all the time and why the school has decided to use this particular device.For teachers, are you training in house? Are you bringing in “experts?” Are you sharing within your community? Are you connecting/partnering with other schools? For parents, have their students be the teachers – make it an assignment for student and parent to do something together. For students, take advantage of peer groups but also set aside some time to teach in the context of curriculum.
So you have an idea of what the first year looks like. How about the second year? And the year after that? What happens when something new comes along? Make sure your philosophy of technology is driving the decisions you make and not the devices themselves. That said, think a few years ahead and imagine how this device plays out—financially, content, etc.
PHASE 3 – PREPARATION
Do an attitude check. What are teachers feeling about this endeavor? Are they nervous about something new? How will they feel when students sometimes have answers that they don’t? Prep them for this. The student-teacher partnership is important. How are parents feeling? They’ll need information, too, so they feel comfortable helping their kids. How is leadership feeling? How much control do you need and how much are folks comfortable with change?
How are teachers distributing work and materials to students, how are students creating work, how are students passing it back, how are teachers grading it and passing back, how are students archiving it? You can let everyone make their own system, but that is a choice you need to take the heat for. If you do put a system in place, think about how much training folks will need to make it effective. Draw a diagram of those systems that teachers and students will use in their workflow.
Communication and Marketing
What’s your communications plan? How will you tell your community and beyond about your iPad program? Who is helping you do this? Parents will want updates on the impact of such a program. Plan on giving those updates proactively. Teachers will benefit from what’s going on in other classes. Make a communications timeline. Make sure your website has some space dedicated to the program as well. Feature some student work, too, and talk about the cool things your teachers are doing.
Yes—you have to do it. Better for everyone. In addition to your AUP, make some FAQs for the website, and tutorials for students, teachers and parents. Make sure you have a good sense about your Technology Philosophy and that your iPad program is in line with that. What’s your repair process? Write it down. If you are managing, are you backing up to one machine? Write down the process. How are you keeping track of repairs? What does workflow look like? Even if you don’t share all these documents, write them down for your own sake. Think about the audiences with whom you need to communicate.
iPad Initial State
When you hand out the iPad, what will it have on it? If you are managing, will you enroll it or will students enroll? If you are using Configurator, what apps are you providing? Write down what exactly the iPad looks like when the student receives it.
Curriculum and Content
Enough talk. You need to get some content that will be used on the iPads. Digital books and at least PDFs. In a 1:1 students have quicker access to digital resources so have everyone take advantage of that. How will teachers share material with students and vice versa? What devices (scan to pdf?) and software (Acrobat Pro?) do you need to create some of these resources. Workflow….
Think about cases, keyboards, styluses, and other possible peripherals. Will the school supply the case or dictate which case students use (may depend on repair model)? Are students allowed to buy their own case? Keyboards supplied or not? Consider each of the above items and jot down your position.
At this stage in the game, you need to nail down what the training of your three major constituents (parents, teachers, students) looks like, build in time for it, AND figure out who is leading it. Talk to the folks who can get you time and book it. How much can folks learn on their own and which aspects of the program do you want everyone to understand (e.g., AUP, workflow). Write down what training looks like for parents, students, and teachers from August to June.
Even if you want to give utter freedom to everyone, it’s nice to suggest a few core productivity apps students and teachers will need to use. If it seems overwhelming, think of the kind of tasks they HAVE to do on the iPad, and consider 1 or 2 apps for each function. For instance (also see Core Apps)
document creation: Quickoffice, Pages, GoogleDrive
voice recorder: Voice Recorder HD, Voice Record Pro
screen capture: Explain Everything
brainstorming: Inspiration Maps, Idea Sketch, Corkulous
desktop publishing: Creative Book Builder
Who are the people supporting your iPad program? You’ll need folks available for troubleshooting (students are a good first line) and also people available to help teachers integrate and innovate. Think about your teacher core group as a resource. Parents can use some hand holding, too. Make some office hours once a week for them. Write down some possible problems you might have and what systems you have in place to address them.
You need to continually cultivate this group and maybe formalize their interactions with and support of peers. Do you want them going to conferences? Will they have opportunities to present? Can they build relationships with other teacher leaders in other schools? When will this team meet, how often, and will your formalize their time with others? Think of another school that might what to pair up their teacher leaders with yours.
If you can manage it, try to build a sustainable student leadership group. You want to empower this group to be innovators, beta testers, supporters, and champions. How might your create this within the current structures your school has?TimelineAfter reviewing many of these moving pieces, the rubber does need to hit the road. You can’t do everything at once and the more time you have the better. When are you going to do which parts? Who is helping you with each aspect along the way? This is basic project management. Write down your timeline for all the key moving parts (and people involved—what is firm and what is flexible?
PHASE 4 – IN PLAY
Parent Training, Student Training, Teacher Training
LeadershipOngoing ManagementHow are you managing iPads when they are in the hands of our youth? How often are you physically doing something with iPads or sending configurations, etc. wirelessly? How hands on are you? How do you handle repair and replacement?
How do you manage App requests in the heat of the year? Does everything come through you, through teachers, through parents, through no one at all? How much can you handle and support this process? The answer might help you determine your process. Hillbrook for example allow student to download free apps and pay for their own apps (if they students are unsure about the app, they should get teacher/parent approval). We will make volume purchase 5xs per year and let teachers know in August when those dates are so they can plan their requests around those dates.
Support and Repair/Replace
In 1:1 programs, consider how much time is reasonable (none) for students to go without their device. Do you have a loaner stack? Is there billing involved? For support, do you have open office hours for teachers, parents and students? How are students and teachers supporting each other? How are you empowering support structures outside of IT? One school has teachers run support session for parents. In some schools, a special student group is the first line.
Shout it out! Plan for regular communications externally AND internally. Create opportunities and channels for teachers to share what they are doing in class not only for the outside community but for peers. Allow students to participate in these communications, too–involve them in the process. What are your mechanisms? Who is supporting the communications efforts? How ofte are you doing it? Formalize it so you do it consistently and equitably.
How much should iPads be used at home and in school?
What does a prepared student look like?
Are students allowed to share iPads if they forget their own?
What kind of content is allowed?
What happens when iCloud fills up
Should students be able to print at home?
What happens when that doesn’t work?
Printing access at school? When?
The best way to evaluate workflow is to try it yourself. Maybe audit a class or a couple classes. What works and what doesn’t. What workflow is forced, making exchange harder, and what is an improvement? Talk to teachers and students about what features are needed—what are they trying to do that they can’t do?
How are you backing up your devices? iCloud works great if students have their own accounts. If you are backing up multiple machines to the same iCloud account, I recently read that it’s only possible to do 8 (but I haven’t tested this our) no matter how big your iCloud storage is. You can use Configurator or the iTunes tethered approach to backing up, but think about how often you really want to collect these things.
Sharing Work (for community)
Sharing student work out to the community is a vital part of good communications. Let your community know what is happening in classrooms and what kind of work students are creating. We are getting a couple flat screens to display student work in public places on campus where parents frequent. Get them asking. Help people feel proud. What are the results of all this money and resources the school is dedicating to iPads? Student work is part of that equation. How will you share out student work? And don’t forget to share out the innovative curricula teacher are creating and new practices that are enhancing learning.
How are you going to do it? What is your printing policy? Do students have to print everything at home or is there a place (or places) at school they can print? Do you really want to support this? Do you want to encourage it? Sometime, slight inconveniences in printing encourage digital workflow and innovation.
How do you know if the program is successful? Better grades? Better engagement? Organization? Innovation? How are you measuring? Are you taking surveys? Are you questioning different constituencies? Interviews? Make a record of where you are. It helps to see where you started down the road? Use Puentedura’s integration chart to see where technology is truly enabling new, better kinds of work and learning. Make sure to include students in the evaluation process and for help planning the evolution of your program. Write a couple ways you will evaluate the program and when you will collect this data.Future