Last spring my school decided we were going to begin transitioning our elementary school to iPads. While many schools went with iPads initially, we were using Windows 8 tablets and mini laptops. But we decided that our students, especially our youngest learners, needed a platform with more ease of use and ability to work between apps.
Last week, we rolled out 9 iPads (8 students, 1 teacher) into a 2nd grade classroom. We made an initial purchase of 50 iPads and we’ll be using four other K-2 classrooms to extend this pilot. Assuming all goes well, we hope to make a larger purchase of iPads to include the remaining K-2 classes and move into grades 3-4.
Here are some of the successes: (comparing to our other tablet options)
- Battery life…the iPads last SO. MUCH. LONGER.
- App options…even the free options on an iPad beat the Windows 8 store apps by miles. We tried Lapse-it and Kids A-Z in the first few days. The stop motion videos were a success and so easy! The students were already familiar with Kids A-Z as a “listen to reading” option (part of the Daily 5 reading program) so this was an easy transition.
- Ease of sharing across devices…using AirDrop is like heaven when you’re used to much clunkier means of sharing…using USB keys, our network dropboxes…a few clicks and we could share all the videos to one device.
And still a few issues to work through:
- We’ve started with managing the Apple IDs of our teachers, but this is proving problematic, as they can download nothing on their own. We’re curious…what do other schools do? In a conversation this weekend, another school told us their teacher Apple IDs are not managed by the school. We wondering if this is standard or how other schools have tackled this issue.
- The storage boxes we bought from Griffin require their own short charging cable so that it is easy to close and lock the door. So, when they arrived we hadn’t realized this would be the case and now we have an ugly mess of cords to contend with inside this beautiful storage box.
Overall, I’m really happy with how things have started. We still have a long road ahead of us, but I believe that this new platform will make the road to redefining their classrooms much more smooth. While the technology is only a tool, the right tool can make all the difference.
We’re still really early in our iPad adventures. If you have any suggestions or favorite apps to share, please comment on this post!