Since the arrival of our 25 iPads at the end of February, we have been sharing these devices amongst our four Grade 6 classes and the teachers have endeavoured to use the devices to enhance their teaching and the children’s learning. In fact, it has been a time of great learning for all of us as we navigate our way through apps, ideas and methods of sharing these devices. In this time one thing has become very clear – these beautiful devices were definitely designed to be personal devices. In sharing them, we have hit one or two stumbling blocks and whilst we have usually managed to find a “work-around”, nothing can replace work which has accidently been deleted off a device by an over-zealous class mate!
It is our aim to have looked at these devices from all angles and to have experimented with them in as many ways as possible before we make any decisions as to what our future approach with the iPads will be. To assist us in our research we will trial a 1:1 approach for the rest of this term. This will allow us to do a comparative study of our experiences, the results of which will enable us to make informed decisions in the future.
So, from May 28, the iPads will be allocated to one class per week, and:
- The pupils will be allowed to take the iPads home and use them as personal devices for the duration of that week. The pupils will have to ensure that the devices are charged for each day and that they are brought to school every day for the duration of the week.
- The pupils will be asked to keep a daily journal in Notes to track how often the iPad was used, how they feel it could have been used more and to reflect on their experiences on a daily basis.
- The pupils and parents will be required to sign an Acceptable Use Policy.
- There will be a student and parent feedback opportunity at the end of the trial, for each class.
The devices are Wi-Fi only, but we are encouraging our parents to add them to their home Wi-Fi network, should they have one. To ease concerns about access to inappropriate content, internet restrictions are in place at school and restrictions have been set on each device for the downloading of apps, music etc. Internet usage at home will have to be monitored by parents.
Naturally, there are implications with regard to responsibility. The devices belong to the school and are insured by the school for accidental damage or loss. Whilst we do acknowledge that accidents can occur, we trust that every measure will be taken to care for the devices properly. Should any damage or loss occur during this trial period, and it is found to be due to negligence (such as spilling of cooldrink over the device or the device being stolen from a vehicle etc.) the parents will be liable to cover the damage or loss.
We trust that our parents will understand our thinking behind this trial and that they will support us in this initiative. These are exciting times that we live in and in order to make informed decisions about how or why we roll out more iPads in the future, we want to make sure that we have done our utmost by having done all the necessary research.