August 1 is here, and in Texas that means school starts this month. As we prepare the buildings and new teachers, we are making sure every detail is covered for our next deployment of iPads: 2500 at our largest high school. These are the things we are working on, and I thought that they might help you too.
1. Wireless–Coverage and capacity
You must have coverage for all areas and capacity for twice the number of devices you think you will have. Remember, many students have smart phones, the teachers may have multiple devices (computer, white board, mobile phone, iPod, etc.) and you are likely to deploy more and more devices. Start with it right!
2. Covers ordered and on the iPads
Good covers are vitally important. We have chosen to use the Otterbox Defender series and could not be more pleased. The newest version is stellar, and the screen protection has very sensitive touch functionality. That means that once it’s installed, the student should not need to remove it, and that is what we like.
We choose to put the school asset sticker on the back where the Apple symbol is, make sure the iPad glass is sparkling clean, and then install a pristine cover. Your goal is NO FINGER PRINTS. If you see fingerprints, so will the student, and as they try to take off the cover, clean and re-cover the device, there is a greater chance for breakage of the cover, the iPad and the loss of the asset sticker.
The Otterbox company stands behind their products 100%, and they have made every effort to keep us happy. They replace broken covers, no questions asked, and make good on all of their promises.
These are more expensive, but we were able to negotiate a reasonable price through ARC and Otterbox.
3. Management decisions made with documentation for all
- Insurance & fee- Will you self-insure or use a company like the Worth Ave. Group? Will you charge a user fee? How much? How will you collect and track payment?
- Documentation- We have a Student Pledge, Mobile Device Guidelines, and an updated. Acceptable Use Policy. Make sure to include things such as Usage Fees, cost of replacement for each piece of equipment, including the charging cord, power brick, and cover. We update these documents annually to reflect current needs and uses of technology.
- Apps: Who will pay for them? Who will own them? Will all students receive all apps?
- How will you deploy apps?
- Will you use an MDM solution? If so, which one?
4. Parent Communication- How will you deliver training and information to parents in your district? What will you include?
5. Teacher support plans-How will you support your teachers through staff development and just-in-time training to ensure quality teaching and learning take place? Will you step up the walk-throughs to catch problem areas quickly and offer help? Read lesson plans more carefully? Offer training in Challenge-Based Learning or Project-Based Learning? What process will your teachers have in place to receive assistance both technically and instructionally? How will they give feedback on the deployment and progress of the project?
These are a few of the things you need to decide now–before the crazy days of deployment are upon you. Enjoy the process and document everything you do. You’ll likely be here again and need every reminder!
COMING SOON: I will write about our teacher training plans, the challenge of changing instruction, and making the hard decision to go 1:1 iPads.
For examples of our documents and plans for our next big deployment, simply click HERE.
Disclaimer: These are my opinions only and do not reflect those of my district.