It's been months in the making, but we're finally ready to place our new iPads into the hands of our students. Back when our library media specialist first suggested that we had the money in our budget for a set of 30 iPads, I was excited… and skeptical. How could that be possible? But upon further inspection, we realized that money from the equipment, subscription, and book budget categories could all be combined to purchase them. We hit the road running!
Our first hurdle was to convince administration that we should be able to combine all of these resources for this purchase. Why iPads in the library? The first, most obvious answer, is that they are amazing e-readers capable of downloading all of the free public domain classic literary works, iBook, Kindle and Nook books, as well as pdf files and magazine subscriptions. Another important use for the iPads is the creation of multimedia projects by our students working in the library. Screencasts, Keynote slideshows, Prezis, videos, music, desktop publishing documents and podcasts can all be created on this one portable device. A third use, though not as exciting - but just as important, is for research. iPads offer instant internet access at the students' fingertips along with dictionary, encyclopedia, and subject content apps ready to launch at any time.
Permission granted! We placed the order for 30 iPads, 1 MacBook and a Bretford storage cart to store, charge and sync them all. We decided on the 16GB, WiFi-only model. They won't require a lot of internal storage, as we are moving students' and teachers' workflow into the clouds. I envision that students will be using Google Docs, DropBox and iCloud to store their files. They will also be able to email files to another computer if need be. We'll see how this all works as we get using them. The logistics are yet to be discovered.
Wow - what a process! We have learned so much - my head is spinning. I am now ready to see what happens. I am planning a math lesson using the ShowMe app to get started. The students will solve problems recording them within the app and share their solutions when connected to the SmartBoard. The best of these solutions can be saved and uploaded to our Trumbull High School YouTube channel as a tutorial to help others. I hope to find more teachers who want to experiment. I'm thrilled and a little afraid for the first time that we put them into the students' hands, but I feel confident that they will be engaged and excited!
Here are some of the resources I used along the way:
Setting up a cartful or two of iPads - blog post
Apple's Official iOS 5 Deployment Guide
Ravenscroft Libraries - Middle and Upper School Library iPad Program
Setting up a Library iPad Program
Apple's Volume Purchase Program - Half-price Apps for Schools
Great Blog About Apps in Education
iPad 2 Basics - Learning Tutorials