We’re wrapping up a very successful iPad pilot program with two Grade 3 classes at Mulgrave School. The experience has given us the confidence to go 1:1 with the device for Grade 3 through 6 next year. That will put a little over 300 iPads in our junior school, including staff devices. We expect to expand that as soon as possible to upper grades.
The student experience has been all-positive. Read about that in the student survey here.
From the IT perspective we’ve learned a valuable lesson that has given us the confidence to expand our iPad program (an begin implementation of our BYOD program) a year ahead of schedule.
The best way to manage 10 or a hundred or a thousand iPads is to let 10 a hundred or a thousand people be managers.
The IT department set up the iPads on the wireless at the start of the year and that’s pretty much been the extent of the required support. We had a brief honeymoon where we sorted out our expectations for the studnets, but since then we’ve had–as fas as I know–no breakages, no one coming to class with an uncharged device, no one coming to class missing a critical app. Remember these are Grade 3 students!
Pedagocially, it doesn’t make sense to manage the device centrally: the iPad is a personal device and a mobile device and placing them in carts just kills that.
Our expereince tells me there is no practical need to manage it centrally either.
Update June 12, 2012: I’ve just been told that we have in fact lost 3 iPads to failure/damage over the course of the year. Two were replaced by Apple, no questions asked, one was broken by a student. The classroom teacher says this posed little interruption. The issues never hit the IT department.