Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Some things to think about before you buy classroom iPads.

So you want to buy Ipads for your classroom- Here are a list of things to consider before you buy.

Storage - My Ipads came to me in a blue plastic bin with wires and cords everywhere. When you are thinking about your tablet remember to consider storage.  Where are you putting them when the students aren't using them? They need to be secured but they also need to be accessible. They need to be protected but the solution needs to be portable and inexpensive.

Cases- Originally my Ipads didn't come with any cases. Someone purchased the iPad Smart Covers for my set. They are a flip cover that protects only the front of the ipad. At this time this has been sufficient but I would like to purchase better covers. According to my research there are a few good choices on the market but they will add a lot of money to your budget.

You need to decide what will work best in your environment. What is most important in a cover? How much are you willing to spend?

Charging - I thought I had a perfect storage location for my Ipads until I realised that there was no where nearby to charge them. How and where will you recharge the devices? When will you do this?

Installing Apps- I have 10 Ipads in my room currently and due to certain laws we have to install each app individually on each Ipad. I was surprise at how much time it takes to find the app, log-in and download the app. How are you going to manage this? What will you do to make it easier for you?

Paying for Apps-  Although my initial intent was to use only free apps, I discovered that there were some paid apps I wanted access to. Our solution was to use Itunes cards. It was a little cumbersome since I needed to add the cards to each iPad individually. Apple offers a school program that my district has not yet taken advantage of but this gives you apps at a discount and purchasing may be easier with this program.How will you purchase apps? Do you have access to a credit card that can be associated with each account? Will you set-up an Apple School account? Will you use Itunes cards?

Keeping Kids on the Apps you Want- One of the challenges I faced this week was that students would accidently or on purpose end up in other apps on the Ipad. I haven't found a solution to this yet although this article is promising.  How to keep students focused on one App.

Sharing- One of the biggest challenges I have had this week revolves around sharing the Ipads. Who goes first? How will we share them? How do I distribute them? How to we make the transition between one group and another group?

Flash Access- One of the things I wanted to use my Ipad for was Listen to reading. There are so many wonderful websites that allow students to listen to reading and I thought we would be able to access these with out Ipads. Unfortunately because of the limitations on FLASH use on Ipads most of my favorite book sites could not be accessed on the Ipad. I have since discovered two programs that help with that.
Rover and Puffin Web Browser. Both allow viewing of flash content online but Rover is limited to educational websites (most in English) that they have selected. You will need to decide if Flash access is something important to you.

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