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Mac Thread, iPad in schools in Technical; Originally Posted by enjay I think that's an important point. We often do hear about things first, because we're the ...
  1. #106
    theeldergeek
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    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    I think that's an important point. We often do hear about things first, because we're the ones going to BETT, RM seminars, EduGeek and a million other geek and tech sites, so I think that we/ICT Co-ordinators have a responsibility to keep teaching colleagues apprised with new "stuff". It isn't our place to say "this is great, you must get one (or 30!) and shoe-horn it into your curriculum", but it is our place to say "hey, saw this and wondered if it is something you'd like to look at". To this end, we are hoping to set up a strategy / steering group comprising IT Support, ICT Co-ord, SLT and some of the more tech-minded teachers to do just that.
    Yes, we do need to be at the forefront of technology, and I would be surprised to meet anyone who is as involved in hardware as us, who doesn't look for ways to utilise new devices; however, we also need to be very careful that we have a good use for said devices in mind before we plough on in, buy a 'boxful' of the damn things and then find that actually who we thought they would be useful for, doesn't actually want them at all.

    We have a focus group here who already do the sort of thing you are considering. It works well, not just for the discussion of new hardware/gadgets/devices (call them what you will) but also for the overall ICT strategy itself.

  2. #107

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HodgeHi View Post
    What would be the general consensus if this was a Windows-based slate device perhaps like the one HP was going to release? Would everything be magically Ok even though it was identical apart from the OS?
    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    If it was Windows-based, we would be a hundred steps closer to decent integration with our network, which would greatly increase the usability of the devices, so it would be better, not everything (and not magical!) but definitely an improvement.
    Even if the device was Windows based, it would not be configured in the same way as a normal network computer here. It wouldn't require users to 'log in' and download profiles etc... Instead, it would be a web based device - so documents would be worked on and sent to the VLE, and not their network share (unless we decided to implement WebDav shares and allow them to save to them instead). Personally, I don't care what the OS is on the device, so long as it can do what I want it to do - ie. be a 'quick use' device, with easy to open applications, no login time, no worries about virus software, profiles getting messed up, bandwidth issues over wireless etc...

    The last thing I want is full Windows machines being used wirelessly en-mass with normal software and normal profiles.

  3. #108

    SpuffMonkey's Avatar
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    Well, now we've got a new government committed to "austerity" - we're not going to have to worry about what to do with new tech-toys, we'll be brushing up our old skills of building PCs out of the leftover spare bits n pieces we find at the back of the stock cupboard...'-)

  4. #109
    enjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theeldergeek View Post
    we also need to be very careful that we have a good use for said devices in mind before we plough on in, buy a 'boxful' of the damn things and then find that actually who we thought they would be useful for, doesn't actually want them at all.
    Why would you buy a boxful of them before seeing if the teacher actually wants one? You would show the teacher a brochure, then get a sales guy in with one, and only then buy a boxful, or possibly just one for testing.

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    Pete10141748's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HodgeHi
    What would be the general consensus if this was a Windows-based slate device perhaps like the one HP was going to release? Would everything be magically Ok even though it was identical apart from the OS?
    It wouldn't be "magically OK" as it's still over twice the price of a netbook and with Windows on it would only do the same things as said netbook, with a larger touch-screen (but no keyboard or USB support) being the only difference.

    I'm not faulting the iPad because it's an Apple product - I fault it because it is riddled with faults when looked at from an educational-network perspective and has some quite major flaws when looked at from a personal (ie at home) use too.

    I don't doubt that it's got some nice features, but a few nice features isn't enough to justify the cost of getting one when for that same cost you could have 2 full-featured netbooks or one half-decent laptop.

    I said it before; if someone created an iPad-style tablet, which used the 'always on/standby' method for instant-on capability, ran even a scaled-down version of XP or 7 so it literally connected to the Internet and network shares with your logon details, and was at least somewhat close of the cost of a netbook, I would have no qualms about giving some of them a shot at doing good in my school.


    Quote Originally Posted by enjay
    Why would you buy a boxful of them before seeing if the teacher actually wants one? You would show the teacher a brochure, then get a sales guy in with one, and only then buy a boxful, or possibly just one for testing.
    We techie's wouldn't, but a lot SMT's in schools would (and do), and when they don't even consult you about them but instead just turn up at your office door saying "we've just got X of Y devices, set them up and then talk to teachers about a use for them" you're at a loss before you begin.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete10141748 View Post
    I said it before; if someone created an iPad-style tablet, which used the 'always on/standby' method for instant-on capability, ran even a scaled-down version of XP or 7 so it literally connected to the Internet and network shares with your logon details, and was at least somewhat close of the cost of a netbook, I would have no qualms about giving some of them a shot at doing good in my school.
    Why would you want them to have to use logon details all the time? People don't log on to their calculators. I see these sort of devices as fancy calculators with extra features. Rather than thinking of them as scaled down computers.

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    Jamo's Avatar
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    This does of course mean that you would have to have an awesome VLE to make these devices at all useful if you couldn't log on to the network. Ours is Fronter, and for this purpose it would be totally useless, teachers would have to spend hours longer creating resources which could be used effectively on Fronter. Plus most bought in resources use the Flash player and java extensively which would be so badly supported on a device like this.

  8. #113
    Pete10141748's Avatar
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    Sorry, my bad explanation, I'd like them to sign in to them once (say, in the morning when they pick one of them up) and then they stay logged in so whenever they need them they just touch the button and they can instantly be used. But yes, I am still thinking of them along the lines of a laptop-replacement and not so much as a supplemental device live a calculator.


    EDIT: just realised that's probably quite a daft idea what with data protection and all that, so scrap what I said above!
    Last edited by Pete10141748; 12th May 2010 at 12:16 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete10141748 View Post
    We techie's wouldn't, but a lot SMT's in schools would (and do), and when they don't even consult you about them but instead just turn up at your office door saying "we've just got X of Y devices, set them up and then talk to teachers about a use for them" you're at a loss before you begin.
    Fair point, I keep forgetting how lucky I am here - SLT here wouldn't do that, and actually back me in not supporting other staff who do.

  10. #115

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamo View Post
    This does of course mean that you would have to have an awesome VLE to make these devices at all useful if you couldn't log on to the network. Ours is Fronter, and for this purpose it would be totally useless, teachers would have to spend hours longer creating resources which could be used effectively on Fronter. Plus most bought in resources use the Flash player and java extensively which would be so badly supported on a device like this.
    We use Fronter also, and to be honest, functionality-wise it isn't that bad. Speed wise, it has a fair amount to be desired but I do like it. Regarding creating resources - surely a standard set of room templates could be created and used by staff with minimal alterations? Using it as a document storage system for the kids isn't difficult either. Regarding bought in resources, that is very true and is my main reservation with iPads (i am talking more generally than using the iPad).

  11. #116
    Jamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    We use Fronter also, and to be honest, functionality-wise it isn't that bad. Speed wise, it has a fair amount to be desired but I do like it. Regarding creating resources - surely a standard set of room templates could be created and used by staff with minimal alterations? Using it as a document storage system for the kids isn't difficult either. Regarding bought in resources, that is very true and is my main reservation with iPads (i am talking more generally than using the iPad).
    You have pretty much described exactly as we use it. A document storage area where things are uploaded. I have set up template pages and its all up and running successfully but it really isn't great and certainly wont be of any benefit being able to recieve it on the move!!! We have just tried to disable stickies on it (un-monitorable messaging system within Fronter) and have just found out that if we do it disables the ability of students to see eachothers profiles and interact! What quality design decisions!

  12. #117
    theeldergeek
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    Quote Originally Posted by enjay View Post
    Why would you buy a boxful of them before seeing if the teacher actually wants one? You would show the teacher a brochure, then get a sales guy in with one, and only then buy a boxful, or possibly just one for testing.
    Don't take it literally. What I am saying is don't get too into something believing you have a need to only find out you actually don't. The way you would do it is right, of course, but I've seen boxes of PDA's written off because they were going to be the next best thing that actually wasn't, so not everyone does it the right way.

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Sounds like we agree then!

    Sometimes, it is the case that you don't realise until after you've got them that they're actually not as good as you thought. When we first got our projectors/IWBs, one of the teachers asked about a cordless mouse rather than having kids moving around the room to come up to the board - seemed like a good idea, so we got one. She liked it sufficiently that we now do it as standard with all projector set ups. This was followed by a suggestion of a cordless keyboard, which again the "projector teacher" agreed would be a good idea, so now our standard set-up includes a cordless keyboard and mouse. The mice are used all the time, but the keyboards not so much - seemed like a good idea on paper, to me and the teachers, but the reality turns out to be different.

    Not such a problem in this instance, mind you, as the price difference between a cordless mouse and a cordless desktop set is not much.

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    torledo's Avatar
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    all this talk about vle's and a web based model for productivity and learning is great, but the advantages
    of the ipad and iphone has been that it hasn't relied on this browser based model to use applications on a device with a small footprint.

    what i'd like to see is for it to be more 'enterprise' as far as deployment of apps. not rely on the itunes model and individual device downloads/installs to allow schools to role out apps and allow for updates to be pushed out to devices.

    or am i missing the point and it isn't really that important to have these features ?

  15. #120

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    Quote Originally Posted by theeldergeek View Post
    Don't take it literally. What I am saying is don't get too into something believing you have a need to only find out you actually don't. The way you would do it is right, of course, but I've seen boxes of PDA's written off because they were going to be the next best thing that actually wasn't, so not everyone does it the right way.
    It's back down to how schools get white elephants ... personally I believe that all purchases should have some grounding, even in R&D. If you are going to get a class-set of something then you should know what teh outcome of using them is ... even if it is just "Let's see where this fits in with how we are teaching / how kids are learning and see if it changes anything?" through to "We have researched a number of areas for target within the school such as literacy in boys and we have examples of using this technology in other school but we are not sure whether it will work here" or even "We are going to see this kit somewhere down the line, so let's be a bit more informed."

    Of course it varies depending on how innovative and experimental your school might be, what your budgets are like, how much of a key tool ICT is ... and it is not just for using technology that this is important. Some schools really hate the idea of team teaching, even though there are wonderful examples out there.

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