witch (25th June 2010)
Morning Witch, I'll see what I can do to answer your questions!
First off, I've had no difficulty using the iPad with our wireless network, other than the streaming issue previously mentioned. If it's any help, were running Websense through a Linux server with synetrix as our ISP.
On the subject of documents and saving them. You can save documents onto the iPad, it has it's own local storage, so that is not a problem. However, it's akin to saving onto the c: drive of a pc, and that PC can only have one user. The iPad is a very personal device in many ways. You can't have different user accounts, which in an educational environment isn't particularly useful. Dropbox is just one way of getting around this problem.
Dropbox is essentially just an online folder that can be accessed by the iPad, Mac or PC. Any device can add files to the dropbox, and any device can read or edit the files already there. So in a school scenario, you could have just the one dropbox account linked to every iPad in the class, and the teachers pc. Students could save their work to the dropbox folder (very easy) and the work would then appear on the teachers pc to be printed, stored or shown on a projector. I would also suggest that each iPad had it's own gmail account, as almost every app I've seen so far has the option to email work to another machine.
I mentioned locking down, by this I mean that the iPad has restrictions that can be imposed, locked behind a 4 digit pin. These include preventing safari, YouTube, and iTunes to be run, as well as preventing apps from being installed. You can also put in ratings for movies, tv shows and music so that only child friendly media can be played. These can all be found in the general settings menu, and wouldn't take more than a few minutes to setup for each iPad.
Finally we move onto the topic of whether the iPad could be a replacement for PCs. Honestly, I don't know. I've haven't been witness to a primary school class for a long time. It really depends what the aim of the class is, and whether the teacher in charge is enthusiastic and flexible in their approach. But you could easily do the following:
1, Internet research tasks.
2, write and send email.
3, using iWorks, create power points and word documents.
4, Create digital pictures easily and without any mess! These could then be uploaded to a VLE, sent straight home or printed for display.
5, Use one of the many apps available to get a greater understanding of a topic. I've mentioned planets before, but there is also Maths Chalkboard, which is apparently a great tool for learning the basics of maths.
I think it would have to be a very planned lesson, but with a flexible approach (like most lessons I imagine). It would have to have a focus, and the teacher would need to know exactly what apps to use to get the desired effect. From a technical standpoint, I'm unsure whether they would be something you could setup and forget about, or whether they would need constant hand holding.
Anyway, this is turning into an essay! My final point would be to buy cases for your ipads! A good case will protect it, and provide a vital angle for typing with. So the total cost for 10 iPads would be somewhere in the region of £5500. I would ensure that teachers want to teach with an iPad before committing. But could they replace an ICT suite? That's up to individual schools, but I could see it happen.
witch (25th June 2010)
I see the iPad as a supplement to the current ICT infrastructure not a replacement. It can only really be a replacement if you could afford one for everyone due to the lack of multi-user support. But even then I don't think it can do enough to replace a computer entirely.
I would look at them as a bookable resource. Out and about hardware for trips etc. But this does not mean to say that they don't have their area or use. You just need to find it. Don't forget that you aren't limited to the app store. You can create your own apps if you are that way inclined to fulfil a need. Hell you may even make a bit of money off of them
I think the iPad itself has two major issues which may proof to be the stumbaling block for most education uses - price and how the app store works. If the price was halved and the appstore was more like a Linux repository where you could point the device at a local app server then I can see alot of fantastic uses for it.
What the iPad does mean is a complete change in the way schools and teachers think about IT.
This is a 1:1 ratio device, at which point do you really need dedicated IT suites? Every child is carrying a computer around with them after all.
Obviously this is a wifi device so a good wireless system like ruckus is a must.
Using Google mail and calendar (enterprise versions are free to education) means easy access central mailing lists and shared calendars, homework dairies and class timetables are sorted.
Does SIMS Learning Gateway or Serco work with Safari on the iPad, if so that's another check list. Staff no longer need their own laptops or paper registers or whatever - it's all on the pad.
Your VLE *must* be 100% compatible with safari on the iPad. I think, given the expense of setting up the solution, the VLE should be central in how teacher plan and deliver their lessons.
Is google docs compatible with the the iPad? If so then that's the next check point. Mixed with web based printing (I believe Papercut supports this) and you have 80+% of your word/excel/powerpoint needs covered there.
iBooks and PDF's become the defecto standard replacing most text books and worksheets.
iTunesU and podcasts add a bit more richness to the VLE based lessons, as would streaming video like Teachertube (is this flash based? or are they moving to HTML5?).
And then of course there is the wealth of bespoke apps that can do everything from basic unit convertion all the way through to an interactive planetarium and back again.
All that and I still haven't mentioned quick access to online resources such as Wikipedia, IMDB, etc, etc, etc.
As I say the format and device has a lot of milage in education if correctly implented and supported by a whole school community. The big issues remain price and Apples control of the appstore.
I think for education an Android based solution could be fantastic. The new Toshiba Libratto W100 running on Android would be ideal.
If you're going down that road though, you may find a Netbook each to be better, partly on cost, but also due to the limitations iPads have in terms of nice keyboards and connecting external devices such as cameras or scanners.
You don't really need 1:1 before you can obsolete the IT Suite though, merely 1:however-many-want-simultaneous-computer-access. What I mean by that is that, since we only have a 50-computer IT Suite for 300 pupils, surely we'd only need a 1:6 ratio. Certainly with Netbooks anyway, which can handle multiple users; iPads might require 1:1 I suppose.
Personally, I'd want to see a good few years of iPad use (and development) before I ditched the IT Suites, or even PCs in general, for them.
I really don't like netbooks, or at least, any notebook with an intel Atom processor. Too slow, and I don't think their keyboards are much better than an iPad on screen keyboard anyhow. Definately not better than an iPad with a bluetooth keyboard (but we're getting expensive again!).
The iPad is definately compatible with Google Docs, and if the schools VLE is in line with BECTA sepcifications, it should be completely compatible with an iPad as well. There is also an App that allows for an iPad to use a printer that is connected to a Windows PC.
But I'm not advocating that a school rush into buying iPads. I think they are definately more suited to a small primary than a secondary school, as long as the staff know what they are letting themselves in for. But from my perspective as a network manager for a secondary school, the iPad seems to be an ideal tool for SEN use, and maybe as bookable accessory as someone mentioned before. However, with Harnessing Technology money being diverted into the damn fool Free Schools idea, I don't hink I'll be able to experiment anytime soon anyhow! I would love to trial an iPad lesson though, I think the students would love it and would gain from it as an educational experience if done right.
Couldn't disagree more. I think the form factor has the potential to revolutionise secondary education. Moving away from IWB's, tables in rows and ICT suites. The problem is taking the whole facualty with on such a revolutionary change.I think they are definately more suited to a small primary than a secondary school, as long as the staff know what they are letting themselves in for.
I mean, for example, What could the right teacher do in MFL with a good VLE, some podcasts and a translator app or two? Or Googleearth always readily available in geography lessons, along with the CIA world factbook database?
As you can probably guess, I'd love my Head to approach me and say 'heres a year of your time and all the money you could possibly need just make sure its ready and working for Sept 2011'. It's never gonna happen though
Ah well, if were talking everyone owning one, then yes a secondary school would massively benefit. In it's current iteration, I could only see it being a benefit to primary students, in small doses.
And stop talking about Androids, it'll make me want one and I've only just got this iPad!But seriously, is the Android looking to be a better way of implementing a 1:1 ratio, or providing a new experience of ICT. I'm completely in the dark about Android at present.
I've not seen android running but I believe it's not a million miles away from iOS in application. The key differences are that it is free OSS, thus end user devices should be cheaper and available in greater variety than the iPad (or atleast thats the theory). Also it is Linux based so it shouldn't be beyond the realms of possibility to set up yout own local appstore/applications repository server and control what apps can be installed (erm, no games?).
Okay I kinda get the point with ICT Suites. I doubt they would ever disappear completely. ICT, art, DT, music and Media lessons would all be very difficult without dedicated desktop resources. But the suite as a cross-curricular bookable resource? yeah, in an ideal world that should disappear. Would do Geograhy, or Science need to book an ICT suite for students to surf Wikipedia when they are all carring a iPad type device (not quite comfortable with TabletPC as a name for this form factor - any good suggestions here?)
As for the IWB, how meny teachers actually use it? Seriously? The vast majority use it as a non-interactive whiteboard to display a static powerpoint presentation. A powerpoint presentation that really should be on the VLE and accessable on the iPad anyway.
I'm not saying get rid of the projector. I can still see the use for displaying work, engaging the whole class, etc. I just think the IWB itself is an expensive luxury that'll promote classic teaching away from the VLE and the iPad mentallity.
The idea about moving away from tables in rows facing the teacher is about just that. Getting kids working together in small groups, or the whole class in a circle facing each other, participating in the french, history, english or maths lesson. Perhaps the contents of the iPad is used as the focal point for the discussion amongst the group.
Again I say it's more about changing the mindset of how technology is used and how lessons are delivered and taught than it is about using technology like the iPad for technologies sake. To make it work it's got to be part of a change in teaching and learning and all staff have got to be a part of that change.
Wow! Or should that be Woah!
Lots of info there
As I thought, it isn't really going to be useable in our environment except as an add on rather than a pc replacement. I also think the price is going to put it out of reach ATM
But you certainly make it look interesting, simpsonj!
We've just taken delivery of 10 iPads for the junior school I work at this week.
They are quick and very easy to use. We compared the time it takes to find some information from the internet using an iPad, and a laptop. For the laptop we watched the pupils switch, log into the network, wait for a profile to be fetched and then find some information. This took around 3 minutes.
With the iPad, they simple pressed the home button, slid the on screen switch, loaded an app and got the information within a minute. In terms of using ICT effectively in the classroom, they win hands down at providing information.
We haven't used them for word processing / presentations yet. We are waiting to add Apple's Pages / Keynotes apps soon. As mentioned by another member, we have put dropbox onto each iPad to allow pupils to save their work. This should allow staff to use their own machine and see the work created.
As with any new technology there are initial problems. We are finding that the RBC proxy does not allow us to stream videos from our school Vimeo account onto the iPads (although the videos do work on the laptops), and https:// websites (like Google Docs) will not load. Our LA ICTSupport service are looking into these issues with the RBC, but as we seem to be one of the first - if not the first - school in the county to be using them, no one is 100% sure at the moment how to sort out the issues!
That's interesting spw, keep us informed of any developments! The steaming and https issue has been covered in another thread, but I think the consensus was that the iPad uses different ports to stream video, and thusly won't work in a heavily firewalled enviornment (such as a school).
I think as a reference machine (to replace textbooks, and access other digital content) the iPad is extremenly useful. As a tool for writing documents or presentations, I'm not convinced. If we roll out anything like the iPad we'll want students to handwrite their work, but use the iPad or similar as a reference tool, and an intereactive way of learning.
Out of interest, how long did it take you to setup the 10 iPads?
There's some fantastic feedback here very useful for us resellers
With regard to configuring multiple iPads you can use this free tool from Apple for either Windows or Mac OS X works with iPhone, Ipod Touch and iPads...
Apple - Support - iPhone - Enterprise
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