iPad in schools
As a school we are currently trialing the use of iPads for staff and have come up against a few issues, ideally we would like them to replace laptops for all staff.
We would be grateful for all information and advice on this issue as I am aware that some of you have already begun this venture and many are using iPads in some capacity within schools.
One of the main issues is that we are currently unable to access the school network drives, there are varying levels of access for different staff logins, however we have been unable to connect at all on the iPads.
Another consideration is the move to all Apple hardware to allow smoother transfer of software and documents, would you recommend this?
Is it easy to run a network using Apple?
Hope to hear from you soon,
You can in buy and install an app to do this such as FileBrowser. It is £2.99 per device.
Replacing everything with Macs is a possibility, but an expensive and pointless one in my view.
Why are you looking at these devices to replace laptops? What do they do that laptops don't? Do you have a particular need for iPads?
To be more blunt - is this a case of 'technology exists, we must shoehorn the technology into our school'?
There are several reasons.
We are looking at providing pupils with iPads for their ease of use as we are a special school and would have many advantages, they would allow all pupils to access them, not to mention remove the current big obstacle of pupils being embarrassed about the resource they are using as it is appropriate for their cognitive level only (all their peers would know is they are using an iPad the same as everybody else).
This sparked the discussion relating to how staff would need to be more than familiar with them to allow pupils to flourish using them.
There was another conversation relating to the sheer volume of paper and printing the school does, most of which could be deployed to them for staff's information. Granted this could be done with a laptop but mainly due to the portability issue and ease of access it isn't and wouldn't be.
Does filebrowser allow full access to network drives within a windows server and can we restrict this from pupils?
I don't know the extent of the usefulness of FileBrowser for you - you'd have to download it and see if it does what you want.
However, I'd question the need for it. The beauty of iPads is their 'cloud' type behaviour. So, instead of having your own servers storing things, you'd have something like Google Apps and everything would be stored there instead. The problem you'll face is specialist tools storing locally to the device.
We have a special school on our campus, and they have issued ipads to staff, but we also have Google Apps in place. Pupils still use classroom machines though.
How are staff going to do their large amount of typing that they do? Typing on a touchscreen is a nightmare.
This would ease the burden on our servers I guess, the issue is just when many things are stored on the network currently that need to be accessed by staff on an ad-hoc basis. We have been e-mailing these currently but that isn't going to work when the files are too big. Would an external keyboard sort that?
With existing files, you could implement some form of web based repository, and transfer things to it.
Originally Posted by mhitchen
An external keyboard? Kinda defeats the object of a tablet! You can get a dock with a keyboard as part of it for about £50.
Not entirely - tablet + keyboard are still lighter than laptop, also keyboard can be removed when not needed.
Originally Posted by localzuk
@mhitchen - I suggest you take a step back and then come at this project again. The question you should be asking is not "how can I make this iPad talk to my Windows-based shared areas?" but "how best can I access files on this iPad?".
Also, (and please forgive me if I'm wrong or out of line here) some of what you say sounds a bit like the Headteacher hearing about some schools having iPads so buying some and making it your problem. I genuinely believe that tablets have a place in schools and could, under the right circumstances, be laptop-replacements, however it is not as simple as buying a few and putting them on IT Support's desk with a Post-It saying "need this by Friday". This needs to be a process of discussion between management, teachers and IT Support, followed by research, more discussion, more research and so on to find a solution that fits the teaching, the users and the technology. You've already missed the first few times round that cycle by getting the iPads without considering other tablets.
We use FileBrowser with our iPads and it works a treat for staff.
Originally Posted by mhitchen
You can setup multiple network drives to it and it can be setup to ask for a username and password each time a drive is accessed or you can set it to just ask for the password and setup the username via the configuration of the app.
It picks up the permissions based on the provided username so along as your NT permissions are ok you should be fine using the app.
You can also lock down the admin panel so users cannot add additional network drives and you can also restrict the software so that a user can only read and add data to the remote folder but not delete anything from it.
Another option is to use a Terminal Server with remote desktop app - it wont actually give you access to the files on the iPAD but at least any changes made will be reflected on the network server.