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Wireless Networks Thread, School entirely running on wireless in Technical; Ok, a few thoughts on this. iPads and other tablet devices are designed for consumption of information, not creation. So, ...
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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Ok, a few thoughts on this. iPads and other tablet devices are designed for consumption of information, not creation. So, how will staff and students be expected to produce their work on iPads?

    Next, what about all the subject specific software such 3D software for DT, music software in the music dept, web design in IT etc...

    As others have mentioned, iPads are a single user device, so accessing central servers will be a bodge at best via web dav. You'd be more suited to replacing your central server with a VLE for the kids and Sharepoint or some form of document management system for staff.

    How will students sit electronic exams which require Flash player?

    How will staff write reports? How will students create their coursework for GCSE courses etc...

    The infrastructure to support it all is neither here nor there - that number of devices isn't particularly a lot, and with the right gear going in in the right places a well designed wireless network should handle it easily. However, you also need to consider how this will affect internet usage, potentially meaning you'd need a beefier pipe out to the world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Ok, a few thoughts on this. iPads and other tablet devices are designed for consumption of information, not creation. So, how will staff and students be expected to produce their work on iPads?
    Nope, they are also for creation too ... the range of photography / audio / video apps, the access to online apps, etc ... Apple are pretty adamant that they are creation tools too. At BETT there were 2 lecture theatres from groups of Apple Solution Experts ... with a number of ADEs ... demonstrating this to a pretty solidly, full audience.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Nope, they are also for creation too ... the range of photography / audio / video apps, the access to online apps, etc ... Apple are pretty adamant that they are creation tools too. At BETT there were 2 lecture theatres from groups of Apple Solution Experts ... with a number of ADEs ... demonstrating this to a pretty solidly, full audience.
    Photography, video and audio do not make up the vast majority of the use of computers in schools. The majority of 'creation' is typing, which is incredibly laborious on any touchscreen. Fiddling with a photo or jotting some basic ideas are great, but even look at Adobe. They're introducing various new apps for touchscreen devices, and they agree - ideas can be jotted down on a tablet, and then worked on properly in the full versions of the software on a normal PC.

    Shoehorning a technology into a situation where it is less useful than existing technology is pointless IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Photography, video and audio do not make up the vast majority of the use of computers in schools. The majority of 'creation' is typing, which is incredibly laborious on any touchscreen. Fiddling with a photo or jotting some basic ideas are great, but even look at Adobe. They're introducing various new apps for touchscreen devices, and they agree - ideas can be jotted down on a tablet, and then worked on properly in the full versions of the software on a normal PC.

    Shoehorning a technology into a situation where it is less useful than existing technology is pointless IMO.
    It doesn't have to stick with typing though ... typing is just one method of stringing together words, albeit a pretty efficient one, but other means exist ... Prof. Stephen Hawking is an example of alternative means ... if we are talking about coding (to make it relevant to recent changes) then things like Kodu can be done via a controller or even a Kinect ... why restrict ourselves to presuming that typing is the be all and end all. It also depends on *where* we expect creation to take place. More use of language detection tools (not just Siri) can mean that the typed word does not have to be the barrier that it once was.

    Also, if you look at primary schools ... how much of the creation is typing?

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    It doesn't have to stick with typing though ... typing is just one method of stringing together words, albeit a pretty efficient one, but other means exist ... Prof. Stephen Hawking is an example of alternative means ... if we are talking about coding (to make it relevant to recent changes) then things like Kodu can be done via a controller or even a Kinect ... why restrict ourselves to presuming that typing is the be all and end all. It also depends on *where* we expect creation to take place. More use of language detection tools (not just Siri) can mean that the typed word does not have to be the barrier that it once was.

    Also, if you look at primary schools ... how much of the creation is typing?
    Try handing a podcast in as your GCSE electronics coursework. Or a video as your English coursework. All those extras are great but there is a fundamental 'baseline' for which computers are used - producing the work for their exams, and prior to that, preparing them to be able to do that when they hit that age!

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Try handing a podcast in as your GCSE electronics coursework. Or a video as your English coursework. All those extras are great but there is a fundamental 'baseline' for which computers are used - producing the work for their exams, and prior to that, preparing them to be able to do that when they hit that age!
    Yes ... let's teach to exams because they are the pinnacle of education right now. The Education Select Committee (in particular the chair, Graham Stuart, MP) has already had a go at the EBacc continuing to promulgate the action of teaching to the exam rather than have a more rounded education. There is a phrase ... a pig doesn't get any fatter just because you weigh it more frequently ... and if you feed it a diet to make it heavier, it doesn't mean that it will make it taste nicer either...

    And there are already English courses where the coursework is video anyway.

    Go and have a read of Donald Clark's blog for just a start of why education has issues with tech (not that I agree with it all, but a good base for discussions).

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Yes ... let's teach to exams because they are the pinnacle of education right now. The Education Select Committee (in particular the chair, Graham Stuart, MP) has already had a go at the EBacc continuing to promulgate the action of teaching to the exam rather than have a more rounded education. There is a phrase ... a pig doesn't get any fatter just because you weigh it more frequently ... and if you feed it a diet to make it heavier, it doesn't mean that it will make it taste nicer either...

    And there are already English courses where the coursework is video anyway.

    Go and have a read of Donald Clark's blog for just a start of why education has issues with tech (not that I agree with it all, but a good base for discussions).
    Yes, lets provide tools that don't allow children right now to complete their school work to allow them to progress effectively...

    The topic on discussion is someone doing a whole school deployment of iPads now, not in the future when the government finally realises that the entire examination system is a mess. Putting them in place now, whilst the requirements for most courses are more 'traditional' in terms of the output required for coursework, in my view is premature and would potentially disadvantage the current crop of students.

    If they go for a 'hybrid' solution, where they keep a good number of PCs whilst implementing the new ipads, then great, but the OP didn't say that was the plan.

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    No unfortunately the plan is to rip all PCs out now, I am quite happy with the hybrid solution and believe that makes far more sense. Sure tablets are becoming more popular and they are great tools, not having the ability to play DVDs or attach any kind of external device is a big negative in my opinion though.

    I was going to use PCs at fat clients, giving more flexibility and a far longer life span than any tablet or Ipad. Surely the mixed solution is the way to go.

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    You need to be able to prepare for anything down to worst case scenario level. For instance, lightning strikes and takes out all your wireless points. What now? Someone breaks in and makes away with over half the hardware. What then?
    There needs to be a hell of a lot of documentation and planning from both you and the DP clearly setting targets and goals and how you intend to reach them. How with the curriculum be fulfilled, how will you do it with those devices, what educational targets do you plan to reach with the additional expenditure and so much more. Whatever happens as the person who will be ultimately responsible for looking after it you need to cover your back when they say "why isn't this meeting our expectations" or worse still "We've just spent 200,000 on all this and grade averages have dropped. You didn't tell us."

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    Can anyone send me more details on Meru? It was given to me as an optional wireless system for byod at the bett show this month.

    Thanks

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    I think any design where there's a one size fits all approach is crazy and it's been on here time and again with wireless, thin clients, cloud... the list goes on and you know what...

    ...a hybrid approach tends to come out as the most sensible solution!

    Far too many gimmicks out there that companies latch onto, people get taken in by the shiny shiny effect and before you know it a lot of disappears on a whim with no consideration into long-term effects. Why rip out and throw away working tech, build on what you have and use each bit of kit to its strengths.

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    @localzuk and @synaethesia are both right with (most of) the negatives they raise, however I don't think they are reasons not to do this, merely issues that need to be addressed. For example, you have legitimate concerns that your wireless won't be able to cope with it, but that can be easily addressed by upgrading the wireless (if you bought another 200 desktops, you would upgrade the wired infrastructure so the same should apply with wireless). Concerns over security and theft are valid, however they are not new to a school with iPads; schools have desktops nicked all the time too. Typing on a touch-screen isn't something I would want to do for an entire essay, and voice recognition would make for a very noisy classroom (possibly too noisy for the voice recognition), however this can be solved by providing keyboards for those instances where lots of typing is required, these can be ignored or removed for all those other times. Access to existing resources could be an issue, however if you can get everything into the cloud (VLE, web-based apps and web-based virtual desktops (I saw some interesting companies offering just that at BETT)), then it shouldn't prevent an impossible barrier.

    I do think you should go in with a broader mind than asking "how do we make iPads work?" and instead ask "how do we make tablets work?" - the end goal should be a device-per-pupil/BYOD system using the tools which enable the best teaching delivery, therefore do consider other platforms as well (that said, IMHO, Android isn't up to the task yet and Windows 8 will likely be another ME or Vista). Could those tablet/laptop hybrids be the best of all worlds?

    Your school needs to be aware that this is a major shift in the style of education delivery, not just doing the same thing with different hardware, and that it will come with an enormous cost (both hardware acquisition and user training) and should only be done if the perceived benefits are clear, but if thought through properly this could be really good.

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