7 Tips for Managing a 1:1 Shared iPad Classroom

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I read an article in Edudemic about the 5 Critical Mistakes Schools Make With iPads and How to Correct Them. I also attending a session at TCEA with Carl Hooker on the 10 Things Not To Do With iPad Deployment. Getting educated on others' mistakes I felt would be instrumental in eliminating at least a few unnecessary mistakes. As a result
I am finally understanding why Apple touts the iPad as a single-user device. Don't get me wrong; I do think it's possible to implement a class set of these devices, but there are definitely some key tips and tricks that need to be considered for effective deployment.

1. Lables: Create labels to place on the devices that list each student assigned to each device with their respective class period. This is helpful for quick reference when an issue occurs as well as for distributing/collecting the devices each period.

2. Security: Implement a study of the importance of maintaining personal account security. It is imperative the students remember to log out of any accounts they use during class in an effort to keep their content secure and minimize the likelihood of someone posting content in their name. While we haven't had huge issues with this, there have been some incidences that exposed this problem that could be place students in very vulnerable positions. This is also a component I now want to include in our digital citizenship unit.

3. Create & Delete: Once content is created on the devices, it needs to be moved to the cloud and deleted. Case in point...we use the Adobe Reader app a lot for notes as well as other activities, then screenshot the content to add to our Interactive Notebooks created in Evernote. Once this content is created in Adobe Reader, and the screenshot is taken, that content needs to be deleted. If not, what's to keep the next student from using this content for themselves? So, we have now added that additional step to our workflow.

4. Protect: When using shared apps such as Pages for content creation, it's important for students to understand they are responsible for protecting ALL content created in that app, not just theirs, but their "device mates" as well. Sharing these devices really provides an opportunity for them to experience the understanding of the importance of the "do unto others" concept.

5. Honesty: These devices have actually minimized cheating because of "time-stamping" and "revision history" especially when using our Google Apps accounts. Providing students with opportunities to understand the "ins and outs" of digital footprints may go a long way in developing their understanding of its importance.

6. SWAT Team: Select a team of volunteers that distribute/collect devices every class period. The team for the last period of the day is especially important; I have microfiber clothes that are used to wipe each of the screens, then all devices are plugged into the cart. We don't plug them in during the day; they are only returned to the cart. 

One last tip I have found particularly useful doesn't solely apply to a class set of iPads, but I thought I would share anyways:

7. Video Viewing: If you are doing any screencasting and your district blocks YouTube, I have found the best solution is to upload the videos to Google Drive. Using the Google Drive app, students can view the videos without needing Adobe Flash.

These devices are transforming my classroom. Students are learning to work more independently. We have been completing some "Station Work" that allowed them to proceed at their own pace through the content. I had one student yesterday remark that she wished she could work on it at home, but she didn't have an iPad to use...oh well, not a bad problem to have!
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