iPad learning programs work best when they’re completely student managed. Here’s how we’ve enabled that at Shekou International School.
1. Give your staff at least 6 months lead time with the iPad. Have a big party when you hand out the devices and then experiment with different modes of professional learning. We ran extended sessions, small learning “bites”, weekend workshops and EdCamps.
2. Build a community of learners that leverages each other for support. We used Twitter for this and it took roughly 6 months to gain traction. Provide formal mechanisms for help such as eCoaches, genius bars and student support. Create the expectation that users are always to try solve their own problems first.
3. Identify and showcase any success. We referred to these as our lighthouse practitioners. With a little support they were able to achieve a lot very quickly and were of great inspiration to other staff.
4. Share with your community. Create a portal such as sis-shekou.org/innovation or a blog like this to give them insight into the great work occurring at your school. Hold a special/exciting parent evening well before you deploy iPads to students. Give them all the details of the program. Run practical ‘coffee workshops’ for those that require assistance.
5. Help parents establish expectations at home. Make it clear that management of this learning tool is a partnership between home and school.
6. Get your head around Apple IDs. Each student and parent will require their own personal Apple ID in the same store. Have sessions where you assist them in creating these. Your Apple Edu rep can whitelist your school so IDs can be created without triggering a fraud warning/block. NB – Students in your school will have different App Stores from around the world. On rare occasion this means an app might not be available for some students. Just ask them to find something similar or share – not a deal breaker!
7. Launch 1:1 iPad with students. Have an even bigger party than the teacher one! Literally walk through every step – joining wireless, email setup, etc. Make it fun! Give students basic expectations for the iPad. You can track asset numbers and data with Meraki if you want.
8. Give your students a week to download their first apps. Stick with free apps for at least a month while you sort out any kinks.
10. Sit back an be amazed at what the students and teachers can do when they actually have control over their own device. 😀
Check out our new Learning Innovation Portal for more information.