- Gather as many people as possible for the planning - include tech, non-tech, teachers, and administrators in the planning process
- Understand all of the limitations of the iPads and share that with the planning team - remind everyone involved that this is not a computer and cannot be controlled like a computer
- Talk about how you plan to use iPads - cart setup, take home, assigned to each teacher or rotating through grade levels, etc.
- For a shared cart scenario, decide how those carts will be used - check outs, how will they be fairly used among staff members, etc.
- Most of your staff members should have iPads to help them get comfortable with the device, plan that number in your purchasing
- How many iPads do you plan to purchase? Build in 5-10 for replacements (smaller scale deployment), 10-20 for larger deployments
- Be sure to think about cases to protect the investment - double check that the cases fit in your cart or storage unit
- Which staff members should have iPads? Only certified? All instructional staff? Title staff? Long term subs? Decide before they go to too many - it's harder to take them back!
- Create a plan for staff responsibility of devices - we include a clause where staff take responsibility to pay for repairs and be responsible for maintaining a working device
- Will staff be allowed to take devices home for the summer?
- If student devices leave the building, do you plan to purchase insurance? Apple Care+?
- Plan for a budget of Volume Purchase Program apps. This is different than an iTunes card.
- Decide on a workflow for when students have problems with iPads and need repair or resetting
- Plan to have an iOS 101 PD at the beginning for teachers using and teaching with the devices
- Decide how you want to setup devices - How many Apple IDs? Apple ID per grade/class/school? How do you want to sync - wirelessly is the best option for more than about 50.
- For larger deployments a Mobile Device Management (MDM) system should be considered for managing, adding apps, and changing settings wirelessly
- You will need to purchase a MacBook that should be set aside for set up and configuration of the iPads - no one else should use that device for any other reasons. This is especially important if you are using Apple Configurator for the initial setup.
- We purchased a Mac Mini server for use with Filewave (the MDM we are using next year) but we are an all Apple environment - a Mac Mini server may not be necessary for Filewave or other MDM's (check with their product specs)
- Before setting up multiple iPads, take one iPad and setup the features you would desire for it to have - Turn on Guided Access, turn on Speak Selection, or any accessibility features you think your teacher and students may use. You can add a wireless password too. Once this iPad is setup, you can use Apple Configurator program to make a backup and apply it to all the others.
- Even if you don't use carts, it might be worth purchasing a Bretford Sync Tray or another syncing device so you can setup mutliple devices at a time and lock up devices not in circulation.
- Decide on a naming scheme for iPads: Smith Grade 5 - Student 1 or 1st Grade #1, etc. Devices can be named sequentially with Apple Configurator. The name is important for using something like Filewave to determine one device from another.
- Start with some basic, general apps like Google Earth, QR scanner, Google, Socrative and have them pre-installed on iPads. It's nice to have something on it ready to use for that first time in the classroom.
- Consider doing a digital citizenship rollout process with the students as they begin using iPads. Ideally, it would be great to talk to each class and share some tips, safety/maintenance guidelines, and appropriate use.
- Allow students to create their own unique lock screens which help identify the iPad owner - especially great for a true 1:1 scenario. Include name, photo, artwork, and/or number of iPad on the lockscreen.
If you or your school have some other ideas, feel free to share them below in the comments. It's great to learn from each other. I would be lying if I said I learned all of the above from trial and error. I have been able to learn from many other people working through a similar process and coming to new conclusions I had never considered. I wish you all the best as you investigate using iPads in the classroom!