Setting up a 1:1 iPad program at your school can expand the educational programs that your school provides, but involves a lot of preparation. From ordering the iPads and accessories, to establishing the a network that can support peak usage, to ensuring responsible usage, schools and districts have to consider a lot of factors before deployment day. Here’s our checklist for how to set up a 1-to-1 iPad program in your school or district for the smoothest deployment come distribution day.
Planning and Preparing for a 1:1 iPad Program
1.Make sure your networks are capable of handling the number of connected devices. Be prepared to order enough bandwidth for devices, especially during the first days of deployment. Those days are crucial, since students, educators, and administrators will be utilizing their iPad for various tasks. One of the biggest mistakes that districts make include not having enough bandwidth for all their devices connected at peak times, which leads to downtime and frustration. And for many schools that must request funding before changes are made to their bandwidth plans, requesting more money initially to cover a higher gig bandwidth plan is better than finding out later that you need more bandwidth and having to get additional budget approval. In addition, consider the expansion of WiFi coverage, and the ease of use and responsiveness of your WiFi provider.
2. Purchase protective cases. When considering what other accessories your iPad will need, protective cases and screen covers are a must. This is especially important for 1:1 iPad programs that allow students to take their devices home. By buying cases and installing them before deployment or the day of deployment, you’ll drastically reduce your need for repairs or replacements when placed in students’ hands. Lengthening the life of the devices will save your budget in the long term.
3. Prepare usage policies and tutorials for day of deployment. Many districts require that students and parents sign-off on user agreements and disclaimers. Have your teachers and staff ask these questions in order to develop these policies: What is considered inappropriate use of the device? What limits do students have when downloading online material or installing their own apps and customization? What security features should devices have? How much administrative control can teachers have? Having these policies in place, and their documents ready for the day of deployment, is important to clarifying the use and care of the devices.
In addition, it can be helpful to have instructional tutorials about using the iPad or particular programs that are downloaded on them for the students. Work with teachers and your IT team on organizing tutorials to teach students about their iPads and other necessary equipment. You should also consider providing information and training for the parents so that they can set up parental controls and learn how to monitor their child’s iPad use and school coursework progress.
4. Have a labeling system in mind. Identification will be important for keeping your iPads accounted for and organized. Some schools might benefit from utilizing barcodes, while others might find that removable labels placed on cases are more helpful for the classroom’s needs. Whatever you decide, make sure that you’ve detailed this process so that all your iPads will be accounted for under the same standards.
Day of Deployment and Onwards
When it comes to the day of assigning iPads, having a set timeline and area for deployment will allow for smooth assignment of the iPads. Create a game plan with teachers and iPad administrators to organize times and places for the iPads to be distributed.
If you did not pre-install and label iPads before deployment, the day of deployment is a good time to teach students and teachers how to put on a protective case and label them. An iPad safety and care tutorial would be a welcome time for case assignment to happen.
After each student and teacher has his or her iPad, the upcoming days are a an important time to monitor bandwidth usage, and also get feedback on the connectivity of your network. This can help you understand and anticipate for when you consider growth down the road.
Deploying a 1:1 iPad program at a school or district invovles a lot of planning and effort, but the trade off in educational and technological expansion pays off in the long run. To get a hold of supplemental materials for your iPad program, contact us. We can help you prepare and support your iPad program, no matter its size.