Considerations Before Deploying iPads and iPods

This is a well thought out reflection on the use of iPads or iPods in schools by Howard Chan at Socratech Seminars. Worth a read as part of any evaluation of hand held devices in schools on a large scale.

Before schools and districts go on a mass purchasing spree of iPads and iPods, there are a few infrastructure considerations before sending the purchase order. While I am a strong advocate of using the tablet in the classroom, there should be some strategic deployment plans before putting it in the hands of students. Rather than sounding as the expert, I have decided to format the considerations through questions I would ask before purchasing. This list by no means fits everyone’s model, but will hopefully serve as a guideline to planning out iPad/iPod/tablet/mobile device deployments. Thanks! I would be more than happy to add your feedback, questions, comments to this evolving blog post.

  • Do you have enough wireless bandwidth to sustain dense populations of mobile devices? Check this post on Beef Up Your Wireless Infrastructure
  • Do you have a Mobile Device Management system in place to effectively manage and support the devices?
  • Do you have a big enough Internet pipe to sustain the network traffic?
  • Will you create a separate wireless network for mobile devices with different policies? Mobile VLAN?
  • Do you have OSX devices to create apps content to push to the iPods and iPads?
  • Do you have authentication policies to access the wireless network?
  • How do you plan to filter browsing (ex. Mobicip) on these devices?
  • Will you allow teachers or students to install apps on the devices? Or will it be centrally managed?
  • Will you allow teachers or students to configure settings on the devices? Or will it also be centrally managed?
  • Do you have the personnel to be part of the Apple Store Volume Purchasing Program? I believe you need a Program Manager and Program Facilitator(s) to be able to access ASVPP. Apps can be up to 50% off on volume purchasing.
  • Will your IT staff be trained on how to support mobile devices?
  • Will you allow students to take the devices home? What AUP will you have on mobile devices?
  • Will you allow personal mobile devices on campus?
  • Does Flash incapability hinder any present network considerations?
  • What is the refresh cycle on the devices?
  • What mobile cart solution will you have? Where will it be stored? Check out system?
  • Do you go 1:1 or shared mobile cart?
  • How do we assess Total Cost of Ownership?
  • How does the iPods and iPads align with your curriculum?
  • Who will be responsible for delivering professional development? How do we hold teacher’s accountable to using the devices?
  • Does your existing edtech programs and tools work on iOS?
  • Are there planning/collaboration times to share best-practices in using mobile devices?
  • How will you assess the effectiveness of using the mobile devices?
  • Are there data and assessment tools built into the iOS to gather quality data of student achievement?
  • Is there a curriculum vision for the iPods and iPads? Does it align with the school’s mission?
  • How will parents/community be involved if students are bringing the devices home?
  • Are the educational apps available enough to support your curriculum?
  • Are there enough content creation tools to replace the traditional computer desktop/laptop?
  • How do you assess the educational value of purchasing iPods/iPads? versus Total Cost of Ownership?
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