Preparing for the 1:1 iPad initiative

ImageLast week it was announced that Marian Catholic will be moving forward with a 1:1 iPad initiative. I work as a teacher, tech support specialist, and coach at Marian Catholic.  As a tech support specialist I am right in the middle of one of the most exciting and overwhelming projects I have ever seen.  

In our building right now (and in the homes of our students) there is are feelings of excitement, anxiousness, fear, happiness, anxiety….  This is an unbelievable opportunity for our entire community to be part of a movement that will forever change education.  Our students will have access to their files, the internet, their books, etc… almost anywhere they go.  Our students and teachers will be able to collaborate on papers and projects to help enhance the educational process in a way that wasn’t possible before.  

Our teachers have had their device since last year (most of them have had an iPad for over a year now).  We have our tech superstars who are already utilizing QR code readers, Educreations, Notability, and many other apps in the classroom.  We also have a majority of our teachers that are becoming more and more comfortable using the iPads for everyday tasks.  The last group of teachers has come to terms with the school moving forward, and are doing their best to “get on board”.   

No matter which group the teachers fall into, there is still a fear of the unknown.  Our administration is addressing their fears, and the training the teachers receive over the next 9 months will help alleviate much of this anxiety.  Even with a large number of schools who have already implemented their 1:1 iPad program it is still very early and difficult to find a lot of information to help answer the teachers’ questions.  Personally I have found Twitter to be an excellent resource for information regarding 1:1 programs. #edchat ##1to1techat

We have done the following for our teachers:

  1. All teachers now have iPads
  2. All teachers have been given basic training on the mechanics of an iPad
  3. All teachers have been trained on Gmail and Google Calendars

Our future training plans for the teachers include:

  1. The use of Apple TV in the classroom
  2. The use of Google Docs
  3. Classroom management in a 1:1 environment
  4. New techniques for teaching and learning in a 1:1 environment

We are working with our teachers to find ebooks, ibooks, and other materials for our 1:1 classrooms.  Our goal is to find textbooks that will keep our educational standards high, while at the same time lowering costs for our parents.  This will be one of (if not THE) key component for the success of our iPad initiative.  

I believe the teachers will be well prepared for next year, but it is going to take a lot of training and a willingness from the teachers to do their own professional development with guidance and encouragement from our tech department and administration.  Even though we didn’t make a public announcement until last week, we have been preparing for this initiative since last Spring in anticipation of the school making this decision.  

One of the keys to our success will be the fact that we took our time, and had a plan for every phase of this project.

 

A little background on our network (for the tech nerds like myself) 
As we move forward in this initiative we have already completed the following changes.

  1. Upgraded our network speed from 11MB to 200MB
  2. Updated our wireless controller
  3. Replaced our fiber line

We are currently:

  1. Running new CAT 6 to every classroom
  2. Preparing to install the new wireless access points
  3. Reconfiguring the wireless network to handle all the additional devices

Next: Preparing the Parents

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About Sean Scanlon

Director of Instructional Technology Marian Catholic High School Google Certified Trainer
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