Sunday, February 19, 2012

How We Got Here

Our iPad pilot teachers and I are using this blog to allow you to have a glimpse into our 1:1 iPad pilot classrooms. We've shared practical posts, describing specific teaching and learning experiences as well as what we're learning along the way. This post will take you back to the beginning of our iPad pilot journey and share the details of our implementation. If you're interested in rolling out a technology initiative, involving iPads or any other tools, I believe this post can be useful for you. We are learning together throughout this journey and have collaborated with many educators along the way. We would be more than happy to talk with you about your own journey and would welcome your feedback about ours. Please feel free to leave a comment if you'd like to get in touch with us.

Timeline of iPad Pilot Implementation
  • Applications accepted in spring 2011
    • The application process was open to all teachers throughout the district. Interested teachers were required to submit an application describing how they would use iPads to enhance learning in their classrooms. The technology department as well as the Superintendent and Associate Superintendent reviewed all submitted applications. Our goal was to select one elementary, one middle, and one high school classroom to serve as our pilot classrooms for the 2011-12 school year.
  • Teachers selected at end of 2010-11 school year
    • One elementary and one middle school teacher were selected, as well as a three-teacher high school team who submitted a collaborative application. Selected teachers were asked to commit to serving as model teachers for the district, participating in ongoing professional development, and sharing our journey with others.
  • Initial meeting with teachers June 2011
    • Pilot teachers were given an iPad in order to be able to explore and plan over summer vacation. At this initial meeting, I led an iPad crash course and shared useful apps. Teachers shared apps they had discovered as well. We created and shared a wiki for the pilot group to use to share resources throughout the pilot program.
  • Blog created summer 2011
  • Monthly meetings / trainings fall 2011
    • At the start of the 2011-12 school year, our pilot group met to share what we discovered and planned over the summer. Teachers and I shared and modeled several programs apps, including Socrative and Edmodo. Throughout the fall semester, we continued to meet as a group, share with one another, and post resources to the wiki while we awaited approval to submit the purchase order.
  • iPads ordered November 2011
    • In November, we placed the order for 3 iPad carts, each containing 25 iPads and a Macbook.
  • Full day professional development November 16, 2011
    • As soon as the iPads arrived, we arranged for our pilot teachers to have substitute teachers for a day and participate in a one-day professional development work session. We discussed policies and logistics for managing the carts and purchasing apps. We brainstormed a list of apps that needed to be on all iPads as well as lists for content- and grade-specific apps. I conducted additional training on several apps, and we spent most of the afternoon engaged in collaborative planning.
  • iPads in classrooms November 17, 2011
What We've Learned Along the Way

  • Have a vision for teaching and learning
  • Plan ahead
  • Be flexible and make changes as needed
  • Be strategic in placing devices in classrooms
  • Equip teachers
  • Prepare students
  • Develop consistent procedures and policies
  • Put the cart before the horse
  • Get caught up with the hype
  • Focus only on the technology
  • Go school- or district-wide at first
  • Forget about next year - sustainability
To see what our teachers and students have been up to since November 17th, read our posts below. You might be interested in what we've been doing with Edmodo, Socrative, Bloom's taxonomy and Poll Everywhere, Twitter, and Google Earth. We welcome your comments about our pilot. We'd love to hear from you.


  1. Hi, Just wanted to check if you had a chance to check out the GoClass app The app allows instructors to plan, create lesson plans and then connect up with students and conduct an interactive classroom session. Would love to receive your feedback regarding the app.

  2. We are in the planning stages for an iPad Pilot with both of our 5th grade classes next year. We are doing a one-to-one initiative. I have a few questions about training. Did you have someone come in and train your teachers or were your teachers trained by the Instructional Technology Specialist? Have you had more than one Professional Development Day since November? Are your students taking the devices home? How are you syncing the apps? Are you using iTunes cards or are you using Volume Purchasing Vouchers to purchase your apps. One last question- are your students reading their literature books on the iPad or any of their text books? I love the blog. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Teacher Tammy,
      We did not bring in someone to train the teachers. I led the training, and our teachers trained each other on the effective use of several apps as well. We had one full-day PD, and since then we have met once as a group to share what's been going well and discuss the needs of the group. We constantly stay in touch with each other via email, Twitter, and other tools. Our students do not take the iPads home. We have Bretford carts for syncing our iPads. Each cart can sync up to 30 iPads at a time. Each pilot teacher has a Macbook which stays with the cart and pushes apps out to all the iPads. We are using the Volume Purchasing Program to manage app purchasing. Our students are doing some of their reading on the iPads, but we do not have digital textbooks. Our 5th grade students use our subscription to Reading A-Z and Science A-Z to access fiction and nonfiction texts, and our high school English class has been reading some classic literature. Thanks for the comment and questions. Good luck with your pilot! Please let us know if there's any other information we can share with you.

  3. This is incredible. It's interesting to see the implementation process of these devices. My company gets to see this a lot, as we maintenance iPads ( iMobileRescue ) for organizations and I've never seen such a creative excitement in the world of education like this before. It's awesome!