Tuesday, January 31, 2012

iPad Initiative - Setting Up Apple IDs

The next step in our iPad initiative was to figure out how to create Apple IDs for our end users (teachers and students). How should we do this? 
We considered the following:
1. Do we allow teachers to use their own Apple IDs when they set up their iPads?
2. Will the district reimburse a teacher for buying apps for the classroom using their own credit card?
3. What if the district purchases apps? Who keeps the apps?
4. What if a teacher changes classrooms / campuses or leaves the district?
5. Students do not have district emails so how am I going to set up their Apple ID?
6. Will each device need an Apple ID?
7. Do students need an Apple ID?
In my head, this list went on and on. After consulting with our team, the technology department, various Apple reps and of course, Twitter, we decided to go with generic emails for teachers to help set up generic Apple IDs.
Teacher IDs
Our technology department though it would be best to use generic teacher emails so that it could be passed on to another teacher should a teacher leave the district. This had to be done in Active Directory as well. If you'd like more info on how that was done, let me know.
The emails looked something like this
In addition to the teacher, we also have a Instructional Technology Specialist who will support the campus teachers. We provided that individual an iPad and created them an Apple ID as well. 
The "6" was the grade level and the "1" stood for the first teacher in the grade level. The teacher will then set up their iPad with that email as their Apple ID. If a teacher leaves the district, then the new 6th grade teacher would step into their place and iPad and Apple ID could easily be passed on. 
Student IDs
We determined that students would not need IDs. We would instead create an Apple ID for the iTunes account that would be shared across the 30 devices. So this eliminated the need for individual IDs on each device. I spoke with an Apple rep and he said this was acceptable under the Apple Volume Purchase Plan. We would still be required to purchase 30 Pages apps, for example. More on how we are doing that a little later. Our technology department created another generic email for the iTunes account. Due to the fact that we were using a Bretford sync cart (with the hopes of adding more carts / iPads) we used an email similar to this
Ok, now that we have the Apple IDs in order, I'm moving on to setting up the Volume Purchase Plan. But that's another post. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

iPad Initiative - Now What?

Our Bretford Sync Cart and 36 iPad 2 devices are in! 
Now what? 
This was now the question I was faced with. In the beginning it all sounded so easy and fun. We'll give kids these iPads and they'll use them and it will all be so wonderful. Well, someone needs to determine how we are going to manage these little puppies. That someone was going to be me. 
After watching a few lengthy webinars, tweeting with various colleagues, reading most of Tony Vincent's website and talking to various Apple reps, I have my strategy. Build the plane while flying it!
We will enroll in Apple's Volume Purchase Program. This will allow us to purchase our apps in volume and distribute them out to the devices. One of the best perks of the program is that many of the apps are 50% off! Tony Vincent does a great job of explaining the Apple Volume Purchase Program here. It seems like a very complicated process. I'm not looking forward to this. However, we are only working with 30 iPads so it will be a good way to test this process out. 
All 30 iPads will be placed on a Bretford PowerSync cart to charge and sync all of the devices. The cart did come assembled. This was a relief. On the cart we will have one PC, with iTunes, that is dedicated to the cart. All iPads came engraved with PROPERTY OF NORMANDY SCHOOL DISTRICT to help with identifying them should they end up lost or stolen. We also plan to use the Find My iPad app to assist in locating any device. 
My first step will be to work with our technology department to create generic email addresses to set up Apple IDs for teachers and students. This may require working with our Active Directory. I want to keep the emails generic so that if a teacher leaves the district the Apple ID and any apps purchased with district funds will stay with the district. I'll keep you posted. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

iPad Initiative - The Low Down

In December 2011 the Normandy School District was awarded the Innovative Technology Education Fund Fall Grant. The purpose of submitting the grant was to improve student achievement in literacy skills though the use of mobile devices. In addition to that we wanted to increase teacher effectiveness in technology integration. Four teachers and two technology specialists from Lucas Crossing Elementary are involved in this initiative and I am extremely excited to be a part of this project. This initiative impacts approximately 80 students (grades 2, 3 and 5)

With the help of the ITEF Fall Grant and district funds we were able to purchase the following. 
  • 36 16G Apple iPad2 devices
  • 1 Bretford PowerSync Cart
  • Various iPad apps
  • 40 hours of professional development through the Cooperating School District
  • 1 day registration to the Midwest Educational Technology Conference for each teacher
We are definitely going to be building this plane while we are flying it! More to come!