The prospect of having a class set of iPads is exciting, from getting the green light and shopping around to the arrival and unpacking all those brand spanking new iPads. My first piece of advice would be to shop around and try and find the best deal, its amazing how much you can save with a bit of bartering.
So we purchased 40 iPad 2 with 2 Leba iCases (pictured) and a new toshiba laptop (used as the mother laptop.) The iCases seem the best idea as they are easier to transport from class to class which will be happening most days. They also sync as well as charge. My only concern was after reading up on using the iCart it said that was best used with a MacBook. However up to this point it seems to work fine with the windows 7 laptop.
- Printed labels for all of the iPads “TeachersIPAD #001″ or “StudentIPAD #004″ etc
- Made backgrounds for each iPad with the labels on see example and uploaded them to our dropbox account. If you do not have a dropbox account I would suggest making one as it has become extremely useful.
- Noted all the serial numbers with the labels for each iPad and add them to the inventory.
- Stuck the labels on the back of each iPad
- Placed them in the iCase
- Set up a Gmail email account on the mother laptop
- Used this email account to set up an iTunes account.
- On the mother laptop downloaded a number of apps (see links below)
- Set up the “mother iPad” – TeacherIPAD #001
- Put all the apps into appropriate folders “KS1 Numeracy,” “Writing” and “Art”
- Set up the school WiFi and set up a dropbox and evernote account using the Gmail account.
- Downloaded the background from dropbox.
- Set up the Gmail account but added signature settings>mail,contacts,calendars>signature as “sent from TeacherIPAD #001″
- Changed the name of the iPad settings>general>about>name to “TeacherIPAD #001″
- Backed up this iPad with iTunes once everthing had been set up.
Once I had set up the first iPad I then used this backup to set up the other iPads through the iCase. I plugged the iCase in and put the USB in the PC and on the set up clicked restore from backup of the first iPad (TeacherIPAD #001.) Now even though the iCase can charge upto 16 iPads it seemed that using a Windows laptop it would only backup 7/8 otherwise it would crash. Running from the backup of the first iPad takes a while as it copies all the settings and the apps however it did seem to work eventually. Once they had been synced I had to individually repeat the steps 13 – 15 on each iPad to distinguish each one.
This process was a lengthy one however all the iPads seem ready to start the new school year. My only concern now is how well the School’s WiFi will cope with iPads. The school’s infrastructure does not lend itself well to WiFi anyway so this will have to be our next hurdle to overcome. A lot of the apps we have downloaded do not require the internet however to really unleash the potential of the iPads it is something we need to investigate further.
Before embarking of the deployment of the iPads I did research a number of websites that had undergone this task here are some of the most useful links:
Most of the apps that we have downloaded came from this very useful site which has given me plenty of ideas of how to use the iPads in the classroom: http://mrandrewsonline.blogspot.co.uk/