Case Study - iPads in the Classroom

Case Study – iPads in the Classroom
iPadhire recently supplied iPads for a three week period to Kill O’ the Grange national school. The school has over 200 pupils and 13 teachers and already has a fully equipped computer room and digital teaching aids including interactive whiteboards and lcd screens in most classrooms. The school was interested in seeing how to incorporate iPads into the curriculum but without the large up-front expenditure involved in purchasing the equipment.

iPadhire supplied the following:
30 x iPad Air, IOS 12, 32Gb
30 x wireless keyboards
30 x headphones
1 x Lenovo mobile charging cabinet for up to 30 iPads

Several Apps were set up on the iPads including the following:
Classroom
Animal Maths
Nat Geo Kids
NASA
Spelling Master
Khan Kids

The initial deployment of the iPads highlighted that the Wi-Fi system in the school was not suitable for the addition of a further 30 wireless devices because there were insufficient IP addresses available. In addition, since each iPad was attempting at the outset to download several Apps simultaneously the broadband signal, while adequate for other purposes, was inadequate for the peak loading. The problem was overcome in the short term by adding a wireless router to be used solely for the iPads. The installation of the Apps was completed over a couple of days and with the addition of the router, all iPads were configured with the required Apps.

The iPads were used in several classrooms during each day and returned for charging each evening. Two teachers were responsible for the iPads which were timetabled to ensure that the maximum number of pupils benefitted each day and that the iPads were used to maximum effect. No battery life problems were experienced during the day.

Pupils were delighted to use the iPads and no difficulties were found once they were set up and rolled out.

Hilary McBain, school principal, commented:
“We learned a great deal from the short time we used the iPads and are now far clearer on the costs and benefits. We will repeat the process later in the year and will probably acquire an initial fleet of iPads for use throughout the school. We strongly recommend that other schools considering deploying iPads should take a similar toe-in-the-water approach in order to minimise costs and highlight the issues surrounding such issues as wireless availability. A school would need to ensure that their broadband speed was sufficient to allow every pupil in a class to access an online app simultaneously to avoid stalling and to avoid causing difficulties with other online devices. Our school had a 30mb download speed but that wasn’t sufficient. Other schools we’ve spoken to had success when they had 100mb download speed.

The initial set-up was time-consuming but is a one-off issue and could be mitigated by downloading everything onto one iPad and cloning it onto others.
The exercise has been very beneficial and has highlighted the need for careful planning before spending a large sum of money. “

Michael Griffin from iPadhire commented: “We were delighted to work with Kill O’ the Grange and found the experience very beneficial with lessons learned on both sides. For example, a school on two levels would need a lift in order to physically move the charging cart around the school because it is very heavy with iPads installed. Also, there can be a surprising number of devices already using the available bandwidth and a brief survey would help to identify this in advance.
From a financial perspective renting iPads on a long term basis avoids upfront expense and rentals are predictable and the risk of obsolescence is reduced or eliminated.”

Lessons Learned
Ensure the Wi-Fi available on the premises is adequate for the equipment to be used both in terms of the number of devices to be connected and the download speeds available.
The initial App installation can be speeded up by setting up one iPad using a unique Apple ID that has all the required Apps and then setting up each subsequent iPad as a clone of the master.
Ensure that all apps required are installed prior to use in the classroom
Ensure that the iPads will be covered by insurance once in use
Having headphones available means that the level of disturbance in the classroom is minimised
Wireless keyboards are useful to allow different ways in which to interact with the tablet
The charging cart is very useful not just for charging the iPads but also for secure storage and for moving the iPads from class to class
Appoint one person with overall responsibility for the iPads
Timetable the iPads to ensure the maximum number of pupils benefit each day and that the iPads are used to maximum effect.

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