Debating tablets at your district? Here’s some good food for thought

If your district is like mine, tablets are the talk of the community. And, yes, I have to admit that I have been on that tablet bandwagon. However, there are some very important questions that every district must ask themselves before taking on such an initiative. Remember–tablets are made for a 1:1 environment right now, not a network atmosphere. iPads, for instance, must have an iTunes account associated with them before they can work. Each iPad is associated with a personal iTunes account. Unfortunately, in a district environment, all of those iPads must be connected to one school iTunes account, but how to you restrict students from purchasing apps with their iPads? There are solutions, but is your district prepared to deliver those solutions? Here are some more questions to think about:

  • Need to look for not just what is cool, but what is useful
  • Lie–we are going to buy tablets with the money we’re saving on textbooks. Publishers won’t charge you any less for those versions as they would for text. So, this is not the argument to get them
  • They will probably cost more than the PCs will
  • Will require a shift in thinking for teaching in a digital environment
  • However, with a tablet, they can see more than what is just on the textbook–they can see the world
  • Many teachers aren’t prepared for teaching in a classroom trying to herd a bunch of cats. You are competing with all the info in the world for that student’s attention.
  • Must be prepared for all of the costs associated with tablets–trianing, support, hardware, software, curriculum…
  • Windows 8—Will run on tablets and PCs
  • Need at least 5Ghz per Wireless device–supports about 25 devices
  • Android or Apple? Not anything new out there for Android yet…
  • Cost of loss–what can you legally make people purchase who are Free and reduced lunch
  • Tablets need to be replaced more than textbooks
  • How will you adapt the AUP to fit tablets?
  • Viruses on tablets?
  • Tablets keep changing, unlike desktop hardware (that’s just more memory, bigger hard drive, better processor)
  • If tablets go home, how will we enforce CIPA
  • Earliest grade to put tablets? 4th?
  • Each building will require a tablet support person
  • ARE WE READY FOR THIS KIND OF CHANGE? This is a great question to ask before starting this type of initiative.

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