It has been a long time coming yet I can’t believe it is nearly one year since the end of the #rgcdevicetrial. In February 25 staff across senior school became the first to receive their devices. It was a chaotic but very useful session where we all learned what preparation was needed before a larger scale roll out and what an important role an outside company such as Academia can play in its success.
This morning Academia and IT support began to roll out iPads to class teachers and a number of assistants in the senior school. I was able to sit in on a few sessions and help where required but it all went pretty smoothly! A small number of teachers had not created an Apple ID in advance but Vic and James were able to adjust each session to keep both prepared and unprepared groups moving forward.
As per Academia’s advice we used an Airport Express to maximise the number of staff online at once and it worked perfectly except for a few minutes in the final session when the network ran out of spare IP addresses. IT support were able to quickly resolve this.
Setting up the new iPads were a breeze and James alternated between presentation slides on his MacBook and live lead through using the Apple TV to keep the staff on track. I noted in the later sessions James made more use of Reflector and I was really impressed with the ability of the software to display multiple screens fairly smoothly at the same time! Perhaps this will be the AV solution over Apple TVs? Much more investigation and testing required though!
James made sure to point out to staff about potential behaviour pain points when getting used to using iPads with classes and demoed a number of solutions which, while reasonably simple, were very useful to all staff! He also talked about and demoed AirDrop to the groups. This could be a helpful feature for passing out differentiated work to some members of the class but also has the potential to be disruptive unless the classroom teacher anticipates this.
The integration of Google Apps for Education was also discussed and James mentioned that Academia have developed a script which automatically builds the student folder structures for Doctopus. Something I definitely have to find out more about!
IT support at RGC obviously worked hard to ensure the sessions were well organised and any actions required by the user in joining the ManageEngine MDM, or even collecting the protective cases were minimised. Serial numbers were linked with staff details and asset numbers and each member of staff had to sign when they received the device. Staff were also issued with further information about the school’s iPad scheme and an responsible use document to read and sign. The further information included a link to my RGCipads site which, we hope, will become integrated with the IT support portal in the near future.
As staff left each session with their new iPads and iTunes vouchers I noticed that some were beginning to discuss the potential of the device in their classroom. A few others loitered to ask about a specific app or function and both Vic and James were more than happy to help. Soon all remaining staff will receive their iPads and initial training and I can’t wait to hear how each curricular area plans to use their devices to enhance learning and teaching.