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EdTech Consultant Shares Tips for Apple to Improve Schoolwide iPad Use

EdTech Consultant Shares Tips for Apple to Improve Schoolwide iPad Use

Though iPads have become an essential piece of technology in most classrooms, an educational technology consultant argues that Apple must make changes to make the use of the popular tablets easier.

"Educators viewed [iPads] as devices that were mobile, could deliver eBooks, manage online course content, and had powerful built-in media tools for creative inspiration. However, from a management perspective, they were designed for individual use and didn’t come with a simple, effective strategy for institutional deployment," consultant Sam Gliksman wrote in eSchoolNews.

First of all, because iPads are so personalized, use becomes a headache when attempting to share the device among students. Although Apple recommends a "one-to-one deployment," meaning every individual student uses his or her own device, it's not economically feasible for school budgets. For this reason, schools have students "either share iPads or a use a hybrid model where some grades have one-to-one while others share devices."

The more students share a device, the more confusing it becomes. "Personalization, access to private content, and data backup all become major headaches. Apple’s management policies need to accommodate the vast number of schools that share iPads between students."

The next change, according to Gliksman, revolves around the Apple ID itself. "Given school realities of shared iPads and students under age 13, the need for an Apple ID becomes a significant obstacle," the article said. Sharing devices means multiple IDs, and that significantly slows down the entire process.

Plus, in regards to usage by elementary school students, "Apple’s interpretation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) requires parental consent for any accounts that belong to students under the age of 13." This is a challenge in itself because many times parents do not get the e-mails needed to confirm their child's use or speak another language. "Apple could allow administrators the option of distributing content directly to devices without an Apple ID. This would not only would it make it easier to distribute apps and eBooks, but it would also simplify the entire setup process."

Sam Gliksman also recommends that Apple draw a lesson from the success of Google Apps for Education and provide schools with an enterprise-wide version of iCloud with centralized administration and simple backup, transfer and sharing of content within domain accounts.This would give the school the ability to control personal iCloud accounts, an ability not currently had.

Finally, Gliksman's last word of advice to Apple is: "Keep It Simple, Stupid." Gliksman argues that overall, issues with iPads in the classroom exist because deploying them needs to be shorter and simpler as opposed to an IT nightmare.

"If you believe the rumors that are circulating, Apple will be addressing some of the deployment problems in the coming year. Once device management becomes easier, schools can focus their efforts on realizing the promise of mobile devices for learning."

Read the full story here. Does your school have a good system for iPad use? Share your solutions in the comments or contact editor[at]educationworld.com to be a source for a future story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

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