Thursday, November 18, 2010

Becoming More Mobile

Next week we will hand out 9 iPads and 8 iPod Touches to some of our district's Special Education staff. The devices were purchased through a grant received by the SPED department. These aren't the first devices of their kind in our district, but they are the first that will be supported with specific training (both face to face and online) and will be exclusively in the hands of students. iPod use has always been sporadic and we've never offered training specific to them. We have only a few iPads in the district, mainly concentrated at one high school with their administrators. We see this group of SPED teachers as our "guinea pigs" in many senses - from the management with students to how Apple's Volume Purchasing Program works. We are very fortunate that they've been able to contain their excitement while the SPED, Curriculum, and Technology departments get their ducks in a row.

We definitely see a future for these devices, and other similar ones, in our district. We feel that devices like the iPad could replace a cart (or two) of laptops in our elementary buildings. Through our lease purchasing process, all elementary computers will be replaced by next fall, so it's been good timing for all of this. We still have lots of questions, but many won't be answered until we start moving forward.
One mistake I've already made (in my opinion), is that our resources are stored on our Intranet. It takes an extra step for us to share with the rest of the world. I'm always more than welcome to share, it just isn't as convenient because you have to ask :)
On our Intranet, we've created a FAQ section (from what the buttons do to purchase process), an editable spreadsheet of all of our purchased apps in the district, and a page with links to a variety of resources.
Here are some links that we are starting our teachers out with (thanks to Richard Byrne for sharing bundles yesterday!):


Amanda said...

Wow! That's so great. There are endless possibilities to teaching/training/learning with the iFamily. Obviously I am a big supporter of the apps over at Brainscape(, but in general, I think it is about time that all schools and all departments start incorporating mobile technology into the classroom. Awesome news!

Mark Brumley said...

I think this is fantastic. I think the "slate" form factor is going to dominate the educational landscape in the near future.

Do you have any issues with 1. No Flash and 2. Networking problems with your school? Many IT depts are leery of iPads because they are not part of Active Directory, etc.


J Allen said...

Amanda - thanks for checking in and the extra resource!

Mark - Flash has came up. My point was there is more than likely a free app to meet the same goal/objective you had with the website. But it comes up. Our IT department is great. With smaller budgets, and the fact that a lot of elementary students just need to search and type, we see the iPad being a great "laptop" for elementary kids. It won't be the only computers elementary students have access to, but it's a heck of a lot more convenient for the majority of their purposes.

Tracy Watanabe said...

Thanks for sharing this. It is worth looking into.

Christine said...

For technology in the elementary classroom, check out this free iPad/iPod app, Math Circus, from MathCoach® Interactive. The app is a series of 34 instructional videos which reflect the emphasis in the new Common Core Standards on algebraic thinking for learning multiplication facts.

Right now the app is still free, and the company is soliciting comments from users to integrate into the upgrade.

Coming soon: related worksheets in pdf format that teachers will be able to download at The worksheets compliment each of the 34 video lessons with paper and pencil follow-up.

Teachers interested in piloting new materials can submit contact information at