At South Belton Middle School where we issue an iPad 2 to every student, we have discovered that protecting the device requires forethought and a couple of extras.
Our wonderful instructional facilitator, Kevin Rasco, realized on the first rainy day that our kids who walk home might have wet iPads by the time they reached their destination. Quick thinking and a trip to our local Walmart with a few bucks had teachers and administrators handing out plastic freezer bags to students as they left the building. The covered iPads fit neatly inside, and the grateful students headed off without a care.
Additionally, you need a few extra cases on hand. The best case scenario is that when a student has an accident of some sort and drops the iPad, the case takes the hit and leaves the iPad untouched. We’ve seen that several times with the Otterbox Defender cases. However, the case was broken in some cases. Otterbox was quick to replace them, but we didn’t want a moment with the iPad unprotected. So we purchased a few extra cases to have on hand at all times. I recommend this practice. The Otterbox folks have been great to work with and replace what is broken. Also, if you purchase a cover like the Otterbox Defender that has two pieces (a case for the iPad and a cover/stand), you will want extra cover/stands.
Finally, you’ll need extra chargers for the iPads. We issued a charging cord with each iPad, but we had to order a few more to replace those that were broken or lost. We plan to have charging stations next year for those iPads that show up at school with no charge. In general, this has not been a huge problem, but we feel we can avoid it totally by having a charging station or two.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about what we have learned and how we plan to improve upon what we have done so far.