After talking to many of my colleagues over the last few days, I realize there are many schools looking at some version of iPad deployment and they want to do it right. In order for the iPad to be a great learning tool, you’ll need your teachers fully committed to it. It requires time and effort to prepare teachers for such a deployment, so make sure you have staff in place to do it.
Without blathering on, here are Terice’s 5 Tips to Preparing Teachers for 1:1 iPad Projects.
- Give them iPads–Put them in the teacher’s hands early and let them use them for work and play. If they do not understand how they work or why someone would use it, they won’t be able to guide students effectively. And while you are at it, buy them the dongle to allow them to display what is on the iPad’s screen. It’s absolutely essential for teachers to have these (assuming the classroom has a projection device).
- Train them immediately, then follow up often. The first flurry of training will naturally focus on basics. However, you will need to follow up frequently on tips such as how to use online tools effectively, where students can collaborate effectively, and what a 1:1 iPad classroom looks like. To begin, plan short training on how to:
- use the iPad
- set up iTunes accounts,
- use iCloud or syncing capabilities
- use a few basic apps
- Help teachers understand how to use the iPad to transform instruction. The first instinct will be to just substitute the iPad for pen and paper assignments. You will want to guide your teacher toward a more challenging approach to instruction. Apple offers Challenge-Based Learning instruction and the New Tech Network has wonderful resources using their Project-Based Learning instructional approach. A quick search on the web will result in many Problem-based learning tools as well. Choose a model, learn it and follow up on it with teachers often. Review lesson plans together and require to transform a few units the first year.
- Host Appy hours! Review apps that apply to subject area content for a few minutes at a time each month with content area teams. Take chocolate or popcorn. Make this a fun time together. Have a wiki where teachers can post their favorite apps and review the ones you discover for them.
- Offer just-in-time training all year long. Have staff available to help in classrooms and train the teachers how to use apps or online tools. Then ask your teachers who really understand these tools to help their colleagues. They will naturally turn to each other for this help, especially when you encourage it.
Now for my disclaimer: We planned to do each of these things and even more. We had schedules and timelines and all kinds of plans. We gave teachers the iPads, offered beginner training, had Apple training on Challenge-Based Learning, and then school started. Once 735 middle schoolers had an iPad with them day and night, there just weren’t enough of us to go around to support them and to do the fabulous extended training we had planned during the summer. So we deployed apps, had some brief training during conference periods and a lot of just-in-time training. We are growing and learning together, and we’re making great plans for next year!
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