The following is a sponsored post by Datamation Systems, Inc.. They’ve worked with more than 10,000 schools to help deploy and secure classrooms full of technology. Want to learn more? Check out their ad in the Edudemic Magazine or visit the Datamation website here.
iPads are fun. Apps are fun. Second-screening, podcasting, and pinching-and-zooming your way through the internet is fun.
But when the bell rings and the fun is over, what happens then?
While the iPad’s potential in formal learning environments is clear, there is a practical side to its implementation that is not often recognized until after they’re purchased. Logistics here are usually left to an over-worked school or district IT person—or worse, to the classroom teacher. At $500 each for the 16GB iPad 3, thirty iPads would be in the ballpark of $15,000—a huge responsibility financially. But did you know that iPad storage can also impact classroom management?
Teachers and administrators are, to put it lightly, pushed for time as it is. So while you’re focused on the best apps for personalizing instruction, the best social media platforms to use with middle-school learners, or the best cloud-based word processors to maintain digital portfolios, where do you turn?
Datamation Systems is a company that specializes in technology storage and security. Having worked with more than 10,000 schools nationwide, they know how iPads are being used in the real world. Their president, Jerry Raymond, put together five questions for Edudemic that all educators should consider as they plan to deploy iPads in their classroom.
Planning for Deployment
The best solution is to use carts or cabinets to store and secure. Often people think that they need carts even if the devices aren’t moved. Cabinets can be less expensive, more compact and more secure. Also, how they are placed and arranged in a classroom has an impact on how long it takes (from precious instructional time) to get them used and stowed away. Sometimes, it is better to place two cabinets or carts in different places so students do not bunch up around them. Classroom management can be significantly impacted by how you store your iPads.
How do I make sure their batteries are charged?
If iPads or other devices are stored at school, they should be re-charged or topped-off when they are not being used. Charge carts or cabinets can use the Apple-provided AC adapters or can be equipped with charging hubs. Few schools have outlets at the desks.
How do I manage syncing?
Wireless or wired (through USB)? This is a significant choice. For the best management control and software compliance, centralized syncing makes sense (as opposed to doing it in each classroom) unless a teacher is frequently syncing devices.
It also makes sense because a shared syncing capability can reduce the cost of a school’s deployment. Apple’s free Configurator software is a very promising tool. Wireless syncing can be managed with third party software but can put demands on a school’s infrastructure. Many schools assume you have to have a cart with sync and charge for every group of iPads. There are alternatives, especially if iPads are configured once or twice or three times a year and not every day.
How do I protect iPads?
Beyond cursory lectures to students on rules and expectations, security is often an afterthought. Preventing and deterring theft is important, especially with such small, valuable and eminently-stealable technology. Not all carts and cabinets that have a lock are really secure. There are some YouTube videos available that show how different carts and iPad accessories handle security. Equipment under multiple locks should have some sort of key control scheme (keyed alike, keyed differently). Theft deterrent asset tags and recovery systems are also worth considering as visible deterrents for would-be ne’er-do-wells.
How do I transport them for shared situations?
Carts can allow technology to be shared by multiple classrooms. Sometimes, iPads and other devices have to be shared on multiple floors or in multi-building campuses. Transport cases can help with these situations.
Syncing, storage, charging, and even classroom management are all factors. And perhaps most important to any educators is the concept of time-management. The more self-contained procedure and habits are here, the more time students will have for inquiry, collaboration, and instruction—and the more time available to focus on what makes the iPad special.
Datamation Systems has more than 49 years of experience with technology security, so they’re not limited to iPads. Security solutions for desktops, laptops, iPods, projectors, and mobile networks are available.
Contact them directly at info[at]pc-security.com, or seek out your favorite social media platform to see what others are saying about their expertise, and how Datamation Systems can improve the function of your classrooms.