Directing Technology/iPad

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

number of apps Android vs Apple

The iPad2 is Apple Inc.'s second generation tablet computer. The iPad widely popularized the tablet computer market. Apple Inc. (2011) [1] reported selling 7.33 million iPads during the fourth fiscal quarter of 2010. The Bloomberg news (2011)[2] reported that 2.1 million Android tablets were sold during the same time period. The iPad's popularity can be attributed to its mobility, versatility, brand name, and vast number of apps. The iPad2 (2011)[3] weighs 1.33 lbs and .34 inches thick making it far more portable than a laptop PC. The iPad can be used to Facetime, a form of video conferencing, present lectures, read ebooks, watch movies, and browse the Internet amongst many other activities. The iPod and the iPhone catapulted Apple Inc.'s brand name to the premier competitor in the mobile device market. The Apple Inc. is associated with high quality and prestige. The iPad has managed to continue to dominate the mobile device market due to the vast array of apps. As of June 16, 2011, Apple Inc. boasts 95,927 apps for the iPad alone. The iPad2 can also run almost all of the 350,000 plus apps available in the App store for the iPhone and iPod touch.[4] Comparatively, the Android tablet PC market has only a fraction of the number of apps.

History[edit | edit source]

The RAND tablet was the first tablet PC available for commercial use. The RAND tablet was introduced in 1964 and could be purchased for $18,000. In designing the tablet, the RAND Corporation (1964)[5] was interested in improving the ways by which man interacts with computers by "developing more useful and more versatile communications channels." The RAND tablet used a stylus to detect 10-bit x and 10-bit y position information. The information would be relayed to a computer and an oscilloscope display. The oscilloscope display contained a composite of the current stylus location. The computer could regenerate track history, giving the appearance that the stylus had "ink.[5]" After testing and pilot programs, the RAND Corporation discovered that users found the stylus as natural to use as pen-and-paper.

Apple Inc. entered the tablet market in 1979 when it introduced the Apple Graphics Tablet (2010)[6] at the price of $650. This tablet could not function as a stand alone device. It was an input device for the Apple II. It could be used to draw images at a resolution of 280 by 192 pixels. The Graphics Tablet used a stylus tethered to an interface card. A plastic overlap created axes and grid lines to assist in drawing.

The Newton MessagePad 100 (MP) was Apple Inc.'s next significant attempt at producing a high quality, affordable mobile device. The MessagePad was released in 1993. It was one of the first PDAs. The main capabilities of the MP was its communication and organizational features. Users could fax and email with the MP. It has applications for storing, organizing, and retrieving names, appointments, and contact information. The MP could print to serial and parallel printers. It had a infrared port that could relay information between MPs. The MessagePad's handwriting recognition engine, however, could not effectively read and recognize handwritten words on the screen, resulting in bad press and poor sales. Apple Inc. discontinued its MessagePad line in 1998.

Apple Inc. began selling the iPad on April 3, 2010; consumers purchased more than 300,000 devices on the first day of availability.[7] Unlike previous tablets which used a pressure-triggered stylus, the iPad is controlled by a multi-touch display and has a virtual onscreen keyboard in lieu of a physical keyboard. The iPad uses a Wi-Fi connection to access local area networks and the Internet. Some models also have a 3G capability. The device is managed and synced by iTunes running on a personal computer via USB cable. Prior to the launch of the iPad2, Apple Inc. sold more than 15 million first generation iPads.[4]

Specifications[edit | edit source]

iPad vs. iPad2 tech specs

The iPad 2 runs on Apple’s dual core A5 chip. The new chip nearly doubles the processing speed of the iPad 2 when compared to the iPad. The A5 chip maintains the energy efficiency of the A4 chip, providing users with ten-hours of battery life. The iPad 2 is 9X faster at processing graphics, which will help apps perform better. The iPad 2 has 9.7 inch display and weighs 1.33 lbs. It is equipped with two cameras. The rear camera is records in HD (720P) and has a 5x digital zoom. The front camera records in VGA. For further information about the technical aspects use the following link: or Apple Inc. iPad specs

Implementation[edit | edit source]

Prior to implementing any new initiatives, it would be prudent to perform a thorough front-end analysis. A needs assessment would indicate the priorities and the weaknesses of an institution. Initiatives should be geared toward improving achievement amongst each institution's unique student body. After determining its needs, the district should create one to three goals. From these goals, the district should develop several objectives. The objectives should be closely aligned with the state educational standards and ISTE technology standards The district should perform a task analysis to determine how your each school would accomplish the objectives. A learner analysis should be performed. It is critical for school district's to recognize teachers as learners during any initiative. A learner analysis will help ensure that implementation strategies are efficacious and appropriate for both teachers and students. After completing the front-end analysis, a district should develop an assessment plan. The assessment plan should include both formative and summative evaluations. These evaluations should include input from all of the stakeholders, including administrators, teachers, students, and parents. The district must also create an instructional plan prior to implementing a technology initiative. The instructional plan should focus on how to train teachers and students to use the technology. Keep in mind that schools and districts vary greatly; a one-to-one iPad initiative may not be the best solution for many institutions. The remainder of this page will detail how to effectively integrate iPads in K-12 learning environments.

Logistics[edit | edit source]

It is strongly recommended that a district hire an experienced advisor before initiating a one-to-one technology initiative. A good advisor can alert a district to potential pitfalls, provide an unbiased opinion, and create a smooth transition process. A district will need examine several general areas before starting a technology initiative.

PD should be a large part of the budget

Funding: a district will need to find funding for its technology initiative. Many districts use capital funds in conjunction with grant funds. E-rate can help provide funding for the costs associated with installing a wireless network. Districts should look into Apple’s educator discount of 10% before purchasing any iPads. Dr. Dan Brenner (D. Brenner, personal communication, June 14, 2011),[8] Superintendent of the Rosyln Union Free District, stated that in order to support the funding of any initiative districts "must have teacher buy in ... administrative buy in ... community buy in."

Acceptable Use Policies: districts must develop thoughtful Acceptable Use Policies (AUP) for both staff and students. The student AUP should not be longer than 2 pages and it should contain explicit rules for acceptable and unacceptable use.

Security: districts must develop methods for cataloging, distributing, repairing, collecting, and storing hardware. Many districts place a security barcode on each device. The district should record each device’s MAC address and manufacturer’s serial number. Districts should also develop a standard procedure through which staff and students can safely backup, store, and retrieve data.

Staff Development: professional development (PD) is crucial the success of any technology initiative. Teachers need to feel comfortable using iPads if meaningful learning with technology is to take place in the classroom. Dr. Scott Garrigan (S. Garrigan, personal communication, November, 2010),[9] professor at Lehigh University, stated that at a minimum 10% of a technology budget should be allocated toward PD. David Glick (D. Glick, personal communication, June 14–15, 2011),[10] an educational consultant, stated that "hardware costs should be about 30% of the whole [technology] initiative, with the rest going towards helping teachers understand to use them [iPads] and, more importantly, how to use them to improve teaching and learning."

Technology Support: districts must hire support staff to maintain and service hardware and trouble shoot network problems. Instructional technologists should assist teachers with using iPads for learning.

Software Installation[edit | edit source]

There are many approaches to installing apps
There are many approaches to installing apps

Software installation on iPads is not a clear cut process as it is with laptops. Typically, districts employing a laptop initiative create a master image on a DVD or a flash drive. Technologists will use the DVD or flash drive to create clone computers. This process ensures that every laptop is equipped with the appropriate software. It also prevents students from installing personal software onto a school laptop. The iPads' software, commonly referred to as apps, can only be downloaded through Apple's Apps Store. Some districts create their own app store, and allow students to freely install software; other districts synchronize their iPads so that they contain the necessary apps for school work and forbid students from installing extra apps.

Infrastructure[edit | edit source]

Network Infrastructure[edit | edit source]

Schools instituting a one-to-one iPad initiative should install a wireless Ethernet network prior to distributing iPads. Funding for wireless networking can be obtained through E-rate. Federal discounts depend on the status of the poverty level of the school. Discounts can range from 20-90% with urban and rural schools receiving the most federal support.

iPads with Wi-Fi + 3G may require the purchase of data plans through either AT&T or Verizon. These plans range in price from $14.99 – 80.00 per month. It is unknown whether E-rate can help fund 3G plans. One major problem that arises with 3G capability is maintaining CIPA compliance.

Management Infrastructure[edit | edit source]

Districts will need a strong technology department to monitor and maintain the districts network. The technology department should be responsible for monitoring network traffic as well as trouble shooting. Districts can use software such as Multi Router Traffic Grapher (MRTG) to determine the amount of network traffic. MRTG is free and works with Linux and Windows operating systems. A program like Wireshark, which is also free, will allow technologists to analyze the content being sent and received over the network. A clear and concise AUP is the first step to ensuring network integrity. The technology department should include technicians capable of understanding the nuances of secure wireless networks. They should be prepared to quickly deal with unanticipated network failures.

Hardware[edit | edit source]

Distribution, Collection, and Storage[edit | edit source]

Districts must develop methods for cataloging, distributing, repairing, collecting, and storing hardware. Many districts place a security barcode on each device. These district uses standard bar code scanners to scan devices into cataloging software. Each district should record every device’s MAC address and manufacturer’s serial number.

Distribution should occur during the first or second week of school. One method would have students receive iPads by grade level during a particular core subject. For instance, on the first day of distribution, only high school seniors would receive their iPads. Students might come to the distribution area through their English class. The next day of distribution would be reserved for juniors, while the third and fourth days would be set aside for sophomores and freshman respectively. A fifth day of distribution would be set aside for those students who did not already receive their iPads. Ideally, distribution and collection should take place in spacious room, such as a gymnasium.

Collection should not take place during the last week of school. Students should be provided with ample time to return their iPads. Seniors should be the first group of students to return their iPads. The safe return of an iPad should be part of the graduation requirement for every student. Schools should have a policy that clearly dictates the monetary penalties and/or punishments for failing to return school property or returning school property in a damaged condition.

Upon receiving iPads from students, administrators and technologists should scan the devices and store them in a secure location. iPads should be stored in a logical order, such as according to grade and then alphabetically. During the summer, the district should clean and re-image the iPads. Ideally, each student will be reissued the same iPad he/she used during the previous school year.

Repair[edit | edit source]

Districts might consider handling repairs in two ways. Minor problems with hardware could be fixed in-house by the district's technology department. Districts could contract with an outside vendor to repair larger problems. Issues with imaging and software should be handled by the technology department.

Update/Upgrade[edit | edit source]

Districts should consider replacing hardware every three to four years. Some districts prefer to purchase the entire student body's iPads at one time. Other districts favor purchasing iPads for only the incoming freshman class. This method allows the district to disperse capital expenditure over four years as opposed to one year and allows students to keep the same iPad for all four years of high school.

Training Required[edit | edit source]

Staff[edit | edit source]

Districts should keep in mind that the goal of any technology initiative is to improve learning and student achievement. With that in mind, professional development should be the top priority. Teachers, who are uncomfortable with using an iPad, will use them to teach according to traditional means, such as for word processing, defining terms, or as calculators. The iPads' chief educational advantage over laptops is their vast number of apps. Teachers who are unfamiliar with apps store or do not have the time or expertise to find and practice using apps will not use the iPad optimally as a learning tool. David Glick(D. Glick, personal communication, June 14–15, 2011) stated that "potential [for using technology] is always by orders of magnitude on a weekly basis." He believes that most schools provide an inadequate amount of PD. PD should be tailored to the individual teacher, as their "starting points, priorities, and goals are going to be different."

Students[edit | edit source]

Students should receive iPad training. The first step in this process is reviewing the Acceptable Use Policy and having students sign a contract stating that they understand and will abide by the rules stated in the AUP. It is critical that students know how to backup, store, and restore work. Some of the student training can take in the classroom "on-demand." For instance, an English teacher may have students perform and record Act I of Romeo and Juliet. In this scenario, the teacher should explain to his students how to use the iPad camera to film footage, and then demo iMovie so students can edit their footage.

Potential for Schools[edit | edit source]

iPads can display electronic textbooks
Students can create & edit movies with iMovie

School districts should remain focused on the primary goal of any technology initiative, which is to improve student achievement. Jonassen, Howland, Marra, and Crismond (2008)[11] stated that in order for meaningful learning to take place, activities should be collaborative, goal directed, relevant to the learner, active, and constructive. Using iPads as glorified calculators or dictionaries does not equate to enhanced learning. Wenglinsky (2005)[12] found that student achievement improved when technology was used in a constructive fashion. The author further stated that when technology was used according to didactic methods, such as drill-and-practice, students achievement either did not improve or declined.

The potential for enhancing learning with iPads is limitless, but they can also cut costs for districts. iPads can serve as eReaders. There is a Kindle app. In the near future, districts may be able to forgo purchasing bound textbooks, reducing overall costs. iPads can eliminate costs associated with printing and copying, such as the purchase of toner, paper, lease and repair contracts for copy machines. Schools would no longer have to purchase graphics calculators, as the iPad can perform all of the same functions.

The iPad serves entire gamut of students and teachers. iPads will be a boon for special-needs students. Visually-impaired students can listen to text using apps such as VoiceOver. Dyslexic students could use VoiceOver, while following along visually as the text is highlighted as its is read aloud. English language learners (ELL) would have access to a number of reading apps. Earth science teachers would have access to apps such as Star Walk, which would allow students to explore outer-space first hand. With over 95,000 apps, learning can be enhanced according to Jonassen et al.'s five criteria for meaningful learning.

Challenges/Risks[edit | edit source]

The iPad can distract learners

Mobile devices are the new frontier for learning technologies. As a result, there are many unknowns. For the iPads in particular, the following questions pose a concern:

  • What is the most effective way to deliver software to student iPads, while ensuring the integrity of the device and network security?
  • Does E-rate pay for 3G service? If so, how will districts remain CIPA compliant?
  • How will districts cope with the problems associated with printing to network printers?
  • How will districts deal with theft and/or vandalism of an iPad?
  • How will districts adjust their schedules to provide teachers with an appropriate amount of professional development?
  • In the future, what kind of control will Apple Inc. exert over the management of its devices? Currently, Apple has the ability to remotely remove apps from an iPad.
  • How safe is student data and school data on the iCloud?

Case Studies[edit | edit source]

Gibbon Fairfax Winthrop High School[edit | edit source]

On April 16, 2010 Gibbon Fairfax Winthrop (GFW) High School became the first school in the country to implement a one-to-one iPad initiative. The district decided to invest in iPads after consulting with David Glick, an educational consultant, in 2009. The Free Press (2010)[13] stated that funds for the initiative originated from a combination of a one-time school district consolidation fund and capital funds. According to (2010),[14] the school district allocated $267,748 for the installation of a Wi-Fi network and purchase 320 iPads at the cost of $479 each. The GFW school district created detailed 8-page iPad policy, procedure, and information document. The document includes an AUP, iPad protection plan options, and a student pledge for iPad use. GFW software policy is such that students are forbidden from installing apps onto their iPads. GFW technology department installs apps based on students' course schedule. Because GFW High School implemented its technology initiative prior to the launch of the iPad2, the school will have to contend with a few problems. Teachers will have difficulty projecting from their iPad as the first generation iPad does not support true display mirroring. Neither the iPad or iPad2 supports flash media. There are still compatibility issues with printing from an iPad. Overall, GFW school district has done a good job implementing its iPad initiative notably because: its policies are accessible online, the AUP is clear and concise, students and parents sign a contract with the district, and the district hired a consultant to help plan the initiative.

Roslyn High School[edit | edit source]

On December 20, 2010 Rosyln High School distributed 47 iPads to begin a pilot program with 11th and 12th grade humanities students. According to the New York Times (2011),[15] Rosyln school district spent $750 for each device. In total, the district spent $56,250 for an initial 75 32-GB iPads. According to Dr. Dan Brenner (2010),[16] Superintendent of Roslyn School District, after a three-year search, the district decided on the iPad because of its portability, price, interface, and ease of use. Roslyn High School has successfully integrated its teacher iPads with the school's student management system (SMS). As a result, teachers can take attendance and prepare grades from their iPads. The district hopes to eventually provide all of its 1100 students with an iPad. Roslyn School District initiative has both positive and negative aspects. The district was very patient in its pursuit of the ideal technology for their learners. Roslyn High School came up with an innovative way to provide apps to students by creating a "Roslyn apple store." Initiating a pilot program is an effective way of identifying weaknesses in a plan. However, 47 students is a very small sample size and may not be an accurate representation of the entire student body. The district does not appear to have a AUP. An AUP is critical to the success of any technology initiative. The AUP should be easily accessible through the Internet. Students are not provided with space on the school server to backup their files. According to Brenner (D. Brenner, personal communication, June 14, 2011),[8] students are expected to backup work "at home on a personal computer." This policy does not address the issues that may arise if a student does not own a personal computer or if a student cannot sync his iPad with his home PC. Roslyn High School does not image iPads. Brenner stated that "we are encouraging students to download any application they want providing they would 'not get suspended' for an inappropriate choice. We expect the students to understand the parameters." When compared with GFW High School's policy, Roslyn's policy might be too vague. The policy could put the district at risk for misuse of iPads and could lead to litigation against the district and its employees. As of June 2011, there have not been any indiscretions within the pilot program.

Links to Resources[edit | edit source]

Dave Marra, an Apple Certified Technical Coordinator and an Apple Certified Systems Administrator, recommends the following resources to help implement K-12 iPad initiatives.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Apple Inc. (2011). Apple Reports First Quarter Results: Record Mac, iPhone, iPad Sales Drive Highest Revenue and Earnings Ever Revenue Grows 71 Percent; Earnings Grow 78 Percent. Retrieved from
  2. Alpeyev, A., & Miller, H. (2011, January 31). Android tablets gain on Apple iPad in fourth quarter. Bloomberg News. Retrieved from
  3. Apple Inc. (2011). iPad specifications. Retrieved from
  4. a b Apple Inc. (2011). Apple Launches iPad2. Retrieved from
  5. a b Davis M.R., & Eliss, T.O. (1964, August) The RAND tablet: A man-machine graphical communication device. Retrieved from
  6. Gagne, K. (2010). Face-off: 1979 Apple Graphics Tablet vs. 2010 Apple iPad. Retrieved from
  7. Harvey, Mike (April 6, 2010). "iPad launch marred by technical glitches". The Times (UK). Retrieved June 26, 2011.
  8. a b D. Brenner, personal communication, June 14, 2011
  9. S. Garrigan, personal communication, November, 2010
  10. D. Glick, personal communication, June 14–15, 2011
  11. Jonassen, D., Howland, J., Marra, R., & Crismond, D. (2008). Meaningful learning with technology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
  12. Wenglinsky, H. (2005). Using technology wisely: The keys to success in schools. New York: Teachers College Press.
  13. Kent, T. (2010, April 11). The Free Press. GFW students to get iPads. Retrieved from
  14. Busch, F. (2010, April 16). Free Republic. iPads are apple of Gibbon Fairfax Winthrop High School's eye. Retrieved from
  15. Hu, W. (2011, January 4) New York Times. Math that moves: Schools embrace iPads. Retrieved from
  16. Brenner, D. (2010, December 9). Roslyn Schools. Roslyn is launching the iPad. Retrieved from