As Apple today announced the launch of the iPad mini (around £220 for those who are interested!) it seems like as good a time as any to talk about iPads. One of the schools I work at has got six (one per class), and another is about to buy two or three.
I have to confess here and now that when I first picked up an iPad I was like a fish out of water. In fact I remember uttering the immortal line “I miss Windows”! But once I had got the hang of the touch interface, which is all swipey and press-y, I have to admit, these devices are impressive. The battery life is so long that each iPad can be used for the whole day in a classroom – and probably more. Setting each one up took about 10 minutes – and that was to do things like restricting the capability to delete apps, setting up “Find My iPad” and putting in appropriate content ratings for video and TV choices. Then syncing the device to a computer with a school iTunes account took another 10 minutes. And then it was good to go – what a quick return on investment.
One word of advice: each iPad will see the school wireless network, but won’t work until you manually enter the proxy settings. In Derbyshire, the server is webshield.embc.uk.com and the port is 80.
As time goes by, it will be interesting to see what the iPads are used for, and what impact they make on effective teaching and learning.