Like many other schools, folks in my community are quite interested in learning more about the possibilities of highly portable mobile devices like the iPad, cellphones, iPods, etc as tools to personalize, customize, deepen and amplify learning. As a result, we recently launched a study group that is dedicated to learning more about mobile devices like the iPad. Teacher participation in this group is totally voluntary and I’m pleased to say that we have 16 participants!
In exchange for participation in the group, all members were given a small budget to go out and purchase an iPad model of their choosing, some accessories, and software (we're fortunate to have a GREAT relationship with the Apple Store on University Avenue in Palo Alto). Most participants chose the 16 GB model, but a few upgraded to the 3G capable models (some teachers went over budget and had to go into their own personal budgets to pay the difference). The expectations for the participants are posted over at the ‘About’ section of our blog. We chose this hardware/software distribution model because the iPad is a VERY personal device that is nearly impossible to manage using traditional IT practices. If this goes well, I might recommend that our school scale this distribution model to teacher laptops-eg, instead of the school’s IT department giving each teacher a standard hardware/software configuration every four years, we’d give folks a stipend of a certain amount so they could go out and choose the hardware/software mixture that works best for their needs.
One of the requirements for participation in this group is to submit blog posts to our group blog throughout the year. Stop by our blog and subscribe via email or RSS to keep up with our group’s progress and thinking throughout the year.
*image courtesy of FoxyCroxy on Flickr (Creative Commons License)