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Students Should Do the Heavy Lifting of iPad Setup

Save Deployment Time and Teach With One Activity

What I realized is that the setup wasn't all that bad, and I came to the conclusion that I didn't need to set these up when I had 30 eager students waiting to get their hands on an iPad sitting in class with me each period of the day that were more than happy to do it for me.

A class set of 30 iPads has a huge setup cost that has to be paid before they’re ever used. Even if I only take 5 minutes to set up each one, I’m looking at around 2.5 hours. Anyone that’s ever taught knows that any free time is hard to come by, and an unallocated 2.5 hours is next to impossible to come across. I knew I had to start somewhere, so as I had already decided that one iPad in the set would be dedicated to teacher use, I started by setting that one up.

What I realized is that the setup wasn’t all that bad, and I came to the conclusion that I didn’t need to set these up when I had 30 eager students waiting to get their hands on an iPad sitting in class with me each period of the day that were more than happy to do it for me. I started jotting down notes about what I had to do to set each up and the particular sticking points students might encounter (the Apple ID to put in, for instance). The rest was simply putting a student to task with the instructions in front of them.

Here’s a few tips to make your iPad classroom setup experience easier

1) I didn’t put my instructions on here on purpose. You know your students best and you know how to convey instructions to them. Instructions for 2nd grade students will look very different than instructions for 11th graders, but both groups are equally capable of setting up the iPads.

2) Be mindful of the amount of setting up you have the students do. On my iPads, I block certain apps like Youtube and the App Market, and this requires a pin number. To keep it easy, I use the same pin for all of the student iPads to unlock these apps, and although I had students I felt would keep the information to themselves, this may not be the case in all classrooms.

3) Give the students a goal for setting the iPads up. These are very tempting devices and your students may want to check out Angry Birds instead of moving onto the next iPad. Giving them a goal gives them a pace to keep to so that everything’s finished by the end of the day.

Thoughts or suggestions for improvement? Let me know in the comments!

About Matt

Matt is a middle school STEM teacher and department chair in Prince George's County, Maryland. Outside of teaching, Matt consults for educational gaming and technology projects and is chairman of EdCamp DC. Matt blogs about teaching and leadership at matthewmccrea.com and tweets at @matt_mccrea. Google