I can’t remember who brought it up, I or my tech director, but at some point we agreed that I would be willing to test iPads in a pilot one-to-one initiative. I had agreed in the spring but wasn’t quite sure if it would go anywhere; I figured I would wait and see. But by the summer it seemed that this initiative had some legs, and by August it was confirmed.

We agreed that I would pilot the iPads with one of my 2 College English 4 sections. This would allow us to have a control section, i.e. one section that was covering the same material but doing so without the iPads, which hopefully would isolate the effectiveness (or not) of the iPads. It at least would give us some comparisons to make, even if more anecdotal than statistical. We also agreed that a College level section would be a more viable group because they can tend to be less self-motivated in terms of their school work; perhaps the iPad could change that.

The administrators put together a letter of introduction to the program that included the school’s Acceptable Use policy as well as a signature sheet for parents to allow their child to participate in the program. We also agreed that if a student or parent did not want to participate because of personal reasons (technophobia; fear of change, etc.; we agreed to assist with any financial difficulties, if that were the hesitation), then we would consider that an acceptable reason for changing sections, either to the control section of my course or to another College English 4 section.

We also agreed that we would follow the Burlington High School model, which has gone to a school-wide iPad one-to-one, namely that the management of the iPads would be decentralized. Students would sync them to their own computers and their own iTunes account with a list of apps and ebooks to purchase from us (which they would then keep; we kept the purchased materials to less than $25, which we figured was an acceptable onus), rather than us syncing and managing the iPads.

We had a meeting for parents at the end of our parents’ night; most of the questions there concerned liability issues (not surprising). My understanding, though I don’t know this for certain, is that homeowners insurance will allow for a low price a rider put on to the policy that will cover the iPad (though one parent brought up the deductible and whether that would negate the insurance policy; that I definitely don’t know). The Monday after that we distributed the iPads, and that Thurday we put them on the network.