Wednesday, August 29, 2012

iPads vs Netbooks: The Journey Towards One-to-One

        I teach at Unity Public School, which is a pre-kindergarten to grade six school of approximately 175 students. At the start of the 2011-12 school year we had one computer lab of 22 Dell desktop computers and 1 data projector, one cart of 26 older Dell laptops, one cart of 19 newer Dell laptops, 4 Smart Boards (3 in the grade one, two, and three classrooms and 2 in open classrooms), 2-5 desktop computers in the grade three to six classes, 1 document camera, and 3 black & white printer/copiers, and 1 colour printer. Our teachers also all had a Dell laptop of varying vintages. Our students in grades one and two received a computer class for one (half hour) class in a six day cycle while grade three to six received two (half hour) classes in a six day cycle.

      Then we started our journey of becoming a one-to-one school, one device for every student, by getting iPads for most staff members and Netbooks for those who already had a personal iPad. All devices were provided by the Living Sky School Division. Over the course of the 2011-12 school year our teachers did a series of investigations and projects centered around technology, pedagogy and the intertwining of the two. This allowed staff to become familiar with a device and we also had enough iPads to do small group projects within our classes. In June we had to make two decisions. Firstly, if we wanted to become a one-to-one school and secondly, if so what device would we choose for our students' use.

       Our teachers decided we would like to become a one-to-one school but choosing the device took a little more thought. Here were some of the pros of each device . .
*great keyboard size for small hands
*our tech support people were familiar with them and could fix problems
*able to print from the device
*familiar programs such as word, power point, photo story
*right click feature

 *variety of apps available
 *superior battery life over the course of a school day
 *student & staff engagement

and here were some of the cons:

*battery life did not last a whole school day
*screen was small and difficult to read

*could not print to school network
*no right click feature
*keyboards could be purchased but would be an extra cost
*cost of apps
*no trained tech people for fixing problems

        After some debate we decided to go with iPads and starting in September 2012 the Living Sky School Division is providing each student in grade one to six with an iPad for in-school use. Pre-K and kindergarten decided to go with a mix of 1/3 iPods and 2/3 iPads, also provided by the division.  It will be an exciting journey that I look forward to starting.

Photos from by myracing221 and sucelloleiloes.

1 comment:

Michael McVey said...

It will be an exciting adventure, Morag. I'd be curious to know what software you find most helpful with your students.