My “1:1” paperless experiment

Before planning where to go next, I suppose it’s best to know where you’ve been. So, as I plan for working full-time with iPads in a 1:1 environment, I have to give myself a chance to debrief my 1:1 pilot/experiment from last semester.

For one of my English classes, I managed to lock down use of one of two campus iPad carts for in-class use. Several students in the class had their own iPads, and they were encouraged to bring them in if they were able. I figured I would be able to make do with using the iPads in class and supplementing in a way that allowed them to access important information from a PC outside of class.

One of my biggest problems was how quickly I moved from concept to application. When I saw that I could create my own iTunes U course that students could access  on the iPad, I just ran with it, thinking it was the most common-sense approach. Unfortunately, by the time I had invested plenty of hours into building the course, I had to spend an entire class period getting students logged into the course with Apple IDs. What the heck was I thinking?! My eyes were bigger than my stomach. And I did not learn the lesson then, oh no. Once we got rolling on iTunes U, I recognized that nearly two thirds of my students would be unable to access handouts, assignments, etc. from home. Solution? I started double posting to an Edmodo course. But not perfectly double posting. It was a nightmare. Thankfully, my guinea pigs played the role of forgiving students quite well. Their patience meant an awful lot as I slogged through all kinds of foibles and miscues. An attempt at a collaborative writing assignment via Evernote crumbled in my hands. Using Dropbox on shared iPads opened a can of file-eating worms in other classes. And on, and on.

In reflecting at this point, I can see quite clearly that most of my biggest issues will be resolved by students having devices to take home – their own, all day, every day. Additionally, they will have Google Apps accounts that will allow them to utilize the full suite of Google tools, which I was unwilling to have everyone sign up for in the open on a shared device after the Apple ID debacle. In short, I know what went wrong, and with the distance I’ve put between me and the semester, I can see what steps are waiting for me in the new year. Combined with a robust collection of blogs documenting actual successes with paperless, 1:1 iPad classes and a rapidly growing PLN on Twitter, I think I’m armed fully to begin making formal plans to really crush it this year.

What’s the worst that could happen?

 

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