I’ve been asked a number of times to help with iPad “unboxing” sessions in schools and it can get messy if you try to do too much. It is temping to download and run through numerous “amazing” apps and quickly showcase all of their abilities in transforming the classroom. But from my experiences, I have learnt that many teachers are unaware of fundamentals that others understand as everyday knowledge, so be careful. Keep it simple and avoid needing the internet as much as possible during the session. I know of a school where they asked everyone to get iMovie, which is 500MB! This not only killed the internet but the rest of the session also! For me, the important fundamentals are iCloud, Photo, (small) App download and messaging. Photo Credit.
I recommend everyone get a new iCloud.com email during the iPad setup screens and use this as their Apple account to ensure they aren’t restricted from using any of the Apple services. Restrictions can crop up later if you use something like a Gmail. The smallest of task can take a while when a number of people attempt it at once. A simple task that more advanced users can help the novices through works much better.
Introducing teachers to the idea that free web-based messaging is available using the iCloud accounts is something I think is important. It can greatly reduce the pressure on the school email and people quickly get used to it and many often prefer the format of messaging over email. Group messages can be started between 3 or more, which can help department discussion too. Get your school leaders messaging as a group and they will love iPads forever :-)
Here’s my list of do’s and don’ts:
- pair-up the less confident with a more confident buddy.
- For your first session task, only attempt to use pre-installed or free apps that don’t rely on the internet connection after they’re installed (reduces problems by 80%)
- Make sure people get the best from the iPad by setting up an iCloud.com email account using the iPad setup screens (easiest way to setup the account) Advice: use the same email name as your normal (most used) email name, e.g. johnDoe86@gmail.com = JohnDoe86@iCloud.com
- Other than the iCloud account, don’t spend too much time with other account setup. It’s more engaging to get on with some fun first.
- Make sure they have at least taken a photo, downloaded an app and sent an iMessage. (iCloud based iMessages can reduce the strain on the email system and only use wifi)
- Make your first tasks are fun and use a small number of apps
- In most cases, don’t let the technician run it. In my experience too many technicians focus on technical issues like server connections and file transfers. This can kill the fun and initial desire to use iPads.
- Have instructions in writing (with screenshots if possible). Relying on verbal instructions to any audience gets very messy very quickly.
The main aim is to have a task that everyone can enjoy, regardless of the ability level. Photo Booth and Pic Collage are both simple but fun apps that all can enjoy and this is why I included them in my resource below.
I thought I’d put together a quick resource that you might use if issuing a number iPads to teachers in your school. Hope you find it useful and good luck! This JPG links to a PDF version.