Going 1-to-1 This Fall? Seven Topics to Include in Your iPad Boot Camp

August 26, 2013
Kelsey Herron
Common Sense Media
San Francisco, United States
CATEGORIES Common Sense Resources, In the Classroom, Technology Integration

If you’re in the midst of rolling out iPads or tablets into classrooms this fall, we can help.  

More and more schools have been implementing a 1-to-1 iPad or tablet model, providing one device per student and enabling youth to become more prepared 21st-century learners. While this structural shift is exciting, it also requires significant planning. Adequate teacher training, tech support, loss prevention, bandwidth, and parental involvement are all factors that must be addressed before the devices are even rolled out in classrooms. And then students need to actually learn how to use and care for the devices.

Technology coordinator for John Fiske Elementary School Kenyatta Forbes recently described some of the pressures of “going 1-to-1,” a transition her school will make this fall. “It’s got the potential to be amazing, but I anticipate some super long nights at the school,” Forbes told me. “It’s really exciting times, but also really scary because you want the program to run successfully.”

To help ease some of this apprehension she and other educators are working through, we recently created the 1-to-1 Essentials Program for administrators who, like Forbes, will be tasked with rolling out devices into classrooms this fall. The program, divided into three phases, includes interactive and customizable tools for schools to prepare and execute a plan that aligns with their mission, culture, and goals.

The third phase of the program includes a grade-specific list of sample topics, objectives, and activities to help you design a 1-to-1 crash course, or “boot camp,” to prepare your students to use their devices in responsible, enriching ways. We’ve compiled a few of our favorites from the list below:

  • Make students a part of the process: Prior to the boot camp, involve students in drafting your school’s Acceptable Use Policy [AUP]. During boot camp, invite them to present the AUP to the rest of the class, or even lead small discussion groups with their peers and review different acceptable use scenarios.
  • Have students sign a Digital Citizenship Pledge: Students can work together to outline the expectations that accompany their devices, and sign a “We the Digital Citizens…” oath. You can also ask students to help write the pledge before signing.
  • Involve parents: Film a short video for students’ families explaining the kinds of activities students will be doing with their new devices. Include students sharing their own expertise and post it to YouTube or on your school’s network for students and parents to watch at home.
  • Introduce Core Apps: Set up a few different app stations around the room with apps that address your students’ needs. Have groups, or individual students, rotate from station to station, exploring how the apps work.
  • Go over device basics and care: Have students make KWL charts (Know, Want to Know, and Learned) about their new devices, and fill them out in groups.
  • Practice making strong passwords: Have students create one strong password and one weak password for an important historical figure. Then, have students pair up to play hangman, and put the strength of their passwords to the test.
  • Have students show what they know: End with a culminating activity like a QR code scavenger hunt so kids can practice using their tablet or mobile device. A QR, or “Quick Response,” code is a type of bar code that, when scanned by a smartphone or mobile device, leads to content on the web. You can download a free app that scans these codes. Have students set up their own codes around the classroom or school. Set parameters for the hunt, and have student use apps they learned about during the boot camp. Don’t forget to leave time for reflection.

For more resources, check out the full, free 1-to-1 Essentials program.