Casey and I went to the school board meeting this past Monday and gave the recommendation from the technology committee. After months and months of researching, compiling data, and talking to other schools, we are going to stay with iPads for our next go around! We will be ordering the iPad Air this spring for ALL students again in grades K-12. The technology committee, Casey and myself have gone round and round. As you know, we have Surface RTs in Mr. Askegaard's business lab and he really likes them.
There were a couple of things that we DID NOT like:
1. Their tech support is NOTHING compared to what Apple has in place. Obviously this will continue to improve, we just aren't willing to buy 300+ of them and then struggle with people helping us.
2. There isn't a great case for it, and the ones were found started making the device not even affordable for our district
3. The keyboard that goes with it is fine for personal use, but when you think about students carrying it around and using it in multiple settings, other than a flat table, we didn't feel it would hold up
4. Networking was a HUGE issue as you have to pay a fee per student to be able to put them on our network - again, another cost that goes with them
End Result = NO SURFACE!!
However, we also DID go and order a few Thinkpads and had a few students use them over Christmas break. One student really liked it, another one didn't because there was no touch screen. As we thought more and more about these, we thought of our teachers and all the time they have spent in Schoology uploading files and documents to be used with writing on the iPads - they WILL NOT work on the Thinkpad, so that was a concern for us as well. Also, viruses and networking seemed a nightmare for Casey. The weight was heavier than the iPad, and breakage was a concer.
End Result = NO THINKPAD!
So, here we are with the iPads again. I talked with a few districts about what THEY are going to be doing, and with the new operating system coming out this summer for the iPad, one that WILL NOT work on the iPad 2s, some are going to pray hard that they DO last another year, others, like us, are going to buy new and avoid the issue altogether!
Wherever you're at - GOOD LUCK! It was NOT an easy process for us, but one that makes TOTAL sense! The teacher will have NO learning curve, EVERYONE will have them, and ALL will work!
Happy Monday and Major Decision Making,