iPad trial – first steps

One of the last things Nick did before taking up his new post was to set up what would turn out to be three separate iPad trials in the school.

The first involves members of the schools senior and extended leadership team using the devices primarily as a productivity tool. The second involved buying iPads and Apple TVs for 5 staff in different departments to trial as a teaching and learning tool. The third was the purchase of four iPads for the new Learning Centre.

Having never been the world’s greatest iPad fan (I love macs to pieces, but find the whole locked down nature of iOS frustrating), this had meant I’ve had to a lot of reading up in the last couple of weeks, so I thought it might be useful to share what I’ve found so far


I considered three options for managing the devices. I rejected Apple Configurator primarily as it needed the devices to be synced to a particular machine. This might be great for classroom deployment, but would cause us problems as we went. I rejected using the schools mac server simply because it looked too complicated to get my head around in the limited amount of time I have. It’s something I’ll investigate as the year goes on, and we may move to next year.

I settled on using the free online Meraki platform (many thanks to those who suggested it on Twitter). It allows you to set security settings, and push apps to the iPads remotely, and allows us to ‘tag’ different devices and so create different settings for each group. This will be particularly important as some of the devices that are being used are personal devices used in school, rather than school provided devices. It also works with the new Apple Volume licensing system.


So far we’ve only loaded free apps. While Apple Volume Licensing is a welcome addition, it requires schools to have a credit or debit card, which many don’t. As a work around, we’re looking to use iTunes gift cards to facilitate purchasing!

Based on reviews from various websites, I’ve installed the following as a first batch to be experimented and reviewed by staff and students

  • Paper by Fifty Three
  • Brushes 3
  • Edmodo
  • Popplet Lite
  • Skitch
  • iBooks
  • Doc Scan HD
  • Pocket Wavepad HD
  • Google Translate
  • Google Earth
  • Goodnotes Free
  • Educreations Interactive Whiteboard
  • iMindMap HD
  • Quizlet
  • Total Recall Mindmap
  • Corkulous
  • Learn Spanish (Mindsnacks)
  • Learn French (Mindsnacks)
  • Sticky Notes
  • BBC News
  • K12 Periodic Table
  • Revision App
  • Lumosity Brain Trainer
  • Maths Wiz Free


I found the following websites particularly useful in researching the project so far

http://www.ipadineducation.co.uk/iPad_in_Education/Welcome.html – very useful site with a breakdown of apps and tools by subject area.

http://ipadshare.wordpress.com/ – Blog from Casllwchwr and Alexandra Primary schools as they deploy ipads 1:1

http://ictevangelist.com/ – Mark Anderson’s blog, including outlines of how he uses a number of apps for learning

http://www.iclevedon.co.uk/ – Site supporting Clevedon school’s ipad trials

http://edtechteacher.org/index.php/teaching-technology/mobile-technology-apps/ipad-as – Fantastic post looking at apps for particular types of learning task

http://dakinane.com/blog/category/app-of-the-week/ – Site that promises a review of a different app each week

http://syded.wordpress.com/ – Blog of Daniel Edwards, who is conducting an ipad trial in his school


I’d love to hear below from anyone else involved in something similar with your tips, ideas and suggestions!

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