Below is a simplified list of what you absolutely need for an iPad Project. In this 3-part blog series, I break down why each item on the list is necessary and provide some recommendations. In this post, I’ll focus on how to leads & adapters, accidental damage insurance and workflow.
iPad Project Shopping Checklist
The right iPads/devices
A way to sync devices
Leads and adapters
Accidental damage insurance
The right Apps
If you haven’t read part 1 and 2 of the “The iPad Project Shopping List,” you can find the articles here:
- The iPad Project Shopping List: Selecting the Right Device (Part 1 of 3)
- The iPad Project Shopping List: Syncing and Charging Devices (Part 2 of 3)
LEADS AND ADAPTERS
Why you should get leads and adapters
It is always worth investing in leads and adapters for your teachers for those times when, for whatever reason, technology lets you down. I imagine you will not have to think too hard to remember the last technological hiccup you encountered in the classroom. In my book, The Tablet Revolution, I discuss how to wirelessly mirror your iPad to a screen, smart board or projector using AirPlay. When WiFi is poor, however, wireless mirroring may not work, and this is when leads become invaluable. They allow you to switch back to wiring the iPad into the display so you can still present material on the bigger screen.
I would recommend equipping every teacher with one of the following, depending on your video input for the classroom display:
- Lightning to VGA adapter
- Lightning to HDMi adapter
I have a tech bag that comes with me on every school session I run and I cannot tell you how many times one of these adapters has saved the day. They are not particularly cheap, but they are worth the investment. They will keep lessons running smoothly and keep technology-related stress at bay for teachers!
ACCIDENTAL DAMAGE INSURANCE
Do you need an extended warranty? Not really.
Whether it is from Apple or a sales company, I do not believe warranties are necessary. The last time I checked, the hardware failure rate on iPads was less than 3%, which makes it cheaper to simply replace your devices if they break over getting a warranty for each and every one.
Do you need insurance? It depends on your device deployment scheme.
If you are running a parental purchase or contribution scheme, then I would always advise arranging accidental damage insurance. When you run a parental contribution scheme, you are essentially collecting the payments on a goodwill agreement. Parents are not legally bound in any way to keep up repayments, and if their iPad breaks and it is not automatically covered by insurance, you will find out first hand how much people dislike paying for devices that do not work. I talk about this more in the Financing chapter of my book.
If on the other hand, you are running a school-owned device scheme, there is a simple calculation you can use to work out whether insurance is worthwhile. The typical breakage rate on the first year of a project is 5% of devices when they have a drop-proof case fitted (incidentally it is two to three times higher if it is not a drop-proof case).
Let us take a look at an example in which a school buys 100 iPad Minis at about £180 per device:
100 iPad Minis = about £18,000
5% breakage = about £900
3 year insurance cost (£27 per device) = about £2,700
As you can see, the insurance cost takes it over £900 for all 100 devices, making it less cost effective than simply replacing broken iPads.
Bear in mind that this is all relevant to your breakage rate. Some schools see higher rates than 5%, whereas I work with others who are down to 1% per year after a number of years running their project.
APPS FOR FILLING IN THE WORKFLOW GAPS
Moving files around the iPad is a difficulty all schools have faced at one time or another. Simply put, they were never designed to do this at the level schools need. I have seen schools try all kinds of expensive on-site technical workarounds. My advice is to instead rely on the cloud (online storage) services that already exist. Mobile devices are built to run off the cloud, and trying to create an on-site technical setup to get around this fact will be expensive, difficult to implement and limited. Instead, save time and money by using Google Apps for Education.
I am a huge fan of Google Drive which is part of the Google Apps for Education suite. The first advantage is that students are able to work online removing the possibility of work being accidentally deleted. Storage space is unlimited for education customers, and if you are tasking students with creating original content then this will be a high priority. Beyond the storage benefits, you can take further advantage of Google Apps for Education’s cloud based office package to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations. By working in the cloud, you no longer need to move any work on or off the device. It all lives online instead.
I believe it is only a matter of time before every school in the world is running Google Apps for Education (or some other free competing platform). It is insanely powerful and completely free.
- Invest in leads and adapters in the event that technology fails.
- Extended warranties are not always necessary, but do purchase accidental damage insurance if it is cost-effective.
- Fill in workflow gaps with apps and cloud storage. The Google Apps for Education suite is a great solution.
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