TechTalk Roundtable 26 | Five Things I Learned With Our iPad Rollout

ChrisJamie and Michael devote this show to iPad rollouts. A departure from our usual article driven discussion.

Concordia rolled out iPads to all grade five and six students. Overall, I think we did a pretty good job.  Of course, I was part of the rollout, so I may be floating my own boat.  I did, however, learn some great things.

Here is what I learned…

why1. You better be ready with a great answer when somebody says “Why are we doing this?”

Many of us tech types, myself included, love to embrace the latest and greatest technology.  Especially mobile learning platforms. The idea of having 1:1 iPads in the classroom as opposed to our previous 2:1 situation was a win!  Our fifth grade was largely supportive.  Our grade six, which had 1:1 laptops, was not always feeling the same love.

I did not do a very good job of answering this question.  The skeptics remained skeptical.  Nowadays, I lean on the SAMR model to answer that question.   Below is some examples.  Basically I let people know that technology will enable them, if they choose, to really transform how they teach.




Substitution: Tech acts as a direct tool substitute with no functional change. Using the iPad as a reading device much the same way you would for a book.

Kindle Reader

Augmentation:  Tech acts as a direct tool substitute with functional improvement Using the Kindle reader to highlight, define words and annotate sections of the book as you read.

Kindle Reader

Modification: Tech allows for significant redesign Using iMovie to create a narrated photo slide show of a  story written by the student. Digital portfolios using WordPress.



Redefinition: Tech allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable.  Students create music with a variety of instruments.  They form small “jam bands” where each of them has their own instrument, but they are able to record it into one source .



lean2. Not everybody subscribes to the Lean Startup model of implementation.

Ok, so this guy named Eric Ries took the concept of lean manufacturing and applied it to startups and called it the Lean Startup model.   Basically it means you should not spend too much time getting your product just right as you may end up spending your time on the wrong things and wasting time.  Better to get the product to minimum viability, let people use it, then figure out how to improve it now that you have actual users.

I like this model!  Most people don’t!  It means you expect failures to happen and then spend your time fixing them until you get it right. Teachers, rightfully so, don’t want to have their lesson plans set afire when the “transformative” technology does not work.

Cedars-School-of-Excellence-Replaces-Pen-Paper-and-Chalk-with-Apple-iPads-23. Kids totally get it.

This did not really surprise me.  Actually it did a little; at least with grade five.  Basically most of these kids seemed like they had been using iPads for years.  Many of them had, but those that were knew to it quickly picked it up.

Teaching kids how to use iPads is not really necessary.

Teaching kids how to use iPads appropriately is very necessary!

staff-training_2-e13397048138214. Professional development should take place in the classroom.

We did a few training sessions with the teachers and it was somewhat helpful.  Some of the veteran teachers were new to touching an iPad and needed help with synching, turning it on and understanding their way around the operating system.

Getting in the classrooms is where it was really helpful! Then teachers could see what the iPads and apps could really do!  I remember using iMovie in a class as a way to take a written piece and turn it in to a photo essay/movie.  Once done, other teachers grabbed the idea too.

logistics5. Plan logistical issues way in advance, but know you will miss a bunch of them anyway.

All in all I think we did a good job prepping for the role out.  Some of the things we did in advance were:

  • Select a case that is strong and has a strap on the back
  • Purchased keyboards to assist with typing
  • Set up individual Apple id’s in advance so students can download free apps on their own
  • Gifted students apps in advance
  • Setup a web page with links to the apps teachers thought they would need for the year
  • Setup printing for the iPads

Supporting Articles


  1. 5 Critical Mistakes Schools Make With iPads (And How To Correct Them) – Edudemic – Edudemic
    Over the last few years K-12 schools and districts across the country have been investing heavily in iPads for classroom use. EdTechTeacher has been leading iPad professional development at many of these schools and we’ve seen firsthand how they approach iPad integration. While we’ve witnessed many effective approaches to incorporating iPads successfully in the classroom, we’re struck by the common mistakes many schools are making with iPads, mistakes that are in some cases crippling the success of these initiatives. We’re sharing these common challenges with you, so your school doesn’t have to make them.
  2. The Lean Startup | The Movement That Is Transforming How New Products Are Built And Launched
  3. 5 Things Not To Do During an iPad Rollout — THE Journal
    There’s no shortage of iPad rollouts in the K-12 space right now. Used across all grade levels and subject areas the devices are adored for their portability, battery life, connectivity, and ability to quickly put mobile technology into students’ hands. These implementations typically generate positive reviews from educational users, but iPads also present challenges for the districts that dole them out, for the teachers that incorporate them into the classroom, and for the students who use them. Read more at
  4. SAMR Hype Cycle – HiRes | Flickr – Photo Sharing!
    Combining the SAMR model with the Gartner Hype Cycle

Tech Tips


  1. My Dashboard ™ on the App Store on iTunes
    My Dashboard is for people that demand access to all of their SOCIAL NETWORKS, NEWS feeds and device content on a multiscreen “Dashboard” app. Increase your productivity by viewing your favorite RSS and Facebook news feeds to monitoring your Twitter timeline, browse your upcoming schedule or listen to your device’s music library – all in one app! My Dashboard features a fully customizable layout editor that allows you to intuitively use drag and pull gestures to move, size and stretch each panel on your Dashboard to your liking. Up to 8 panels can be displayed on a single iPad screen and 2 panels on iPhone/iPod. Multiple screens of this amount can be added and customized to give you a maximum amount of access to you social network feeds, music, weather, photos and more!
  2. UP24 by Jawbone | Wristband App | Track how you sleep, move and eat.
    UP helps you understand how you sleep, move and eat so you can make smarter choices. The new app displays movement and sleep details from your UP24 or UP band and delivers insights, celebrates milestones, and challenges you to make each day better. Share accomplishments with friends by teaming up in the UP App.
  3. DiigoWe are Diigo, D-I-I-G-O. What doesn’t tjhis app do?




About Michael.Boll

MS Technology Coach

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