The following Q&A discussion was created during training on the first day staff returned for the new school year.  While the discussion was specific to teachers in grades 7&8, much of the information is applicable to 7-12, and some of it for all teachers.

Group Discussion: The Move to iPads

The purpose of this session is to provide you an opportunity to discuss with colleagues some of the questions, challenges, and hopes brought about by the move from students having MacBooks, tablets.  As you discuss this move, and how it might change your workflow and instruction, please let us know if the Technology Department can help by including your question below.  We will go through the questions and work with you find answers and solutions.

Thank you.


Availability of keyboards for testing/essay purposes?

Yes, MLTI IV includes a limited number of keyboards for testing purposes.  We will make some of these available to be signed out for use on a daily basis.

What is the advantage of Apple TV vs Apple AirServe?

I’m not sure that I see an advantage for one vs the other.  I’ve been using AirServer for about a year and find it to be responsive and stable.  Both products allow you to send an image from the iPad, iPhone, or MacBook to a projector.  

AirServer is a particularly good solution for those teachers who have interactive projectors or boards.  In this situation the teacher MacBook has to be connected to the interactive device with a USB cable anyway, so why add an additional device into the mix?  

One last thing of which you should be aware.  The AppleTV has been having difficulty dropping off the network and becoming unresponsive.  We are told that this should clear up with the upgrade of our MLTI networks but in the meantime, it can be frustrating.

Plan from NWEA for an app?

NWEA is currently evaluating a web-based version of their test which is iPad friendly.  We believe that it will be available by the Spring 2014 window.

How do we develop students sense of seeing the iPad as a TOOL and not a toy?

If we use the tool for educational purposes and model it’s use, I think that will send a message that the device is a valuable tool.  We can support this position with clear classroom management rules, and by emphasizing the educational resources available to the students.  The iPad is not so different from a MacBook in this regard.

When will we have access to eBackpack?  Tutorials?

We are currently working with eBackpack to complete the import of teacher and student accounts, and rosters for grades 7-12.  The bulk of this work was performed over the Labor Day weekend but we have identified some changes that need to be performed on the eBackPack server side of the system.

How can we help curb kids from downloading apps that are games/non-educational?

This is an interesting question and I’m not sure how best to answer.  I would ask, do we really need to stop students from downloading games?  Perhaps we could work with students to help them balance the use of the device for educational purposes, with use for entertainment.

As there is no effective technology solution to this question (if we turn off downloading apps it means that no apps can be downloaded, games or otherwise), I suggest we emphasize that the resources are provided for educational purposes, and be vigilant about the use of the device during school hours.  

Is there a limit to what kids can access through the iPads?  Blocked apps?

In Settings there are privacy options that enable specific apps to run, though I don’t see any of us performing this function.  This is intended more for parents to enable/disable Facetime, as an example.  

We need clarification on rules/procedures for downloading apps?

The AppleID and iPad will allow students to download apps.  It is recommended that parents NOT associate a credit card with the student AppleID.  If they wish to allow students to purchase apps, they can do this by purchasing prepaid iTunes cards, which the students can use at the iTunes/App store.  All provisions of the AUP (Acceptable Use Policies) are in effect for this device and for any device connected to networks for the RSU.  Content must be appropriate and legal.

If you wish to purchase apps for groups of students, please contact the Technology Department.  Dean Emmerson will coordinate app purchases so that we can take advantage of special discount pricing through the Apple Volume Purchasing Program.

Do teachers have ability to go in and review app download history, etc?

Teachers always have the right to request a student turn over a device to them for review, and we appreciate this additional level of effort.

Is the oversight solely on parents? (enabling restrictions)

We are working with the MLTI Project Office in an attempt to set up some basic restrictions such as NC17 movies and explicit lyrics.  

Teachers always have the right to request a student turn over a device to them for review, and we appreciate this additional level of effort.

At Woolwich, will we receive instructions on using our interactive white board in conjunction with Air Serve or  Apple TV….do we have download drivers available for the Epsom projectors?

All the Epson drivers are available on the Epson web page, and from our own blog.  You can even get them by Googling something like, “Brightlink 455wi drivers.”  

We will offer short training classes in the use of AppleTV and AirServer throughout the first half of the year.

Is there a way to use any Java applets and simulations from PHET on iPads?

I realize that Java and Flash resources that have been used in the past present a challenge on the iPad.  Unfortunately, there are no reliable options for making these run on an iPad at this time.  Hopefully you will be able to use your MacBook and projector to show the simulations to students in groups while new resources are developed by industry.

Can we continue to have access to Maine EcoBeaker Simulations?

I do not believe that Ecobeaker is included with the MLTI IV but will check to confirm.

Who will be responsible for technology instruction – basic procedures or will we need to instruct the students in our content area as we go?

General technology instruction is provided by classroom teachers within the content area, with the technology supporting the curriculum rather than being a stand alone subject.  If a teacher would like integration assistance, the members of the Technology Department are pleased to help as time and expertise allow.

How will you determine who is getting an Apple TV?

We will work with the building principals to determine who is getting an AppleTV vs AirServer.  Please keep in mind that there are a limited number of AppleTVs included in the MLTI solution so not everyone will be receiving one.  Both products are excellent and I think you will be pleased with whichever you receive.

Will people from the tech department be on hand to help with the roll out?

Members of the Technology Department will continue to be available to support teachers during the deployment.