Benefits Above and Beyond the Students: Part 2 of 3
As administrator I have to worry about budgets, schedules, management and logistics. I also recognize my responsibility to be a good steward of the resources and equipment that our school has been blessed with. From that perspective the implementation of the iPads has definitely been a win/win situation.
From a time management perspective and making effective use of precious classroom time the iPads have the definite advantage. Prior to their use students were lined up, walked down the hallway to the computer lab at the opposite end of the school and would sit down waiting for their machines to boot up. This old way of doing things easily lost 5- 10 minutes of time in a typical 40 minute period. Students were forced to use the same machine every time to ensure they had access to their previously saved file. The computers were not always reliable (often buggy) and students would sometimes have to go a different machine meaning that they would be starting a previously started assignment from scratch. Those students who required extra time to complete a project would have to use the computer lab at lunch under teacher supervision to complete their assignment.
With the iPads the devices can stay in the back of the classroom so they are readily available. Students simply have to open the cover and they are ready to go. This easily allows for students to be working at different activities and different paces all at the same time. This efficiency and flexibility is a definite advantage for differentiated instruction and a multi-grade classroom.
Financially, when compared to the costs of having desk top machines the iPads are an affordable option. Not only are the devices more cost effective to purchase there is also ongoing savings in hydro expenses, and the expense of the multiple software licences that needed to be purchased in the past. They are many apps that are free to use and even the ones that come at a cost are reasonable compared to licensing and purchasing of software previously required. This is especially a cost saving since as a private school we did not have access to Ontario wide public education site and licenses for programs. Through the use of iBooks no longer is it necessary to order a class set of novels or textbooks. Recently looking at new text books options there was the choice between the $35 hardcover or the $10 e-book edition, the cost savings continues.
The efficiency, flexibility and cost effectiveness of the iPads definitely make them viable option for administrators making the decision for the best technology options for their school.