How one school district deployed 10,000 iPads in five weeks

By Laura Devaney, Managing Editor, @eSN_Laura
February 14th, 2013

A Texas district has deployed more than 10,000 iPads to high school students and teachers.

Sticking to its resolution to put iPads in students’ and teachers’ hands, the Mansfield Independent School District in Texas deployed 10,600 of Apple’s popular devices in just 5 weeks—no small feat, but worth the effort, district ed-tech staff said.

Describing the initiative as “kind of a monster job,” Kristi Bell, an ed-tech trainer with Mansfield ISD, said the deployment involved students at six high schools, a career-tech school, and educators in those buildings.

Mansfield ISD leaders began the project in February 2012 with a “goal to ensure educational opportunities for all students, delivered through innovative and inspiring teaching methods.” State legislative changes meant the district could use some of its instructional materials/textbook funding allotment for digital resources, which opened the door for the initiative.

The Power Up! Initiative began as a limited pilot after educators secured school board approval in April, in which one teacher in a single high school used iPads with two of her classes. Those students took their iPads home, and the school used AirWatch’s mobile device management software to deploy, monitor, and provide web security for the iPads.

(Next page: Important steps to deployment)

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2 Responses to “How one school district deployed 10,000 iPads in five weeks”

Lets hope that 20 percent of the teachers can match what the one motivated teacher has done. That is a lot of funding for technology that will be out of date in two years.

    March 5, 2013

    Heck yeah, that’s a lot of money.

    In a recent video I made (titled “Just Say NO to iPad for Education, Part 5: Apple Products Break Budgets), I show that the cost of buying an iPad for every K-12 student in American would amount to $33 BILLION.

    I am a computer programmer, educational technologist, and teacher — I believe in the power of technology to provide an advantage. That doesn’t mean you go out and buy whatever is hyped or popular or trendy. The most disturbing parts of all of this are:

    1) Any benefits provided by the iPad could be had for a much lower pricetag via an alternative (and just as good) device such as Chromebooks, ultrabooks, or Android tablets. Even just choosing one of these other devices would save our schools $3-$6 PER YEAR over going with iPads. ( )

    2) They say things like they want to “ensure educational opportunities” through initiatives like this… do they realize that iPads actually LIMIT educational opportunities by preventing students from accessing about half the educational websites and resources out there, because they won’t run on iPads (due to Flash, Java, etc.) Examples: PBS Kids (Sesame Street, Caillou, Sid the Science Kid, etc.), BBC, PhET, NLVM (virtual math manipulatives), Seussville, SumDog, National Gallery of Art.