Here are five reasons why school iPad initiatives tend to stall

ETT-iPadTablets, including iPads, are all the rage in today’s classrooms. But how many iPad initiatives fail due to common mistakes that could be avoided with proper planning?

During a jam-packed ISTE 2014 session, EdTechTeacher director and co-founder Tom Daccord gave an overview of what he said are five common mistakes schools across the country seem to make when it comes to iPad implementations.

“It struck me that there were ways in which schools were making common mistakes with iPads,” Daccord said.

Part of what contributes to those mistakes is the fact that many administrators believe the iPad by itself will fix any and all problems. But that isn’t so. An iPad for an iPad’s sake will not work.

(Next page: The five critical iPad mistakes you should avoid)

The challenge, Daccord said, is in broadening administrators’ and educators’ visions regarding the many ways in which students can use iPads as tools to transform learning.

Daccord outlined the five common mistakes he’s seen time and time again:

1. Failure to communicate a compelling answer to: “Why iPads?”

Every stakeholder, from administrators, to teachers, to students, should know why a school is implementing an iPad initiative. And if asked why, each person’s answer should be consistent and clear.

Identifying the answer to the “why” question is most important.

2. Focusing on content apps

iPads aren’t simply a vehicles to deliver apps, Daccord said. Rather, they are mobile and portable devices that enable students and teachers to create digital media.

Educators will see more success if they focus on what students can create using iPads, and if they keep an open mind and look past subject-specific apps and integrate other apps with potential.

3. Lack of teacher preparation

“Striking is the lack of teacher preparation when iPads come into the hands of students,” Daccord said.

Teachers should know the potential of the devices that they and their students are using. And in order to know that, they need training and preparation. This builds their knowledge, and also their confidence, which leads to students using their iPads in the most impactful way possible.

4. Treating the iPad as a computer

iPads can be engaging devices, but they are different from computers–they’re mobile, designed for on-the-go learning, and have more flexibility than computers.

5. Treating iPads like multi-user devices

Many schools are limited, financially, and circulate a school set of iPads throughout various classrooms. But this isn’t always efficient, because many tools and services require students to create user accounts and store information specific to that student. Using a school set of iPads takes away some of the personalized learning opportunities that iPads, and the apps and tools available via the iPad, offer.

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Laura Ascione

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