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Posted on September 11th, 2012 by Nicole Kobie

The school that swapped its laptops for iPads… and wants to switch back

iPad 2

There have been several well-publicised stories of schools bringing iPads into the classroom. However, a PC Pro reader has got in touch with a cautionary tale from the other side of the fence.

The reader, who asked not to be identified, is an ICT co-ordinator at a secondary school. He tells how his “image-conscious” headmaster was seduced by a scheme that allowed all the school’s staff to replace their laptop computers with an iPad 2.

Our source says staff were initially thrilled at the prospect. “Most staff are IT illiterate and jumped at the chance of exchanging their laptop for an iPad,” he writes.

Now, however: “the staff room is full of regret.”

What’s gone wrong? The biggest obstacle is that staff still cling to old documents and resources created in software such as Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, and of course there aren’t fully-fledged versions of the Office apps available for the iPad as yet. “Some staff are needing to produce documents and resources by remoting in [to a PC] on an iPad,” our source reveals. “Trying to operate Microsoft Word using a remote app that dumps you out of the connection is a nightmare.”

One of the biggest problems is the storage, since you can’t connect USB memory sticks to it

Staff are also having problems transferring work to their devices. “One of the biggest problems is the storage, since you can’t connect USB memory sticks to it,” our teacher writes, adding that staff are now experimenting with Dropbox to get documents on their tablets, which raises inevitable questions about data security.

The school, somewhat bizarrely, also supplied teachers with Apple TVs to allow them to project their iPad display in the classroom, which seems more than a little extravagant. A simple £25 Apple VGA connector would surely have been a far cheaper and more efficient means of achieving that goal. Especially as the staff are struggling to get the Apple TV to output a full-size image. (Clarification: as several people have pointed out in comments below, the advantage of using Apple TV is that it allows the teacher to beam the iPad picture wirelessly, rather than being tethered to a projector/display, which perhaps makes the decision to deploy them  not quite as bizarre as we first suggested.)

“I tried to use mine for assembly on Friday, but the picture on the Apple TV is smaller than it should be,” our teacher claims. “To add insult to injury, it didn’t recognise my ‘non-standard’ font and so I ended up borrowing an old laptop to deliver the assembly.”

The iPad experiment hasn’t been a total disaster. The staff prefer the tablets for note-taking in meetings, and they use an app called Emerge to access the school’s pupil database. “This is handy for looking up student data quickly,” our teacher explains. “It’s not all that good at adding information, but very powerful when it comes to cornering the buggers and contacting their parents!” Although you have to wonder if the school has enforced passcodes on the teacher’s iPads to prevent that sensitive data falling into the wrong hands.

The school’s iPad experiment sounds like a classic case of the chap with the chequebook making the decision before evaluating whether the hardware meets the needs of his staff. “The iPads should have been rolled out alongside laptops, not instead of them,” our source claims.

With schools now given complete autonomy to spend their IT budget as they see fit, you have to wonder if headteachers across the country are making similarly bad decisions based on little more than gut instinct, appearances and the latest fad.

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77 Responses to “ The school that swapped its laptops for iPads… and wants to switch back ”

  1. @solutions_inc Says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    So it’s really a software issue and not the iPad itself.

     
  2. milliganp Says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    The Apple TV in each classroom is not as dumb as it sounds. Although £99 it does far more than a VGA lead (e.g. sound). However it only works if the iPad works.
    Perhaps this secretive IT co-ordinator could spend some time finding out how to use an iPd and run sessions for the teachers!

     
  3. isofa Says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Hmmm, sounds like a bitter ICT co-ordinator rather than the technology itself causing the issue. Clashing hardware + software, serious lack of training, and bitterness towards a headteacher. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of schools in the US using tablets campus wide very successfully, and I believe many in the UK have adopted trials too with good results. Schools allowed to use their budget directly will be much more effective (with some good advice) than many of the absolutely appalling “ICT” departments of councils the length and breadth of the UK, which never want to adopt anything new because of tedious corporate infrastructure and disaffected staff – I speak from experience!

     
  4. Murph Says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Its neither the hardware nor the software – its just a totally botched introduction of new technology done without sufficient thought and without sufficient preparation and training.

    There’s a fairly strong case that they got the wrong hardware – or at least that they need more (keyboards for a start). Similarly there’s a strong argument that they didn’t think deeply enough about the software – or perhaps about how to ensure that all the necessary documents were available in an appropriate format and that the right tools are there to create new ones.

    But it does come down to people believing the apple hype…

     
  5. Chris Says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    I agree about them falling for the Apple hype. I have an ipad in the house and it is lovely, but it’s still an addition to a laptop rather than a complete replacement for one. Maybe Windows 8 tablets would have been more suitable, for Office if nothing else.

     
  6. Gary Judge Says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    If the School had done their homework properly before making such a dramatic switch they should have realised they need a WebDav enabled server where they can store traditional documents – teamed with a navigation app or Apple office tools (Pages, Keynote and Numbers). This would provide them with the necessary storage area plus a means to control the data.

    Also if they’d done some initial experimentation with ther existing equipment they would know that iPads output in 4:3 only.

    iPads in education can lead to exciting interactions between staff and students in the classroom and disconnect teachers from the computer at the front. But no significant change comes without consequence and entering into it without the proper research often ends up with disjointed solutions described above.

     
  7. tech3475 Says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Reminds me of one of my brother’s friends, she once thought about getting an ipad 1g not even knowing what it was (I had to explain that it was basically a giant ipod touch).

    I think that tablets and smartphones are mostly suitable as a compliment to the laptop/desktop, for casual things or portability they are fine but as soon as I need to do something serious I always find myself turning to my laptop or desktop.

    But still this is a worrying case of ignorance and stupidity and I wonder if it’s a warning of things to come?

     
  8. Mb Says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    sounds to me like the IT person does not like the change and is blocking it by giving bad advice, all of this would be easier by iPad as it has all the tools it needs natively and yet not the crap that the laptops come with

     
  9. Bad Bob Says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    This isn’t about iPads, it’s about tablets…

    Tablets are content CONSUMPTION devices.

    PCs are still the content CREATION device for anything bigger than an email or tweet.

    They’d be having the same issues with Android, Playbook, etc (except the file transfer thing but come on… How hard is it to create a WEBDAV server and point it at the school’s existing file share? About five mouse clicks on a Mac Mini…)

     
  10. Kevin Says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    What ever happened to smooth transitions? Why not gradually introduce new technology?

     
  11. LHB Says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    I WANT MY ISHINY, I WANT MY ISHINY!!!

    Oh wait, I can’t really do any work on it other than hang out in front of StarBucks(TM), sip lattes, and play Angry Birds(TM).

    EPIC FAIL!

     
  12. Brains Says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    They definitely failed to think this one through. While it’s a wonderful device and certainly fills many needs, creating and editing existing MS Office docs is NOT one of them. There’s simply no such thing as one tool for every job. As with everyone else who obviously seems to get it, iPads are a tool that work alongside traditional computers – not as replacements for them. You use a computer on your desk, and an iPad in your hand. We use iPad for presentations all the time (with Apple TV, so the presenter isn’t tethered) and it works wonderfully. The content is not created on iPad, but it is created with it in mind as the target device. The iPad is also used in many other rolls in our organization, but we’ve developed software specifically to take advantage of the strengths of the platform.

     
  13. Bill Hannegan Says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    What cretins. Why would you even think of doing something like this without consulting with IT professionals? Apple is a consumer company, it is not suitable for enterprise use since they simply don’t play well with others. I’ve been in IT ever the days of AppleTalk, so that’s nothing new.

     
  14. Bob Says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    Sounds like a perfect situation where a Surface would solve their problems.

     
  15. Bianca Says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    It is a training issue. Check out lynda.com
    Trains anyone on software, hardware productivity and creative skills with engaging online videos. Solves all integration problems and is just good general knowledge for any job or student these days. Check it out: lynda.com

     
  16. Pratt Says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    A Bunch of static icons is what OS offers. For everything else, you gotta pay for apps.

     
  17. MrTrilby Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 12:53 am

    Rather than take cheap shots at the headmaster, maybe the ICT Coordinator and the school’s technicians could have bothered to learn a little about and understand the technology they were tasked with implementing. A little testing and guidance on how to make best use of new tech goes a long way

     
  18. cb Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 1:12 am

    It’s not an iPad thing this. However, I wish more people would acknowledge this as well if it is succesful. Now it’s just cherry picking.

     
  19. Duncan Baines Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 2:42 am

    Who wants to faff about with a VGA connector? You obviously miss the point of iPads.

    The headmaster of the school is right to use them. The teachers could use the computers in the school or their home counters to make their PowerPoints.

     
  20. Peter Mellow Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 6:10 am

    I have to agree that it appears to be a poor implementation plan rather than the technology. Plus MicroSoft have said that Word, Excel and PowerPoint Apps for the iPad will be out in November of this year. Fingers crossed! :-)

     
  21. iSlab Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 6:19 am

    Apple is going to be done in a few years or less anyways. So who cares.

     
  22. Cellar Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Bit of a bandwagoneering fail. Computer illiterate and software from redmond to lock exactly that demographic in isn’t even the biggest problem. Taking something that’s ment to mostly-read and try to write with it too was bound to give problems.

    But really now, why must you think in terms of solutions when you haven’t a clue what the real problems are? It’s how most IT projects, including this one, end up painful and embarrassing failures.

    Besides, this is a school. What’s wrong with the old whiteboard, and pen and paper? Teaching is about imparting understanding, not about showing off the latest hype.

    To wit: The most often used collaboration tool in this office full of knowledge workers is… the whiteboard.

    Of course, afterward we work out the plans in some document or other, often a wiki page, and to help with that we often take a picture of the whiteboard for reference while working on the document. But we’re not waving fancy appliances around in the vain hope their fancyness will somehow magically improve our work. Instead, we have a goal and work toward it, picking tools based on their use.

    Pray tell, what again was the goal of running a school?

     
  23. Meldrew Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 8:39 am

    MrTrilby says its the techies at fault, but Apple deliver summits showing how amazing iPads are to headmasters. Techies often aren’t even in the loop and don’t know what’s happening till the delivery arrives and just try to make the best of it all. Want training to implement this stuff? Nope, nothing in the training budget, sorry – we spent that on the iPads.

     
  24. jim Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Lol schools. School I worked at spent 50 grand on an apple training centre with 20 or so macs because a teacher perduaded the headmaster (who hates books ?!), she left 3 months later and its now just a glorified it room and theres not even any room on the servers for the macd to use. Still they’re going on strike again aren’t they :/

     
  25. bigger it worker Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 11:18 am

    @ #1 Yes apple fan – its a software problem with the ipad – the PC has software that works – the ipad does not :)

     
  26. Marc Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Guys, this is clearly technology that was picked before business requirements were defined. It isn’t the fault of any manufacturer. This solidly falls with the end user and purchasers. Was there a proof of concept? What about a test and acceptance phase (even for a week or two or three)? This article was designed to make it look like an “us vs them” when it is really a stupid customer and stupid purchase discussion.

     
  27. Paul Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    We see this all the time. Schools are seduced by a good sales pitch and buy the hardware without considering the purpose. We spend a lot of our time working on what the objectives are before the technology.

    So many have highlighted, training and support are often the missing investment that make good technology great in the classroom.

     
  28. Bob weber Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Pretty dumb IT department the iPad was never meant to completely replace a computer

     
  29. Bob weber Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Pretty dumb IT dept, iPad was never meant to completely replace computer

     
  30. Arthur Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    My son’s private high school rolled out iPads to the students and teachers (sophmores and freshman). The primary focus was material consumption and easy of delivery of information. But as one commentor pointed out the teachers still have their primary machine in the room, for legacy documents. So far the iPads have been a success, however, it was carefully evaluated and a trial was done at the end of the year to look for oops items. still 10 months 8 months of school left.

     
  31. Greg Graham Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I agree that iPads are being pushed on schools even though laptops make more sense. I blogged about it a while back http://bit.ly/jQJfaE

     
  32. Paul Seddon Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    @ bob weber – having worked in a school, there were, at times, situations that the management came to the IT department with either the equipment already bought, or the money to buy the equipment, and in basic terms said “we want this, make it happen”.
    If this is a Primary school it may be that they have someone come in for a few hours a week to do the IT tasks, leaving the ICT co-ordinators to plan and “envision” the way the IT should be in the school. If this is the case then the “IT person” may have not had the time to effectively plan and deploy the ideal environment that the school would have benefitted from the best.
    I totally agree that tablets are companion devices alongside a laptop/desktop, not a replacement, and also agree that there probably wasn’t an effective ‘trial, plan, and deploy’ phase before the school in question pushed the iPad’s out.

     
  33. Bill Maslen Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    As several people have remarked: the fault lay in the preparation. The iPad is a great consumer device, but it’s also a perfectly adequate creative device – provided you know what software is available, how well it interacts with your existing document corpus, and what people need to know. There are plenty of perfectly acceptable alternatives to MS Office, despite all wittering to the contrary. But if you don’t know about – or haven’t been trained to use – those alternatives, you’ll have issues! Here we regularly use iPads to create complex content – but it takes just as long to learn to use a powerful app on an iPad as it does on a PC or Mac. The simplicity of iOS conceals enormous power, which means people consistently underestimate both what it can do, but also how to get the most out of it. Playing with a simple note-taking app is a very different experience from using Apple Pages or Numbers for iOS in anger.

     
  34. Rambo Tribble Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Offered baubles, professionals are as susceptible to misjudgement as anyone else.

     
  35. JohnnyBoy Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Oh wonderful. Double the cost of your field deployment, and for what? A few more bells and whistles that don’t double the effectiveness of your educational system? Sounds like someone wants to be seen as modern and with-it, rather than logical, well-spent money. Great use of the funds, eh?

     
  36. Bob Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I’ll have 50 of those 9″ ipod touch to replace our computer infrastructure please hurrhh durrhhhh dribble…

     
  37. Megan Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    It seems like the real problem is a lack of professional development. The teachers were given a new tool, but never properly shown how to use it. Instead of jumping on the iPad bandwagon, the school should have taken the time to understand the capabilities and limitations of iPads. iPads are afterall, a tool, and not the solution to education woes. Without knowing how to use the new tool, of course the roll-out was a failure. Before going back to traditional computers, the school should invest some time into training teachers.

     
  38. AlanS Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Even Apple has problems with some of its presentations same as MS so even with the best IT backup it can go wrong.

    What worries me most is the idea that budget holders will be running projects without the required expertise to make good choices.

     
  39. Ernie Says:
    September 12th, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Like anything new in education, a plan and training are the keys to success. The law of the farm applies. A one-day inservice is never the answer. We apply the SWIM Grid method with absolute 100% success.

     
  40. John Says:
    September 13th, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Usual problem: there’s no such thing as an IT project, they are business projects.

    Since the deployment didn’t start with the business need, it was doomed to fail.

    Not unique to schools, iPads, or any other environment – happens across industry in the public and private sector.

     
  41. Nik Says:
    September 13th, 2012 at 9:14 am

    You aren’t allowed to use an iPad to remote a Windows machine. You can only do it from another Windows device. It’s the same for Vmware View too. You need a special licence from Microsoft and I bet they didn’t have it and so were probably breaking their licence terms too!

     
  42. bored Says:
    September 13th, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Good luck trying to get ipads to respect the schools proxy/web filter if you require authentication/accounting.
    Any decent wlan will be running with 802.x – which apple tv doesnt support.
    Consumer devices in the workplace will work – but at a price. In schools this money could well be spent on other things.

    Nik- staff would be covered under the external connector licence. Not overly expensive for schools. It has no limitations on devices you can access from.

     
  43. brian M Says:
    September 13th, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Sounds more like the headmaster was an Apple fanboy and forgot that tablets do a different job to laptops. Great for viewing content but not for creating it.

    The iPad was probably the wrong choice for a tablet anyway. Nice hardware but its lack of connectivity (USB), fenced garden makes it useless (and frustrating) to use as a general computing device.

    My iPad 3 is now just as very nice ‘picture frame viewer’ and I know a lot of others iPad’s that are relegated to the same job!

     
  44. Rune Says:
    September 13th, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Obviously the fault here is the Apple Ipad. Who in their right mind would use a locked-down, heavy freedom restricting device for education?

     
  45. Ron Graves Says:
    September 13th, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I recently invested in an iPad 3 as I needed a lightweight platform for mobile broadband. I have an Android smartphone (htc Desire S), I’m more than happy with it, and the social networking and email apps work perfectly.

    On an Android tablet, though, the same apps are balky and clunky (this could be an Andoid ICS problem, as fewer apps are available than for previous versions). So I bought the iPad.

    For social networking and email, it’s excellent. For anything that might be described as “work” it’s a piece of junk – little more than a very expensive paperweight.

    I knew it had no USB ports, and no Flash capability – a pair of lunatic Jobsian obsessions that should have been buried with him – what I hadn’t realised is how much that would cripple any halfway serious use I wanted to put it to.

    Dropbox, as has been mentioned, is useful, provided you can find an appropriate app that will accept the transferred files. The security aspect can be worked around by transferring the files then deleting them from Dropbox.

    I do, by the way, have a perfectly good laptop, but lappies are too big to use for simply staying in touch with people when travelling or in, say, the pub – I can plonk a tablet on the bar without intruding into anyone else’s space, and be reasonably discrete.

    I’ve now had my iPad 3 for a month, and in that time I’ve come to realise what it is that motivates Apple fanboys to positively wet themselves over it – they’re technophobic Luddites with absolutely no standards, who can’t see that this thing is essentially bling, not a real computer.

     
  46. 10degrees Says:
    September 13th, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    This… is … culture…. just purchasing fancy mobile devices is only the first step; actually i’d say its the last step; as others have responded this sounds to me as though there has been little planning of this rollout; there are many successful implementations of Apple devices; staff use is undoubtedly different than for kids.

    culture culture culture…

     
  47. Keith Says:
    September 13th, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    How naive. I love my IPad but when I want to create anything serious, or maintain a website, I love my PC. They complement each other.

     
  48. Roxann Says:
    September 13th, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Clearly a sad case of little or no training for teachers when the switch was made. And although I can’t do everything I need to do on my iPad, it’s getting closer all the time. Why the need for Microsoft when there are so MANY different options? And if you must have MS Office access, check out the OnLive Desktop app.

     
  49. zbeast Says:
    September 13th, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    The Ipad is a locked box..
    if your just reading webpages, reading ebooks, watching movies and playing music it ok.
    If your trying to do anything else it’s a hassle.
    A pad is not a substitute for a laptop.

     
  50. Mark Says:
    September 13th, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    This isn’t about Ipads. The first set of laptops our school bought was to access the internet. Nobody thought about setting up a wireless network or physical network to connect them by. But they looked good to parents. Before we managed to sort out the first sets connections a second set had arrived. As a teacher and network manager I can see the opportunities to use a tablet computer (research during lessons), however before I would allow them to be bought for our network I would look at how they will be used closely.Fortunately our Governors have removed the head from technology decisions now and work with The IT department directly on such purchases. (PS the head bought an Iphone over the summer holidays and all the staff got four copies of each email he sent us as well as a text message and an mms message). The IT literacy of teachers needs to be improved first before hardware.

     
  51. Ty Says:
    September 13th, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Sounds like the Staff need to do their jobs and figure out how to fix the issues the teachers are reporting. I have deployed these in a school setting and it does take planning, testing and training and it sounds like this group didn’t properly do these things. If they had, they would have found these issues out in a test group before deploying them to the school. Add a logitec Zagg type keyboard/case to the iPad, a dropbox account for syncing documents to their PC, Open Office for opening documents and you’re nearly getting all the functionality of a laptop but with the power of the cheap/free education and utility apps from the app store.

     
  52. D Says:
    September 13th, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    So basically they have no IT department to guide them on large-scale tech implementations.

     
  53. LY Says:
    September 13th, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    the ipad is good for 2 things only..playing angry birds and reading pdf books

     
  54. Martin Sowden Says:
    September 13th, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Yes I fear this an identical feeling many people are having for what is basically a gadget for surfing the web. With this invention they have literally put all their eggs “apples in this case” in 1 basket and assumed that everybody out there would simply ditch their current devices and sacrifice functionality and transferability in the name of innovation. How arrogant it is of a company to assume people would simply give up their freedom of choice in the name of technology. A paradox indeed !

    Thanks for listening.

     
  55. Jason Biggs Says:
    September 13th, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    They should go buy Chromebooks. They cost 1/2 as much as an iPad and are perfect for students!

    Google.com/chromebooks

     
  56. Jon Nolet Says:
    September 14th, 2012 at 1:43 am

    Oh heavens, how will we hook this printer up without a parallel port?

     
  57. Mark Caffrey Says:
    September 14th, 2012 at 7:15 am

    I work in the IT department of a school and they want to distribute ipads to staff too, I’m dead against it – Re Mr Trilbys comment – they want the Ipads NOW but they’ve overlooked the IT department we haven’t even got a test machine or environment set up…

     
  58. Davidinark Says:
    September 14th, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Wow. How about some cheese with that whine? Training and a unified rollout would have helped tremendously. People don’t like change. They have to buy into it. You can’t just push these out and says, “Good luck to ya.” That unnamed doofus should lose his/her job over this. Yes, seriously.

     
  59. ray croman Says:
    September 14th, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    as usual money and bling worked in schools as technical same as before , sales pitch to teachers and leave the tech with the mushrooms until they arrive out, the only time real IT people see them when they come in the boxes at the gate ,

     
  60. steve jobless Says:
    September 14th, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    lol, the ifail fans are strong in this comment section.

     
  61. JohnOfStony Says:
    September 15th, 2012 at 6:34 am

    It never ceases to amaze me the way technical decisions are made by technically ignorant managers who never think to consult the IT department before making very expensive blunders. I’ve seen it in industry as well as in schools. IMHO the iPad’s two fundamental failings are a battery that the user can’t replace and the lack of any form of user memory expansion. Imagine selling a car with wheels that could only be changed by the manufacturer so that if you had a flat tyre the car had to be returned to the factory – unbelievable that anyone buys such a product.

     
  62. Vik Paw Says:
    September 15th, 2012 at 9:52 am

    They didn’t do enough testing before hand, and now expect the device to do everything they want. This was a mistake, but using iPads in a school environment isn’t necessarily a mistake.

    We’ve found some good apps for editing Office documents and using DropBox to transfer files works.

    I’m pretty sure M$ will eventually build the required app. Until then we’ll be testing Office 365 shortly, which is available to schools for free, and gives web-based access. Much like you can now do with Hotmail accounts.

    You can use LogMeIn free on an iPad to give remote access, though you’d have to check the licensing as to whether the free version is allowed for use in a school environment or whether they class it as a business.

    As for Emerge, it’s a great tool and works best on iDevices. The app itself forces use of a password and a pin code. In addition the server only works with known devices. Adding a passcode wouldn’t be necessary, though is advisable anyway.

    This article without the sensationalism could have been a quite useful warning to others about the planning required to introduce mobile devices to the classroom.

     
  63. Jack Says:
    September 16th, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    one word: Apps..they’re millions of apps available for iPad that suits every need there is. If we could just cut our overwhelming attachment to everything Microsoft, there won’t be any real problem adapting to new technologies.
    WHo in the world still uses Microsoft Office? What is this? 1995?

     
  64. Steve Skepper Says:
    September 16th, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    I ran the IT budget for the LEA for 10 years, i rolled out more than £5M worth of hardware and software to schools and Social Services. Teachers and Social workers should not be allowed near computers, they havent a clue.

     
  65. Nrad Says:
    September 17th, 2012 at 12:18 am

    @Jack – Who in the world still uses Microsoft Office? Apparently around 72% of the market. Get your head out of your a$$. iPads are great to use but will NEVER replace a PC or Mac in terms of everyday use. Like someone else said – they should have been rolled out WITH notebooks (be they Mac or PC) not to replace them.

     
  66. Ali Says:
    September 17th, 2012 at 9:25 am

    How long will this foolish obsession with shiny things dominate the market. Apples success over recent years just shows how stupid humans are. It is an example of the aim of all marketing; shiny packaging with very little product inside. And now they are charging £700 for a mobile ‘phone…. Ha hah ha

     
  67. Peter Says:
    September 17th, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    This story would have more credibility IF this referred to an identifiable school and the information checked for factual accuracy. All I am reading is classic reasons for not adopting an iPad. Whatever happened to good journalistic standards? What we have here is hearsay and opinion and nothing more… and I do not even like iPads personally. ‘the biggest problem’ would appear to fall into to areas: 1. The writer of this piece needs to prove the truth of this story. 2. IF true, the school should have their accounts properly audited. Given the budgetary spend for this it would appear there is no normal oversight on their accounts.

     
  68. Capt. Nemo Says:
    September 18th, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    If it isn’t broken don’t try to fix it! If it is broken make sure you have someone who is qualified to fix it. Also, do some proper research before spending on a whim! When you do purchase something new make sure are trained – if only rudimentary – before calling oneself an expert… and not skimming over basics like so many wannabe experts display and end up with egg on their face yet still want to charge for incompetent service.

     
  69. John Joyce Says:
    September 18th, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    “I” things are just fads and gimmicks. I am an avid Apple fan and user but have long realised they are just for fun. Teach your kids how to read and write before playing with IT toys!

     
  70. Rey Says:
    September 21st, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Regardless of the PC vs. tablet issue, the guys at ICT are at fault here…seems they just went ahead without doing an assessment first, or even a pilot/trial run. These user issues would have shown here and they would have adjusted to them (use a Citrix type of solution to remote desktop into for Office docs) or just remain with PCs…or a mix of the two technologies. Sad….

     
  71. A Reader Says:
    November 11th, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    9 months ago senior staff were given pen iPads. For a while they were carried into meetings to take slow, finger-pecking notes. People whipped(?!) out their devices to add a meeting time to their calendar.

    Time passed. The novelty wore off.

    Most staff again use a desktop or laptop for emails and creating resources. One or two still occasionally use an iPad at school. Mostly they seem to stay at home for web-surfing of watching videos. Most actual work – doing stuff rather than looking at stuff – is done on devices that are better designed for it: proper keyboards, good-sized screens, both with the ergonomics to match. (Watch the class actions starting in the US with tablet-induced injuries… RSI, back and neck problems, etc).

    Tablets are great for some things. They are a bit of a make-do device for others. Schools and some managers, outside the world of commercial practicalities, are an easy target for fashionista hype and are not, generally, very experienced in technology evaluation so tend to learn the slow, hard way.

     
  72. A Reader Says:
    November 11th, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Please excuse spelling mistakes in preceding posting. It has become a common occurrence when lying on my back on the sofa pecking at the iPad – a situation where they come into their own. When typing on a sheet of glass there’s only so much time left for correcting the iPads ‘corrections’.

    I tend to save substantial / important work for a proper computer. At home / relaxing it’s nearly always the iPad these days, mostly because of the instant-on nature of tablets, and portability. Most work beyond browsing and small emails is done at a desk, where the facilities and ergonomics are superior and the facilities are more productive.

     
  73. A Reader Says:
    November 11th, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    >Ernie Says:
    >September 12th, 2012 at 6:36 pm
    >Like anything new in education, a plan and
    >training are the keys to success.

    Almost, Ernie.
    The thing you, and other technically challenged people, have omitted is that the right tool for the job is important, too.

    Try rolling out bananas for students to write with and you’ll eventually realise that, even with the best plan and training possible, you’ve made a poor choice.

    Bananas, and iPads, are good for some things and not for others, hype and advertising notwithstanding.

     
  74. K. icking Buckets Says:
    November 29th, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    This is a classic case or being SOLD something instead of purchasing it.

    It is happening more and more everyday. Consumer fever – got to have it, dont really know why, but I must have it.

     
  75. Scott McLeod Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    This is a goofy article. Human factors are the cause of the problems but we’ll blame the tech! Nice reporting. [sigh]

    Also, should the writer of a blog post on a computing web site need to be educated about AppleTV and the advantages of not being tethered via dongle to a projector? It seems to me that if you don’t know that, you shouldn’t be writing for this web site?

     
  76. dj Says:
    May 15th, 2013 at 1:11 am

    Being an I.T Manager I also faced the onslaught of Apple fanatics in Upper management who thought I was obstructing progress by my reluctance to spend a fortune replacing our PC’s and laptops with IPAD’s. I kept on saying this isn’t the solution. There are too many teachers that have worked at the school for many years and simply do not want to give up their mydocs drive and their word / powerpoint / smart board notes which they are comfortable with. They really are not interested in having to learn something completely new and changing all their lesson plans around it! It would frustrate them and my team when they realise that they cannot do much really in the productive sense with an IPAD! That said.. So I pressed ahead to the upper managements dismay with implementing Citrix Xen desktop running on Atlantis and by doing this we have effectively saved the school a small fortune by providing a desktop experience throughout the school which is faster than a traditional desktop computer! Also it has allowed anybody to work remotely with ease. The solution I implemented has also reduced the school’s environmental impact by using Thin clients / no moving parts technology which reduces vandalism and the school doesn’t have to replace them every 2 years! I think reducing our environmental footprint is the way to go. One day they will thank me.. Actually no they wont, wishful thinking. But seriously I really cannot see by spending all that money on IPAD’s which are out of date within 2 years (yes they are!) as a sensible option…Come on?? To me it is actually backwards thinking as you would end up rolling out tablet replacements same as I used to with PC replacements every few years which is a massive budget cost… I wish people would trust my judgement but they just won’t let it go that I’m right and they wrong. They are simply misguided by the hype. I am not saying don’t have IPADs, just have them as a compliment to the school not a replacement. Have a few in a cabinet that are given out if a teacher wishes to have a play on it.. There is nothing wrong with Windows, it works, it’s great and it does the job.. I think management should Wake up and realise this and leave it to the professionals do actually have some idea about IT infrastructure and requirements.

     
  77. fedupwithjunk Says:
    June 11th, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    After 76 comments I am a little depressed how few people have any understanding of IT in schools. Many techies have little experience of the teaching environment. Headmasters crave glamour and headlines and often do not take adequate advice either because of their egos or more likely the lack of reliable unbiased sources. Many schools are only just getting around to employing an experienced IT decision maker to oversee these matters but the combination of understanding the demands of the classroom and the equally complex array of technology is a rare commodity. Until recently school management tried to pay very basic salaries to “network managers” who would technically become the most powerful person in the building – pay peanuts and you get (treated like)monkeys!
    Schools do not manufacture a profitable “product” as such, it is very hard to generate income or recover from these bad decisions. A few comments hinted at poor change management – which is the real problem and may stem from the fact that many staff in schools have never worked in the “real world”.
    I have managed PC, Apple and Unix systems for over 20 years and I love my iPhone but I am not going to rush out and spend $800 a pop on iPads which will not improve the way we do most things (yet). When the correct tools are available and a suitable training budget has been located, a move to new tech will be very popular and productive.
    Unless you are massively over-financed you should be wary of buying into change until you have a very clear understanding of the realistic outcome. Eg being able to walk around the room whilst taking the roll-call is a nice touch but does not make up for the 1000+ hours re-writing learning materials, loss of your fav apps, years of experience lost and finding out that the dynamic of an entire lesson no longer works.
    Mobile computing is great at mobile tasks. If you do not know what these are, study, prepare and plan. Buy the tech that your objectives demand and do not throw out the baby with the bath water.

     

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