Monday, June 13, 2016

How to Collect 1,600 iPads at the Last Minute to Maximize Learning

Photo by Mike Dronen
Thursday was the last day of school for students in Minnetonka. In the week before school ended, we collected approximately 3,500 iPad2s from students and staff in nine buildings across our district. We collected these devices from half of our students and many of our teachers in our 1:1 program in order to sell them back to a vendor and buy new devices for next year. (See a related post on iPads for $.38 a day here.) We started with our fifth grade students, who turned in their mainly five year old iPads about a week ago. Seniors' last day was Monday, and most held on to their iPad until that final day and turned it in when they completed their final. But Thursday was our biggest collection day, as two grade levels of students, about 1,600 sophomores and juniors, turned in their iPads. These students, along with the fifth graders, will return later this summer to pick up their new iPad and set it up before the start of the school year in September.

Photo by Mike Dronen
Because our students rely on their iPads for finals, whether it be the place for all their notes and some of their textbooks and class content, or the iPad being needed in order to take their final, we cannot collect students' iPads until their last day of school. In fact, we actually collect them during their last class period as they are taking/finish their last final. This can prove to be quite the logistical challenge to gather 1,600 iPads from nearly 100 classrooms collected simultaneously and in an organized manner in order to ensure that all devices are accounted. In past years we had asked to collect students' devices days before the last day of school but both students and teachers did not like this idea, which is a great problem to have: students and teachers wanting their devices and relying on them is exactly what you hope for in a successful 1:1 program. 

One of our instructional technology coaches at our high school, Sara Martinson, took charge of the program this year and organized this collection process. She did an outstanding job and things went really smoothly. With help from our technology and media staff plus about 20 other teachers and administrators, pairs of adults went around the buildings with class rosters, carts and milk crates to collect iPads. The instructions sent to teachers and students ahead of time included directions to sign out of iCloud, erase all content and settings on the iPad, verify asset numbers matched with student names, and return the charger cord and brick. As carts with milk crates full with iPads were brought down to the media center, more staff worked in an assembly line like process to remove each iPad from our library Destiny catalog, in the same manner in which textbooks are returned at the end of the year. iPads were then gathered onto pallets and shipped to the vendor.

This process is a great example of how we are able to leverage digital technology up to the very last minute for our students and teachers to maximize learning and still manage our IT inventory and assets.

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