One of the scariest items we faced in the process of planning our 1:1 iPad implementation was deployment. Or, more simply, how do we get 665 iPads into the hands of our students as quickly and efficiently as possible?
What follows is a summary of what we did in the event that it might be useful to someone else embarking on this journey.
One Night Only
Early on we had to decide if we could distribute more than 600 devices in only one night. The short answer? We could and we did. The line looked long early on, but reports from our parents were that most folks were in and out in 20-30 minutes and no one waited more than 45.
It also helped that we “front-loaded” with as many parents as we could. This included sending out the Responsible Use Policy via email, on our web page, on our Facebook, and any other place we could post it. It also meant encouraging kids and families to sign up for an Apple ID (or bring the password for an existing Apple ID) before they arrived on campus for iPad Night.
Divide and Conquer
We decided that in order to move families through the process as quickly as possible, we needed to really break down the key components into bite-sized chunks that could be divided up among staff members with specific skills. For example, not a lot of technical know-how was required to collect signed use policies or distribute app “redeem” codes. A high-level of iPad proficiency was needed, on the other hand, to troubleshoot iCloud backup and network issues. And a whole other level of skill (or an advanced degree in mechanical engineering) was beneficial to those assisting students in outfitting their iPads with an Otterbox case.
Stations and Rotations
In order to make the deployment run as smoothly as possible, we had families move through seven stations; five stations were required and two were optional. In addition to the station personnel, the most “elite” techies on our staff became rovers. To keep any one station from becoming bogged down with a specific, individual problem, the rovers were available to pull folks aside and troubleshoot with them individually while the line continued to flow.
For Next Time
- Make sure you let Apple know that you’ll be registering folks for Apple IDs from your site. What happens when you try to sign up hundreds of folks for Apple IDs from one IP? Apple shuts it down.
- Even if you’ve done the above, make sure Apple has the entire range of public IP addresses used by your district.
I know we didn’t get things exactly right, but it was smoother than I expected. Please hit me up via the Contact page or Twitter if our experience can help you in any way!