In this education-focused session, Briana Buck and Dan Pickens of Farmington Area Public Schools in MN shared their experience and newfound expertise when it comes to deploying a massive amount of iPads. What constitutes a massive amount? In this case, it was 7,300 iPads. A ton of their post-deployment success can be attributed to their support and community-centric approach, addressing and accepting their limitation in staff vs. their scope of devices. Simply put, they were (and still are) outnumbered. So what tactics did they utilize to overcome those challenges?
Building iPad Support
The team utilizes a stipend program called Q Comp, a teacher pay plan adopted in Anoka-Hennepin County that sends additional state funds to districts that modify their teacher pay and evaluations for their high performers—teachers who take on academic leadership roles. Through funds received in this program, they’ve been able to create a one-year position geared towards providing professional development and tech support. Culture has also come into play—their support system is a tiered process, and through the help of their community, issues typically resolve themselves prior to reaching the help desk. The “School-ogy” approach includes ongoing education for the public, teachers, parents, and students.
Q&A was especially lively, with a ton of great questions and ideas from the audience. Do students provide help desk support? (“Not yet, but we’ve deliberated creating a ‘Geek Squad’ team.”) Do students take their devices home over the summer? (“Last summer, no, but we didn’t wipe them. Devices were bagged, stored, and handed back out this year.”) What type of insurance model do you use? (“This year we moved to a self-insured model, which covers the iPad for one year for everything but intentional damage.”)
With so much to learn in the ever-growing size and scope of iPad deployments, next year’s JNUC is sure to have a few sessions that continue this theme. We’re looking forward to it.
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