Introduction of iPad Pro Deemed a Success

The iPad Pro Program, implemented at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, has been a success among students and faculty thus far. While only new students and half the faculty are using iPad Pros at the moment, use of iPads in the classroom has significantly increased. The use of Apple Classroom has led to increased productivity and efficiency in the classroom. Next year, Choate will reach the final stage of the program when the entire school, all students and faculty, will have an iPad Pro.

On his initial assessment of the program, Mr. Joel Backon, the Director of Academic Technology, said, “I think it is going extremely well, considering that the entire school is not on the program yet. This is a two year phase project.” The momentum of this program has far exceeded expectations, as returning students have increased their iPad use as well: “We expected to see the use of iPads increase among new students, but we are also seeing it in junior and senior year classes,” said Mr. Deron Chang, a science teacher and academic technology support specialist. The Academic Technology group hopes to maintain and build upon the momentum that the iPad Pros have garnered. Mr. Backon added that the biggest selling point for the iPad Pro Program would have to be the Apple Pencil and Notability, as they allow students to take notes in a different way than the past. Digital notes are proving to be more effective and efficient than taking notes on actual paper, as students can move the text around and even copy and paste.

A big piece of the program’s success is the efficiency of it in the classroom, as time is precious for both teachers and students. The Apple Classroom piece was not expected to gain much traction this year as everyone is not yet on the program, but it has proven to take off because it works in conjunction with most iPads. Apple classroom is an in-classroom management system. The teacher can get control of your iPad and see the screen of every student’s iPad while in the classroom. Apple Classroom also has the ability for teachers to open a link, document, or video on everyone’s screen and even project what is on the student’s iPad screen. “Before this year, a lot of teachers would not give tests on a computer because they were afraid students would go to a browser and look up information,” said Mr. Backon. “Apple Classroom allows teachers to lock students into a single app and not do anything else. So if you’re using Socrative for a test or quiz, students can’t go to safari and look up an answer because they are stuck in Socrative.”

Switching to the iPad Pro Program the same year as the schedule change was done strategically. Teachers who would not have considered bringing the iPad into their classroom with a 45 minute class would be willing to consider doing it in a 70 minute class, especially when they are revamping other parts of their curriculum. Mr. Chang said, “if teachers already have to make one big change they might as well just go ahead and change everything.”

Before school, teachers went through training for Apple Classroom. A subsequent workshop was held a few weeks ago, and the new faculty were introduced to the program in their orientation training. There have also been several one-on-one sessions and ad hoc trainings for teachers who have particular questions. As everyone moves over to the use of iPad Pros, more trainings will follow to run this program as well as possible.

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