The aims of this project are primarily to investigate if there is pedagogic value in the use of iPads however I felt it would be useful to discuss the logistical management of a (very) small fleet of ten iPads for student use and some of the issues I have encountered. I would say in an ideal world the best way for an iPad to be managed for a longish term load (longer than a day) would be for a user to login with their itunes account and be able to customise their selection of apps email etc. However for shorter periods I don’t think that would work well (along with the risk of not all students having itunes accounts).
Uploading Brushes images to flickr
At the end of each session I use the send to flickr feature in brushes which works brilliantly. The one issue is that only the image title shows up and not the artist name field. I have tried to encourage the students to add all the relevant information to just the image title now. A point worth noting is that there is a limit of 200 images on flickr – I’ve had to upgrade to a paid account as a result of this.
Creating videos and uploading to youtube
Once the images are on flickr I then email a copy of the image actions for every image to my work email (adding ipad number to subject so I know which student it is). On average I am looking at 30-40 images per session so 60-80 in the day. These actions then need to be saved, opened in brushes viewer, exported to a video and then uploaded to youtube. This probably takes me around 3 hours in total with naming etc.
Email accounts on iPads
I have actively encouraged students to email copies of their images to themselves at the end of each session. Also those who have macs I have encouraged to have a play with the brushes viewer to create videos of their work. In order to be able to email images I have set up the same email account (a gmail one) on all the iPads. This has worked well except for another project needing the iPads for the half the week when we don’t need them. To get around this I turn the email off and remove the last digit of the password (saves someone requesting the password and then changing it which would be mightily annoying). However this does take time – worth considering the risks of supplying an email account with an iPad.
Batteries / Charging
Each week we have two student sessions, 2.5 hours in the morning and then the same in the afternoon. Firstly I must say the iPad2 battery life has been fantastic considering the 5 hours of solid use they recieve, the lowest I have had a battery get to is about 50%. I then have to charge each one at the end of the day which involves rebuilding each charger and plugging in, probably takes me around 10-15 minutes in total.
Hygiene / Screen protection
I have decided to clean each iPad with sterilizing cloths at the end of the day. The screens tend to look pretty grubby by the end of the day, I’m not particularly fussy about having everything super clean but think this is a sensible thing to do. We currently don’t have screen protectors on the iPads though I have put in an order for some. Unfortunately a couple of the iPads have sustained minor scratches from the stylus, possibly where it was used at an angle.