Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Launching the iPad Summer User Group

This week I prepared the ten student iPads for their test drive with our "Summer User" group. Initial enrollment in this group was as simple as responding to an email inviting interested parties to try out iPads for the summer. I was seeking a broad spectrum of users, so I negotiated with a few people to round out the group. My goal for the Summer Users is to learn more about the ways in which this technology could be effectively integrated in different aspects of our Lower School curriculum. Therefore, at a minimum I wanted every grade level represented, along with a range of ages and experience levels. I was also seeking some specialists to help imagine the potential.

The group includes teachers of first through fourth grade, our music teacher, our learning specialist, our Chinese teacher, science teacher, and early childhood resource teacher. This range of roles should be a good test to see where we envision iPads going in the future.

My summer user group met to receive their orientation during the last week of school. The participants range from active users of technology to those who only try things if they have been shown how to first. Any user currently familiar with iPhones and iPod Touches were immediately comfortable. Others needed step-by-step help to understand the start button and how to move between apps. While they were anxious about receiving only one session, I suspect they will be surprised by how quickly things start to make sense.

My expectations of this group were clear:
  • Test drive the iPad with yourself, with children, with others. Use it all the time and notice what you are thinking about it.
  • Join this blog and record your observations, whether positive or negative.
  • Add your reviews to our apps reviews framework
  • Don't lose it!
These rules seemed to worry some of the group, but they all have agreed to do their best to try apps, review them, and to post to the blog. I am looking forward to what comes out of this!

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