Friday, August 30, 2013

iPad Basic Training for Teachers

The Background
Photo Used Under a Creative Commons License

In the Spring of 2013, my school district committed to issuing an iPad to every classroom teacher. The purposes for this initiative were to give teachers an additional tool for teaching and learning and to familiarize teachers with mobile devices in anticipation of more iPads being purchased for classroom use and a grades 6-12 BYOD program coming in the next school year.

This type of initiative is exactly what my supervisor Kim (AKA @DigitalLearners) and I had been waiting/hoping for.

This is why we had been reading everything we could via Twitter and blogs and attending every session we could at professional events about mobile learning and iPads for the past three years.

And yet, when the prospect finally became a reality, it was a little overwhelming. From all of the wonderful resources we had compiled, we needed to come up with a plan to get our teachers up-to-speed and comfortable with using iPads, while planting seeds of a vision for the use of mobile technologies in their classrooms. Most of the iPads would be in the hands of teachers by the end of the semester. Time was of the essence.

Thankfully, we had had a couple of trial runs in the fall. Federal funds had brought small sets of iPads to each of our Title I campuses, and we had put together six hours of in-person training on using iPads in teaching and learning for math and reading intervention teachers at 10 campuses. Additionally, a principal at one of our elementaries had secured funding to purchase an iPad for each of his teachers. With these 35-40 teachers, we asked them to cover some basics that we had posed online, and we did an additional two hours of in-person after school training with them. You can see our training agendas for these in person sessions here.

We were about to distribute iPads to 800 teachers. The timeline and our number of staff members would not allow us to do multiple-hour in-person trainings with all of them. Yet we felt based on our fall experiences that five to six hours of "the basics" was vital to giving this initiative the basis it needed to get off to a successful start. Online training was the only viable solution.

Thankfully, in the bank of resources we had been collecting was this iPad training page from Comal ISD which included this proficiency checklist. Comal graciously gave us permission to adapt their materials, and thus iPad Basic Training for Teachers online was born.

Training Plan

We took our fall experience and Comal's checklist and divided the basics into five one hour modules. Only the first module is delivered in a face-to-face format. Here is how it is organized:

Teachers needed to receive credit for completing the modules, so we set up eCourses in our Eduphoria Workshop system which include quizzes at the end based on the proficiency checklist. Basically, it's an honor system where teachers answer quiz questions with a "yes" or "no". Each "question" is one of the proficiencies on the master checklist, such as "I can create folders on my iPad for organizing apps."

We wanted the training resources to be readily available to our teachers on an ongoing basis without the need for a password to access them, so they are posted on our public website (see links above).

You are welcome to use the resources posted on my district's website and YouTube channel in your own trainings. I ask that you credit my school district if you use any district created resources or if you use the organizational ideas of our training. I would also appreciate if you share with me how you use it!


Are any of you thinking, "Really? Four to five to six hours of training on iPads? They're intuitive, right? Kids use them with little if any guidance. What the heck?"

Good questions! That, my friends, is the topic of my next blog post!

All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.