this is my first year in the library & I had the wonderful opportunity to purchase 15 ipads for use within the library (I do not check them out to staff or students, although they are welcome to come to the library with their class and use them). My campus currently has zero ipads in the classrooms, so it was a huge motivation to get classes involved in library lessons (a positive). I find the ipad interface is highly intuitive for all students, from my youngest kinders to my fifth graders - the students are teaching me about them. Our district has decent wireless coverage, although even 15 ipads can slow it down significantly when we are doing anything with video components, so that is something to think about.
Things to consider that I have discovered: invest in a good storage/charging/and possibly syncing cart. It's expensive, but worth it. I tried to stay on top of the charging without it & it's a nightmare. That said, I didn't get a cart that syncs & it's a pain to keep everything updated. We do have wireless syncing, but I seem to keep getting apps that I don't want & can't get rid of. The wireless syncing is both helpful and bothersome. You will want to invest in sturdy cases and screen protectors (additional costs). Most important, have a plan for how you will purchase the volume of apps. I currently use on free apps, but will plan to invest next year in some paid apps.
I have a lot to learn still! I'm glad I purchased them for the library, although they have their limitations (mainly lack of Flash and printing capabilities right now). We are a PC campus, so this is our first adventure with i-devices.
good luck & let me know if I can provide any other feedback for you.
Wendy I just went to a apple workshop about configuring Ipads. Not sure how you go about starting but you need to either buy the configuator - or go through Itunes. Configuator let you set up a master ipad and everything syncs from it. You have a Institutional account and the apps are loaded though that account - it lets you load and update from that Ipad. I know I am not explaining right but Apple does have a system that makes it less of a nightmare. If you have a apple rep or tech person they maybe able to to explain it better than me.
One thing you can do is load really good, free books onto the iPads. Loads of classic books are in the public domain, and once the books are loaded, you don't need wireless to access them.
I cross-checked middle school and high school reading lists with books in the public domain in the U.S. and put together charts, which you are welcome to use:
I would love to have tablets in my library, but I would prefer to have Android tablets due to the flash video issues on the iPad. I know there are ways around it on the iPad and that Android won't be supported by flash much longer, but I'm just an Android fan.
Keep us updated on how this is working out for you!
My school district has school ipads for all students, and here are some issues:
inadequate firewalls- some students have already been caught visiting inappropriate sites :(
accidents- who will pay incase an ipad is broken?
There are a few issue, but there is great advantages. Just the amount of free apps that you can access is an awesome tool.