Top Tens

Recently, the Stephen Perse Foundation ‘s Daniel Edwards published a list of the top ten apps in use at his school’s two-year-old 1:1 iPad programme.  He noted that all ten apps were multipurpose apps, and he included in his list a description of how each app fitted in with the workflow developing at the school.

The list will make reassuringly familiar reading to FOMO-afflicted school leaders who have been dabbling or diving headlong into the world of 1:1 iPads, but it also indicates strongly how far the shift has been completed towards content creation.  With the arguable exception of iTunes U, every one of the’s top ten apps is primarily or exclusively designed to get users creating new content, not consuming existing content.  Here is Daniel’s list

Book Creator

Book Creator

Edmodo Edmodo Explain EverythingExplain Everything iMovieiMovie

iTunes U iTunes U

Keynote Keynote

Notability Notability


Showbie Showbie

Socrative 1.0 and 2.0 Socrative

Daniel’s list got me thinking about another list I realise I’ve been mentally compiling without actually writing it down.  In my many conversations with teachers and administrators in iPad schools across the country, I have noticed how the same questions are being asked and shared.  Not many of these questions have definitive answers – often it’s a case of personal preference or school philosophy, but here are some of the questions that are most commonly asked of me as an administrator in a school where our oldest 1:1 iPads programme is now entering its fourth year.

1.  What MDM do you use?

2.  Who pays for the iPads?

3.  What is your insurance structure?

4.  Do you recommend 1:1, shared iPads or a combination?

5.  What age range is the iPad best suited to?

6.  Do the iPads go home or stay at school?

7.  What eSafety issues do the presence of iPads raise?

8.  What training structure and timetable have you found most successful?

9.  Why iPads as opposed to Android or other devices?

10.  How do iPads best engage the students with the demands of the new curriculum (e.g. the demand for programming etc.)?

This list is by no means exhaustive. I could certainly add questions about how students save their work, what peripherals are most recommended, which subjects are best served or least well served by the apps on the App Store, how well iPads work with Google Apps schools and so forth. But following Daniel’s lead of naming only the top ten, these are the ones that are most often asked, and the ones to which I do find I have preferred answers borne of our experiences since we got started in January 2011.

I will endeavour to work my way through these questions and answers over the next few posts.


The Joys of Instant On and Elongated Battery Life

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 16.14.36


Today’s power cut was a good illustration of the attractiveness of two features of the iPad that nowadays often get overlooked but which at the time the iPad was released made it so welcome to educators.  When the power cut hit Cobham this afternoon the computer teacher and students were able to switch immediately to their iPads without any need to wait for log on delays (worked out by an ECIS colleague of mine a couple of years ago as typically the equivalent of two whole days over a school year!)  Nor were there any concerns that the iPads would have flat batteries despite it being the afternoon and the iPads having been in use all day.

Instant On and a ten-hour battery life are taken for granted nowadays, but back in 2010 these two features rescued many of us from a huge IT headache.  Today was proof that these features are still essential.