They're still figuring out how to run an iPad program and right now it's the parent's responsibility to support and maintain their kids' iPad. Guess who got stuck with being his IT department?
I can't claim to be an expert on the topic, but after having stumbled through their vague and contradictory instructions last night I feel I know a thing or two. Let me cover a few of my biggest gripes.
First and foremost, the school should probably be managing the iPads. This is the first time that I had ever heard of a school that requires the parents to do the work instead of the school's IT department. Cost savings alone are enough of a reason to argue it's the wrong approach, and then there is the vast amount of wasted time that parents will spend setting up each iPad.
Next, I don't think the school provided enough information. They want Dropbox, Evernote, Kindle, and a bunch of other apps installed on my brother's iPad. Here's the problem: There are no instructions on whether I should create accounts for any of these apps. I never even heard of half of the apps before and I honestly have no idea if I need to do anything to set them up. (He's getting a restricted account for the ebookstores, yes, but only because they require certain ebooks.)
Speaking of ebookstores, they didn't coordinate their textbook requirements - not one bit. They're using digital textbooks from no less than 6 ebookstores, including Kindle, iBooks, Coursesmart, Nook, eCampus, and ""www.ebooooks.com". This is an unreasonable requirement; I don't even have an account at half of those stores much less want to give them all my credit card info. Ideally the school should have planned ahead and found the titles they needed in just a couple ebookstores. It would be a lot easier on all.
That brings me to the many different digital textbook platforms that they're supporting. I would have thought that in this day and age everyone would know the benefit of standardization. Offices will buy the same model PC for everyone not just because it's simpler but also because it reduces overhead. This school apparently doesn't know or care about standardization because they require 5 different platforms. At the very least, any teacher subbing for another will stumble over unknown tools.
And then there is the instruction sheet itself. Now that was a barrel of monkeys. Do you recall how they wanted a Nook textbook? Well, they forgot to require a Nook app. But it gets better; I can't find 3 of the 40 apps they require. Some of the names on the instruction sheet are too generic for me to know which app I'm supposed to get.
The other major problem with the instruction sheet is that it is poorly organized. The school gathered each teacher's requirements and slapped them into 1 PDF, and it's organized by class. The better way to organize the sheet would be to split everything up into paid/free apps and paid/free ebooks. It would also be good to have more metadata on the titles as well as some indication on whether a title is absolutely necessary.
Anyway, that's what I think on the issue. Do you think my points are valid?
P.S. I know I have a number of teachers and librarians reading the blog and following me on Twitter, and I really would like your feedback.