Story Chapter 2
Since our last posting, an entire school year has passed at Monte Vista, and it was a year full of challenges and learning. The iPad deployment for the High School's 1:1 started on a sunny day in August 2011, with a line of tents and tables ready to receive students who would soon arrive to sign out an iPad. As the student lines formed, full of buzz and chatter, students and families patiently awaited their turn to receive their device.What the students did not know was the number of hours spent over the summer loading the iPads with Apps and novels according the individual schedules of each student. The incoming freshmen received iPad2s, while the 10th through 12th graders received iPad1s. The distribution may not have gone as smoothly as the iPad Integration Coordinator, Thomas White, would have liked, but eventually, every High School student was reporting to every class with an iPad.As in any new venture, there are unexpected challenges. For example, setting up the student gmail accounts on the iPads proved to be a little more complicated than expected. There were numerous logistical challenges as well, such as how to distribute iPads to resident students who arrived the night before the first day of school.Yet with a little faith, and a little grace, we got through the challenges, for as the saying goes, "The show must go on." But there was no time to rest, for the Headmaster, Mr. Sharp, already had plans to host the first iPad conference in October 2011, inviting educators from the around the country to come see what we were doing. The conference was a great success, for a first offering, filling very quickly with visitors from several different states. Mr. Sharp, encouraged and confident after the success of the first conference, scheduled another 2 conferences: one in January, and one in May. Both filled quickly, even generating waiting lists. So great was the demand that two weeks after the third conference in May, Mr. Sharp held a fourth iPad conference, which also filled. In the matter of one school year, Monte Vista was able to help inform and direct hundreds of educators who were considering iPads for their schools.But as smooth as the conferences went, there were some other bumps in the road with which to contend. The biggest was the 2011 fall launch of iOS 5. Apple's forced migration of mobileme accounts to iCloud caused enormous difficulties, and making the upgrades for so many devices was a challenge that has lagged on even unto the present day, with a few students and staff who still have not upgraded from 4.3.3 to 5. However, once the conversion to iOS 5 had begun, the benefits were clearly positive and exciting: restoring from iCloud wirelessly! Updating the iOS wirelessly! iCloud syncing with Pages, Keynote, and Numbers! In Coleridge's words, "It was a miracle of rare device."Concurrently, the Middle School principal, Ray Blute, was just beginning to realize what he might be in for in the upcoming school year. In a story he likes to tell, during a board meeting Mr. Sharp said to him, "You're in for a can of worms, an iPad can of worms," because the Middle School was scheduled to go 1:1 in the next school year. This was enough to get Mr. Blute planning, creating a tech team of select teachers, and scheduling meetings to prepare for the 1:1 iPad launch in 2012-2013. Mr. Blute wasted no time in purchasing resources for his tech team and planning day trips to schools such as the Nueva school, south of San Francisco. He also invested time in vetting sources such as Common Sense Media to find curriculum that dealt with the challenges of a 1:1, internet accessible environment. The combined efforts of his staff resulted in a comparably smooth 1:1 launch in August of 2012. Of the Middle School's 220 students, only 1 did not have his iPad for the first day of school, and by 10 am that morning, his forms were submitted, and his iPad was delivered to him.But the start of 2012-2013 had an added challenge. Not only were the incoming Freshmen being issued iPad3s, not only did the 8th graders get issued iPad3s, while the 7th and 6th graders were issued iPad1s, but Mr. Sharp had made plans to host an Educational Conference on the Monte Vista campus, a week before classes began. The Conference focused on "Education in a Changing World" with dynamic and talented keynote speakers such as Dr. Tony Campolo, Professor Leonard Sweet, Ian Jukes of the 21st Century Fluency Project, and Alan November of November Learning. The conference was attended by approximately 450 educators from around the state, and even some from other states. Overall, the attendees seemed very pleased with the event, prompting Mr. Sharp to begin planning for next year's event.This school year has begun with plans to offer iPad conferences again in the months of October, January, and May. In addition, Mr. Sharp, Mr. White, and teacher Josh Davis have been invited by the government of the city of Shanghai to lead an iPad conference in Shanghai, sometime in late November or early December. Monte Vista is now a truly 1:1 environment where every student has an iPad, which they take home with them, for the duration of the school year. Previous to the start of this school year, students were permitted to take their iPad home for the summer if they signed a new contract and paid the warranty fee. As this seemed like a successful practice, Monte Vista will most likely make the same accommodation for the summer of 2013.With iOS 6 coming out in the fall, with Google's recent hardware release of its tablet, and Microsoft's upcoming release of Surface, in terms of technology, 2012-2013 should prove to be an interesting year!