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September 4, 2014

Herding COWs (Computers on Wheels) in the Classroom

By Kriscia Cabral
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    Ways to incorporate technology into school life vary from one-to-one, bring your own device (BYOD), computers in the classroom, and computers on wheels (COW), to name a few. At my former school, along with BYOD, the COW is what we used to bring technology into classrooms. And it wasn't used so much for computers as iPads (iPOW?), but all of the ideas I am sharing for how we managed our iPad inventory can be used for any devices you use in your school.

    Having a cart of iPads is a blessing. The time students have to explore technology, research topics, and create digital works of art is priceless. But how do you manage a cart of mobile devices or computers without losing valuable digital time with students? Read on to grab a few tips on how to work with one cart and whole lot of classrooms.

     

    Make Sure They Are Numbered

    Number your iPads. This is something that the tech team in our district took care of prior to having the cart shared. When they ordered the iPads, they numbered all of them. This was helpful because it created a sense of order for the cart. Another advantage of numbering came when we checked the iPads out to students (more of this in the upcoming tip). It is easier to identify each device if every iPad is given a specific number.

     

    Create a Shared Calendar

    My school uses Microsoft Outlook as our communications platform. We created a shared calendar where teachers log in and sign up for iPad time. Creating this in a shared document allows for everyone to be aware of where the cart is, and when it is available. This also allows for open communication from teacher to teacher if the cart is coming to you next. It is helpful, for instance, for those who are in need of maybe two iPads and not the whole cart. That teacher can check the calendar, check in with the teacher scheduled to have the cart, and communicate their need.

     

    Create a Check-out System for Students

    I have students check out iPads based on their roll call number. This way I know at all times who has which iPad. Oftentimes, my colleagues and I share the iPads amongst our classes. When this is the case, we use this iPad sign-out sheet. Here, students can sign their names next to the number of the iPad they are checking out. We can cross their name off when the student returns the iPad back to the cart.

     

    Saving Student Work

    There are a number of apps that can be used to save student work. The few that I experimented with and found useful were DROPitTOme, Dropbox, and Showbie. For me, these are the easiest to use as a place for students to submit work. When the iPads had to be returned before a student could finish what they were working on, I would have them write down in a safe place the number assigned to the tablet that they checked out. This way they could be sure to check out the same device when we had the cart again.

    Technology in the classroom accounts for another tool for learning and creating in the palms of student hands. Creating a management system that works for you alleviates time spent maintaining the cart and allows for more time with your students. If you're looking for more support with iPads in your classroom, check out fellow blogger Erin Klein's post on "5 Great Ways to Protect and Present Your iPad."

    Do you have a COW at your school? What types of management advice might you have to share? We’d love to hear from you!

     

    Thank you for reading.

    Smiles,

    Kriscia

     

    Ways to incorporate technology into school life vary from one-to-one, bring your own device (BYOD), computers in the classroom, and computers on wheels (COW), to name a few. At my former school, along with BYOD, the COW is what we used to bring technology into classrooms. And it wasn't used so much for computers as iPads (iPOW?), but all of the ideas I am sharing for how we managed our iPad inventory can be used for any devices you use in your school.

    Having a cart of iPads is a blessing. The time students have to explore technology, research topics, and create digital works of art is priceless. But how do you manage a cart of mobile devices or computers without losing valuable digital time with students? Read on to grab a few tips on how to work with one cart and whole lot of classrooms.

     

    Make Sure They Are Numbered

    Number your iPads. This is something that the tech team in our district took care of prior to having the cart shared. When they ordered the iPads, they numbered all of them. This was helpful because it created a sense of order for the cart. Another advantage of numbering came when we checked the iPads out to students (more of this in the upcoming tip). It is easier to identify each device if every iPad is given a specific number.

     

    Create a Shared Calendar

    My school uses Microsoft Outlook as our communications platform. We created a shared calendar where teachers log in and sign up for iPad time. Creating this in a shared document allows for everyone to be aware of where the cart is, and when it is available. This also allows for open communication from teacher to teacher if the cart is coming to you next. It is helpful, for instance, for those who are in need of maybe two iPads and not the whole cart. That teacher can check the calendar, check in with the teacher scheduled to have the cart, and communicate their need.

     

    Create a Check-out System for Students

    I have students check out iPads based on their roll call number. This way I know at all times who has which iPad. Oftentimes, my colleagues and I share the iPads amongst our classes. When this is the case, we use this iPad sign-out sheet. Here, students can sign their names next to the number of the iPad they are checking out. We can cross their name off when the student returns the iPad back to the cart.

     

    Saving Student Work

    There are a number of apps that can be used to save student work. The few that I experimented with and found useful were DROPitTOme, Dropbox, and Showbie. For me, these are the easiest to use as a place for students to submit work. When the iPads had to be returned before a student could finish what they were working on, I would have them write down in a safe place the number assigned to the tablet that they checked out. This way they could be sure to check out the same device when we had the cart again.

    Technology in the classroom accounts for another tool for learning and creating in the palms of student hands. Creating a management system that works for you alleviates time spent maintaining the cart and allows for more time with your students. If you're looking for more support with iPads in your classroom, check out fellow blogger Erin Klein's post on "5 Great Ways to Protect and Present Your iPad."

    Do you have a COW at your school? What types of management advice might you have to share? We’d love to hear from you!

     

    Thank you for reading.

    Smiles,

    Kriscia

     

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