Thursday, August 30, 2012

I'm Dreaming iPads!

Last week came the moment the students at Cristo Rey have been anxiously awaiting - we handed out their iPads.

The logistics of the rollout were my responsibility, and I am relieved to say it went well.  There were a few bumps in the road - most notably a major run-in with the Apple fraud servers.  My account team forgot to tell me I needed to have the school's IP address whitelisted with Apple, and after the first ten or so IDs we'd create each day, the Apple fraud servers would start rejecting them.  Seems that if you create 80+ IDs in three hours from a single location, they think there's something fishy going on, and shut you down.  Go figure.

That frustration and the resulting cleanup aside, it was great.  I got to give a speech - 16 times; once each night at the class parent meetings, three times each of the following days to the split groups of students in each class.  I got pretty good at it, if I do say so myself.

My biggest kick has been watching the students as they work and play with their new devices.  The students of Cristo Rey are drawn from the inner city.  Over 95% of the student body is eligible for free and reduced lunches.  This means they usually just watch from the sidelines as something new and exciting hits the market.  Not this time - we are the first high school in Kansas City to deploy the devices to the entire student body.

One of the local TV stations covered the story (there goes 2 seconds of my fifteen minutes of fame):

Those who didn't get their iPads last week, have been trickling into my office all of this.  With big eyes and missing paperwork clutched in their hands, they tentatively stick their heads into the room.  "Can I get my iPad now?"  Their faces fall as I explain they may not miss any core classes to go through the setup process; I will hand them out only during study time and right after school.  But later, they come back and the magic moment comes.  I hand them their new iPad and 30 minutes later, they leave - faces beaming; iPad carefully held in hand.  (We did have one student learn the hard way that the devices don't do well negotiating the stairs on their own.   It still functioned, but the screen was crazed with cracks.  Good thing we have insurance for breakage on them.)

Me?  I'm exhausted, with a newly renewed respect for teachers.  Last week took a LOT of energy!

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