Friday, October 4, 2013

It's Friday - time to wipe 'em clean

With my BYOD class using a school set of tablets on a regular basis, I find spending 10-20 minutes at the end of the week to clean them off (literally and figuratively) a good way to stay on top of how the students are (possibly) misusing them, as well as keep them in good shape.

Here is what I do for each tablet:

  1. Reset the lockscreen and background images if necessary (I find if we end up with a lot of silly classmate photos on the startup screen, that just encourages the students to take even more photos, particularly from class to class).
  2. Clear the update alerts & notifications.
  3. Clear the camera gallery (see point 1 above!).
  4. Clear any recently-added games or inappropriate apps (the Zippo lighter app seemed to be popular one week...).
  5. Force quit any apps running in the background.
  6. Power the tablet off completely for the weekend.
  7. Wipe down the screen (so they look super shiny and new!)
This also gives me the chance to make sure that each tablet is working correctly - one week I found a tablet that wouldn't rotate the screen when tipped. Quick Google search, and it was fixed and ready to go for the next week.

This was just an off-the-top of my head routine that I started doing on Fridays... how do you take care of school-owned technology? Is there anything I should be adding to my list?


  1. On my list ,that's not on yours (talking about iPads here):

    Clearing the browsing history
    Checking no-one is still logged in on any apps
    Clearing anything in the Notes app (my favourite I ever found? "Become ninja. 'Borrow' iPad. Disappear")

    I'd do this any time they were going from one user to another.

    And... yes... despite the fact I'm using mine in HE there's still the cleaning.

    I'm interested... you refer to staying on top of how they might be misusing them, and clearing any games/ inappropriate apps, have you plans/ thought about what to you do with this information? Can you track them back to individual students? Are you going to compare game/ app downloads to test results/ learning outcomes? I feel like there is so much potential there...

    1. Thanks, Hayley - these are all GREAT suggestions (I find myself thinking, why didn't I think of that?! But then again, that's why we're here :) ). I'll definitely be adding them to my list. Is there a quick way to make sure no one is still logged in on various apps? Such as, a way to just log out of everything?

      Right now, my class is the only class in the school using the tablets, so I haven't been too strict in tracking who-uses-which-tablet. I haven't seen enough "misuse" to try and correlate it with academic results; I circulate the class almost continuously and usually deal with e-distractions through close proximity and reminders to focus. I find, too, that even individual usage varies per class - any given student might use a tablet one day, his/her phone the next, and then double up with someone on a laptop later in the week. I have 30 students in the class, now, and 11 tablets at their disposal, so many of them are using their own devices. All of this would make it hard to track individual usage.

      Having said that, if I happen to notice that an abnormally high number of pictures are being taken by one particular groups of students, then I address them. Same goes for seeing a large number of new apps or a particular game (these things always tend to go in waves).

      You're right, though, there is a LOT of potential (and already some studies out to identify possible negative effects). That's definitely something I can look into as we get more comfortable with even just having the technology at our disposal in the room!

  2. Sadly I've not found a quick way of logging people out of apps. Although I guess it's something that you could try and instil in them to do? Nothing like throwing in a bit of learning about your digital security...

    It's interesting that they download so many games. When I've done surveys/focus groups with the students that use our tablets (which tend to be set up so that they can't download apps of their own choice), they are aware of their own tendency to be distracted and are quite pleased that this option is taken away from them.

    Once you've got used to them, I'd really recommend that you start collecting some data from students on how they use the various devices. I'm guessing that others in your school will be interested in using them at some point, and having some evidence on usage would be a great starting point for others.

    Looking forward to keeping up-to-date with how this all goes for you.


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