Going 1-to-1: What to budget for beyond iPads…

Going 1-to-1: What to budget for beyond iPads…

The whole process of going 1:1 as a school is a huge and sometimes daunting task.  It takes years of planning, fine-tuning or rebuilding of infrastructure, hours of staff training and then, the day arrives…iPads in the hands of all your students. Job done, thank you very much; I’ll kick back and bask in the glory of my success.

But hold on, staff and students are knocking on your door, asking for [insert item that you didn’t budget for here] and I’ve spent the budget on the devices. Aren’t they supposed to do everything you could want? What more could you possibly need?

Below follows just some of the things I’m either glad I did, or wish I had budgeted for (and no, I won’t reveal which is which!):

For the purposes of illustration I have used our site’s Scheme Calculator for some pricing options and all examples are based on a school of 1000 students, 100 staff and class sizes of 30.


  1. The right case

After all, you did just buy a really beautiful and expensive piece of equipment and you want to keep it safe. In our calculator, you have the choice of basic and premium versions – as far as I’m concerned there is no question here – premium. These cases need to be high quality, durable and I think, very importantly, they need t0 allow the iPad to stand up in a position suitable for typing.

Cost: £17 a unit (£18,700 for the model described)


  1. An MDM

You are going to want to have some control over these devices. A good MDM is essential to this and you will want to shop around for the one that works most effectively with your system. Essentially they are all quite similar, but everyone will find a quirk or asset that one offers another doesn’t.

Cost: up to £10 per unit per year (£12,100 per year)


  1. Device Storage

There are going to be times when you want the devices locked away (for PE for example) or students need to charge the device during the day. A safe, strong and reliable storage-charging locker is important. The specifics will matter more or less depending on your setup, but for me, I want individual lockers with key-code entry set by the user each time someone uses it. This costs more, but is by far the most effective way forward.

Cost: around £750 for 8-16 devices to be charged


  1. Document Sync

Whilst iCloud, OneDrive and GAFE offer amazing and inexpensive cloud storage solutions, there may be times when you want to save work and open work from a central school system. There are a number of bits of software out there; two of the most commonly known are Foldr and Securelink.

Cost: varies.


  1. Apple TV

Undoubtedly the most important piece of hardware after the device itself. I would suggest that without one of these in your classroom the 1:1 project would be incomplete. Read this to find out why.

Cost: currently £54 on Amazon


  1. Apps

It’s easy to forget or at least underestimate how much money you could/ would like to spend on apps.

Depending on your workflows and solutions to some of the above, you may not need/want to spend too much on apps. Luckily Pages/ Word, Keynote/ PowerPoint, Numbers/ Excel all come free, as does iMovie. This helps a lot, but there are one or two ‘essential’ apps such as Explain Everything and perhaps Notability that you won’t want to be without. I would suggest something like Book Creator or Creative Book Builder are also useful especially with younger students.

There will be other apps that cost that you want and it’s important to remember two things:

  1. The Volume Purchase Program (VPP) offers a an easy way to bulk purchase apps and often when purchased in orders larger than 20, you will receive a 50% discount (thus deploying Explain Everything to all staff and students costs £1254 in the model above)
  2. Apps purchased using ‘managed distribution’ can be reassigned, meaning that an app purchased for an entire year group can be recalled at the end of the year and then assigned to the incoming students for the following September. This means that the first few years of a rollout will be more likely to have a high app-expenditure than subsequent year. BUT, books do not yet (and possibly never will) fall into this category – if you buy a book (even through VPP) and you distribute it to a device, it stays on the device and you can’t call it back.

Cost: will vary enormously, but budget at least £5 per device:  £5500


  1. Keyboards

Despite my own market research, there may be times that you want your students to use one. My IT team is suspicious of allowing a classroom full of Bluetooth-enabled keyboards to happen as there is the possibility they will interrupt each other and things could get messy. There aren’t a lot of options for wired iPad keyboards (apparently no one wants anything to have wires anymore!), but we have found a couple of options and suggest having one or two class sets that might be booked out for things like coursework with older students, or other types of assessment. You could alternatively, suggest that it is an optional extra, as part of the school equipment list and let students decide for themselves.

Cost: £30-40 a unit, max cost of a class set: £1200


  1. Green screens/Lighting

This sounds plain frivolous until you consider that the options afforded you and your students by creating spaces where genuinely high quality content can be made is central to their engagement with this technology. It’s not a great expense, but it is one that can reap rewards. Students can have more pride in their work and the type of tasks available to you, the possibility for subjects to work collaboratively etc, can all be enhanced by simple technology.

Cost: green screen plus two lights, about £100


  1. Soundproof space/ Microphones

If the above sounded like a bridge too far, then some sort of ability to enhance the sound quality is essential. There is nothing more frustrating as a teacher or student to be faced with a student’s work, a piece of work which has taken a lot of time, thought and energy, only to find you can’t really hear what they’re saying because it was recorded in a noisy classroom.

Obviously part of this problem is to do with the setup of your school and how and where students can go to find a quiet space, but certainly a half decent microphone and/or a soundproof room/handheld device can make a big difference to the quality of the final product and thus the worthwhile nature of the task itself.

Cost: microphone, £35, soundproof booth £60-£10,000 (it really varies!)


  1. R&D

Finally, the most important part – you need funds in place for you, or whoever is leading this project to be able to make purchases, try things out and make decisions about what will and won’t work for the school. It is not always possible to get a free trial or get a sense of something from a video. Sometimes you just need to buy something, try it and discard it. It’s not the easiest thing to justify if you think of it in those terms, but ultimately, how can you possibly make recommendations at a whole school level if you’re not trying out as much of what is on offer as possible?

Cost: ???


Image credit: Flickr


Link to the book


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