Things continue to go well with our iPad pilot program here at the middle school. Last night was a new parent dinner for our school district, and I had the opportunity to meet with a few parents and talk to them about what their kids are telling them about the iPads. From the parents I spoke with last night, there is a lot of excitement at home as well for the iPads. A few of the parents said that they have iPads for their student to use at home, and that their use in the classroom, has been an easy transition for them. When asking about the iPads, a number of the parents simply smiled and said, “my child loves it”. It was encouraging to hear that the students have been sharing with their families the excitement that they are bringing to the classroom and the “cool assignments” they have had so far on the iPads.
One of the ongoing issues we have been working with on the iPad cart is the printing solution that we want to implement. While I was researching a more long-term solution, I had chosen to use a software based solution called Printopia. I have given them a more complete review in a previous post if you would like more information on that possible solution. The limitation with a print solution that is software based, is that it requires a computer to be active at all times. This is a viable option, if you will always have a computer on the cart, running. However, we have other classrooms on campus that are using iPads, outside of the cart, and the laptop is sometimes being used to manage images on those iPads, or for an update to the Profile that manages the iPads. In short, we needed something that was free of all other devices, a stand-alone unit. After much research, our solution arrived today.
Today we initiated what we hope is our ultimate print solution for our iPad cart. I chose the HP Black and White LaserJet Professional P1102w printer. I had the printer up and running in about 15 minutes time. Here are the important things to know if you are looking at this printer as a solution. The first major step of course is opening up the printer, which they do have a lot of hidden pieces of tape, etc… but you can handle that. From there, I went through the recommended setup, using the enclosed DVD, and was able to use my system preferences, add a printer to then connect to the HTML for the printer. I used the USB cable to setup our wifi on the printer rather simply, assigned it an ip address, added our servers to the printer, and verified its settings with an easy print of its configurations page. After that was dialed in, I was ready to install the firmware update necessary to enable AirPrint on the printer. The printer is capable of AirPrint (apple’s wireless printing protocol), but this requires a firmware update (available here-mac version). All of the directions for properly installing the firmware are included on the website. This was relatively painless, actually easier than unpacking the printer :). After updating the firmware, I restarted the printer, per the recommendation of the website, let the wifi reconnect and printed a test page from my iPhone. After verifying everything worked ok, I did some tweaking that I would recommend you consider. First, I set the admin password…don’t want anyone undoing all of your hard work. Second from the web interface, I chose the tab for settings, and adjusted the Device Location. I changed it to iPad Cart, thus making it easier for my students to chose the appropriate printer. And that was about it. The setup is rather painless, once you get past the firmware update, which HP does an excellent job of walking you through.
One thing that I have noticed with this printer, in only the two documents I have printed, is that the formatting of my papers has not come out spot on. I need to do some more research as to why that is, but when printing an email, it does look right, but it printed two pages. I also have a more limited set of printing options with this printer than I did with the Printopia solution. I will either add to this post as we get into using it a bit more, or create a new post that evaluates the performance a little better.
If you have any questions about printing from the iPad, be sure to post some questions to the blog and I will do my best to reply. Also, if you want to know more about any topics, just let me know.
Grace and Peace,