Frustrated by the lack of technology in your building? Tired of sharing devices with colleagues who don't maintain shared equipment? Get your own technology to support your efforts at blended and flipped classroom strategies! Hundreds of grant opportunities exist to help teachers and schools get the equipment they need.Remember to work with your district Tech Department on ANY tech grant you consider. Nooks, Kindles, Chromebooks & iPads look great on TV, but aren't exactly designed for multi-user institutional settings. The amount of money you need to invest often goes beyond the base price of the device and may include facilities improvements or additional computers & servers and budgeting for apps to adequately manage your new equipment.Get started today!
Follow this link to enter daily for the chance to win a wireless lab
for your school valued at $40,000. Click here to access GetEdFunding
a clearing house of ongoing grants from $700 -$70,000+.
How many times have you heard (or said) 'but I'm not a technology teacher' or 'I'm not tech savvy'. Neither of these present a valid reason to avoid embedding technology instruction in your classes. It is a grave disservice to our students if teachers hesitate to incorporate technology; even at the most basic level. And it's a disservice to our profession as well. Consider a doctor, lawyer, accountant, politician, business owner or any other highly qualified, well-educated professional who hesitated to use technology. I daresay clients would soon loose confidence in their capabilities and find a new provider. That said, dedicating time to learning all the technology teachers need to be aware of is a daunting task. And all this change involves risk-taking and stepping outside our comfort zones...Enter 21 Things....
Developers designed the original 21 Things 4 Teachers
to meet the needs of teachers who have less time to attend PD due to increasing demands and lack of funding. The program has quickly grown to include a version targeted to administrators and students as well. All three align to NETS and METS and the developers are working to align to CCSS. The programs are currently under review for the official ISTE stamp of approval--which I'm sure will happen, as each is hands-down the best resource available for all three groups.
State of Michigan teachers, can earn graduate credit or SB-CEUs for completing the course. Check with your local RESA or ISD for complete details. Not in Michigan? Or just want to work through the resources less formally? Anyone can access all materials, lesson plans, virtual classroom archives, links etc. Each includes pre- and post-assessment, reflection, portfolio and all the tools necessary to achieve the objectives either as a cohort or on your own.
In my district, providing PD is an ongoing challenge. There's so much staff need to be up to date on; Marzano, UDL, CCSS, PBIS, METS, NETS, MEAP, RIT, RtI, SIP, implementing something like 21 Things can be a challenge. So, get creative. Break the Things down into 2 or 3 groups and work on them over a couple of years. Start an informal PLN in your building and work through them together--like going to the gym with a friend, dedicating yourself to others in learning technology will not only increase your likelihood to stick with it, it gives you the support you need to get through it.
The student version
fulfills the requirements for 8th grade tech proficiency. The content can be used for a dedicated technology course, but if your district is like mine, there just isn't time in the schedule for that these days. Again, the program was developed with flexibility and convenience in mind. Some districts break it down into 3 components - one for each grade 6-8. Others align each Thing to a content area and integrate via curriculum. Complete with step by step instructions, tips, lessons and all necessary resources the 21 Things package makes it easy for even the most tech wary and time-constrained to start integrating--just-in-time!
*note --author has no connection to 21 Things other than having attended today's presentation, working through some of the modules personally, and collecting anecdotal reports from staff participants and stands to receive no personal gain from promoting these open source materials*
I've started exploring the various book tools available on iPad more deeply. A number of anecdotal accounts of the positives abound, but it's been difficult to find any real research. Of course conventional wisdom points to the tools avaialable on an iPad (or other e-reader device); variable text size, interactivity, text-to-speech, bookmarking, annotationl, and dictionaries all lend to differentiation and engagement which we assume leads to more reading ergo, increase in ability. Other great factors to consider, all e-readers are the same size; kids reading really thin books (or really thick ones) don't get singled out by their peers. Likewise, lexile stickers, titles and other evidence of the reader's ability are not visible to others. Kids don't get intimidated by a long (thick) book. And finally, who can ignore the 'cool' factor? Unfortunately, these devices are so new, very little real evidence of their efficacy exists.
It would seem e-readers are a no-brainer. But let's take a moment to consider the devil in the details. What about device management? Who purchases and downloads all the content--usually separately on each device? For that matter, content is still largely device dependent; you can't read a kindle book on a nook etc. etc. If the device has wi-fi connectivity, can it be networked to your school's exisiting infrastructure?
Which brings us to the iPad where there are a plethora of reading apps, so you loose the device dependency. And there is a way to manage multiple devices in one go which also support networking, So this only leaves the question of device ownership. That is, if you aren't in a 1:1 setting, sharing books across devices can be messy. Students 1 uses the device, annotates, bookmarks leaves. Students 2 enters, opens the same book and overwrites Student 1. And in the end, is it worth the cost? Basic e-readers run much cheaper these days than tablets, if reading / literacy is the goal, a plain reader may be the best option.
To start, I've downloaded a number of iPad book apps in an effort to play and understand how they might be handled. I'll be posting my findings as I go. In the meantime, here's the apps I've started working with.
Apps: Kindle, Nook, ibooks, book crawler, free books and overdrive (access to libraries) Wuthering Heights (a BeamItDown interactive book I've just started to explore) and The Lorax (by Oceanhouse Media--a fantastic example of why kids love interactive books)
Prelim findings: iPads may be best for station reading in an elementary classroom, or one-on-one with a tutor. In the secondary setting with novels and longer books, I really need to address the question of device management.
Please post / link any resources you have to share. I'll update here as the project progresses.
I'm constantly learning, and re-learning how to best use my iPad. I find myself falling into habits that are not the most efficient, just because they're the most familiar.
Whenever I meet with staff, I amaze them with my shortcuts on the device, and I find that what started out as a training with purpose quickly gets side-lined into "oooo How'd you do that?" or "Wait, can you go back and show that again?"
So, following are a list of 5 simple tricks that I often think of as basics, but even if you're a veteran (after only 1 year can I say that?) user like myself, you may benefit from the reminder.
1. Spotlight Search:
What: locate anything you can't find on your device from 'lost apps' to contacts, appointments etc. Even offers you the choice to search the Web.
How: From the home screen, swipe left and enter what you're looking for in the search bar.
2. Create Folders for Apps:
What: Consolidate endless pages of apps into boxes labeled by type.
How: Tap and hold app till it jiggles, select an app and move it on top of another like app (e.g. two news portals). Apple will suggest a label for the grouping, edit to your liking. Remove an app from a folder by activating it and pulling it out.
3. Lock Screen Rotation:
What: Keep your screen from spinning out of control as you move the device -- especially useful for presentations.
How: Settings / General / Use Side Switch To: (choose) lock rotation
4. Manage Multiple Accounts:
What: Switch between accounts to manage apps purchased by each that live on your device.
How: Settings / Store --Tap on the current Apple ID to sign out of one and sign in another. You DO NOT lose any apps or content in this process. It simple allows you to manage apps (i.e. update) purchased under a different account.
5. Support Yourself:
What: Resources you can house on your iPad to get fast answers to your immediate needs--or to flip through in your free time.
How: Get iBooks (Free in the app store). Download iPad User Guide for iOS5 (Published by Apple). And iPad 2 Starter Guide (published by MacWorld) Both free.
I can't believe it's only been a year since I started working with iOS (Apple) devices. And within that year, what started as a love/hate relationship btwn me and my iPad has turned into a wonderful friendship based on mutual respect that comes from an increased understanding of our respective roles, strengths and weaknesses. Honestly, when you spend as much time with one device as I have my iPad, can you not help but love it in the end?
At the beginning of 2011, I found myself struggling to explain to a handful of grant recipients why the amount of money they'd requested wouldn't cover the actual cost of their device. And trying to come up with a total cost of ownership number
was next to impossible. Bretford Sync / storage carts
weren't available, the VPP
was just getting up and running, and few users had an understanding of what, exactly, they wanted to do with the device. External keyboard? VGA connection? Camera connection? Apps--app licensing? Protective covers? Fast forward to Jan 2012. I have an iPad 2 as do about 100 other people in the district. Some for admin, some for kids. With plans to implement and iPad AP class, an iPod lab and a few other projects stewing. Training has been fast and furious for me and our users. But working together we've managed to create a purchasing process that incorporates individual accounts (for free / personal apps) and MDM to 'automagically' so the district can maintain ownership of the apps they've paid for. We made it through the update to iOS 5 and figured out how to use iCloud to our advantage in this process.
But it continues to be a work in progress. My fears for the future? Apple's love for constant updates / changes. Once we get our process in place,if the rug is not pulled from under us, it could very easily get moved. We won't have to start from scratch, but constantly creating, updating and communicating training materials....