Our iPad demographics shake out like this; approx 100 devices district-wide. The vast majority are in the hands of individual teachers and administrators. Of our teacher users, the majority of those are involved in special ed in some way. We do have a few lab sets of iPods in gen ed classrooms and are about to start a pilot program utilizing about 200 iPads in AP English. Our first devices were deployed in spring of 2011 and our first large-scale (25) deployment was in December 2011. We take delivery of iPads almost daily!
I host a bi-monthly iPad user group that started in February 2012. I set up this informal PLN in an effort to tap into our shared wisdom bring together all our incidental learning and experiences. It’s quickly grown in popularity and yesterday, we had our first truly interactive discussion –that is, I was able to sit with the group and learn from them, rather than lead the discussion.
Device Usage Notes
The mute function is inconsistent. Not all apps respect mute. If you are running an app that should produce sound and it’s not, check ALL your mute options.
Test for yourself—double tap the home button and swipe the quick launch to the right to access your onscreen mute / brightness etc. tap the volume button to mute your device.
Open YouTube and play a video—you’ll still get sound. But try opening another ‘speaking’ app and you may not. The same holds true for the side switch
(lock rotation / mute) above the physical volume buttons. Restrictions
If you’re using iPads in a station setting, consider setting restrictions
to keep kids on task. Follow these steps to manage restrictions: a.
Settings / General / Restrictions / Enable Restrictions b.
You’ll be asked to set a restrictions passcode—don’t forget your code! c.
Choose the items you want to restrict – off means it is restricted d.
Select YouTube to test –you’ll notice the icon disappears completely from the device and won’t even come up in a spotlight search Apps RecommendationsFREE communication apps:
In recognition of Autism Awareness month – Lots of great communication apps are free right now. Check kindergarten.com
for details. These apps are applicable not just for ASD students, but also ELL, and early El. From ABC flashcards to read aloud books and more.
– (2.99) Another popular app that teaches kids how to follow directions from 1 step to 4 step. Kids love
the funky little alien and helping him build / launch his space ship among other tasks.
| |Secure Gmail: (.99)
The email tool on iPad is great, but if you set up your personal gmail account in the iPad mail settings, anyone else who accesses the device can also view your gmail. Secure gmail allows you to set up your personal Google account(s) with password protection. The user interface is also more similar to web-based Google so it’s easier to navigate.
| |Google Search:
(Free!) Includes the entire Google suite of apps in one package; docs, news, maps, reader translate etc. With voice search! Just tell it what you’re looking for and Google (tries) to find it. I asked for iPad and it searched for ‘ice’ which got me a number of returns on immigration and customs enforcement.
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 just spent the better part of an hour composing my latest blog post, complete with links to a ton of great stuff going on in West Michigan ed tech. And as I as adding my LAST little tidbit, I accidentally navigated to a different site on the same tab I was writing on. I'm sure you can guess the outcome....argh! save...save...save! (How many times do I need to learn that lesson?!?!)So following is a condensed version: TEDxGrand Rapids returns this year with companion Livestream education event, May 10. Get all the deets on their Website. Application for Livestream event ends Mar
30. Go yourself and sponsor up to 10 students to attend with you. (saving)MACUL annual conference Mar 7-9. Waaaay too much great stuff to choose from! Tops on my list? BYOD, flipped classroom and elementary tech literacy. Looking forward to a dee-lish SIG luncheon at San Chez Bistro. Coming from out of town? "Chick" out Laugh Fest while you're here. :)
(saving...)Finally, my current favorite apps? Songify on my iphone and Plants v. Zombies on my iPad. I'm sure there's an educational purpose to them both! ;)
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....