Tips 2012 Professional Learning #20:Which app is right for you?

When selecting apps my rule is “less is more”…In my experience it is better to have a few carefully selected apps that you can use in multiple ways than an app for every topic.

For many teachers at the start of a semester or the beginning of  a new school year you will be deciding which apps you will be using in your teaching. Selecting the right apps can be a challenge when there are so many applications on the app store. Always keep your educational objective clearly in focus, it is easy to be seduced by bright colours and cute animations. Think carefully about what the student will do… will this app allow the students to create, engage in higher order thinking and connect in new ways? There is some value in apps that allow students to consolidate their skills in an engaging manner. Apps that support the teaching  and can be used across the curriculum are good value per use as opposed to apps that will be used once or twice in a specific area.

A colleague Jan Clarke from AISWA has shared an extensive list of apps that she has complied. Classroom apps  Thanks for sharing all your hard work Jan. I look forward to hearing from you about the apps you find most useful in your teaching.

Tips 2012: Researcher receives National Award

Dr Jenny Lane receives a National Award for Learning and Teaching

I felt very honoured to be awarded a national award from the Australian Government Office of Learning and Teaching for my work and research on the use of ICT  in education.  The citation:

For sustained contribution to promoting the use of learning technologies to enhance student learning through research and personal practice.”

Celebrating the awards with Frank Lane,Dr. Jenny Lane, Professor Mark Hackling who received an award for his contribution to Science Education and Research, Kathleen Hackling and Professor Lynne Cohen, Dean of the Faculty of Education and the Arts Edith Cowan University.

Tips2012: Teachers’ Voices #5:A learning challenge exploring tastes and flavours

Peachy flavoursA learning challenge “Taste my world”

The yr 1 students at Rossmoyne Primary are very busy working on their learning challenge “Taste my world.” This class has students from thirteen different cultural backgrounds and they are exploring tastes and flavours from around the world. I am looking forward to working with them and their teachers next week. Watch this space for exciting updates.Gelato -a taste of Italy

Tips 2012 Professional Learning #12: Teckie Brekie

I am enjoying my visit to a new school in Perth.This  school has embraced the use of technology to transform teaching and learning from day one.  The design of the school encourages collaborative learning with glass walled classrooms and communal learning spaces.  The timetable has been designed to allow space and time for students to engage in deep learning. Students have longer blocks of time to work on cross curricular projects exploring “Big Ideas” using an inquiry based approach.

Mobile touch tablets are used as the base technology. This was introduced to the community through information sessions with parents and students.  This school has recommended that schools work with parents to set up individual iTunes accounts managed by the parents.  Students agree to a digital use policy.

Posters and e-pubs were used to distribute information on policy and use within the school. The school created resources to guide parents, and these resources contain everything parents need to know about using the device at school and at home.

The school gave instructions on how students need to set up the device to promote learning. Specific instructions were given to students on how to set their up the pages on each screen and a number of essential apps were recommended. These were arranged in folders according to learning areas and function.

Digital learning spaces have been created using Edmodo, a free online learning space which presents in format like Facebook, but is specifically designed for teaching and learning. This is safe and is password protected. The teacher has control over what is posted. All students in the class can share resources and post their work.

Students use the devices to create visual collections to display their learning in a visual way. Skype and FaceTime are used to link the class to community experts and to students in other classes. This way of learning uses technology to transform traditional learning experiences, extending the learning beyond the four walls of the classroom.

Tips2012: Teachers’ Voices #3: Phil`s i-Story

Using iPads to teach English as a second language

Phil Rice is a teacher of adult ESL learners in the state of Delaware, USA. He has taught English Composition and multiple levels of ESL classes. He enjoys using technology to teach and help students to teach themselves. Phil is an avid user of iPads in his ESL classes, and he has shared some of the activities he uses in his teaching
Show me

Show Me

 Phil sent in this i-Story in response to a posting we did on using the Show Me screen casting app to read that post Tips2012 App Guide: Show Me. The Show Me app was also used for ESL teaching  in Schools in India as mentioned in Jude`s i-Story.
With ShowMe, teachers can…

1) Create an online lesson for an in-class topic. Record the main ideas of your lesson and give students a link or post your creation to an online social media site.

2) Have students create a narrated visual presentation on a topic using your/their iPad and show it in class as opposed to a “stand in front of the class” type presentation.

3) Create a Vocab Map using Skitch / DoodleBuddy and ShowMe together. Pick a picture that is related to a topic you are teaching and annotate it with Skitch showing the vocabulary for the picture. Then, upload the photo and use it on ShowMe to narrate and pronounce the vocab.

4) Download the presentation and upload it to YouTube so students have instant access to your ShowMes!

These are just a few uses for ShowMe. I use it all the time, and I’m sure that you will too once you get used to it.

Thanks Phil for sharing your i-Story.

You can visit Phil`s blog, ESL Commando, to find more ideas for using ICT in ESL classes.

Tips 2012 Professional Learning #7: Twilight Seminars

Keep calm and grab an iPad- Dr. Jenny Lane

M-Learning in Education@ECU

We had a great evening tonight in the first two session of our Twiilght Seminars@ECU, attended by over 350 teachers and school leaders.

Click here for a report on the M-Learning@ECU Events  Teaching with technology

The topic was M-Learning, “Learning using Mobile Devices”. We discussed the research findings in Phase 1 of the TPACK iPads in Schools Project. This research project investigates teachers’ needs as they work in new ways with iPads. This research is funded through my research fellowship and research grants and awards that I have received from Edith Cowan University. I discussed the rationale and theoretical background supporting the use of ICT in classrooms and gave examples of how school students embrace new technologies fearlessly.

Specialist consultants from from AISWA, Catholic Education and the Department of Education gave valuable insights on exciting projects and the teaching and learning strategies used in their schools.

Louise Cimetta and Caroline Mullins from Catholic Education enjoying M- Learning@ECU

Some of our fabulous teachers and industry colleagues shared their experiences introducing iPads and BYOD in schools, and told us about their favourite apps.
Tricky Tips on managing work flows, transferring documents to other devices, and how to select apps provided much needed technical information for all iPad users.

Thanks to Sarah, Ian, Doug, Jamie,Shaloni, Michelle, Louise and Jan for inspiring snapshots of their work.

Thanks to Madlen and the prac team helping organizing the event.

Tips2012: Teachers’ Voices #2: Doug’s i-Story

A frequently asked question is “How do I transfer items created on my iPad to other devices?” This leads to the issue of workflows and document management on an iPad.

In this i-Story, Doug Lauder shares his thoughts on how to share content created on iPads. Doug works in education supporting teachers as they use technology.

He will be presenting on document sharing and workflows on iPads at the M-Learning in Education@ECU Twilight events on the 5th & 6th June at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia. These events are free for teachers and pre-service teachers. If you would like to join us use the booking link below:

Booking Form for the M-Learning in Education@ECU Twilight Events

 

iPad and sharing content in the classroom.

The most noteworthy aspect of the iPad is its’ simplicity. When providing Professional Development to teaching staff I normally ask that they forget everything they have learnt before about operating computers. I also ask that they leave behind any preconceptions of how the device works at the door. Don’t over complicate, just tap to get going.

But this is not easy, especially after many years of learning why file structure is important, how a “Home” folder works, and why “housekeeping” is not confined to just your house.

It is this file handling that is missing from the iPad, and it seems that it is Apple who are standing firm here, and for good reason. After all why do you need a music folder when you have iTunes? Pictures and video can be organised very well in the Camera Roll. Word processing now starts and finishes with Pages. But of course, there are times when we need to leave the Apple walled garden, for example; to collect, mark and return two dozen essays, animations or videos.

Email in the classroom
There are many apps which allow for content creation, notably iMovie and Garageband but also Sonic Pics, Comic Life and Photoshop Touch. How can I gather all of this media for assessment? Email is the quick solution, but this method is of no use if the iPad is a shared iPad with no email account assigned to the Mail app. As the recipient of 15-25 emails with attachments, the process is not practical either. Below I will illustrate a workflow which will work for a class set of iPads or a student personal iPad:

1. The Share Icon – to Camera Roll
This little icon is the key and there is one share destination which appears more than most and that is the Camera Roll. If we can export media to the local Camera Roll it is easy to get that to a conventional folder.

2. Dropbox
Dropbox currently have more than 50 million users, they are the cloud storage experts. App developers acknowledge this, and many are happy to allow direct export to the Dropbox app (if installed) from within their app (eg, Explain Everything). If the export to Dropbox isn’t an option from the Share icon simply choose Camera Roll (sometimes called Photo Roll).

3. Upload from Camera Roll to Dropbox
Dropbox allows you to upload content from your Camera Roll to a Dropbox folder of your choice. A good place for students to upload their work may be to a folder which is shared with the teachers personal account. That way the teacher can asses the work from iPhone, PC or Mac at his/her own leisure.

Drawbacks
Unfortunately all students who drop final projects into a shared folder can view the contents of that folder too. (and as yet it is not possible to create write only permissions to Dropbox folders). This isn’t a problem if you are using a shared class set of iPads in any case. But if each student has their own iPad, I would recommend that they open their own Dropbox account. That way you will be able to keep private folders with each student, if privacy is a must.

Conclusion
It may sound like I am on commission from Dropbox! But at this intermediate stage (between Lion – Mountain Lion and the expansion of iCloud) I don’t see a plausible workflow which replaces the file structure Dropbox allows us. Looking closely at iPhoto (for iPad) reveals a sharing option called Beam. Could this become standard for iPad communication in the future?

The workflow diagram above illustrates my favourite apps and how I transfer files around. I’m sure that I may have overlooked some “share paths” but I hope that it helps.
http://isupport.com.au
Doug Loader

Tips2012: Teachers’ Voices #1: Richard’s iStory

An exciting new feature on the TPACK iPad Project is “Teachers’ Voices”, featuring teachers` stories and experiences with iPads in education.

Teachers` VoicesPlease send me your stories we can all learn from your experiences. If you would like to share your story and be featured on this blog, please email: Jenny Lane (j.lane@ecu.edu.au), and include “Tips2012: Teachers’ Voices” in the title.

Please indicate if I have permission to include your name, and the name of your school. If you would prefer to be anonymous, let me know. Your story will become part of the data collected in the research collection and will inform our work with teachers.

An iStory from Richard  (@rhp123)

We are a small, independent primary school in NSW. Our school has been pursuing the idea of  achieving 1:1 for several years. Our stance has been around the idea of making technology accessible to students and teachers as required. Our motivation for doing this was an evolving one, but at the core was the idea that Technology could enhance learning and create new learning opportunities.

In the dim past we had a computer room. Which consisted of fourteen Apple machines networked and connected precariously to a 28K modem. It was the late nineties and Apple was floundering so we transitioned to PC and escaped from the confines of a computer room moving into a network which threaded it’s way through the school. Small groups of PCs scattered conveniently in shared spaces. Over time the mobile banks of laptops (Windows based) have evolved into our main technological delivery system along with interactive Smartboard equipped classrooms. In 2010 we achieved 1:1 with our Year 6 classes and in 2011 we added 1:2 committed resources to our Year 5 students.

Reading and discussions with various educators had drawn us toward the idea of tablets. I had an Android phone so our first investigation was into Android tablets, which we trialled and tested. The iPad also seemed to be getting rave reviews and many educational institutions were adopting them in the US (not that that was really a compelling reason).

The iPad was by far the best device we tried.

  • It offered a wealth of apps for education (which catered for various needs)
  • A number of State Education Departments /sectors had committed to trials e.g. Victorian Dept of Education http://ipad.ipadsforeducation.vic.edu.au/
  • A large number of schools internationally were adopting iPads e.g. http://ow.ly/1KTzfO (New York Times article)
  • iPads were robust and well supported (this was particularly compelling in our small school setting as we don’t have substantial technical support services)
  • iPads had no boot time issues (this had always been an annoyance with laptops) and their battery life meant they could be used continuously all day without charging
  • iPads were easy to navigate and were slick in operation
  • They offered versatility for both students and teachers
  • iPads were competitive in price (especially against our traditional laptop delivery system)

So we committed to the idea of the iPad as a technological vehicle to help drive change and improve the learning opportunities of our students. This involved changing from a Windows environment to an Apple environment. It involved exploring management issues. It involved investigating iTunes and trialling apps. It involved the idea of moving into the cloud and away from traditional networks. It involved raising funds to achieve implementation. It involved upgrading aspects of our network. It involved extensive discussion, collaboration and research.

We launched our iPad initiative with 45 iPads which we distributed both for staff and students. A key part of our launch was to engage staff and familiarize them with the iPads. One of the greatest challenges faced is to involve teachers in change. Especially change which isn’t in the traditional repertoire.

Providing many teachers with iPads certainly moved the swing of the pendulum towards technology. The other positive about iPads from the teacher perspective was that it wasn’t too alien as many teachers were already using iPhones. At any rate teachers found the operating system easy to use and in no way daunting. This provided impetuous to our effort. We had been unable to equip all teachers with individual iPads and they all wanted them.

Students were equally eager and familiar with the iPads as many had iPod Touch, iPhones, or iPads already. They are also the most desired device in the “Must Have” category at the moment.

Our initial roll out was primitive because we didn’t commit to a management system as we were waiting to see what iOS 5 had to offer. A single profile was created and this proved to be satisfactory for our trial. Our lack of a management system created problems in terms of updating our operating system. We had to update all 45 individually. It also meant that we couldn’t manage individual devices or individualize devices to any extent.

We realized fairly early that iPads particularly for older students (upper primary) and for teachers needed to be set up as individual devices. We have now invested in a management system “Casper” which provides a reasonable degree of control at a reasonable cost.

The engagement of students and of teachers with the iPads and the possibilities that the iPad offers for the integration of technology into programs across the school provided a compelling argument for the expansion of the iPad initiative. As already observed we recognized that the needs of some students and their use of iPads would be different.

Our next faze (which is currently underway) will see the implementation of a 1:1 iPad roll out for Year 5 & 6 students. This will enable individualization of iPads for this group and this will particularly enable the integration of devices with “The Cloud”. Services such as Dropbox, Otixo, Evernote, Google Docs, and email require individualization and need to be set up for each student in order to be really effective on the iPad. We will also accommodate all full time teaching staff and provide a versatile supply for various other student user groups from Preschool to Year 4.

One of the negatives of the iPads has been that there isn’t volume licensing available to schools in Australia yet. This means that under the current Apple Licensing Agreement each device needs to purchase its own apps. We will provide the essential Apple apps to our students Pages, Keynote, Numbers, GarageBand and iMovie. The cost of these alone per device is around $40.00AUD.

We consider that if we are investing in an Apple product we should provide an understanding of the Apple platform to our students as we have done with Microsoft. Clearly we are grateful that many excellent apps are free or relatively cheap.

iPads are great, but they are just a new tool in our technological arsenal. We remain committed to providing access to a robust Windows network of laptops and peripherals for use across the school. To this end we are considering options around our mobile Windows devices. We have a good supply of Dell Netbooks which we have been using for the last two years, however new possibilities in terms of hardware are appearing. One of the great appeals of the iPad is its portability and interactivity. We are taking a look at some Windows based tablets.

I must stress that our school isn’t fixated on technology. We are fixated on our students. We are evaluating our learning environments, exploring best practice and implementing change where we perceive benefit. iPads are just an element in our journey towards achieving “success” for our students.

 Thanks to Richard Prowse for sharing his inspiring i-Story.