Tips 2012 Professional Learning #16:Creating and sharing learning online

One of the ways to create interactive online experiences is to use a learning management system (LMS). This is much easier than you think and is a great way to use mobile learning devices in daily classroom practice. These systems now incorporate social networking so students can create and share their learning as part of professional learning networks. There are a range of these, today I am discussing two free LMS systems designed for classroom use. Edmodo and Schoology.  I am seeing excellent use of  these systems in classrooms. Teachers can post tasks and assessments online in the password protected space they have created for their students. They can give parents access to sections of the site so parents can view the work. Students can access this work anywhere, anytime on a web enabled device. There are apps for Android and IOS devices like iphones and iPads. Students can post their responses to their teacher and work collaboratively with their peers. The facility to set up groups is very useful. The student work is all safely stored online, no need for complex server configurations.

Schoology

This video link guides you through how to set up a site in Schoology. Schoology has advanced features to set up test and assessments with self marking features.

Edmodo 

The Edmodo help site with very useful tips on everything you need to get this up and running in your classroom.

This post gives more details on how to use Edmodo in education

This post on edmodo gives lots of links to schools and blog sites with practical examples of edmodo in action
This video shows how a 5th grade student uses Edmodo

Please post a comment and share how you are using these tools in your teaching and learning

Edmodo touch app also available for android devices

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: Hearing devices linking to iPads

Please can anyone help us? We are looking for hearing devices, for example FM systems linked to hearing aids that can connect directly to iPads.

We want to assist children to record the teachers voice in a class on their iPads, so that the iPad can function as a note taking device.

We need to record the teachers voice via an FM system over a distance. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Tips2012:The New iPad -New features for education

The new iPad is being released in 11 more countries today Click here to watch the video of the “New iPad” launch.

There are some pretty exciting features – the quality of the video you can create is close to professional level standard. My research uses video diaries and live classroom videos as part of data analysis. So I can use the iPad to shoot my high resolution videos needed for the project. Plus there is an updated iMovie app for quick editing.

Another favourite new feature is that you can use the “New iPad” (iPad3) to create your own wireless hot spot in your classroom and connect five WiFi devices, which is very useful for teachers who don’t have a robust wifi network at school.

There is no Siri (voice activation), but according to the launch video the new iPad has voice dictation. This will be great for students with special needs. In other news, the iPad 2 prices have dropped, making then more affordable for schools.

We are using iPad2s in the Tips2012 research, and the teachers and students are doing so many fabulous things to engage students and promote deep learning and creativity. we are currently encouraging teachers to contribute to our iPad research survey, where you can also enter our draw to win a $50 iTunes voucher!

 

Tips2012: Will the iPad 3 be a game changer?

I am eagerly waiting for the new product launch in San Francisco. There have been many whispers on the networks about the nature of the new machine. The key question for educators is how will this device make learning more engaging and effective.Will this device be a game changer? send us your thoughts.

Tips2012 iPad research in beautiful Cape Town

 

I am in beautiful Cape Town meeting amazing educators from not-for-profit organizations, schools, and universities discussing my research project TPACK iPads in Schools – “tips” and opportunities for further learning and research in this area.

I had great discussions with Karen aka @ICT_Integrator on the importance of professional learning and support for teachers.

This is the core of the “tips” project to empower teachers to use technology effectively for teaching and learning. I am looking forward to doing some exciting work in schools this week, discussing iPads and learning opportunities for further study for teachers at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia.

I welcome South African educators to participate in my research and share their learning with us on this blog.

Jenny`s iPad Tip – Create your own Digital Texts

Digital textbooks are becoming a highly discussed and contentious issue. I am not a huge fan of textbooks, but where we do use them, they need to be interesting and engaging.

My flight today was delayed due to a cyclone, so I took the time to catch up on my reading. A report on the plans for wide scale introduction of digital textbooks in the USA was very interesting: “Playbook:Digital Textbook direction in the US“. It follows the plans in the USA to use digital textbooks across different states, and describes the huge financial investment by the government in textbook creation, high speed Internet provision, computers and tablets for students.

The launch of iBooks 2 showcases Apple’s new venture in digital textbook publishing. I have reviewed some of the digital textbooks and have found them very disappointing – they are just glorified PDF’s.

The challenge for textbook writers is to exploit the interactivity and engaging nature of ePubs in textbook production. They can be rich multi-modal documents with the embedded multimedia.

Many students don`t approach text in the way we have traditionally, reading pages from top to bottom and left to right. They tend to scan pages with their attention moving to the embedded hyperlinks and multi-media. It is also important that digital texts allow the reader to engage with the text through annotation and highlighting functions.

Digital textbooks can encourage student collaboration through the sharing functions. The e-book “Our Choice” by Al Gore uses some of the engaging, interactive features of digital publications that can be used in textbooks.

There are a number of apps and traditional software that allow you to create your own e-books. You can create an e-Pub in Pages, but you need the full computer version not the iPad app. Book Creator is the best ePub creator for the iPad.

Tips2012 iPad App Guide #4: Flipboard

 

Flipboard creates interactive digital magazines on your iPad based on your selection of social media feeds – from news websites, Twitter, Google Reader, blogs, Flickr, Facebook, Instagram, and blogs. It brings reading to life, and it’s FREE!

Flipboard is useful for teachers interested in connecting, sharing, and learning with other teachers around the world (via their Personal Learning Networks); and has interesting applications in the (secondary) classrooms.

For: Teachers, Students (Secondary)

Cost: Free (Download here)

Requires WiFi?: Yes

Educational Applications

Aggregate social networking and news feeds (teachers)

  • Easily keep up to date with educational blogs in your Google (RSS) Reader
  • Link to classroom Twitter / Facebook accounts to share links, pictures, and photos with students and their parents. Check the permissions of your school and district before using social networks with the students.
  • Subscribe to newspapers around the world
  • Explore texts & online media written in foreign languages
  • Create virtual textbooks (example)

Further Reading

15 Fantastic Uses of Flipboard (Cool Cat Teacher blog)