Posts Tagged ‘IPad’

I have the wonderful opportunity to work with third and fourth graders on a rotating basis. I meet with a group of about 12 students once a week for 6 weeks, and then they rotate to another activity with another teacher (librarian, school counselor, etc.)  Over the course of they year I’ll work with all of the third and fourth graders in our school.

My  focus with them is on digital citizenship. We use many of the Common Sense Media lessons, either as stand-alone lessons or using the Nearpod version of them. Other activities are included as well, from making paper chains to illustrate the speed at which chain emails spread to designing comic strips to share a message.

Our culminating activity recently was for each student to create a small book (about 3 pages) using the BookCreator app. BookCreator has many great features that make this exciting. They have added a comic book layout with great fonts, stickers, and panel designs and students can incorporate audio, photos, drawings, video and more. They also allow you to export a completed book as a video.

I’ll share one example of the books that students created below. I took all of the books from one group and uploaded them to WeVideo to string them together in one video. The students are highly motivated by this project, though we all wish we had more time!

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Post 13 on the 30-Day Blogging ChallengeName the top tech tools that you use on a consistent basis in the classroom and rank them in order of their effectiveness, in your opinion.

tools “A successful tool is one that was used to do something undreamt of by its author.” – Stephen C. Johnson

The larger challenge here is that nowhere in the above prompt does it give me an idea of how many top tech tools I can list!

I’ll go for 3 that I use professionally and 3 that I recommend using with students.


1. Google tools: Email, Calendars, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Maps, Drawing, Google+, and Sites. There are more tools than that – but those I use on a daily basis. I haven’t used Office products in many years. When you can collaborate and access your things from anywhere, why use anything else?

2. Twitter- I joined Twitter in the fall of 2008. That’s 6 years ago! I’d say I began to see the power and use of Twitter about a year later and haven’t looked back. It’s the place where educators connect, share, support one another, stretch each other’s thinking, and get resources – all whenever you want it. I feel very fortunate to have my PLN.

3. Diigo – I use Diigo to save and share anything I find on the web. I have Twitter and Diigo connected so that anything I favorite on Twitter automatically saves to Diigo. I save many links each day and then have access to all of my resources anytime from anywhere. Plus, I can use the social side of it to see what others are saving and sharing, use Groups to collect collaboratively, and offer what I’ve shared to others.

With Students:

1. Common Sense Media: I value the work that went into designing their Digital Citizenship Scope and Sequence and highly recommend these resources to all educators. I’ve also used and am again using the Digital Passport site (and app) with students. Graphite is a fabulous tool where resources have been evaluated and vetted by other educators. Thank you Common Sense Media, for all you do to support educators, students, and parents.

2. Google tools, again: Having a Google Apps for Education domain has contributed to a big shift in the way we teach and the way we integrate technology. These tools enable students to use technology as a tool to support learning, rather than starting with the tech and trying to go from there. Collaboration and sharing has impacted the amount of printing as students turn their work in digitally. Google Classroom is just getting underway, but already I’m hearing excitement and enthusiasm from the teachers using it.

3. I use a variety of iPads apps with students to encourage them to share their learning with others. We offer choice and students decide on the best app to meet their needs. Some of these might include: iMovie, Haiku Deck, Book Creator, or Explain Everything. Those apps would be at the top of my list for that purpose.

I look forward to reading the 13th post that other bloggers have shared to get their perspective on top tech tools.

 Image: creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by katerha: http://flickr.com/photos/katerha/5746905652

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It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I won’t share any excuses. I just haven’t blogged. I’m hoping to remedy that.

In February, we worked on a project with third-eighth graders. Our school has a theme week during which students choose from and attend a variety of workshop sessions around a common theme. This year’s theme was the Olympics. We decided to use the Aurasma app on iPads to create auras with students. Here are some details about the workshop:photo (4)

  • Students came for 1 session only
  • Sessions were 1 ¼ hour in length
  • There were 12 students in each session
  • We did four sessions a day over three Days
  • Total: approximately 150 auras created!

Students only had that one session, so we needed to make this whole thing happen in just that time. Also given our time constraints, we completed the whole project on iPads, rather than incorporate computers or laptops into the process. Students chose to create a video using Tellagami or an iMovie trailer. The videos were about anything having to do with the Olympics- an athlete, a country, a sport. (We didn’t have time for research, so they needed some prior knowledge about their topic.)

Once they finished creating the video and saving it to the Camera Roll on the iPad, we took them through the steps of creating an aura in Aurasma. We uploaded all of the auras to one channel and then took trigger images of icons and photos from or about the Olympics. We posted those trigger images around the school for anyone to scan and then view the videos.

It was a great success, except for the one session where the internet went down!

Here’s how using Augmented Reality and the Aurasma app has evolved since then in our school:

  • Weather: students used Explain Everything to describe some collected and documented weather data. Those students then created a comic about a weather disaster and then used the comic as their trigger image.
  • Issues in Africa: students used iMovie to create PSAs about various issues in Africa today. They then shared them with one another for reflection and feedback by creating auras with trigger images around the classroom. Students walked around the room with iPads to view one another’s videos.
  • Solar System: a class made a large-scale model of the solar system on the ceiling. They put labels near planets and moons. Those labels are transforming into trigger images leading to videos with more detail about that planet or moon.
  • Classy Cards: one class worked with the art teacher to create paintings. Those paintings are then transformed into greeting cards. The class sells packages of these cards as a fundraiser for a local charity. They’re using Aurasma and creating auras of each painting that lead to a marketing video explaining what they did, why, and for what charity.

Here is a site I put together with resources about Augmented Reality for a recent conference at which I shared this project. I especially like this post (also on the site) which explains the difference between the Aurasma app and using Aurasma studio. I found that extremely helpful.

One goal for introducing this technology during Theme Week was to share a new technology and have it spread beyond the project. There are many people using Aurasma and augmented reality now, and many who are pondering how to incorporate this technology into their work with students.

Finally, in the spirit of sharing, here’s a doc with step-by-step directions on setting this up yourself. (also on the site listed above)

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I’d like to continue sharing how we’re getting started with the new iPads in our school with grades 3-8. I wrote about some of the processes in place in my previous post. This post will focus on some of the initial professional development that’s been put in place.

This summer, the administration supported the idea of offering a one-day iPad introduction to the teachers in this building. We spent a 7-hour day together learning about the processes, systems, apps, and important over-riding topics related to the iPads. The administration supported the idea of paying any teachers that came and gave up a summer day to participate. About 20 teachers came and joined in the fun.

During that day we worked on topics such as the SAMR model and Digital Citizenship. When introducing the SAMR model, I used Nearpod to take the teachers through a lesson and a Nearpod experience and showed this video. Teachers were then given a choice of 3 apps on the new iPads to create something to share with the rest of us about that topic. They could choose from Explain Everything, Educreations, or Doodlecast Pro. We spent some time sharing what was created and brainstorming how these apps might be useful in the classroom setting.

Earlier this summer I made a short video to introduce the big topics of Digital Citizenship that would be addressed in school. I used Powtoon to make this video. This was my first attempt, but I had so much fun. I have been sharing this video with teachers for two reasons- to give them the overview of some of the Digital Citizenship topics, and to introduce them to Powtoon. Again, when we looked at this during that summer iPad day, we talked at greater length about these topics and then teachers picked one and chose either Tellagami, BookCreator, or HaikuDeck to teach others.

The final part of the day was spent creating an impromptu video to introduce themselves to their students using iMovie. That idea was prompted by a post I had seen from the Tarrant Institute. It was amazing to see what these creative educators came up with in such a short period of time!

Since that day, it has been made clear that before any teachers use the new iPads with students, they need to have some elements of the training with me. So far, 75% of the teachers have done that! I’ve had to abbreviate the 7 hour training down to 1 hour. The parts that have stayed: using Nearpod to introduce the SAMR model, a discussion about Digital Citizenship, and learning the systems and procedures in place for using the iPads in our environment. So far, it’s going well. It is going to be extremely helpful that everyone has heard the same message, seen the same videos, and had similar discussions.

Last week we had a faculty meeting devoted to technology. After some nuts and bolts, we split into 6 small groups. There was a teacher in each group who facilitated the experience. They introduced an app, showed an example of it in action, had the participants get their hands wet using it, and then they all had a discussion about how it might be integrated into the classroom. The apps featured were: iMovie, Tellagami, BookCreator, GarageBand, Educreations, and Explain Everything. It was fun and energizing to see what people came up with and hear what they were taking away from the short gathering.

Teachers are already busy having students create with the iPads!

Teachers are already busy having students create with the iPads!

We continue to brainstorm how we can further explore, support, and learn about integrating the iPads into our curriculum. Having shared iPads challenges us, but it’s not stopping us!

Your ideas are welcome.

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Last year we proposed to start a 1:1 iPad initiative with our 5th and 6th graders. That didn’t pass in our community. I wrote about it in this post.

So, back to the drawing board we went. We did get some iPads with funds we had available. Our preK-2 school already had 2 carts. This year we got 3 carts at our grades 3-8 school building. The challenge facing us – sharing iPads, which are ideally a personal device, among many students.

When I was at ISTE this summer, I was especially focused on finding sessions, resources, or people who were sharing iPads. That was not easy- almost everyone had some sort of a 1:1 setting. I didn’t find answers to my questions.

So, I thought I would share this post with some details about what systems and logistics we have put in place in our schools to help others in our situation.

1. Pledges and Promises: Leave the iPads ready for the next user.

  • Teachers and students must clean off photos and videos when they complete a project.
  • Teachers and students must remember to sign out of any accounts they’ve signed into.
  • We’re not printing from iPads. Period.

2. Signing Out iPads:

photo (2) We have carts with 30 iPads. Within that, the iPads are grouped in 5’s. Each group of 5 iPads has a different color case. And there’s a sticker on the back that has a letter. Therefore, if a student starts a project on the blue iPad with the letter C on it, they easily know which iPad to get when they resume their work.

Teachers use the Google calendars to sign out iPads. They can sign out as many groups of 5 iPads they need. Some sign out one group of 5 when using them as a small station or project with a small group. At other times, teachers sign out 4 or 5 groups of 5 iPads to have a whole-class set for a specific task or project.

Teachers view availability on the calendars before signing them out. They also commit to returning iPads promptly when finished so that they are present for someone else who signed them out just after their time slot. Students may help get and return iPads as long as there’s an appropriate number of students to the number of iPads for safe handling.



3. Workflow:

Here are some of the ways in which we’re working to share things created ON the iPads and/or get them OFF the iPads:

Screen Shot 2013-08-25 at 9.27.30 PM Email- we have email accounts set up specifically for the iPads. There’s not one per iPad, but rather for each of our grade spans – K-2, 3-4, 5-8. We can email photos or other projects from the iPad to teachers or student email account to access later.




Screen Shot 2013-08-25 at 9.21.11 PM Dropbox – we have installed the Dropbox app. At this point, teachers can use their own Dropbox accounts. At some point, we may set up Dropbox accounts using the 3 email accounts above. We’re wondering who will manage those accounts and keep them relatively clean for others to use when getting close to the storage limit. This one isn’t fully developed yet!




Screen Shot 2013-08-25 at 9.23.20 PM PhotoSync– We installed PhotoSync on all iPads. This is already helping to solve issues we’ve had in the past. iMovie trailers created on iPads are generally too big to email. Sharing a collection of photos, rather than one at a time is challenging. PhotoSync allows us to share from one device to another (already helping some of our Special Educators) or to Drive or even to a computer via an IP address. So far, this is a very helpful app.



Screen Shot 2013-08-25 at 9.25.44 PM Drive– teachers and students can use Drive to access their GAFE accounts to create documents, spreadsheets, etc. on the iPads and then can access them again later on a computer, if necessary.





Screen Shot 2013-08-25 at 9.24.44 PM YouTube – we set up 3 YouTube accounts using the email accounts for each grade span listed above. This way we can upload straight to a YouTube channel and have this channel as a showcase of student work produced on iPads or with other tools. We hope it will be a way to share with our larger community and demonstrate what we are creating with iPads.




We’re off to a great start and teachers are very open-minded and exciting about new opportunities ahead. I’d appreciate any more insight, ideas, and suggestions for systems and logistics that work for others.


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I’m writing this to appeal to those at ISTE and those that are not. Basically, everyone! I sit here in this monstrous hall in San Antonio waiting for the keynote to start. The wifi is already going in and out. As I look at my conference planner app and ponder how to make the most of ISTE for the next two days, I realize I don’t see sessions that specifically meet my needs- or at least it’s hard to tell from the descriptions.

So I’m reaching out to my PLN and all of the ISTE attendees who see my tweet about this post.

I’m hoping to connect with others who:
Are using iPads with 3rd-8th graders
Do NOT have a 1:1
Are extending iPad integration beyond the substitution level
Have developed systems for how to share a device that’s intended to be a personal device
Understand the hope to use iPads for creating rather than consuming

If you know of any workshop sessions about iPads being shared effectively, please tweet to me, comment, or use other social media to find me so that we can connect and collaborate.

Thanks! Enjoy the keynote and the rest of the conference.

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What’s Not to Like?

It’s been a very interesting few weeks. In an effort to educate and inform the community in which I work, we offered a many question/answer sessions and presentations about our proposed 1:1 initiative for iPads for our 5th/6th graders. We didn’t have a huge turnout, but there were great conversations. We also added a new section to the district’s website with information about everything related to the proposal, including a frequently asked questions page and a form to submit more questions.

Last Tuesday was Town Meeting Day in Vermont. The residents of the towns vote on town budgets as well as school budgets. Our school budget, like most in Vermont, was going up. The majority of the increase is due to things for which there is little control like salaries, health benefits, and costs to operate our school buildings. In the whole budget, the cost for the 1:1 was about half of a percent.

For some reason, the idea of providing an iPad for each 5th and 6th grader didn’t sit well in this town. The whole budget got voted down, by 27 votes. When exploring things further, we saw that only 15% of registered voters turned out that day.

Image originally from Creative Commons/flickr by Sean MacEntee http://flic.kr/p/9EhzwC


We don’t know the next steps yet. The School Board and administration are faced with that task. The budget will likely be adjusted to better suit the voters. Will the iPad initiative be gone entirely? We don’t know yet.

One community member was heard to say, “Our town is not ready for this.” Why not this town, when others are fully in support? What are people frightened of? Loss of control of the digital culture in their homes? Fear that their children will know more than them? Obviously there’s not a clear understanding of how this tool can support, enhance, and transform learning for the better. How do we better educate and inform the adults in our greater community?

I’m still pondering the next steps and reeling with surprise from the tone of the vote. Do you have suggestions?



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