Tag Archives: ipad summit

iPads in the 21st Century: It’s Not About the Apps!

The last session of the day (after presenting at my own) is “iPads in the 21st Century Classroom: It’s NOT About the Apps!” with Stephanie Harman. You can see her presentation material here.

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 2.35.21 PMStephanie shares her iPad evolution experience. Her first summer was overwhelming, so many apps (especially content specific apps) and believing that her tools would be far ahead what the students were doing. She said that the biggest error that she and her peers made was finding a “cool app” and then designing a lesson around it. THey quickly learned that it’s about using the iPad as one of tool of many and a way to develop their 21st century skills! It’s not about transcribing or scanning in worksheets, but building innovative pedagogy. It’s not about designing your lesson around an app, but around what you want your students to know and do.

The great thing about iPads is that it enables students to “conduct research and present their findings using their own voice and creativity.” This does mean giving up some of the control, trusting your students, and allowing them to be creative. She demonstrates some learning projects that her students created. What is striking to me is that they clearly are invested in their projects and learning! Michelle highlights that her students will often be inspired by one another’s work, leading to more out of the box thinking and greater investment in projects. I appreciate that Stephanie highlights that processual projects are important to ensure that students think out and plan their projects in advanced. We’ve all seen students throw together a presentation and try to “cover it up” with flashy elements.

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 2.54.05 PMAnother element that Stephanie highlights is that “students will synthesize ideas in original and surprising ways.” She shows us another example of students creating a silent film to present the life and times of a scientist! Another student used Comic Life to tell the story of the Earth’s Layers! What is really great about multimedia projects is that students can surprise us. Some kids that are not as good at “traditional” school assignments can shine when they are allowed to be creative and really invest in their own education.

Movie Trailers in iMovie are another great tool that students can use to “hook” their classmates into stories or projects that they are creating. If you would like to see some examples of this, check out her presentation here. This is a great way to teach them the value of production/presentation in their work.

iPads allow students to “communicate in complex, engaging and modern ways.” Instead of having students write out their Spanish sentences or conjugating verbs, they can create an interactive eBook that includes writing, images, and written language!

iPads will “allow students to apply their knowledge in new situations.” What they learn in your classroom will be applied in other classes as well as in other facets of their life. I find it thrilling when a student tells me that they made a video for another class after learning how to do it in my class in our student documentary project or that they use Google Drive to store their vacation photos!

iPads will encourage students to “work collaboratively to solve a problem and achieve a shared vision.” Students can use the iPad along with tools like Google Drive to create a collaborative and engaging research project. By engaging students on their level, they can accomplish great things. You can see a great example of this in her presentation in the video “Climate Change.”

So by not focusing on the apps, but instead what your students can do this will enable them to do some great things in your classroom!

Retroactively Managing an iPad Program

Retroactively Managing an iPad Program: Centralizing an iPad Program That Precedes Policy with Jen Carey – from Kate Wilson

This is a live blog of my presentation at the iPad Summit. The original post can be found here.

For my second live blog, I am blogging the master of the live blog, Jennifer Carey (@TeacherJenCarey) for her talk. A link to her materials can be found here.

Jen Carey is the the Director of Educational Technology at the Ransom Everglades School (a secular independent school) in Miami, Fl. You can learn about all the great things she does on her blog, Indiana Jen (she studied Archeology she isn’t from Indiana) .

While not one of the “sexiest” topics at the Conference, Jen explains how this type of information is necessary and integral to any type of roll out of iPad program. She learned this process by trial and error and is sharing what she learned when she started at her school just a little over a year ago. Her school already had iPads but had no policy or even an idea how many iPads there really were.

Don’t Do it

Jen recommends never trying to retroactively set up a management system for iPads. Don’t try to figure it out as you go. Planning is vital to a successful program. She adds there is also no one cookie cutter program with a solution for all. Her school is not 1:1, it is a shared cart program for the students and 1:1 for the teachers. The students cannot get on the network or bring their own devices.

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 12.38.49 PM

How did I get here?

Jen’s school’s story is not unique. There are alot of schools in the same situation.  iPads are fastest type of technology to be adopted.  iPads are purchased by teachers using department money or a grant but then it can get out of hand if you go from 10 to 200 iPads and a plan is required to manage the iPads no matter what the size of the program.

Jen has developed the following steps based on her experience.

Step 1: Catalogue

Know the exact number of iPads that you have. There are so many different versions of the iPads out right now. Jen was given a stack of papers to try and figure out where all the iPads are. She has found the best information to keep (electronically) is:

  • Serial Numbers
  • Primary User
  • Make/Size/ Capabilities
  • Date of acquisition

Jen makes a great point about purchasing the most recent version of an iPad as opposed to saving 20% to get the last version. This could actually cost more money down the road if there are a) obsolete or b) need extra hardware/software to be retrofit.

Step 2: Assess your Needs

Asking important questions will help shape your policy. Everyone has different needs per individual program but basic questions to anwser are:

  • Who are your users?
  • How will they be used?
  • Where will they be used?
  • Do you multiple policies?
  • Security of devices including both physically and with a lock code but also content based (don’t keep students medical records on your iPad) or allow your own child have access to content they shouldn’t if they play with it at home

Step 3: Examine and Revise Existing Policies

Look at your existing policies such as if you have a school with laptop policy already in place to see if needs to be tweaked or expanded. Some schools have very out of date policies that don’t reflect the device. It defeats the purpose to have an iPad if you won’t let your teachers take them home. However, every school is different. Jen’s shared cart program doesn’t allow students to take them home.

Loss/ damage is something you need address in your policy. At Jen’s school they have 25% personal fee that can be waived to balance the encouragement to use the device and the responsibility to take care of the iPad.

Step 4: Determine End Management

What can the user do? Can they download apps? Realize the less you let them do, the more you as administrator would have to do because people will come to you for apps and updates.  Jen’s policy is posted here: Acceptable Use Policy This is for the teachers who use the iPads in the classroom. For students, they shut down the store and even have a GeoFence so that the iPads shut down if they leave the school.

A side note Jen makes is to always go to 32GB for iPads not 16GB because you can’t upgrade the memory and you don’t want to be spending alot of time deleting to make room.

Step 5: Numbers and Record Keeping

Determine tax and reporting obligations as depending on if you are Public or Independent school. Keeping meticulous records is necessary for tax exempt status and based on your school. If schools are audited you don’t want to loose your status because of app purchases.

For dolling out apps, they purchase the apps for teacher’s account. As a perk, they allow the teacher to keep them on their account.

Step 6: Pick your Management System

Jen recommends you choose just one system. At her school they use two because of their shared cart system.  For their teacher iPad program they use Meraki. It should work with existing infrastructure as there are many firewall issues. She also recommends that you sit with your tech implementor to make sure all the kinks are worked out on a weekly basis.

Step 7: Draft your Policy

You need to address certain aspects for a complete policy. Its about doing what is right for your school and community.

  • Management Policy
  • Security
  • Configuration/Usability
  • App Purchase Procedure
  • Cellular Subscriptions
  • Record Keeping
  • Replacement/Retirement

Another tip Jen has for Replacement/ Retirement, 3 years is really the maximum for a device before it obsolete. Right now iPad 2′s are really only a year and half.

Step 8: Introduce to your community

When introducing your policy to your community, you should have multiple meetings. Jen had a faculty meeting and a parent meeting along with followup of letters home. Transparency is the biggest thing to ease the concern. There is a paranoia of what you are watching. Why do you want to monitor it? Jen pulls up her own iPad and shows them what she has. She emphasizes that she can see what you installed but she can’t see how long.

Be prepared for people to push back especially if they are used to looser procedures. Explain the reasoning is for tax purposes and budgeting. Jen uses enticement such as applications for free. If teachers spend time with Jen then they get Explain Everything and iMovie which they get to keep. The key is talking to them and being open to feedback.

Step 9: Be Open to Feedback

Discussions with teachers are vital. Jen cut the camera off the iPads because she didn’t want to delete selfies anymore but a teacher really needed the camera for her lesson. You have to be willing to change and be flexible. Creating pilots are way to push back on ideas and compromise on what can work.

Topics with No “Clean” Solution

Jen doesn’t have all the answers and encourages the audience to share advice on how to address some of the trickier problems.

  • In App Purchases: Free to play are the number one money makers on iTunes. Reimbursement is the best way Jen has found to deal with them.
  • Subscription Services: also are like In App Purchases so this is an issue they also have to address individually.
  • MDMs are easily removed: Make the Mobile Device Management system as un-intrusive as possible because if you don’t then they can delete easily. If a teacher removes the MDM then Jen gets an email and she friendly addresses it on individual basis.

Jen ends with emphasizing that you have to do what works for your school and encourages the audience to reach out with other schools going through the same issues to find solutions. Jen tends to lean in her policies to not limiting too much as it can cause some problems.

The Language Classroom 2.0: How Making a Self-Made iBook Has Transformed Language Instruction (7-12)

The next session I’m attending is: “The Language Classroom 2.0: How Making a Self-Made iBook Has Transformed Language Instruction (7-12)” with Violet Richard and Anderson Auza from Noble and Greenough School. You can see a copy of their presentation slides here.

The agenda states that they will cover three main topics: Video, iBook, Apps & Websites. Noble & Greenough is currently piloting iPads in the 7th, 8th, and 9th grade (1:1) as well as some shared carts. There are also some iPads for specific classes (like the language class).

Anderson shows us a lovely video of Violet and her students reflecting on using the iPads in their Spanish Classroom.  Violet states that incorporating iPads has helped her to create the text that she wants (not one that is based on the textbook) and allows greater organization. Her students highlight a well organized, condensed piece that allows them to take notes directly on the iPad allows them to more effectively study and learn.



What Violet determined from her experience were that the iPad allowed for:

  • multi-dimensional capabilities
  • custom-designed
  • personal interest – songs, cultural aspects, etc.
  • mobile & lightweight
  • efficient & condensed
  • interactive & engaging
  • It can be edited in real time
  • It can be financially sustainable

For language teaching, the most effective tools on the iPad is the camera, the photo roll, and the apps! By using these tools you can create a multimedia, finished device.

Violet now shows us the iBook she created for her Spanish II Honors  class. The book includes video, images, as well as text. Students can progress through at their own pace. Students do not need to switch between multiple tools/devices, it’s all in their iPad. By incorporating Quizlet into the book students can study their word lists. Violet highlights the fact that the iBook option allows them to focus on developing oral proficiency in their language learning environments; you certainly can’t do that with a traditional book! Anderson highlights that the mobile nature of the iPad helps to foster the necessary spontaneity of language proficiency.

When putting together your Book, be sure to contact publishers to ensure you can use the image in your book (Fair Usage is a little problematic). You can also build your own content using tools like GoAnimate, as well as film and video that you take (from field trips, your own travels, etc) to build your book. This allows for even greater flexibility in building content.

Creating an iBook

iBook Author

iBook Author

The primary means of building an iBook is via the application, iBook Author. While the software is free, it’s important to know that it only works on Apple computers.

Building an iBook does require that you hone a new set of skills because now you’re the author, curator, editor, designer, and publisher. Before you start, she suggests that you outline:

  • Decide on chapters/themes
  • Generate/collect activities
  • Take photos
  • Find images & consider copyright
  • Record audio/video & format them
  • Organize a storyboard/outline
  • Create customized activities
  • Build screencasts
  • Find YouTube & other online links
  • Familiarize yourself with iBook author (here’s a great tutorial)

Apps & Websites

There are many apps that you can use in your classroom, so Violet & Anderson highlight a few apps that focus on creation and flexibility, rather than simply content based tools.

Notability for grading

Notability for grading

Reading & Writing

Notability ($2.99) and Goodnotes ($4.99)

These tools allow Violet to quickly grade their content using her own, hand written notes! These tools can integrate with Google Drive.

Video & Audio

Camera (free, included) and YouTubeCapture (free)

These allow students to quickly record and share content via a link, not uploading large files to Drive (which can be time consuming).


Safari (free, included) and iBooks (free)

The digital textbook is shared via iBook and the Safari browser allows them to access foreign language content throughout the world.


iTunes U (free) and Podcast (free)

With these tools students can access content from various educational institutions and experts for free, right on their iPad!

Explain Everything

Explain Everything

Multimedia Creation

Explain Everything ($2.99), Book Creator ($4.99), and Educreations (free)

These tools allow you to create and edit content as well as opportunities for the students to demonstrate their own learning in multiple formats.

Sharing Information

Google Drive (free)

Sharing content created on iPads is key. One of the best ways to do this is with cloud computing options. Google Drive is popular because of its connection to Google Apps for Education (GAFE).


Skype (free) and Facetime (free, included)

Using these tools students can engage with people in other countries, practicing their language skills, or communicate with one another.

There are several other tools and apps that they highlight in their talk, which you can view here.

Explain Everything: Demonstrating Understanding with Screen Casting

My first session is “Explain Everything: Demonstrating Understanding with Screencasting” by Reshan Richards. It highlights one of my favorite iPad Apps, Explain Everything. You can see the slides for Reshan’s presentation here.  Here’s a great, quick tutorial to familiarize yourself with the app:

Reshan is an Ed Tech Director at the Montclair Kimberley Academy. With the advent of iPad 1, Reshan saw the iPad as a potential to replace the Smart Board for interactive creation – an extension as it would allow multiple students to work on a single device. He teamed up with some app developers in Europe to design an educational app – Explain Everything ($2.99).

Leading Online

Leading Online

Reshan highlights that his experiences with Explain Everything and in the Ed Tech world has led him to write a book, “Leading Online” ($9.99).

Reshan’s demonstration is hands on – he invites up a volunteer and then opens up the Explain Everything app. He takes a photo of the participant and then proceeds to demonstrate how he can manipulate that image using the application – annotate it with writing, change the colors of the background (he quickly changes Pete into a super hero with a red cape and a Zorro mask). He then invites the audience to do the same, using Explain Everything, or another app – turn to your neighbor, take their photo, and “transform” them!

Design Spaces/Care for Spaces

While many people call the app an interactive whiteboard, Reshan says that it’s really more of a design space – it’s a space in which you can create, but that you must also consider organization and space. Ed Tech Leaders, and leaders in general, are skilled in two things: saving time and helping us to share our talent. Ideally, this app and harnessing it effectively, can help us in both arenas. 

The iPad connects us to the internet, has a high resolution screen, as well as a high resolution camera. This enables us to do amazing things on the go. For example, using the site Unsplash, you can incorporate free, high resolution, professional images. You can then incorporate these into bigger projects. Explain Everything allows you to scale and move images effectively (you can lock the scale or the tilt by clicking on an image and then the “eye” button on the left). You can then add clip art (check out OpenClipArt.org), drawings, writing, arrows, typing, sound, video, and more! To learn some great tricks with the app, check out their short and informative video tutorials. By using this application, students learn how to organize spaces with flexible design choices. A visual vocabulary is important for 21st century learners – humans are drawn to beautiful things (typed papers get higher grades than hand-written, beautiful clothes draw the eye, etc), it is important to understand the value of presentation! The next thing that Reshan does is Directs the Audience to play with Explain Everything in a collaborative exercise, “Ask for Help, Accept Help.”

Challenge Meeting Structures/Change Meeting Structures 

1853846_origSo how does the classroom look now that a student is creating content? Reshan states that this is highlighted in his own research around the concepts of: Teachers’ Beliefs & Practices, Design-Based Research, Formative Assessment, and Mobile Multimedia Devices. iPads allow students and teachers to change the physical and philosophical world of education, it’s portable and often reverse-engineered. Screencasting isn’t about the tool, but rather the person and what they believe. How does technology capture informal conversations that aren’t necessarily measured in traditional assessments?

Reshan’s research highlights how screencasting tools, especially on mobile devices like the iPad, can change the way we view learning and measure students’ understanding and creative exploration. Additionally, it allows for flexibility in the classroom for individual teachers, various grade-levels, and differentiated classes. Sometimes this means letting it go and allowing the learning to become “messy.” The messiness reflects the purity of their thought process and learning experience.

Reshan’s qualitative research using Screencasting apps on the iPad (soon to be published) highlighted the following:

Research by Reshan Richards

Research by Reshan Richards

The key experience that Reshan highlighted is that students (of all ages and abilities) need time to play. You need to “get the sillies out” and in the act, familiarize yourself with the tool. Another key element is that it’s necessary to share learning, reject “squirreling” your talents and knowledge.

Keep the Offramp Open/Use it Frequently

Reshan reminds us that the tool is one thing, but that they come and go. It’s about the people and the experiences. Use technology to strengthen a human relationship, not solely to make it more efficient. The way that people use the app (Explain Everything) can help teachers to understand what their students know and understand.

iPad Summit Welcome – Thomas Daccord

Thomas Daccord, the Director of EdTechTeacher, welcomes us all again to the iPad Summit in San Diego – a gathering of 600 educators focused on innovative education. Tom begins his welcome by highlighting the fact that this isn’t really a single device focused conference. Rather, it’s about fostering an environment of student learning and creativity. It’s about viewing the iPad as an avenue of learning (not a consumption device). It’s about the iPad as a mobile, creation device rather than a tool to simply read content or watch video. It’s time to put the iPad in the classroom, rather than on the classroom.

Heading to the iPad Summit San Diego

Next week (February 3-5) I have the privilege of attending the iPad Summit in San Diego. I have had the opportunity to attend all previous iPad Summits, which I live-blogged (you can see those posts here). In addition to live-blogging the event, I will also be presenting during the second session on Tuesday, February 4. If you are in attendance, I hope you will check out (and maybe live blog) my talk: “Retroactively Managing an iPad Program: Centralizing an iPad Program that Precedes Policy”

The iPad has been adopted faster than any other technological tool in education. Consequently, iPads have been adapted at different rates and manners in many schools. Administrators find themselves with an iPad program before they have developed an existing policy. Often times, these policies evolve sporadically and in different ways. For example, students may bring their own iPad as part of a formal or information BYOD program; faculty may use school funds or grant monies to purchase individual or classroom iPads; iPad carts are often purchased without full implementation processes; department chairs may designate iPad deployments for their subordinates – these are but a few options.
When I was hired at Ransom Everglades, I was inadvertently placed in charge of an existing iPad program that did not formally exist. It quickly became my job to develop and implement the means to catalogue, manage, write app purchasing processes, and formalize best practice policies of an iPad program after the fact.
I then navigated the good, bad, and ugly of the process of implementing an iPad program after dozens of iPads had been purchased for faculty, staff, and students. I’ve learned much from the achievements and shortcomings of my experiences, including how to develop effective best practices that tackle taxation and legal concerns as well as how to effectively address the apprehensions of administrators and staff when employing policy after a tradition of informal practice. During my presentation, I’ll also discuss how to execute policies that are flexible and adaptable enough to fit current and future needs of a school. In retroactively developing an effective iPad policy, it is necessary to focus not only on the ins and outs of management, but the concerns of school personnel, incorporate flexibility, and take into account current needs and practice.

Be sure to keep an eye on my blog as well as blogging posts by Beth Holland next week for live updates


5 Great Live Blogging Tips!

live-bloggingThis is reblogged from my post on Edudemic.

This post was co-authored by Jennifer Carey and Beth Holland.

Live Blogging is a popular medium to convey information as it is announced. Unless you’ve been privileged enough to get an invitation to the latest Apple or Google Event, then you have likely seen the release of information via Twitter or other live blog platforms. Live Blogs include not only writing, but images, video, links, and more. In essence, they are multimedia publications. Most conferences have access to wireless, and their inherent nature and culture – engaging, interactive, and open – lend to a live blog platform.

Jennifer Carey (@TeacherJenCarey) began live blogging a few years ago while attending conferences about educational technology. I discovered this via Twitter and began following Jen as she toured different events. Then, during the first EdTechTeacher iPad Summit in Boston, I was astounded to see these amazing posts magically appear on the #ettipad hashtag and tracked her down in person! After serving as her ad-hoc editor during the Atlanta iPad Summit last spring, I decided to accept the challenge to Live Blog with Jen this past November during iPad Summit Boston. First, let the record stand that Jen beat me handily (7-2) in this battle-of-the-blog. Not only did she hit publish faster than me, but she also incorporated more media to capture the overall experience.

If you would like to see some examples, check out my posts on the EdTechTeacher blog as compared to Jen’s posts on her blog. Given my virtual thrashing, I had to ask Jen how she accomplishes such prolific articles so quickly and efficiently. So, at the risk of demystifying what she does, here are her secret live blogging tips for events you attend – and my revelation for improvement.

Jen’s Tip #1: Preparation

Plan out the talks and sessions that you will attend in advance. Look up the speakers, the topics, examine the published material they have shared (often in session notes at conferences). Have this material open in your browser when you enter the talk. Make sure that you have your blogging platform open (I use WordPress, but there are multiple options). I enter the talk information as well as the tags I will use (e.g. #edtech or #ettipad) before the talk begins. Remember that everything you do before the talk begins is one more thing you do not have to do during the talk!

Beth’s Revelation

I did not do any of this. However, I did learn that it’s best to also have a copy of your post on your laptop in either a word processing or even HTML editor just in case you lose your network connection while trying to save or publish.

Jen’s Tip #2: Writing

Now, I do happen to type particularly fast; thirteen years of piano lessons has given me about 100 wpm. However, that really is not necessary for capturing an event. Think of your blog as your “notes” – you write down the highlights, paraphrase the speaker, copy key quotes from PowerPoints, etc. Treat this is as you would something that is just for you – but perhaps finish your sentences! It’s not about capturing everything, it’s about getting to the meat of the matter.

Beth’s Revelation

This is one time when a laptop is a better tool than a tablet or phone. After losing in the first round, I switched from iPad to computer in order to take advantage of my middle school typing lessons.

Jen’s Tip #3: Multitasking

Multitasking is not only vital, it’s key here. Open spare tabs in your browser that you will use to search: Google (key for searching), Wikipedia (great for quick information as well as open licensed images), and YouTube are the essentials for me. Using these three tools I can quickly look up information (fortunately, Google is generous with my spelling), Wikipedia is a great repository for images that I add, and YouTube is an excellent resource for videos! These are all great tools to help create a truly multimedia document.

Beth’s Revelation

It is also helpful to have a copy of the presentation materials open, as you can then incorporate slides as images or copy key quotes. I also found it helpful to have a smartphone as well. I could take pictures of the presenter and then pull them off of my photo stream (or Google Drive/Dropbox/any other system that quickly links my mobile device and computer) and into my post.

Jen’s Tip #4: Give Up on Perfection

As painful as it is, these documents will not be perfect – ever. You’re putting them together on the go. Although you will get better with more practice and time, it’s never going to be the same as using an editor and submitting multiple revisions. I had the privilege one year of using Beth Holland as an ad hoc editor, but it was still not as focused and polished as a formally edited Piece. As a perfectionist (especially in published writing), this was a painful thing to surrender. But you know what? It’s also been freeing. I publish in the now – my thoughts, reactions, reflections… This in and of itself is a powerful tool. I may go back and correct a typo here and there, but ultimately my live blog posts are just that – LIVE!

Beth’s Revelation

While I loved hitting publish and then walking away, I only regretted that I only had time to tweet out the link once. I would add (and this ties back to preparation), that next time I would like to have tweets scheduled to go out in advance of actually publishing the post. Cramming titles into 140 characters while rushing off to the next session was challenging.

Jen’s Tip #5: Share with the Presenter

I always share my live blog post with the presenter (usually via Twitter or email). I invite them to comment and submit revisions. Out of the hundreds of posts that I have shared, I have only had a handful of speakers ask for an edit – all of which have been minor. For example, when I live-blogged Greg Kulowiec’s Keynote Talk, “What is the Answer with iPads?” he asked that I make a small edit for attributing a quote. Most of the time, speakers are flattered and will often share the post with others. It’s a great way to get more readers coming to your blog and share your ideas.

Beth’s Revelation

As a presenter who has had the privilege of being live blogged by Jen, it is an honor to have a session captured. As a neophyte live blogger, I also enjoyed being able to give something back to the presenter as proof that I truly valued the session.

Take the Challenge – Live Blog your next conference

For Jen, live blogging has become the means by which she records and reflects on the conferences that she attends, shares the information with her staff and PLN, as well as participates in the broader culture of the conference. Personally, I found it to be an incredible way to hone my attention on a few key topics rather than being divided between twitter hashtags and the person in the room. I hope that you find these tips as helpful as I did and will join others on the blogosphere – contributing your own experiences with your peers and PLN.

Beth Holland (and hopefully, Jen Carey) will be Live Blogging iPad Summit San Diegoin February. You will be able to follow along, February 4-5, at edtechteacher.org/blog.