Tag Archives: ipads

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.

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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.

Free Webinar on Getting Started with Mobile Devices!


Tonight, Conected Learning is hosting a free one hour webinar at 4:00pm PST (7:00 EST) on how to get going with mobile devices. It will address organization, workflow, and other key fundamentals of employing devices in your classroom. If you are an educator in a 1:1, shared, or cart environment (with iPads or other tablet devices) this is a great opportunity to learn from the experts.

Your hosts are Don Orth, the Director of Technology at the Hilbrook School, Holly Clark, technology specialist, Beth Holland, technology specialist with EdTechTeacher, and Shawn McCusker, Social Studies teacher and technology specialist.

Keynote Speaker Greg Kulowiec – What is the Answer with iPads?

Jen Carey is LIVE blogging for us from the EdTechTeacher iPad Summit USA. You can also find these posts on her site – indianajen.com.

What is the Answer with iPads? from Greg Kulowiec

400px-Djhero_playedHow does iPad support teaching and learning? How do they give students a voice? How do they get children to focus on things that matter? Greg starts out his talk by telling us about his days as a DJ. The “menial task of carrying turn tables and vinyl records in milk crates” occupied his pre-teaching years. Just as the 21st century has redesigned the life and tools of a DJ, the internet, and specifically mobile technology, has revolutionized education and the life of a teacher making skills of only a few years ago are now useless (albeit they can be nostalgic).

We live in a world where we do the same thing (listen to and mix music), but we use different skills to get there. Using iPad is still creation but through a different medium. Creativity does not need to look the way it did twenty years ago. Greg argues that just because technology makes some things easier, that does not make the process less creative. In fact, the technology works to remove hurdles so that individuals can exercise creativity.

Still, we need to look at how we are using iPads. Are we using them in new and innovative ways, or are we simply plugging them into the same old same old? Greg takes a quick poll of the audience, asking to what extent iPad is being used to its potential in education. The general consensus was that iPads were being severely under utilized in our educational institutions. He seems genuinely surprised by our pessimism.

“The idea of school in many of its features is so deeply ingrained in people’s thinking that when they look at technology to discuss it in relation to computers, they see it in a particular and very narrow way dominated by the nature of school as they’ve known it.” – Seymour Papert

We have a concept as educators, parents, and former students about “school” that is very narrow. We think we understand “school,” and so we view technology through that lens. So the question becomes, is iPad helping us to do new things or are we simply strapping a jet engine to a stagecoach?

Right now the trend in education is control. iPad is designed to allow sharing online, collaboration, and expansion. However, we are currently stripping it of its features and abilities to fit into the mold of the classroom. Does this make it a solution or a problem in education? By strapping new technology onto antiquated systems, do we create more problems or are we finding new solutions?

If we are going to view iPad as a solution, then we are using it the wrong way. We are placing it on top of an existing structure, but largely ignoring the forest for the trees. If we view it as a problem due to the conflict that it produces with what is going on in our schools, then we need to examine what it is that we are actually doing in our schools.

One of the key issues that we have in academia with technology is one of academic integrity. The ability to readily access information has teachers and administrators scrambling on how to address its use. Leaving out “copy and paste,” when do we view collaboration as cheating? When do we see “looking something up” as a problem? Students can now find the answer instantly, so should we hide this content from our students? Is that the solution? Perhaps we should instead show them appropriate ways to use the tools and to demonstrate their understanding.

“Technology doesn’t magically change teacher’s practice. You can have students use iPads in much the same way that they once used slate boards. But what new technologies like tablets or laptops can do is open new avenues for conversation. In schools where every child has a portable, multimedia creation device, what can we do differently? What is possible now that wasn’t possible before?” – Justin Reich

We should be examining: “What are we asking? Who is asking? Who is the audience?” We need to get the content off of our devices and to a broader audience. Let students know that there are eyes on their work that aren’t just our own. It’s time to come back and think about this issue: is iPad just a fancy device that we’re throwing into the existing structure or is it creating a new environment?

“Maybe the force for change that will really be effective in the end is the kids who have had something better at home won’t stand school as it is anymore. Kid power will force school to change or go out of existence.” – Seymour Papert

Students can access content and material now on the web easily and quickly. How do we make the time that they spend with us, as educators, into valuable and meaningful experiences? For example, take a look at The Independent Project.

Students are certainly capable of developing and driving their own education. What we need to do as educators is to use these devices to make our classes more meaningful and to allow students to access and explore their passions. We need to condense what we’re doing on iPads and focus on them as creative devices. We don’t need to be on App overload. It’s about what we can create with our devices, not the device itself.

You can view Greg’s presentation materials – as well as those from other presenters – on the iPad Summit web site. Greg will also be leading sessions at the 1:1 & Mobile Learning Summit in June as well as during our Summer Workshops.

iPads for Administrators by Chris Casal

Jen Carey is LIVE blogging for us from the EdTechTeacher iPad Summit USA. You can also find these posts on her site – indianajen.com.

Concurrent Session #1: iPads for Administrators – Chris Casal

While the title of this talk is iPad for Administrators, the focus is less about administration and more on working as a leader (in every capacity) in the school. Chris works for a public school in NYC of about 1,000 students.

Administrators view iPads primarily for three things: communication, collaboration, and observation. They often have a fourth goal as well: going paperless. iPad is an amazing tool for communication and for being able to do so silently. Using a traditional PA system is loud and disruptive. In a school environment, we seem to either be inundated with information via interruption, or we are entirely out of the loop. In terms of communication within a school, we have the old standby of technology: the email distribution list. This way, we can limit information to a select group and send it out electronically. If teachers have iPads, they are not tied to a computer, they can get it on the go.

In addition to traditional list serves, there are also new media being used by schools: blogs and Twitter that can readily be followed by students and faculty. While using hashtags is new, administrators seem to be embracing it. The school has various hashtags that they use to disseminate information, and since so many students, as well as parents, are on Twitter that it can be a faster medium by which to distribute information.

casal-dropboxCollaboration at PS10 in Brooklyn is primarily in the cloud (they are a Google Apps School), and they also use DropBox to share information. The school has various shared folders that they use for administrative details, staff, and/or students. This is another quick and easy way to distribute information as it limits paper distribution and inbox clutter. In addition to DropBox, the school uses Google Drive.

By using Google Drive, not only can staff and students share information but they can also edit them live. Google Drive is still fairly new, and it is not as iPad friendly – yet. Chris said that they currently prefer DropBox as it is more adaptable for various programs and more cross-platform friendly. The great benefits of the cloud is that content can always be accessed regardless of device or platform. Chris also likes to use the program DROPitTOme for student submission of work. It helps to keep all content for a class in one place. Using DROPTitTOme means that you no longer have to manage folders or sharing permissions. It is purely a submission element. However, Chris does say that ultimately they will move entirely to Google Drive in the next few years.

Another great element of iPad is that it allows for real-time observation and feedback. If you look at his presentation, available here, you can see a variety of his favorite applications to use for collaboration and observation on iPad. Chris demonstrates the ability of annotating a PDF observation form using the app Good Reader. He quickly accesses and annotates the form via DropBox and then posts it within seconds. This demonstrates how easy it is to use iPad for portable and paperless record keeping – making the bane of education a little more palpable 😉

Chris’s ultimate message is that you have to try things out. Fortunately, iPad apps are cheap or even have free “lite” versions. Two dollars is a worthy investment for exploration. If you want to try something new, try it out. It’s about being flexible and finding options. Ultimately, iPad can help administrators and educators achieve that fourth goal: to become paperless (or at least less paper-y). Take the printer out of the thought process. Send it to iPad!

You can view all of Chris’ presentation materials – as well as those from other presenters – on the iPad Summit web site.