Starting an iPad 1:1 program

We started our iPad 1:1 program with our middle school students 4 years ago. If given the chance to reset and do it all over again, here are the top five things that I would make sure to do.

  1. Know why you are going 1:1 before you get to far into the process.

If you are going 1:1 to replace textbooks or as a direct substitute for existing educational technology tools, then you are wasting your time and money. iPads, and any 1:1 initiative, should transform your learning environment. It should also change the way teachers teach. Which leads me to #2.

  1.  Provide teachers planning, and professional development time.

When we first started, we gave our teachers about 5 months to prepare. It just wasn’t enough time. At that time, were one of the first schools to go with iPads in a 1:1 environment, so there were hardly any resources available. I would make sure to provide teachers with a good base of understanding of how the iPad works, with time for them to play and meet with each other on a semi-regular basis. I would introduce teachers to the SAMR model of technology integration. I would  have faculty meetings to brainstorm and rework curriculum based on using the SAMR model.  Send a few teachers to some conference or training that specifically covers iPad integration. There is so much more available to schools and teachers now.

  1. Establish a “program”.iPad program

Meaning, set up rules and guidelines that everyone adheres to. This should cover everything from etiquette to appropriate time for usage both in and out of the classroom.  The image to the right has our our current iPad policies. We review this at the end of every school year or sooner if needed. Establishing a program should also include a learning management system (LMS). An LMS will help you with consistent delivery of information to your students. We currently use Google Classroom, but there are a ton of great LMS options to choose from. Schoology, Haiku and Canvas are a few that we have tried.

  1.  Include parents and students in the process.

I am not suggesting that parents or students should make the decisions when it comes to implementing changes at your school. However, they are voices that need to be heard. If you can’t reasonably answer most of the parental concerns then you might want to rethink what your are doing. The student voice is also important, since they will be the ones carrying around these little powerhouse devices. They should be part of how the devices are going to be used at school. There is no better way to get student buy in than to have them be part of the process. Our student government plays a major role in establishing the policies that were created for our iPad program.

  1. Establish a Digital Literacy class for both teachers, students and parents.

Contrary to popular belief, young people are not digital natives. If they were, then they wouldn’t make so many mistakes in online spaces. This class will help you establish a baseline of skills that the teachers all know and can expect the students to be able to use in their classroom. The skills can range from how to manage the storage on your device to what is the best workflow for turning in work to digital citizenship.

I could go on for days. What do you think are vital and important for establishing a 1:1 program? What am I missing?

Tech Tool of Week – Notability

I would like to recommend an app that our middle school students use that improves productivity. The app that stands out for our students is Notability. Here are some reasons why they like using Notability:

“It is a good note taking app. You can draw diagrams, doodle, insert pictures.” -Kyla

“You can put worksheets into it and you can do your homework without printing.” -Kyla

“You can move information back and forth between Google Drive very easily, and then you can turn in work using Google Classroom.” -Cassandra and Cameron

“You can write on (annotate) worksheets and pictures that you insert.” -Cameron

“It has a left handed mode for writing.” -Cameron

“It’s really awesome. You have a lot of options, and it’s really simple. It has a bar at the top that has all of the things you can do and it’s really simple to navigate.”  -Middy

“You can control how you want to organize the information that you put into it.” -Cameron 

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Cameron’s organized Notability files

What are some other productivity and note taking apps that you like?

The Rochester Mini Maker Faire

Rochester_MMF_logos_GooglePlusI am excited to be a part of the upcoming Rochester Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, November 22nd at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. I will be showing off some Allendale Columbia student projects from the Makey Makey May Term class from last school year.  AC students will also be on-site to demonstrate how Makey Makey works. This is going to be a great event! Read below to find out more!

“Ever wonder what you could make with a 3D printer, how to build your own robot at home, or design your own game? Rochester is hosting it’s first Mini Maker Faire. Mini Maker Faires celebrate everyone who loves to make, create, craft, build and anything DIY. The inaugural Rochester event takes place on Saturday November 22nd, from 10am to 4pm at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. The day will be filled with exciting exhibitions, demonstrations, and hands-on activities for all ages. In addition, there will be interesting presentations, speakers, live music, and visual and performing arts.”
-The text above is from The Rochester Mini Maker Faire press release.
For more information check out the links below:
Rochester Mini Maker Faire – rochesterfaireinfo@gmail.com

Connected Educator Month

October is Connected Educator Month. I have put together some resources about being a connected educator for teachers to explore. Click here for Connected Educator Resources.

Check out some older posts that I have written about being a Connected Educator.

Connected Educator Month Post 1 – Overview

Connected Educator Month Post 2 – Edutopia Connected Educator Resources

Connected Educator Month Post 3 – Connected Educators to follow

Connected Educator Month Post 4 – Twitter Chats

Tech Tool of The Week – New iOS 8 Camera features

Ok, sorry Android users, but I have been so happy with the updates iOS 8 has made to the camera on the iPhone that I have to share. (For a more comprehensive review of the iOS 8 Camera App update click here.)

First of all, I have an iPhone 6, so I have some features that older phones and iPads will not have. That being said, here are my favorites…

Time Lapse This will take a long video and shorten it up by taking out frames. So, if you shoot a 1 minute video, it will condense down to about 6 seconds. I used Time Lapse during our annual Blue/White Day (field day) to record students as they progressed across the field during an event, and it worked great.

Slo-Mo – This is a really cool way to capture students in action. Again, I experimented at Blue/White Day (see below) to capture a few events. I am super impressed with the video quality (240 frames per second).

Burst Mode – So, this has been the favorite of my favorites, although this feature doesn’t work on my iPad mini (1st Gen). You just hold down the button that takes pictures and you get 10 pictures in 1 second. The longer you hold your finger down, the more pictures you take. Seems simple. The reason this works so well is it groups the images into a set. You get to go into the set and decide which images are the best. So, think about how hard it is to capture someone jumping off a diving board. If you have any lag or you just don’t click at the right time, you will miss the picture. Instead, with Burst Mode, just click and hold. Then go and find the best images out of that burst. It works great!

Do you have any camera favorites or tips? Maybe a different camera app that you like better?

Tech Tool of The Week – Socrative

Socrative is an awesome formative (and summative) assessment tool for teachers. And, most importantly, it’s free and usable on any web-enabled device.

I have used Socrative in class with students and with parents at an open house. In a previous post I wrote about how great Socrative was, but recent updates have made it even better!  I really like the preset “Exit Ticket.” Socrative also gives you several ways to get the data out of the app.

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It’s an app that is well worth your time to explore.

Let me know what you think. Do you use any other web based tools with your students for formative assessement?