Tonight we embark on our first iPad Distribution Night at the elementary schools. These are the resources we will be using at the seven TLE phase one schools. These are different than the resources we utilized at Henderson Secondary. We will be working in the classrooms with those previous tutorials where applicable, to contextualize the iPad to the differing needs of a Grade 4-8 learning space. We will share more about the night after we are on the other side of the first session.
We’ve started distributing iPads to the students. This project, which began at seven elementary schools in the North end of Hamilton last year with teacher devices and classroom kits for approx 70 Grade 4-6 classrooms, has now expanded to include Henderson Secondary, and Mountain Secondary, and will see iPads deployed to all students and teachers from Grade 4 to Grade 12 at these nine schools. We provisioned iPads to the additional teachers in early June, and have now begun a month-long distribution that will put devices into the hands of all of the students. Throughout the year we will provide ongoing professional development opportunities for the teachers to help leverage this technology to transform the learning happening within the walls of our schools. We hope to use this space to document that journey.
We’ve quickly realized that in order to do this correctly the process needs to include sitting with each student one-on-one at a variety of centres: creating iTunes accounts, configuring email, describing the ways in which students can access the HWDSB app catalogue to download apps, setting an onscreen security password, and signing in to Google Drive, The HUB (our blended learning environment), and the D2L Binder app. We are also helping the students to subscribe to all of the class calendars from the courses they are taking this semester. This service will push assignments to the student’s calendar so that they have a centralized space where they can see all of the different assignments and important dates that they need to attend to in order to succeed. Despite some being savvy at using the devices in their personal lives, in most cases the ways in which these tools can be utilized to enhance and accelerate learning in the classroom is uncharted territory for student and teacher alike.
There are a variety of instructional hand-outs that we are using during this initial process this that may be of use to others. We’ve shared those documents here:
We will continue to populate this blog post with additional links as we process through your questions and feedback.
Here is a link to the Google Drive folder in which we have shared a number of slide decks from the presentations: Summer Institute Resources
Thank you to all the participants who came out over the summer to learn and prepare for the 2014-2015 school year, and thank you to all of our presenters:
This video show you how to navigate within the Voicethread app and how to create and share your Voicethreads.
This video will show you how to log into the Voicethread app using your HWDSB domain username and password.
The following video will show how to upload photos and videos on your iOS device (iPad) to your Google Drive app.
Tim Kivell and I presented at the Brock Tech Showcase last Friday on the ways in which an iPad and an AirPlay enabled projector could be utilized to replace most of the functionality traditionally achieved using an Interactive Whiteboard. Being able to circumnavigate a room with an iPad wirelessly connected to the projector at the front of the room has huge benefits. The projected image could be used to show a variety of different apps, or the camera functionality could be used as a Document Camera of sorts. We focused mainly on the iPad as a device to capture student learning, or as a means to communicate information, through a variety of screencasting apps (Educreations, Explain Everything, and Ask3 specifically).
A number of questions came up around how to AirPlay within a classroom. Here are three options.
This is probably the easiest from an end user perspective. There isn’t a lot of tweaking necessary. When we set up a AppleTV to be used in a classroom environment, go into Settings/AirPlay and change the name of the Apple TV to something specific that you will be able to locate on the Network. If there are multiple Airplay capable devices on the wireless at your school, you’ll need a way to locate which AppleTV you are attempting to connect to. You can also go into Settings/Airplay and set the display to Conference Mode: this blocks all of the iTunes TV Show and Movie advertising from the class. The third tweak would be to set up the “Onscreen Password”: this ensures that anyone connecting to your AppleTV is present in the room.
Another one I don’t need to sell to you. Here’s the link: http://www.airsquirrels.com/reflector/
…But I don’t have Wireless
Here’s a third option that only works for those of you who have a Mac. You can use your laptop to create your own wireless network. Connecting your iPad to that network creates a way to piggyback on a wired connection to your laptop, providing wireless access to your iPad, and any other device in your classroom. This basically turns your laptop into a wifi hotspot. Again, the internet being a wonderful thing, I’m not going to re-write something that someone else has already done an excellent job explaining. Check out this link here: http://tapintoteenminds.com/2013/12/26/create-a-macbook-apple-tv-wifi-hotspot/
How To Use Educreations
Read-aloud as a Screencast
Student Led Lesson
Teacher Led Lesson
Here’s some brief instructions on how to add a Protractor to your Explain Everything screencast videos. I’m sure this probably works in other screencasting applications: the key is to use one that allows you to add multiple layers/images. If your layers get overlapped incorrectly in Explain Everything, you can hit the i button and rearrange the layers.
This will work with any transparent image. If you can’t find a transparent image you can use Photoshop to create one. (I’m not sure how long this tool will be free, but it’s another option if you don’t have access to Photoshop: http://clippingmagic.com/)
Occasionally we can be lulled by the false security of an internet filter. As teachers we need to realize, especially with our young primary and junior students, that the internet is a wild and un-moderated space on which the most base of our society post all nature of inappropriateness: some of which — despite our best computational efforts to block them — leaks through. At the end of the day, we need to recognize (both parents and teachers alike) that the caring adult in the room is the only 100% accurate internet filter we have.
Here are a few settings you can check, and some strategies to ensure the safety of our students:
Don’t “Just Google it”
Google is an incredibly powerful tool, but to the untrained “searcher“, being unfurled into Google can be like drinking from the fire-hose: you are almost guaranteed to find an inappropriate post amidst the results. Search before the lesson, and then locate a number of different resources that you think might be helpful and cluster those options together as a blog post on your classroom blog. Social bookmarking tools like Delicious or Diigo can allow you to create a collection of links like this tagged selection on Space: http://delicious.com/mrjarbenne/space There are enough links there to provide students with choice, but I’ve explored the links first to ensure they are safe for my students to peruse.
Use Other Database Resources
I won’t list them all here, but the HWDSB Virtual Library has a host of different research databases purpose-built for student use. The recently licensed Encyclopedia Britannica is a rich resource for student inquiry. Learn 360 provides access to a large catalogue of video resources. ExpertSpace is a great Science and Social Studies repository. There are a number of others I will let you explore on your own. Utilizing these research spaces is not only safer, but also guarantees better, more academic results, provided at different reading comprehension levels.
Turn on Safe Search
Google has Safe Search options, but they need to be turned on (Bing seems to have them turned on by default). There are a couple of different websites that turn this on without needing to jump through the configuration hoops. This is one: http://www.safesearchkids.org/.
Create a Walled Garden
We don’t allow students free reign in the video rental section, nor do we let them watch whatever they want on television: why would we allow them unfettered access to the internet? Set out boundaries and guidelines on the sites you allow the students to use in your classroom, just like the list of television shows we allow as parents. This can be a rich and varied list. Check out Graphite for a vast library of vetted, teacher-approved websites to use in your classroom, and decide ahead of time where the students are allowed to go. Hold the students accountable to this list.
Teach Students to Search Smarter
You don’t need to ask Google full questions (eg: What time is it in Moscow right now?) when a few key words will do (Moscow Current Time), but you also don’t want to be too vague. Creating a better search combination will bring back more accurate results, and will help to eliminate unwelcome surprises on the search results page.
Search Privately First
One of the great advantages of having access to the internet in the classroom is the ability to attend to student curiosity, even on subjects where you may lack expertise. Searching on your laptop or iPad first, disconnected from the projector, will help to ensure you aren’t broadcasting any surprise imagery. Despite the temptation to play that YouTube video that seems to infer that it will answer the question, if it isn’t from a reputable source (TVO, PBS, Discovery, etc.) you may want to vet the video first, and show it during your next meeting with the students.
This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means, but it should provide some strategies as we teach our students to navigate resources in this digital age. We need to teach students to look both ways, before we send them careening out on the information highway.
HWDSB has recently released a new 21st Century Learning and Technology Policy. This policy, along with its three directives (Privacy; Identity, Credibility and Positive Participation; Authorship and Ownership) provide a basis for us to take a fresh look at the way we integrate Technology into Pedagogy. If you haven’t taken a look yet, You’ll find all four documents in the Policies section of the board website: http://www.hwdsb.on.ca/board/policies/ under Student Performance and Achievement.