Digital Device Passport iBook

Digitaldevicepassportbook

As we enter the fourth year of our school’s iPad Learning program I put together this iBook so our students and teachers will have access to the many resources that we use to start the year. In the past, these resources were on a private web site that was not easy to find once the year started. It is my hope that having the iBook on student and teacher iPads will help to show everyone how we can utilize the iBooks app more. We have used more digital textbooks each year and will continue to promote them when they are of high quality and fit the needs of the instructor. I think we can improve the use of digital versions for our manuals and handbooks which will harness the power of a more interactive book.

If you are a parent of a student at my school or anyone else who may be interested, I would encourage you to download this free iBook from the iTunes Bookstore. You will need an Apple ID and either an iPad or Macintosh running OS 10.9 which supports the iBooks app. It is not available for iPhone yet as I will need to redo it using the new iBooks Author software in order to make it work. At least that is what I believe I will need to do as I do not have an iPhone to test it on. If anyone does read it on an iPhone, drop me a line and tell me how it worked.

Writing – #More or #Less

This year our 6th grade students have their own blog as part of their Language Arts class. We use Edublogs for this as the My Class feature allows teachers to manage some aspects that are important to them. Check out Ms. Williams’ and Ms. Donnelly’s for links to student blogs. I know students are writing more since the access to iPads is 24/7. We have seen some scores go up in our ERB tests which while not directly attributed to the iPad or any other technology, there is no doubt the more you write, the better you become at writing. In fact, in our school’s application to become an Apple Distinguished School, we wrote this statement. 

Any worthwhile examination of the effects one-to-one iPads have on student learning must include a look at testing data. After only one year of our program, it is far too early for that data to be conclusive. However, we did discover some thought-provoking data points.

In the classrooms where the teachers had the most experience with integrating digital devices in class (6th grade Language Arts), median student testing gains on three of the five ERB CTP4 subtests were not significantly different from the prior three years of testing. But in two areas, median scores jumped significantly. The running average for the three years prior to the iPad program shows the median student scaled score increasing 9.5 points in Writing Concepts and Skills. Last year that median gain was 13 points. In Reading Comprehension the median gain was even larger – an increase from 3.3 point average gains to last year’s 12 point gain.

We plan to use data points like these as jumping-off points for conversations about the roles technology integration may or may not impact student testing outcomes. And we’ll certainly keep an eye on testing to see whether these gains recur this year, or were anomalies.

Today, I read the story How Digital Writing is Making Kids Smarter on Graphite.org and thought it was great information about how writing more, without cursive, is helping our students. The article also mentioned the video above which I thought relevant as only a few years ago, the term hashtag was not part of the vocabulary of most people. Now we see it everywhere with the rise of Twitter. #iamgettingsmarter.

 

What is Going On with My Brain?

Brain

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21611336@N00/3723710203

I am concerned both about my brain and my student’s brains. My brain due to aging and devices since each year I seem to remember less unless I have it on a device. Then of course I need to remember what device it is on. This is one reason why Evernote, Google Drive, Instapaper, and my new one Pocket is so important to me as they remove needing to remember which device as they are on all of them. I no longer have to remember as much as I need to know how to search. The time I used to spend trying to remember can now be used doing or not doing other things.

I listened/read the audiobook Brain Rules by John Medina and was fascinated by his research and findings. While his research and advice focuses on more then just the matters of distractions caused by our digital world. This is a big concern for educators and parents as we adapt to the changing world. I think that there are some reasons to be concerned or at least aware, but also more reasons to adjust how we teach and use devices in general. Some of this is based on the Brain Rules book while I have also learned much in the MOOC-Ed Digital Learning Transition class I am taking as well as Common Sense Media which is full of good advice as usual.

One thing to always remember is BALANCE being important regarding most activities in life. Too much of anything except oxygen is usually a problem. I received an email today from a parent about the issue of multi-tasking being a huge concern which prompted this post which has been percolating for awhile. The concerns are valid and if we all work at helping each other, we will be fine.

The Brain Rules web site if full of great videos and information about rules of the brain and I highly reccomend watching it and reading the book in whatever format you choose. This video is about attention which is important for both teachers and parents. 

Quoted from his site about Attention and the MYTH of Multitasking:

BRAIN RULE RUNDOWN

Rule #4: We don’t pay attention to boring things.

What we pay attention to is profoundly influenced by memory. Our previous experience predicts where we should pay attention. Culture matters too. Whether in school or in business, these differences can greatly affect how an audience perceives a given presentation.

We pay attention to things like emotions, threats and sex. Regardless of who you are, the brain pays a great deal of attention to these questions: Can I eat it? Will it eat me? Can I mate with it? Will it mate with me? Have I seen it before?

The brain is not capable of multi-tasking. We can talk and breathe, but when it comes to higher level tasks, we just can’t do it.

Driving while talking on a cell phone is like driving drunk. The brain is a sequential processor and large fractions of a second are consumed every time the brain switches tasks. This is why cell-phone talkers are a half-second slower to hit the brakes and get in more wrecks.

Workplaces and schools actually encourage this type of multi-tasking. Walk into any office and you’ll see people sending e-mail, answering their phones, Instant Messaging, and on MySpace—all at the same time. Research shows your error rate goes up 50% and it takes you twice as long to do things.

When you’re always online you’re always distracted. So the always online organization is the always unproductive organization.

Read the articles at Common Sense Media for tips to help your children and yourself as our children model what they see. I also think this study by The Frameworks Institute: A Hands-On Approach to Talking Learning and Digital Media (PDF) could help us all understand the changes taking place with learning and our perceptions. The parts I have read opened up my eyes to misperceptions and gaps in our understanding on how to even talk about some of the changes. The video (12:32) below will discuss the hightlights.

Digital Media and Learning: Trigger Video from Beth Fisher on Vimeo.

NCAIS Innovate Presentation – Reflection on Year 1 with iPads

hearstpool http://www.flickr.com/photos/95572727@N00/4321052153

I will be presenting at the 2013 NCAIS Innovate Conference titled Make the Connection. More information is available at the NCAIS Innovate website. I am also one of the instructors for VISnets Teaching Academy being held August 5th through 7th at Charlotte Latin School. To register or get more information.

This is the presentation I will be using for my talk about my reflections on our school’s first year with a 1:1 iPad program in grades 5 through 8. I have two slides at the end of the presentation that you are welcome to add your suggestions, comments, or questions either before my presentation or during my presentation. I hope the presentation is more of a conversation between us then my just talking for an hour. 

AirServer Tutorial

AirServer  The game console for Mac PC has arrived

One of the dilemmas encountered with using iPads in classrooms is the desire to display the iPad without being hooked up to an LCD projector. A mobile device begs to be free and not tethered to a cable. While the Apple TV has great promise, many schools have yet to move in that direction due to concerns with securing the wifi connection and configuring a school full of Apple TVs. Our school’s IT department came up with this solution which seems to be a solid compromise and solution. AirServer is an inexpensive application that can be installed on any computer and it turns it into an Apple TV wannabe device capable of displaying any iPad on the same wifi network. There are other apps that can do this as well and some are outlined in this article. http://ioswikis.mycues.org/groups/ipadresources/wiki/1ad2e/Reflection_Aerodrom_or_Apple_TV.html

This tutorial will show you how to set it up and use it with your students. Passwords are important to remember as the biggest concern I would have is a student guessing your password and displaying their iPad while you are trying to have a different instructional display.

A nice thing about AirServer was we were able to buy 20 licenses at a volume discount so it was very budget friendly. 

http://portal.sliderocket.com/CCKUT/AirServerDirectionsJanuary2013

 

Great Video on How to Use the iPad for Literacy

Explain Everything  EE Showcase

 

I have been interested in this app for a while and thought it had value but just wasn’t sure. I liked the idea of being able to share to Evernote which is a huge issue when trying to get files off of an iPad. With the new features coming in EE 2.0, we may need to look at including this in our list of must have apps for students and teachers. I like the fact that users will be able to edit the recording track as that was one downfall when I used it in my testing. This video by David W. Malone does a wonderful job with this video on how to use iTunes U, Explain Everything, and Evernote for literacy. 

 

Google Drive iPad App Tutorial for Uploading

Keynote

I have written about the Google Drive app before, but the latest update really helps us with a major problem we have been having with Keynote presentations in particular but will also work for movies and other large files that exceed the 10 MB email message limit.

Many Keynote Presentations are larger then 10 MB due to the theme used, size of images or sheer length of the presentation. Up until this Google Drive update, students often had to email each as an image to their teacher which sort of defeats the whole idea of a presentation. There are times when simply sharing a PDF will work while other times a true Keynote file is needed as the teacher wants to evaluate it as a presentation or the students will be presenting it to the whole class from the teachers computer. Of course, the iPads can display the Keynote as well.

This tutorial will show you how to use the Google Drive app to upload and share non-google formatted files. If you want to learn more about how to use the Google Drive app, check out this post where I discuss that and other apps.

 


Update: I wanted to include this link to a Miguel Guhlin’s great post One Drive to Rule Them All as it has solid screen shots and good directions as well. Tip of the hat to Miguel.

What Do You Get When You …

Reading

Stop me if you heard this one already. What do you get when you give a student a Nook, an iPad, a Hardcover, or a Paperback? Answer: Reading! Which is superior, which is inferior and why does this matter if what we hope for is to have our students develop a love of reading? I think too often the device conversation can take away from the pedagogical or curricular goal if we are not clear of the objective. I like being able to find the definition of a word without asking someone or getting a dictionary as it removes the stigma of not knowing a word. I also enjoy reading the hardcover edition of a book as I try to find the meaning of the word in the context of the writing. Paperbacks are great as I think of them as consumables where hardcovers are for shelves after I finish like some sort of display of how well read I am or might be if I read all of the books on my shelves.

The back story: I was in Ms. Williams’ class the other day getting ready to introduce Membean to her students as part of our trial. We were getting the equipment ready and students were occupied with their free reading time. As I was getting ready to start, I saw this happening and after asking the students if I could take their picture to use on my blog, they all said yes. That lead me to think about so many conversations that have taken place regarding our iPad program. It is not about the device, it is about the learning goals! Read on!

By the way, the student iPads now have the Nook app installed so the student would not need to bring his Nook unless he wanted to.

Creativity at the Point of Passion

piano keys

Image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8207694@N08/4224038790

My inbox today held a great example of how students will use their iPads in ways we never thought of when we discussed possible uses. Neil used his with his school sponsored VoiceThread account to record himself playing the piano. He tells the story in his blog post so I will just say that his example highlights what our students can and will do when creativity and passion intersect along with technology. His ability to share his passion with the world is what has changed. Go Neil!

“Pink Panther Song by Neil M.

I recorded the Pink panther song on the piano. Below I inserted the recording of it, on VoiceThread, using the iPad. This particular piece was the hardest I had ever played, taking me over three weeks to master. My piano teacher helped me to break it down and lead me to success. On the day I recorded the song, I had just had a piano lesson. Even though I thought I was ready, playing a three page song with no mistakes is difficult. Especially when I know that one mistake and I would have to restart from the beginning. After about 40 previous mess-ups, I reached the end on a perfect run. This song really challenged my piano skill. Please enjoy! This song took a lot of effort to play. Maybe the only reason I was able to perfect it was because I saw my friend in Pennsylvania played it when he was nine. So I thought, “If he could do it, then I certainly could too.”

Read the original post at  http://pdroom212.edublogs.org/2012/11/29/pink-panther-song-neil-m/

Because folks wanted to watch the VoiceThread but did not have an account, I exported it as a movie file for uploading here. Of course, the music is copyrighted so I am going out on a limb to show it here as the performance rights were not purchased.

PinkPantherbyNeil