When Peering Disagreements Stop Digital Learning

YouTube Error Message for Khan Academy 9_23_13

YouTube error

 

There is so much promise of learning with video. YouTube, School Tube, Khan Academy, and the list goes on. Each day though at school the promise of learning is lost because of the way internet service providers and content providers get a long. We have struggled with having a solid dependable connection to YouTube since last January. This is about the same time that Time Warner Cable and Google/YouTube stopped working on their Peering Agreement. Google/YouTube wanted to put a caching server inside of Time Warner Cable’s network hub so the videos could be shared faster since they would be stored locally and not have to come from a Google server. No way would Time Warner Cable allow that since they are in the content business as well. So even though we pay for a 100 MB connection to our Gigabit Ethernet connection, we get this message. Out IT department has made adjustments to help but there is nothing more they can do. This is a great article from Arstechnica on why the promise of digital learning will not be fulfilled until these agreements stay out of the way of learning. http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/07/why-youtube-buffers-the-secret-deals-that-make-and-break-online-video/

Until then we will continue to learn less and don’t even ask about the filtering of information to prevent our students from seeing something on YouTube that might be offensive. Seeing this error message is offensive.

Quizlet and Students

Simple free learning tools for students and teachers Quizlet

 

Quizlet was started by Andrew Sutherland in 2005. It has been used by students and teachers since then with much success. Each year new features have been added which for older students may be useful. This video will show you how to setup accounts for your son or daughter who is under 13 which will restrict certain parts of Quizlet. While teachers in the past have created classroom accounts and then shared the log in information with their students, the ability for parents to setup accounts would elimate this need. Teachers could still use the classroom account method for younger students. The ability of students to track their learning over the years makes the use of a personal Quizlet account an important step.

VISNet Onsite Training 2013 OER and You

VISNet.png

I will be presenting about Open Educational Resources or OER’s for the VISNet trained teachers workshop. These teachers are the first cohort of teacher who will be teaching the new VISNet Teacher Taught courses. If your school is interested in having your students take online courses with vetted and trained teachers, contact the fine folks at VISNet.

This link will take you directly to the slideshow where you can make a copy or leave comments. http://goo.gl/cVqCBM

This QR code will take you to the Google Presentation as well. 

Qrcodeoer

MS Studios is On the Air Literally

MS Studio Logo

The above logo was created by a student for the station using stock photos from our Google Apps for Education. We collaborated on making it together as he shared it with me and I added the DA logo. Just one part of how the 4 C’s of Creativity, Communication, Collaboration, and Critical Thinking are addressed in this student led project. From their ideas come the shows and images along with thinking how to involve as many students as possible while maintaining confidentially when needed.

We are pleased to share these links with you.
The blog:
http://msstudios.edublogs.org/

The iTunes subscription feed for automatic downloads: Click view in iTunes and then Subscribe
Subscribe to MS Studio Podcasts

If on the iPad it does not show up, search for MS Studios and you will be able to subscribe.

Listen in to what is happening each day and week by students for all of us.

Power to the Pupil!

Launching MS Studios – Student Voices-Saying No is Not an Option

DAPodcasting MS Studiossmaller 20130405 080911 pngA group of teachers who are also members of the Middle School iTeam which supports our school’s iPad Learning Program took an Atomic Learning Catalyst Course on Going Mobile. During this coursework we collaborated with each other and teachers from around the country. We had a guest instructor, Brad Flickinger, one evening who introduced us to how his students produce KBOB Studios which are news, movies and other media projects with a few iPads. I have long wanted to have  a student voice for news and thoughts but was not quite sure how to get it going since I would need to find time outside of the “normal” class structure.

I looked up how he Brad was doing it at his school and kept thinking on how to weave it into our school. Then I got this message. How could I say no even though I had not yet figured out all of the details? We have motivated students with a passion to produce and all they need is an adult. I can do that and if I look at the long view this is the spark I have needed to say yes even though I have more then enough on my plate.

Dear Mr. Schaefer,
I heard that the teachers just finished taking a class where a school had a website that students could post podcasts to. I also heard that you were interested In bringing that concept to DA. The student body is in full support of your idea, we actually came up with the same one. I guess great minds think alike. There is a handful of us (not including myself) who already consider themselves online DJs. A few have volunteered to manage the site and even create a blog to go with it! Kids have volunteered to advertise and talk about the concept during community meeting as well (that’s the group I’m in). Ashley is considering proposing it to the student council as well. As this idea spreads across the school more and more people want to become a part of it. We have the strength in numbers, as well as passionate workers. Now all we need is technological talent, adult supervision and a faculty member that is willing to invest in this project and cares about it just as much as we do. Will you help us?
-Yaa B.

We have met about 3 times with me although I know they meet without me to discuss ideas. Two students created logos, one is above which will be merged with a new model since we now have a name and the other logo had good features we want to include. We decided to start with audio as it is easier to produce although we hope to grow it into having videos and a blog.

I felt it would be important to automate as much of the production as possible since there are many newsworthy events that happen that can simply be recorded. I checked out SoundCloud and Audioboo and decided on Audioboo as it has a nice app and will allow some customization as well as serve as our audio host for the podcasting part of MS Studios.

To prove the concept I recorded the morning announcements although I missed timed it so I did not get the start. Students will be better at this in time.

Thank you Yaa, Joseph, Sean, Ashley, Isabella, Jack, and Alayah for the efforts you are putting forth to get MS Studios and my hope off the ground.

Ready, Set, Portfolio!

portfolios

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/59217476@N00/6050805936

 

I am getting ready to work with classes to create and add artifacts to Google Site Portfolios. I thought this year I would make a sliderocket and embed it in the template so the students would have a tutorial after we worked together. I love how I can create presentations either in Google Drive or in sliderocket and then add my voice. I find doing tutorials this way better and easier then trying to do screen recordings especailly with the hoops you have to go through to record the iPad effectively. I always have to do multiple retakes as well since I mess up recording or the bells ring and I have to start over.  Since we use Google Apps for Education our sliderocket is free. I hope the new owners Clearslide continue with providing schools free accounts. Of course, if they stop, we will move on like I do each year.

This page will have a tutorial that we used to create the portfolio. It will help you in case you forget how to do something as you go through the Middle School. Since it is both a link and embedded, and changes that take place will be automatically updated to the tutorial.

 
Google Site Portfolios using Google Search App – A sliderocket
 

Getting Excited to Kno

Kno

 As I continue to look for alternatives to the heavy and expensive textbooks for our students, one company Kno, is rising to the top. I like their business model, (they have one) and the response time from their employees is swift. I have observed the company mature for a few years as they only continue to get better. In my opinion, they have now overtaken everyone but Amazon’s Kindle as the supplier of textbooks that are dynamic, affordable and easy to deploy if you work with them. I know that iBooks are wonderful, but they are device specific which is a real drawback as I want students to have access to textbooks no matter where they and there iPad happen to be located. Learning no longer happens only during class and with the textbook so access to the digital textbook at the point of learning is what is needed.

I am not sold on having novels and reading books as only a digital option as there is something nice and non-distracting about curling up with a book and reading. My iPad provides too many opportunities to take away from the reading even though I try to read. I know I could do the same with a paper book by putting it down and picking up my iPad, but that effort is just enough to prevent me. Besides, novels are not nearly as large as some of the textbooks.

I have the expectation that the books our students need will be setup with accounts they create for us. In addition, they will bill us so we can bill the parents. Cost is huge in that a Kno version of our current English textbook is $9.99 versions compared to $110.00 for a paper version. Besides the cost factor, there is much more interactivity and learning objects which will allow for deeper learning. I am hopeful that next year the backpacks of some of our students will be less as we begin to shift some of the mass from hard cover paper books to downloaded textbooks.

The movie below gives a nice overview of what the company is doing. I could have done without the whole Valley Girl stuff, but it does make the video available.

 

 

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

 

Learn to Write Computer Code with Mr. Schaefer

After school programming

 

I was very intrigued when I read about Code Academy offering free coding courses. I decided to try something after-school when I saw they had a curriculum guide. So for any parents of students that go to Durham Academy, I am pleased to announce that I will be offering a Spring Enrichment Class.

Learn to Write Computer Code After-School
How does a computer do that? Join our class to answer that question and more. We will use the online coursework of Code Academy and some Khan Academy to learn how to write computer code. Students will learn about topics like drawing, animation, basic programming, and languages like HTML/CSS and Javascript. This class is open to any level of student as the coursework is flexible enough to accommodate all levels of learners. Student will also be exposed to problem solving and troubleshooting in a collaborative environment. Students will use their DA email address to create an account at Code Academy. Girls are encouraged to attend.

This information from the Code Academy web site explains the goals very well. 

“Why should every child learn how to program?
Technology is radically changing every area of our society, from communication to government to how we do our jobs. Digital literacy is now a fundamental skill like reading and writing.

By learning to program, kids can have a say in how software shapes their world. Plus, programming teaches important reasoning, logic, and communication skills”.

Karl Schaefer is the Middle School Digital Learning Coordinator and Computer Department Chairperson. He is an NCAIS Master Teacher and long time blogger at http://528tech.edublogs.org. He has taught young and old how to get the most out of technology while also maintaining a balance in the use of technology. When not teaching, he is on his farm where he enjoys being off line and on land.

SPRING SESSION 2013:

– Classes will be held on Thursdays from January 31 – May 16 (15 classes)
– No class when Durham Academy is not in session
– Class time will be 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
– Class will be held in the MS Computer Lab
– The cost of the classes will be $300.00

If interested, please register at the After School section of our web page.