Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Casper - The Friendly Manager

To this point we have accomplished the following training conepts:

  1. Setting up an Apple ID
  2. Selecting and installing an app from iTunes
  3. Setting up Find my iPhone
  4. Using Reflector app and set a password for your Reflector app
Teachers are practicing using the ipads for personal and classroom management. This gives them the opportunity to become familiar with some apps, and the use of the device.

Our training day with a Casper representative started off quickly and highly technical. Prior to the session our tech support person from district office had created three profiles for installation. One for controlling system settings, one to enroll the device and one for maintenance and inventory of apps. We were using a cart of 25 iPad 2 devices to learn the process. It took about 20 minutes to install the above profiles, as we did this manually.

Once the devices showed up in Casper, we could manage them. At this point we installed a few apps and even installed 3 iBooks. This went very quickly and smoothly. Some of the concepts we talked about included creating different groups for teacher iPads and student iPads.

Now some decisions need to be made about the system settings. We will sit as a group and decide about these settings and push that out to the devices. One of the things that will be sent to student individual devices is to require students to create a locking code so others cannot pick up their device and begin to access apps.

All in all I can appreciate all of the set up that needed to be done in the background before our training session could happen.

For more information from Casper or JAMPF:  "While we have a number of resources online such as our PDF Library,Video LibraryKnowledge Base, and JAMF Nation user community, we know that nothing beats a live demo."

Friday, February 15, 2013

Setting up iPads & Apps

In addition to the fifteen 8th grade teachers who have iPads, we have two carts for the students to use in class. The Bretford cart($2200 approx) is a sync and charge cart and holds 30 iPads. It takes about 25 minutes to update the iOS for all of them. That in itself if worth it! We can now push free apps very quickly to all of the cart devices. It takes about 5 minutes for one free app depending upon the size of the app.

At this point we have tried several methods of moving apps to iPads. Our first option was to set up one iPad with an Apple ID and put on many free apps for each of our five core courses. In addition we purchased Keynote, GarageBand, iMovie and several other content apps. After creating a master iPad, we used the backup to copy to the others. We quickly discovered that not only was this illegal, but since we did not give the teachers the PW, every time they needed an app updated, we had to go do it in person. After a month of this, we collected the iPads and tried another method.

Phase two involved wiping the iPads clean and updating the iOS to 6.1. Teachers have created their own Apple ID to use on the devices. They will have full control of installing and updating apps and iOS with their ID. By doing this, we will purchase the apps through the VPP and give them a link to install the app. Remember that apps are associated to the Apple ID that installs them. When we give teachers app codes, they will own them. There is no way to recall them for other distribution if a teacher leaves the district. We consider it our gift to them.

Next week we will have a training session with Jamf to learn how to use their tools for managing iPads and pushing apps.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Present to Board

On Monday, January 14, 2013, evening we(Tech Director, and two teachers) presented a plan to our Curriculum and Technology Committee.

January 14 CET Committee Preso notes 

There were a lot of great questions from the group about the future costs and how this will impact curriculum development and BYOD at the high school. At this point there will be some more discussion and a budget will be developed for all costs including staff development, infrastructure and hardware.

I'll keep my fingers crossed!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

iBooks Author Resources

The previous post talked about experiences working with iBook Author for creating tutorials for GarageBand and iMovie. I found so many excellent resources and websites that had valuable information for starting with iBooks Author. In addition to the four in the previous post, here are more:

iBooks Author resources
  1. Greg D. Swanson created this post: Apps in Education. It suggests several great books for getting started. His site is full of other iPad information as well.
  2. iBooks Author Workshop - some general ideas for how to create a book. Visit all of the links on the left to get a full idea of the possibilities.
  3. 5 Awesome Examples of how students can use ibooks Author for learning - good ideas here.
  4. Using a GoogleForm in iBooks Author - examples are given here how to use this in a widget.
  5. Add a panorama to a widget in iBooks Author -nice tutorial here
  6. iPad Content Resources (from Maine) - for book creating and iTunesU courses
  7. iBooks Generator - a web page that turns video into files that can become widgets.
  8. ipaddiction by Mr. Clay Reisler - MUST read this after checking out the link above! This steps you through the process of converting video to widget.
  9. Installing an iBook on an iPad manually - Excellent resource for different aspects of authoring your book.
  10. Using iBooks Author - layout and typography - excellent blog about using and creating with iBooks Author by John Seely.
  11. iBooks Author Tour - video
  12. iBooks Author Widgets and Layout - video
  13. SCOtutor for iBooks Author - v1.0 $5.99 for video tutorials. May be downloaded through the MacApps Store.
  14. Learn - iBooks Author Edition - v3.1 $3.99 - May be downloaded through the MacApps Store.
  15. 3D illustrator for iBooks Author - v1.1 Create your own high-resolution animation library of objects that can be installed. May be downloaded through the MacApps Store.

3D Items
  1. Google Sketchup 3D Warehouse - resources for 3D objects to place into widgets.

Apple Support 
  1. iBooks Author Support  - a great starting place for online instructions.
  2. Apple in Education Resources - more than just iBooks Author, this site contains video tutorials for many products from Apple.
  3. iTunesU Webcast Series - watch these in Safari it will work better.
  1. Templates for iBooks Author - FREE - v1.0 10 themes. May be downloaded through the MacApps Store.
  2. Themes for iBooks Author - $16.99 for 115 templates. May be downloaded through the MacApps Store.
  3. Book Palette by Jumpsoft  v1.1 - $9.90 for 20 themes. May be downloaded through the MacApps Store
  4. Templates for iBooks Author v1.3 $7.99 for 60 templates. May be downloaded through the MacApps Store
  5. Themes Drawer for iBooks Author - v1.0 $9.99 for 30 professionally designed themes. May be downloaded through the MacApps Store.

Monday, January 7, 2013

iBooks Author

Last year at PETE&C I saw a presentation by Chris Penny, Christine DiPaulo, and Steve Zalot about using iBooks Author to create content. It looked pretty intuitive and as long as you had content ready. So I started exploring the possibility of creating something. But I needed  a purpose.

Fast forward to this fall and the talk of a 1:1 project is more serious, so I had a brainstorm. The following week I saw a post about the ADE program and thought I would combine the two ideas into one project.

After I started working with iBooks Author, I found it to be very smooth. Choosing the template took me some time, as I wanted it to be just right. I wanted a good clean cover where some school cover art would stand out. The page templates were already connected so the text wrap from page to page was great. There were several books from our library and eBooks that I consulted for technical support. They included:

iBooks Author for Dummies - by Galen Gruman
Lecturing with an iPad by Perry Samson
iBooks Author: Publishing Your First Ebook by Maria Langer
Create your First Interactive Book - by Ted Bendixson & Niels Van Spauwen

Begin by looking over the template to see what you would like to include such as Copyright, Preface, Dedication, Foreword, and Chapter Headers. I found that using sticky notes to create a basic format for the book really helped me make some decisions about the structure and organization of the material.

Once I completed writing the supplementary pages like previously mentioned, I was ready to tackle the content. Once the content was written, I found some student projects that would serve as examples. During the process of creating a podcast for this book, I took screen shots of GarageBand, so I could use them as well.

Citing work used is a very important part of the process. I feel very strongly about including a bibliography, just as we require students to do so for their work. This was completed through a web service that we pay for called NoodleTools.
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Plenty of Content

apps (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)
You could spend weeks looking and reviewing apps for a device. Where can you find the best ones? I follow many people on Twitter, read blogs, magazines and get suggestions from friends. From there I bookmark as many as I can, then when there is time, I download them and try them out. I can't honestly recommend an app unless I have tried it, or it is from Richard Byrne's blog or The App Directory.

As we are considering a 1:1 program, I have been working a bit ahead of the curve learning GarageBand and iMovie. I know teachers will be assigning projects next year. After toying around with these apps, I decided to write a short tutorial, which turned into two iBooks; GarageBand Podcasting and Basic iMovie for the iPad(link will be posted upon acceptance to iTunes bookstore). This led me to ask a few colleagues to join together to create an iTunesU course.

This course would be self-paced and full of tutorials for the beginner iPad user. We are planning on everything from out of the box set up to formal step by step directions for advance concepts. I will link the course here when it is accepted by iTunesU.
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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Preparing for the School Board Meeting

Now that our district administrators have met and discussed a 1:1 program we are moving forward. The next step is to make a formal presentation to our school board about WHY we need to spend this money for more technology. After all, our school has consistently scored in the top five in Pennsylania with our test scores over the past ten years so why do we need to change what we do? Good question.

There will be some new textbooks, a new curriculum in a few subject areas, but these do not lead to school improvement by themselves. Several of our teachers have been reading and researching what we can do to improve education (i.e. test scores) for our students. There is a general sense that we need to have more engagement, increased use of higher-order thinking skills, creative collaborative learning and we must be using twenty first century teaching methods. We know that today's students learn differently.

By changing the way we deliver curriculum we need to inspire, engage, entertain(yes, entertain), use different styles of teaching to appeal to different styles of learning, encourage worldwide collaboration and provide some authentic assessments. The technology should not be the driving force in creating a new type of program, the program and process should drive it.

By providing some carts of iPads throughout our school, we have provided a vehicle for teachers to slightly change their classroom. It did not make a whole change in the pedagogy of instruction. Instead it allowed teachers to experiment with a new style of lesson enhancement. We have seen some excellent examples of authentic assessment taking place in the classrooms. Our creative writing teacher Skypes, and Tweets with authors. In turn, these authors have been commenting on the students book review blogs! You can't get more authentic than that. A geography teacher wrote to and received permission from TED speaker, Hans Rosling from Sweden, to use his video in her curriculum based iBook. A great lesson on copyright permissions was born. They may Skype with him later in the year.

There is an opportunity for many more connections like this, and authentic connections like this produce  instant learning opportunities for our students. That is a direct change in how we offer learning to our students right now. Having an iPad in their hands 24-7 will help students to see that the world is so small that they can connect with authors, scientists, sports figures, politicians or people of different careers in different countries. Never before could students, or teachers feel empowered to do so. This is authentic.

After some additional research, we have found that schools that have a successful iPad program have three important components 1) a strong philosophical change in instruction such as project based learning, 2) a robust network able to handle all of the additional wireless iPads in the building, 3) and excellent teacher professional development plan in the use of new teaching methods and the use of iPads everyday.

As we prepare for our school board meeting, we are considering how to do all of this without the benefit of more TIME! Can you send us some?