Posting from the class iPods: I think I figured it out!

I played around on the Keystone Commons this evening using my iPod Touch. I wanted to see how the site would work with my class iPods. I was able to access and work on the entire site, including the blog. I had to jump from the visual editor to the “HTML” editor tab to type into the main body of some areas.

I had a mini enlightenment and jumped here to Edublogs to see if the same would be true…it is! My students will now be able to use Safari on the iPods to come directly to the class blog, log in, and add to their own secure area. This is a major breakthrough for my classes, although it may be no big deal for others. I am looking forward to trying this out in my classes.

Student Blogging: A new perspective.

I presented at Laurel School District’s Tech Camp recently and an issue was brought to my attention…I was bashing writing, or at least my desire to grade student writing.  I didn’t mean to come across that way, but after further review…I was.  I do not push too many formal writing projects in my class.  Students use the writing process in my class and with all projects, I just do not have them turn term papers.

I need to make an adjustment, and it will happen now.  All of my students will now blog as part of their class grade for my courses.  Not all of my classes will have to blog on a regular basis, some may be once a nine weeks with the option to post more often for alternate assignments.  In the past, I encouraged students to blog for enrichment assignments, but I had few takers.  This new system should change the lack of participation, although educators know there are often students who do not turn in assignments or make up tests they miss.

The blogs will vary in length and purpose, but will be graded on a rubric that includes grammar, spelling, and other areas of literary importance, along with being on the topic of the assignment.  The most important aspect of the assignments, is that they will be posted publicly.  In retrospect, my issue with the writing assignments of yore was that students wrote for a specific length, based on words or pages, then discarded once graded.  Students would toss them out, toss them in the hallways or stairwells, lose them in their lockers, etc. There was no purpose outside of a grade, or practice for the PSSA, at least in the students’ minds.  No matter how much I emphasized the purpose of the assignment and the importance of learning the subject, the students were only concerned with the final grade.  Now, their work will have a purpose beyond a grade, it will be published for eternity on the Internet.  They are all set up as contributors, so I will have the ability to keep work private until approved.  I will write more about this reasoning shortly.

For now, all that counts is that I found a problem and I believe I have addressed it for the better.

First Day of School: Less than two weeks away

Ah…the first day of school is less than TWO WEEKS away…and I could use another two months of summer…I have been creating a mental “To Do” list for the first two weeks of classes.  During this time period I initiate my students into the wonderful world of technology in education.   I have them sign up for most of the tools and programs we will be using in class, run them through basic tasks on the iPod Touches, and explain what is expected of them. As of now, I will not be pulled from my classes to be the district’s Technology Integrator, we have not received any funding from Pennsylvania as of yet, so I will be in my classroom full time.  That may change if funding goes through, or some other opportunity, or random happening occurs.

So without further adieu, here is this year’s list, or at least what I have thought of so far…it is an aggressive schedule and if I find the students need more time, I will give it to them.

If the office has my class lists ready on Tuesday when I stop by the school, I can create my class lists and organize my Google Apps for Education accounts for my students.  I can also create Discovery Education Accounts and organize my students Gaggle.net email accounts.  These are tasks I must do for them, most of the other stuff, the students will do in class…which makes my life easier!

Day One’s agenda, I will hand out my class expectations and Textmarks documents, along with introducing the iPods to the kids.  The sign out and sign in process will take almost half of each period.  I am hoping that I do not have more students than iPods, but if I do, I was promised five laptops to help out.

Day Two’s agenda will begin the sign up process for Web 2.0 tools.  I will start with Edmodo, which will be my online classroom platform.  Once they sign in or up, the students will answer a survey question on technology experience, post a note in the discussion board to introduce themselves to me and the rest of the students, see how I will be posting documents for them to access online, and follow a link that I post out to the class wiki.  They should have time to also look over some of the iPod apps once they complete the above mentioned basic tasks.

On Day Three I hope to have them log in to their Google Apps for Education accounts and see how the Documents 2 app works on the iPods.  They can type a quick note and upload it from their iPods to their Google Apps account.  If this does not take too long, I will then have them log in to their Gaggle email accounts.  Between Gaggle, Edmodo, and the Google Apps for Education accounts my students will have extended access to the classroom.

On Day Four, the students will sign up for Evernote accounts and practice using the tools we have discussed in class.  I can do this by providing the URLs to every tool used in the Edmodo classroom.  The students will have their choice of using Documents 2, Evernote, or paper and pencil for class notes.  I will encourage one of the web-based tools since they can access the information without worrying about forgetting papers in their lockers, or at home, or in their car, or a friend’s car, or…you get the idea.

Day Five’s agenda will start with a reminder about signing up for my Textmarks account and a preview of the flaschcard apps on the iPod Touches.  I will have shared out a couple of sets of flashcards in .csv file format via Google Apps for Education.  The students will be able to sync the flashcards to their iPod Touches using the flashcard apps.  They will have time to see how the apps work and possibly find one they like more than the other apps.  I am going to encourage the students to contribute flashcards to the class by creating their own accounts to the flashcard sites online.  I will offer points for the creation of the resources.  This will get the students more involved in the learning process and take some pressure off of me to be the sole creator of educational information for my classes.  I am using only free flashcard apps, so students may have to create more than one account if the “free accounts” limit the number of flashcards they can create.  I will also model how we will use the flashcards on the Polyvision Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) in my classroom.

At some point I will introduce the student blogs, probably Day Six will be the day.  I recently upgraded to an Edublogs pro account.  I am not sure exactly how I will roll out the 50 student blogs.  I may make the blogs mandatory and regularly occurring in my Freshman Honors Civics class and keep the blogs as voluntary enrichment in my other classes, or mandatory with less postings required.  I am leaning towards mandatory blogs with less required postings, it will give all of my students the experience they need in a global society.
Days Seven through Ten will be lab time for the students to work with the iPods completing tasks such as sending e-mails using the iPod Touches, uploading Documents 2 and Evernote files.  Taking screenshots with the iPod Touches and emailing them to me.  I will have the students record audio files on the iPods and send them via e-mail.  The goal is to get the students somewhat familiar with the technology before we jump into the curriculum for the year.

I do have to have students sign up for Animoto using my teacher access pass and my Civics students will need to log in to their online textbook during this time period.  I will also show them how my online Elluminate class will work and allow model the features.  I hope to start online office hours by Week Three of school.  I will use the Edmodo classroom to survey the students as to the night and time that best suites their availability.

I am hoping that the mini Eno board that I ordered in the spring has arrived.  The students can practice using the handheld board to work the Interactive Whiteboard from their desks.  My hope is that the students will be able to use the mini board so they do not have to get up and walk to the IWB all the time to participate in class.  It would not be an issue if we had block schedules instead of 40 minute classes, so I must find ways to save time in class.  I hope that by the end of the second week, we can sign the iPods out and in, in under 5 minutes much like the past school year.

The above schedule is subject to change, especially if we have any fire drills, assemblies, public announcements in the middle of class, and the inevitable schedule changes throughout the first several weeks of school.  I am thinking that the students may need more time to complete the tasks at hand and become comfortable with the technology, but they may just surprise me and run way ahead of the schedule…either way I will adjust.

Smartphone growth spurs rethinking of marketing – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Smartphone growth spurs rethinking of marketing

/x/pittsburghtrib/business/s_694319.html/photo_175056.html?TB_iframe=true&height=460&width=720″ class=”thickbox” title=”App on a phone”>

App on a phone
submitted

About the writer

Kim Leonard is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review staff writer and can be reached at 412-380-5606 or via e-mail.

Ways to get us

E-mail Newsletters

More consumers who use their mobile phones to research and buy products are turning into moving targets.

That’s why businesses including several in Western Pennsylvania are creating applications, or “apps,” for Apple iPhones and Android-based mobile smartphones that point shoppers and service users to their products and offerings.

The article specifically discusses smartphone applications that are being made for Pittsburgh-based businesses. My question is, “Why aren’t schools, specifically K-12 entities capitalizing on this usage?”

Many of our students use some sort of smartphone, why don’t we allow them to use the phones in school. In my humble opinion, students should be allowed to use their technology from home in the classroom. Schools can then use their limited resources by allowing students without their own device to use a school machine. Not only would more students then have access to technology, but many would be using tools they are familiar with and have easy access to.

Teachers would have to monitor students better in class, to ensure they were on task, but why not make school more like reality…give the students access to information and technology at their fingertips. Eventually students will be using the same technology for work, the modern workplace demands it. We as educators need to teach them how to use it responsibly, not bury our heads in paper texts and claim there is no place for these devices in our classrooms.

ePub Bud – Publish, Convert, Store, and Download free children’s ebooks online for the iPad!

Free Children’s eBooks for the iPad

* as well as all other readers; and even some books for adults too!

Create an eBook
Write, edit, and publish a book online now… for your family and friends or share it with the world: FREE!

Digitize a Real Book
Mail us any physical children’s book and we’ll “digitize” it for use on your iPad: FREE!

Convert an eBook
Upload any ebook file you want to read on your iPad or share with the world, and we’ll convert it to ePub: FREE!

Sell Your eBook
If you don’t want to make it free, you can also sell your book through ePub Bud (or the Apple iBookstore): FREE!

Download an eBook
Browse all the ebook files others have shared and import them to your iPad: FREE!

win an ipad!

This site came across my PLN on Twitter over the weekend. I forget who Tweeted the link and I apologize for not being able to give them proper recognition for the info…sorry. I think the site has many positive implications for education. In the day of shrinking budgets, who can afford to ignore free resources? The site is easy to use and you can view the ebooks on platforms other than an iPad.

I downloaded the free FireFox add-on and in minutes read a Dr. Seuss book to my daughter. It was just scanned images from the hard copy, but she enjoyed it. Imagine doing the same thing over an LCD projector onto an interactive whiteboard in your classroom? The students would go nuts, allow them to round robin read and turn the pages with the click of a mouse…even the high school students would enjoy it.

I forwarded the information to the administrators in my district, hopefully they will find the information as interesting as I did. At the minimum, I hope they look into the site, we could use any free help we can get!

The Dunwoody Crier – News: iPad for All

Using the iPad will also be cost-effective. At a price of $500, it compares favorably to a conventional portable, which can cost $2,000 or more. As more publishers put their textbooks online and teachers become more comfortable finding their own apps, the iPad will significantly reduce the need for costly textbooks.

Brandon Hall School in Atlanta, Georgia gets education. They are streamlining their technology funding away from obsolete in classroom only tools and giving their students mobile technology that they use anywhere. Take a look at the article and see what I am talking about. Their goal is to go paperless, no textbooks, differentiating learning to students needs.

Granted, the article does not say how the school is funding this initiative, but we as educators buy many things that are offered for free or we can make on our own. Maybe with spending our funds more efficiently and intelligently, more schools could do this.

Of course I am biased towards mobile technology, but why make kids learn in a fishbowl? Let them learn with the tools they are familiar AND can use outside the classroom in the real world.