Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Teachers Taking It Mobile!

A couple of Saturdays ago we facilitated an iPad Media Kit Training with a group of teachers from one of our schools. Each teacher's iPad Media Kit consists of an iPad, an Apple TV, and an HDMI projector.

iPad                                         Apple TV                     Epson HDMI Projector

While we have several different models for using iPads in the classroom, including 1:1 and shared carts, the iPad Media Kit creates a one iPad classroom. Teachers can use the iPad as a learning center, to share student work, and use the iPad as a presentation tool during instruction.

Since we have some teachers that have never used or even held an iPad before, we spend a lot of time on basics. We introduce the Apple TV and HDMI projector to them and go over how to set them up in the classroom. We cover the basics of using the iPad which includes swiping, powering down, opening/closing apps, using the multi-tasking tool bar, etc.

We want them to take ownership of their new mobile devices and walk them through setting up their district email on the iPads, how to access the Calendar and add events, take notes, and other useful teacher applications. And, every teacher has an opportunity to practice mirroring their iPad via the Apple TV!

Note: during the entire training we are presenting from our iPads - trying to be good models!

We also model the use of several key apps for them:

The teacher's new best friends!

Dropbox: While there are several cloud storage options for the iPad, we have found Dropbox to work well in our school environment. During training we have the teachers create a Dropbox account, install the Dropbox client on their laptops, and connect the Dropbox app to their accounts. Teacher are amazed at how easily they can get content onto the iPads this way.

QuickOffice Pro HD: Our teachers are very comfortable using the Office suite on their laptops. We have purchased the QuickOffice Pro HD app for them since it allows users to open, edit, and create documents. Teachers can connect QuickOffice to their Dropbox and import presentations they have created on their laptops into QuickOffice and display them via the iPad. This seems to provide a level of comfort for many of our new users.

Using the iPad as a document camera in the classroom!

Camera: Teachers learn how they can quickly take a picture of a worksheet, object, or student work and display is from the iPad either through the photos app or import the image into another app.  They are always surprised at the ease of the process!

Adobe Reader: There are a lot of pdf reader apps available but we like Adobe Reader because it is simple to use - and it's free! Teachers are shown how to use the "Open In" feature in Dropbbox, Mail, or Safari to add a worksheet into Adobe Reader and annotate over the document. They can be using the same document as their students but completing it while being "untethered" from the from of the room!

PaperPort Notes: Yes, there are a lot of great note taking apps available but we also like that PaperPort Notes is free! But is also has a lot of great features and Nuance frequently updates the app with new features. Teachers practice adding documents from Dropbox, Safari, and images from the Camera and annotate them.

Using the iPad as an interactive whiteboard!

This is one of our main goals for teachers - to be able to use their iPad as a mobile, wireless whiteboard without being tethered to their other equipment. We have several video clips of other teachers using the iPad and Apple TV during instruction. These teachers are always moving around the room monitoring behavior, providing student support during instruction, accessing classroom resources - all while still instructing and impacting student learning.

ScreenChomp: ScreenChomp is an interactive whiteboard app with a very simple interface that is good for beginners. A great tool for students to share their work with others in the class. Write on the board with a variety of different pens, add images from Photos, Dropbox, or take photo with the Camera. You can also record your annotations and voice narration as a movie and share it to the ScreenChomp website. Limited to only 1 board.

Educreations: Another interactive whiteboard app but with a few more features. Educreations includes a variety of pen colors, add images from Photos, the Camera, Dropbox, or the web, and also add text boxes. You can add multiple boards/slides and also record your annotations and voice. Movies are shared to the Educreations website; and you can email a link to a video. Videos are also stored locally on the iPad.

Explain Everything: This is the most robust interactive whiteboard app currently available - and our favorite! It has lots of flexibility and the developer frequently updates and adds new features. Explain Everything can be connected to a Dropbox account making it easy to import PowerPoint or Keynote presentations and annotate on them while presenting. Also import existing photos or video to a presentation or open the camera and insert a new picture or video using the Camera. You can also insert a web browser and annotate over a live webpage while presenting. There are also pointer tools to highlight specific portions of your presentation. The sharing features are one of the reasons we like this app so much. You can export a slide as a photos to the camera roll, via email a pdf to iBooks, Dropbox, and more. Videos can be exported as a .mov file to the Camera Roll, shared to Dropbbox, sent to YouTube, and much more.

There are so many great features to this app it's difficult to cover them all. Here is the link to the Explain Everything Showcase site that includes a variety of videos about Explain Everything 2.0:

A lot of other apps have been loaded on the teacher iPads but we try to focus in on some specific uses during the training but encourage them to attend one of our Medis Kit Refreshers where we cover other resources such as iTunes U, BrainPOP, and content related apps.

The principal from this school also attended the 4 hour training and was very excited about what he saw teachers could be doing with their iPads and Apple TVs. He's already seeing some innovative classroom uses!


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