3 weeks later

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We have now had the iPads for three weeks.  Today the students were busily creating presentations about our school Variety Show which was held last night.  Our school gallery is available for easy access and the photos copy to the photo gallery on the iPads easily for use in the presentations.  I have been observing the students over the weeks and noticed today a marked difference in the number of students who were using their iPad and not their netbook.  In the first weeks there were quite a few students who were still using the netbooks in preference.  They have been given the choice to select the tool they would like to use for tasks and now more are choosing the iPads.   I quizzed them about it today just by a show of hands-

Who likes using the iPads in preference to the netbooks?

Who has changed their thinking about the use of the iPads since the first few days when we got them?

I will follow up with a survey so I can collect the stats on these questions and a couple of others.

Another change in work habits has emerged where many students are using both the iPad and the netbooks side by side.  This seems to be a popular way to use them and I even notice myself,  that I  will have something else running on the iPad, the laptop and my iPhone.  Dual screens.

When the students were working on the keynotes I noticed they seemed more willing to make adjustments to their page layouts and to be considering this more than if they were using powerpoint or even keynote on the laptops.  I think this is because it’s so easy to move things around and rearrange.

The prep/1 classes performed the yellow submarine and drew pictures that were used on large screens at the Variety show.  Now they are in our school photo gallery.  The hand drawn submarines looked very nice on the iPads and the grade 5/6 could be organised to have the Prep/1’s create a sonic pics digital story about their submarines on the iPads.  A great buddy activity and it will allow us to share the use of the iPads.

Proxies again

Just when you think you have the proxies all worked out something doesn’t work. Manually having to change the proxies is not good. Today I spoke with Luke at Sunburydowns SC and was given the link for his wiki. Luke has written some great posts on their management of the iPads and the macbook pro. If you are in the DEECD trial it is a terrific resource.
SunburyDowns iPad blog/wiki

Presenting with an iPad

IMG_1680Along with the students the teachers are also trialing the iPads.  So I took the iPad to the IWBnet10 conference in Melbourne and had two presentations to give.  I made it my goal to use the iPad for both presentations.
How did it go?

I was nervous and took my laptop just in case.  On arrival I was told I need to use a USB to put a flip chart on and to run the participant survey……What!  The  iPad doesn’t have a USB drive so the flip chart won’t activate on the iPad.

Unfortunately I didn’t bring a dongle for my laptop as I thought I was using the iPad. We weren’t told about the participant quiz being tied to a clicker.

Keynote on the iPad…..hmm the screen doesn’t show the slide so I had to keep turning around.  The lectern was not flexible at all.  So I had to turn around to see what was on. Later I remembered that if you pressed on the symbol the thumb nails of the keynote would appear.  I need to practise more with using the iPad for a presentation.  I also remember reading if you tap and hold a laser pointer is available but I didn’t try it. Perhaps it was not the best time to be trying out stuff but I wanted a real scenario not a made up one to see how I went using it under pressure.  Just like teachers feel in class when they are starting out using technology.  Its good for you to be put back into that space when you were just beginning to use technology.

It was easy to get my presentation on the iPad.  Under the apps tabs below is a window that list apps on the iPad that allow files to be dragged onto them.   Keynote is one of these apps. So it’s just drag and drop.  Good reader is also great as many types of files can be dragged on and then opened on the iPad like PDF files.

The iPad was much lighter to walk around the conference with each day and easier to get out and use on the run.   It was great to use soundpaper and audio note to take notes in the sessions and record for personal listening for later.  Also twitter was easier to send.  There were many people with iPads.

I used it again for my second keynote the next day. I remembered the thumbnails but still turned around to see the screen as I changing from camera on the document camera to the PC (iPad) as I was showing some apps on the iPods for my literacy and numeracy presentation.

I am not up to speed with using the iPad for presentations but will keep on working at it because the light weight is so much better on my shoulder.  Persistence.
I also discovered that duplicam does share photos from my iphone to the iPad via blue tooth.   I had previously thought that it would only work via a network.

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iPad Licence Testing and Coaching

Today we had the Regional Director Ron Lake and his Regional Network leaders along with other region staff come out and sit for their iPad licences.

The grade 5/6 students very confidently took on the task of coaching and testing the visitors. Sharing knowledge of using the iPad was enjoyed by the students and they loved working with the older people today.  Age was no barrier although it was brought to everyone’s attention that the digital natives were teaching us digital migrants and how well they were doing the job.

The visitors were very pleased with their learning and went away ready to explore their iPads further.

Unboxing

Unboxing

Coaching

Coaching

Testing

Testing

Anne Baird passes her licence test.

Anne Baird passes her licence test.

The Apps Police

Picture 5

Yesterday I felt like I was the apps police as I checked all the 25 iPads for the apps we had given on a list for the students to download.

Most students had downloaded the required apps and used all their $100 gift cards. Only a handful still had the required apps not yet downloaded.

It was also interesting to see what other apps they had downloaded. Facebook was on some iPads and will be taken off due to the students being under 13 and of course Facebook is blocked at school. There were many sports apps downloaded, car racing and fashion apps on the iPads. I found some interesting apps that we will have students telling about in the coming weeks as they look like they’ll be useful in the classroom also. I was wondering about the rating of some apps though and I will be investigating further. Should students have free selections of apps or be only able to have the required apps?

My technician solved the problem of not being able to connect to the intranet due to proxies being set. The proxy worked for some sites but blocked us from others.  Four students could get to the intranet and it was found later they had no proxy settings.  So now we have a new setting to put in that lets us look locally and not go onto the internet for the intranet. This will be great as we can put photos onto our school gallery and then students can easily download them on their iPad to use in their writing. The new setting allows us access to other sites on the internet somehow but as I have a limited understanding of proxies I am following my technicians instructions with little understanding.

Allowing the students to download all the apps reminds me of when they used to have to buy all their own books and pencils and then we ended up with a mixture of equipment. Some still have to download so I’ll be checking again next week.

One week later

So now we have had the iPads for one week. Some students are still downloading the apps. One student decided to put a code on the iPad but unfortunately forgot the code. So today I learned how to reset the iPad. Then I also learned that the student had downloaded all the apps at school on the iPad and hadn’t synced back to the home computer at all. Luckily iTunes keeps a record of your apps and will let you download them again without paying. However any work created, emails etc will be lost. ( and photos in the gallery)

Another issue has been the over redemption by mistake on an iTunes card and finding out that you can’t gift from a gift card.

I have been emailing the students each day but find they aren’t yet answering my emails properly. They either don’t answer the questions or they just don’t answer at all and just say, “Hi!”  So this will be an area to see some improvement in as we use the iPads each day.  Email is not used very much with this age group however I would like to see a big improvement in their comments in both length and quality of writing. To encourage this I have added a PS. At the end of an email letting them know there will be an emailer award of an iTunes gift voucher at the end of the term. I have set up a spreadsheet to copy all emails into and then I can see how the emails are developing at a glance.

Yesterday we used keynote and created some work form photos we had in our photo gallery.  Some of these were screen shots and others from our intranet or the internet.  We all attempted to access the school intranet at the one time but this failed for some reason and only a handful of students could have access to the site.  Even my iPad couldn’t access the site when I have previously visited and even added the site to the home screen for easy access.  This will be a job for our technician to investigate.  We do have a selection of wireless network points to use so over crowding should not be a problem.

Today when I was resetting the locked iPad I was prompted to install a new software update which I accepted.  However over wireless it was going to take 3 hrs to download a 458mb file.  So I changed over to ethernet and reselected to download and it rattled along quickly and took about 8 mins to download.  Once again ethernet has beaten wireless.

We also tried to use iBrainstorm yesterday but the iPads couldn’t see each other so I’ll be investigating this tomorrow to find a solution as iBrainstorm looks like it will be great for collaborating.  Blogpress was another app we tried and had success with using and adding an account.  It needs a gmail account so I created a gmail account for the class using the grade email account I have at the epsomps domain and then in google created the gmail attached account.  Some of these web2.0 programs can be a bit tricky to set up and only allow certain types of email addresses and passwords.  Next I hope to roster the students on to post on the blog using blogpress.  Hopefully they will be able to add a screen shot and some reviews of apps both for entertainment and education.

Day 3 – Don't forget the Proxies

Bourke and Wills portraits and a student uses it to sketch.

Bourke and Wills portraits and a student uses it to sketch.

Today was another busy day with concert practice, early years literacy and setting up users for students who can’t download at home.   Some students do not have the internet at home while others can’t download too much per month on their plan.

So with parent permission I set up email accounts for those parents without them and then iTunes accounts. I decided to use gmail accounts so the parents can keep the accounts and check them on any internet capable computer.

I found a varied range of how many apps have now been added to the students’ iPads. One keen student who made sure his account was made yesterday not only stayed after school last night but worked all lunchtime today downloading and syncing his iPad. He now has the whole collection apart from 3 apps that had error messages. We have still been getting the error 2096 in iTUnes but just ignore it and select download again and it works.

I was thinking we needed to have a sign when completed form for all the apps and have decided to add that to the bottom of the apps list. Perhaps a reward for all apps downloaded could be given to each student. A $2 gift card would be great. It is quite a job downloading all the apps.

It seems quite strange to be downloading the apps 5 or 6 times in separate accounts on the same computer for those who don’t have access at home. Also it takes a long time for each iPad rather than downloading once and then syncing. I’m glad we haven’t got 100’s of iTunes accounts to create.  Actually once the iTunes account is ready for use the students can put it on the iPads and begin downloading the apps and then sync them back to the MacBook pro in their own user accounts later.

The students had tried to download at school on the iPads yesterday but it wouldn’t work. This seemed strange as it let them log on to iTunes. The first question my tech asked was, “Have you added the edupass proxy settings?” No we hadn’t and as the internet seemed to work from the wireless I hadn’t thought of it. So now they have downloaded many more and much quicker at school. The students can go home and sync them onto their home computers.

I checked the email again and found 4 or 5 students who still hadn’t got their emails to work. I think we have them all working. It was easier just to delete the accounts they had out yesterday and recreate a new account to make sure all the settings were correct.

An eraser used as a stand.

An eraser used as a stand.

Highlighters used as a stand

Highlighters used as a stand

Two girls were quite inventive today by using an eraser or small packet of highlighters to act as a stand for their iPads. My iPad has the triangular cover from Apple. I have decided to go to the rubber store and to buy some wedges on a similar angle as my Apple case for each student. I’ll report how they go next week.

The Apple case folds into a triangular stand

The Apple case folds into a triangular stand

So by day three we are still downloading apps although I did run through copy and pasting across various apps today and suggested that they carry out a spelling investigation using the iPads. This would be great it they used corkulous so they could arrange the words into groups. Or if they used keynote they could put the words in text boxes and be able to rearrange them. iBrainstorm would be good for collaborative work also as would google docs. Could be good for next week. This week we have used the iPads to communicate, next week we’ll collaborate and create.

Student comments today sent via email,

Hello Mrs Ashby I am happy that we got the iPads because I think I will learn more.

I haven’t been able to get my gift vouchers to work. I have got an iTunes
account. When I write in the code on the back starting with x it says it isn’t
valid.

I can’t download the apps

Hi, I have downloaded 9 apps. ThEY ARE GREAT. My favourite is Jampad.

NO I DO NOT HAVE ANY APPS YET

Day 2 – Can Talking Tom help us learn?

Talking Tom - Free app

Talking Tom - Free app

We returned to school the next day after unboxing and the students had lots to share. Some had downloaded many apps and proudly showed the others.

I made sure there was another email waiting for them and intend to do so for the next week. They haven’t been very good at checking email on their netbooks as they had to go on the internet and use webmail.  Webmail is quite clunky and tends to time out while you are writing sometimes. Also logging in to the email site was a hassle for a handful of students. So I’ll be watching to see how many students reply using the mail app that we configured yesterday.

It was a busy day with trips to the gym, aths practice and concert practice. However we managed to get some discussion going about the iPads and sharing what some had done the night before.   Apps were downloaded and music of course.

Jan the class teacher initiated the students recording evidence of learning with technology. This was a great start and we’ll be working on how we can share this with the world. Again the focus was on learning and not the toy advantage.

Later in the day we had a photo session and then discussed one of the apps, Talking Tom that one of the students had downloaded. Of course it was a great hit and there was lots of laughter. Talking Tom is a Tom cat who can say what you say and even purr when you pat him. So I asked how could this app help your learning? As I had seen the record button I immediately thought of students reading to Talking Tom and having their writing read back to them so they can assess their writing for further editing or listening ot their reading for fluency and expression.  Also I suggested they could record their tables they were learning and then listen to Tom saying them. Another idea I thought of was using Tom for their persuasive text that they would soon be writing. Can Tom help their cause?

This was a good example of how some apps that appear to be just good for party tricks actually can be used to enhance learning. It reminded me of the magic wallet app for iPhone that we have used with the Preps for money recognition.

IMG_0241I had some parents come in and sign the contracts today and organise an iTunes account for their children. We have about 6 students who will be syncing and downloading at school. One boy stayed behind until 4:50pm downloading and syncing. This was after he had sent 2 or three emails to his mother trying to reset the iTunes passwords.  This was great communication practice and gave authentic use of reading and writing.  Something that usually wasn’t a favorite of this student.  When he began to download we found a strange thing happened every time we selected download, an error 2096 appeared but then when we pressed buy again it downloaded.

I have set up individual accounts on the MacBook pro for these students so their iTunes accounts will be separate. Its seems so strange to be downloading the apps 6 times on the same computer so each has a copy when all iPads could be synced from the same iTunes account. It does give them some control over their account though and lets them select their own.

The weight of the school bags was drawn to my attention. I had been wondering about how a netbook and an iPad would fit in their bags. This one boy had a very heavy bag that didn’t get much lighter when the netbook or iPad was taken out. A pencil case with 4 books was heavy but still the bag was heavy. On further checking the many pockets I found a hidden pocket that contained 6 bananas that weighed over a kilogram. (thought I could smell bananas and having three boys myself I had previous experience of school bag discoveries)  So now the bag is lighter but tomorrow we are going to weigh the netbook and the iPad to see the difference and the books to see their weight.

An ibook will be the next thing to download and we’ll test how they are to read.  Planning for further evidence of learning on the iPads will be discussed and perhaps a Google doc or presentation could be started.

The wireless networks keep us on our toes and seem  a bit sluggish at times.  Luckily I have my wonderful technician coming tomorrow so we’ll see what he can do to tweak the wireless network and the iTunes store as downloading on the iPads at school hasn’t been very successful.  We get a waiting message under a grey icon for the app but it never downloads.  This could be bandwidth of firewall issues.  However downloading on the MacBook pro worked with wireless but it was after school.  So perhaps its a Netspace problem with traffic.

The students enjoyed looking and reading in the newspaper about our unboxing event.

Finally here are some of the students’ responses I received today-  No I didn’t stay up until 12:00 I went to bed earlier than normal.  I need help with my home internet access.   I haven’t had any problems yet, can the iPads short circuit in thunder storms?  The thing I like about the iPads is that you can use it like an iPod

Unboxing and parent evening

Learning is our focus

Learning is our focus

Finally we had our unboxing of the iPads today with the students. We invited officials from our Region, Ron Lake, (Regional Director) Anne Baird, (ultranet project manager) Marc Blanks, (ultranet coach) and Anne Cunniff (Regional Network Leader). Also the local paper came and took photos and asked questions.

We also had 8 techsperts from the grade 1/2 class come and help us learn new skills and they took us for our licence tests. Yes we got our iPad licences and can now drive the iPads very well.

It was certainly an exciting time and the time went so fast. There weren’t many apps on the ipads but our iPadlicence work required us to do lots on the iPad. So it was good to not have distractions of apps at this stage.

A slide to learn cake was cut and served and eagerly eaten by all the children as a celebration of the day.

We all configured our email accounts to the mail app which was a bit of a job. Keen kids don’t always put the dots in the right place but all was worked out in the end. I could see the students liked email better in the mail app as it was so easy to read and of course I sent a welcome email with a couple of questions as teachers always have to ask.

The parent evening was very well attended and the students eagerly showed their parents their new learning tool. We showed a presentation from the department and I showed the Bringing up digital kids video that I mentioned on a previous post.

We gave out the list of apps (21st Century booklist) to the students and requested 6 apps to be downloaded first.  Pages, keynote, sonic pics, sound paper,  one music and one drawing app.

The acceptable use contracts were signed and most iPads were taken home.

There were some interesting scenarios that I hadn’t thought about.  One family has 2 children in the program so do they need to download the apps twice?  They have one iTunes account and can only download the apps once.

Some parents didn’t have email addresses to use so gmail accounts were being organised for them.  I wanted the parents to have the email address that is used in the iTunes account so they can keep a watch on the apps that were bought by their children.

All in all it was a great day and I’m almost ready to crash.  Here is the final comment that I received in an email today from the iPads.

“The iPads rock! I like them, they are easy to use, the mail is set out great and  I am glad I got one. I can’t wait to learn more.”

Engagement plus, learning curve up.

Engagement plus, learning curve up.

Peer coaching and iPad licence testing

Peer coaching and iPad licence testing

A gr 2 student coaching  teacher and a gr 5/6 student.  Cross age tutoring.

A gr 2 student coaching a teacher and a gr 5/6 student. Cross age tutoring.