Today was the last day of term and we had our Prep12 footy match and footy day. I was amazed to see one of our students use his iPad at the game on the official time keepers table. The app he used was Soccer sound box.
He had, on his own downloaded an app that gives you various sounds you might hear at a footy game and set up with the speaker so he could play the siren sound at the appropriate time. Yes there’s an app for that. During the last half he disappeared inside where the wifi was better to download a song he wanted for the winners, We are the Champions. And so at the end after the siren went the music came on and everyone sang along and cheered the winners.
This was a fitting end to the term and an example of how the iPads are now being used for all sorts of uses at school. Oh and yes there was a plan B as we always need plan B, the old school bell but it wasn’t used.
To finish the term off the students made a keynote about our school concert and the used many iPad skills such as screen shots, copying images to the photo gallery, keynote features and page layout and email. Talking Tom featured in some keynotes.
How to get things on the iPads without usb’s has become a great problem solving exercise that’s finding different solutions every day. Email seems to be the quickest way. An example today was a student who wanted the concert program in his keynote. He came to find the scanner to scan the document. I asked, “I wonder if someone has this on a computer? Perhaps they could email it to you and then you would have it to use.” A screen shot and a crop and it’s done. Much quicker than a scanner.
Thinking back on the introduction of the iPads I would change the following next time.
1. I would have a parents only information evening. This would allow for talk about security issues and iTunes accounts.
Also I would demonstrate creating an account and downloading. This wasn’t done as everyone seemed to say we know but actually about 10 students have had problems with this either the downloading or use of the accounts. Assuming the students would know or older siblings could set it up, it wasn’t always a good idea. It would have been good to give out the iTunes cards and everyone redeem them on their accounts at school together.
2. The security on the iPads should be turned on with selections of restrictions and a code from the school set on each iPad. This would make it impossible to add unsuitable apps, music etc. Ratings can be selected. I didn’t know this at the time and now have set it on a couple of iPads where children were downloading unsuitable apps.
3. If the volume licencing is available I would sync them all at school. This would make sure all the apps are on the iPads right from the start. We still have some students struggling to get all the apps. One downside would be if the students wanted to upload an app like today at the footy it wouldn’t be possible if the students didn’t have access to an account.
I don’t know why you need an account for free apps. There needs to be a way as finding the apps to suit various jobs is one of the great things iPads allow students to do, just in time learning.
4. I would use the iPad licence testing as a way to begin the iPad use again. This worked very well and the students liked the idea of a licence.
So at the end of the term I would say at this stage the iPads have gained a lot of the students full support and have become the tool of choice for most jobs. The netbooks are staying in their cases.
The cables and wall connectors will need to be collected early in Dec along with the iPads so we have them all for next year. Whether returning students will have holiday access and if next years grade will be given them to take home are issues that need some thought. Our grade structure changes next year and we may have the netbooks in another class and the ipads in the other as we will have more grade 5 students than grade 6’s requiring 2 grades with grade 5’s.
I am on leave for a large part of next term and this will be interesting to see how the iPads continue to be used. I will be emailing the students and teacher to keep up with the iPad use and will be inviting the teacher of the class to put some guest blogs here on this blog.