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.
Along 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.
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.