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Primary Access

What it is:   Primary Access is a tool I learned about today while attending one of the K12 Online conference sessions.  This incredible site has a web-based tool that offers students and teachers simple access to digital images and materials that provides them the opportunity to create personal narratives.  The idea behind the site is that if students are offered primary source documents, they develop better historical thinking skills.  I highly recommend you watch the presentation on k12 Online, to see just how accurate this belief was in a case study of the site.  Students use Primary Access to create digital movies (historical narratives) that help add to meaningful learning experiences.  The site is very simple to use, intuitive enough that even a student (or teacher) who has never created a digital movie would be successful.     How to integrate Primary Access into the classroom:   Use Primary Access as a tool to bring history to life for your students.  Using the site, students can create a short digital movie that explores some event in history.  The digital movie will only be 1-3 minutes in length and can contain images, text, movies, and narration recorded in the students own voice.  Students have a place to write, research, narrate, view, and search a time line and idea map right in Primary Access.  The finished product is educational and entertaining for the creator and viewers.  The results with this site are truly amazing!  It really does bring history to life.   Tips: It isn’t obvious how to create a teacher account on Primary Access, to create an account go to http://primaryaccess.org/teacher.   Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Primary Access  in your classroom.

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Meraki: Manage Mobile Devices from the Cloud…FREE

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, iPod, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Technology, web tools, Websites | Posted on 20-11-2012

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What it is: Meraki lets you centrally manage mobile devices, macs and PC’s from the cloud based dashboard.  The systems manager makes it simple to centrally manage applications on iOS, Android, Mac and PC devices.  It integrates with Google Play, Amazon Appstore, Apple App Store and Apple’s Volume Purchase Program.  In addition to being able to manage apps, Meraki makes it easy to enforce and deploy restrictions on mobile devices. Choose how your students access the app store, gaming and content, how they connect wirelessly, security settings and remote VPN access.  Meraki has a virtual backpack where content can be shared with devices.  Files and documents can be added and sent wirelessly.  Separate backpacks can be delivered to different classrooms so that the correct documents are shared with the students who need it.  The cloud platform makes 1 to 1 projects and BYOD (bring your own device) roll outs manageable.  The best part?  Meraki is 100% free.  You just can’t beat that!

How to integrate Meraki into the classroom: This is one of those tools that I WISH I had seen before I spent $3,000 on another solution.  Blerg.  Live and learn, right?  Next year, this is the solution I will be using to manage all of our BYOD iPads at Anastasis.  It has everything that we need.  The integration with Apple’s Volume Purchase Program is pretty fantastic.  This is a great way for the school to purchase and manage educational apps that we want to share with students.  The cloud management means that we can manage devices from anywhere and we don’t have to have a dedicated server to do it.  I can do a lot of things, but managing servers is not one of those things that I want to spend my time doing!

Meraki is a great solution for whole schools or single classrooms that need to manage devices.  I love that Meraki can be used for a school initiated roll-out or in a single classroom BYOD initiative.  Either way the tools are easy to use and will make the integration of technology in the classroom run smoother.

Tips: Check out the FAQ page to learn more about how Meraki gets installed on the student devices.  The installation changes based on device.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Meraki in your classroom.

Comments (2)

I passed this along to our district folks today, but it looks like Meraki just got bought by Cisco: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2412479,00.asp. Hope that doesn’t change this free MDM option . . .

This is true, I am hoping for the same!

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