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What it is: Samarost is an intriguing flash website where students are dropped in the middle of a strange new universe where they must solve a variety of challenging puzzles.  Students play a character that they must help save from an asteroid collision.  There are no instructions on how to play the game, students simply use their best reasoning and deduction to solve the puzzles.   With multiple levels, students can put those observational and reasoning skills to good use.  I like that there are no instructions or hints about how to play the game, students learn how to play as they interact with the site.   How to integrate Samarost into the classroom: Samarost is an excellent challenge puzzle that will make students think in new ways and work to solve a problem.  I like the idea of solving the problems as a class using an interactive whiteboard or projector connected computer.  Students can offer each other suggestions and tips about why a course of action might help solve the puzzle.  There are enough levels to solve for each student to get a turn at the board.  Samarost could also be played on individual computers in a lab setting or on classroom computers as an on-going center activity.  If this is a center activity that many students will visit and work on together, you can have each student keep observational notes of what they have done and what they have tried to help the next student who visits the center.    Since there are no rules or back story to this site, it would be fun to incorporate it into a creative writing project.  Students could create a back story and explanation of what is happening to the character in Samarost. Tips: This game is best for students who are 9 or older. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Samarost 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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