Featured Post

Isle of Tune: Create a musical journey

What it is: Isle of Tune is a site that has just significantly impacted my productivity today- I can’t stop playing!  Thanks to @Matt_Arguello and @dancallahan for this share today on Twitter!  Isle of Tune lets students create musical journeys out of street layouts.  Roadside elements act...

Read More

HP Envy x2: Tablet/Notebook Review (gasp! it’s not an Apple!)

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, Teacher Resources, Technology | Posted on 26-07-2013

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2

Staples HP Envy x2 iLearn Technology

If you have followed my blog or Twitter feed for any amount of time, you know that this review is kind of a big deal.  I have been a hard-core Apple evangelist for at least 10 years now.  As in: Apple is the only technology product that I own and use.  Why in the world, you might wonder, has she suddenly switched gears and started using the HP Envy x2?  The good people of Staples invited me to do a review for them.  Full disclosure: they sent me a HP Envy x2 to play with.  Being the tech geek that I am, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play with a new gadget!

After taking some gratuitous un-boxing pictures, I plugged it in and got ready to play.

Staples HP Envy x2

Staples HP Envy x2

Staples HP Envy x2

The thing is…I haven’t used a non-Apple product in a LONG time.  I forgot that Windows likes you to promise your first-born before you actually get to play.  After signing my life away (not really, but it felt like it!) I played with the Envy and did the tasks normally reserved for my MacBook Pro and iPad.  I’ve been using the Envy for almost a month (and exclusively in place of my iPad today, @jtenkely snuck mine away for a client presentation) below are my notes.

Staples HP Envy x2

The Awesome:

  • The last time I used a non-Apple touch screen, it was a train wreck.  I was pleasantly surprised that this touch screen was everything you expect a touch screen to be.  It is incredibly responsive and works like you would (and should) expect it to.
  • The battery life is pretty great.  I had it on for 4 days of off-on use without having to recharge.  I’m pretty sure I got every bit of the 12 hours of battery life out of it.  The tablet alone gets slightly less battery life. The thought that HP put into charging is pretty impressive, the tablet gets fully charged before the keyboard gets charged.  This makes a lot of sense since you want the most out of the tablet.
  • The cameras are decent quality, the resolution of pictures seems better to me than what I get out of my iPad 3.
  • Beats Audio is a nice touch, the sound quality is good for a notebook/tablet.  This let me rock out to Spotify while I worked.
  • The Envy has inputs on the keyboard base including HDMI, two USB, and SD ports.  This makes transferring, adding, sharing content really easy.
  • The notebook/tablet combination are lightweight at just a hair over 3lbs.
  • Aesthetically the HP Envy x2 is nice.  It feels sturdy but still manages to look sleek (everyone seems to be taking styling cues from Apple these days…hard to go wrong with that inspiration).
  • Flash works all the time. Not having to open a new browser just for Flash is nice.  So many educational websites are still built using flash so for a classroom setting, this feature is handy!
  • Bluetooth connectivity.

The Less Awesome

  • I like the HP Envy x2 better as a touch-screen computer than I do as a tablet.  The screen size is just a little too big and heavy to hold comfortably as a tablet for reading, typing, etc.
  • On this device, I constantly used the touch screen instead of the track pad.  The track pad drove me absolutely crazy.  It  wasn’t as sensitive as I was used to, and there are spots on the pad that were way too sensitive for my liking and kept sending me into full screen mode.  It also has some little grooves in it that make it feel like it is sticky. When you work with children, things that feel sticky are never good.
  • Windows 8- I don’t get it.  It seems hard to complete even simple tasks.  This could just be my bias toward Apple’s OS, but I am not impressed.  When I got the hang of navigating, things got smoother.  I still wouldn’t trade Apple’s OS for it.  One of the things that I missed (and this may just be the apps I was using) was that apps don’t integrate seamlessly together like I anticipated they should.  The Windows 8 store is not my favorite.  It isn’t easy to search for something specific.
  • While the camera’s resolution was good, I wasn’t impressed with the response time to get it to focus on something.

What to Anticipate for the Classroom:

The HP Envy x2 would make a fine classroom computer/tablet.  I like that students can use it as a laptop, they can type on it easily, can access downloadable content, and it stores away nicely so you are not taking up too much space in the classroom.  I also like that it transforms into a tablet so that students can make their learning, and capturing of their learning, more mobile.  Our students constantly take photographs and videos of their learning whether they are inside, outside, on a field trip, etc.  The keyboard dock would be too cumbersome to tote all over so it is great that students could just use the tablet portion when a task called for more portability.  I found the Microsoft store a little lacking in apps that are available.  I think that in the classroom, this gets made up for by the free Flash content you can access online.  I anticipate that with the Windows 8 interface, the learning curve for using the device would be more significant than with an iPad (which has no learning curve).  This is especially true for the primary grades.  It really took me some playing around with to get it figured out, and although I’m all Apple, I am also tech savvy.

Fun Find:

Most of the apps that I downloaded are those that I use regularly on my other devices.  I was impressed with some (Twitter app was great!) and less so with others (Pinterest app was ridiculous…it was easier to just use the browser).  One of the fun finds that I immediately searched for afterward in Apple’s app store was wordBrush (not there).  It lets you type some words into a box and then draw with them.  Pretty awesome!  This could be fun for vocabulary/spelling practice, poetry, book quotes, etc.

I was impressed with the number of free apps available for download.

Overall Impression:

The HP Envy x2 is a nice device that would hold up well in a classroom.  My personal preference is NOT for Windows 8, but if you are used to a Windows environment, it probably won’t phase you.  I was extremely impressed with Staples customer service, after I ordered the HP Envy x2, it came within just a few days. Everyone I worked with on the Staples side was great! (They didn’t even ask me to say that!) :)  At $699 this is a good competitor for the iPad.  The combination tablet/notebook is nice.  It really was like being able to use my iPad and then instantly turn it into my MacBook.  Being small, it doesn’t have the same capabilities as my MacBook, but for the majority of what kids do in the classroom, it would be great!

We use Staples a LOT at Anastasis Academy.  I’ve been there every day this week getting school supplies true story.  They have some great back to school deals that you should check out.  The first is Teacher Appreciation Day.  20% back in Staples rewards on all purchases! You can also enter to win a $25 gift card.  Check out the website to find out when your local Staples is holding the Teacher Appreciation Day.

Staples also recently introduced Reward a Classroom.  Sign up and then invite parents to help you earn rewards by buying the school and office supplies they do already.  This could help keep you classroom well stocked all year-long!

**The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are strictly my own. Thank you Staples for letting me step outside of the Apple world to explore!

 

A catalog of apps sorted by Bloom’s Taxonomy #standagain

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Blooms Taxonomy, Create, Evaluate, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain) | Posted on 17-01-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

5

What it is:   This week Apple is all set to make a BIG announcement about education.  I always tune in when Apple has something to say, but this week I am particularly interested in what they are going to do with education.  The announcement has been connected to some of the big 6 (publishers).  This worries me a little bit because I find that the 6 are pretty traditional and in-the-box kind of thinkers.  It will be interesting to see how (or if) Apple has managed to convince some of them to break free a little bit.  What I am not excited for: a re-invention of the old way. Been there, seen that. We need something that will let students be creative and innovative, NOT rearrange their textbooks!  I digress.
In honor of Apple’s announcement, I thought I would do an early release of a catalog of apps I have been working on organized by Bloom’s Taxonomy.  I’ve been putting off publishing it because frankly, there are ALWAYS more to add. I just keep chipping away at it as I find it.  To be honest, I have a large collection on my iPad that are ready to be added but haven’t yet. So…bear in mind this is incomplete and will continue to grow!  For those of you who have iDevices in your classroom or at home, I hope it is helpful!
How to integrate Bloom’s Taxonomy of apps into the classroom: Bloom’s Taxonomy is by no means the best or only way to categorize websites, apps or other educational tools.  However, I often find that for my purposes, it is a really nice way to organize tools so that I can find them later.  It also keeps me (and my students) thinking about the learning process and keeps us all from getting stuck in a one-type-of-learning rut.  Bloom’s is also extraordinarily handy for categorizing apps that don’t fit neatly into a subject matter or that fall into several different subject categories.
In the apps, I have given you a little guide.  If an app cost money, I’ve added a $$ on the app.  The others are free.  The free apps are just as wonderful as some of the paid!
Keep the guide of apps handy for those parents who ask for your best app recommendations!
Tips:   Use the Bloom’s Taxonomy app guide with my Bloomin’ posters!  Stay tuned for BIG versions of the posters coming soon with my launch of the Learning Genome project on Kickstarter! Woot!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Bloom’s Taxonomy of Apps in  your classroom!

Conduit Mobile: Turn any website/blog/wiki into an app for any mobile device!

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, Create, iPod, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, web tools, Websites | Posted on 11-01-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6

What it is: Want to see something really super cool?  You can create your very own app for multiple mobile platforms in, I don’t know, 7 minutes flat! Seriously.  Conduit Mobile makes it incredibly easy to create your own app out of a blog, class website, wiki, etc. and publish it to share with others.  It honestly could not be easier.  Type in the URL you want turned into an app. Click go. Customize and tweak to your hearts desire and publish.  That. Is. It.  Holy cow it is easy!  You all are going to look like super geniuses when you turn your classroom blogs/wikis/websites into mobile apps that parents and students can access easily from anywhere.  Better yet- turn your school website into a mobile app and then you will be super genius of the school.  That is an impressive title.  Once your app is published, you have the ability to send push notifications to your app users (field trip reminders anyone?).  You can also easily track the analytics of who is using your app.  You can even enable advertising to earn revenue in accordance with your apps installation and performance.  It never hurts to have a little extra mail money around for all those classroom supplies we buy!
How to integrate Conduit Mobile into the classroom: Conduit Mobile makes it easy to meet your students and families where they are-on mobile devices.  Make classroom content and news easily accessible by running your site through Conduit Mobile-it does all the hard work leaving you an app for Apple devices, Android, Windows mobile, bada and Blackberry.
Do your students have blogs or wikis that they have created?  Help them publish their hard work into an app.  I’m thinking this would be a really NEAT way for our Jr. High students to turn their blog ePortfolios into apps that they bring with them to high school interviews.  Now that would be impressive!  It is so easy to do, there is just no reason not to!
As a school, publish your school site as a mobile app where parents can get quick-at-a-glance information, review policies and get the latest news.
Tips:  To publish your app to the various app stores, you will need a developer certificate.  These differ depending on the app store you are aiming for.  Conduit mobile even makes this process easy, walking you step-by-step (with pictures) through the process.  Once you are connected to each app store, you can publish as many apps as you would like.  If you have a class full of students who would like to publish a mobile app, it may be worth creating a class developer license that everyone can use to publish.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Conduit Mobile in  your classroom!

Rock Our World: Using music to collaborate and change the world

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Art, Character Education, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Foreign Language, Fun & Games, inspiration, Middle/High School, Music, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, video, Web2.0 | Posted on 03-01-2011

Tags: , , , , , , ,

7

What it is: Rock Our World has one goal, to give students authentic global collaboration opportunities by connecting them with music.  Rock Our World has been doing just that since 2004.  Students and teachers collaborate in composing original music, making movies, and meeting each other in live video chats. Using GarageBand (Apple), each country creates a 30 second drum beat.  Every Friday, the drum created rotates to another country, where the bass guitar is added. It gets passed from country to country with another instrument added at each stop.  When it gets back to the original country, it is an original piece of music that has been created with the help of kids around the world.

While the music is being passed from country to country, students have opportunities to meet and discuss various topics of curriculum in live video chats.  Incredible companies have been involved in this project including Apple, Fablevision, Discovery, American Film Institute, Smart Technologies, NASA, Visual Learning Company, Lintor Publishing, Mariner Software, actor Will Smith and more.  Pretty impressive!

Applications for Rock Our World will be accepted for pre-kindergarten through university  in January. You can sign up for membership by providing your email address to be alerted to the exact date you can begin applying.

How to integrate Rock Our World into the classroom: This is an incredible opportunity for your students to work and collaborate with other students around the world.  Not only will your students be learning and interacting with new cultures, they will also be learning more about music.  Your students will be a part of creating a unique song by adding their piece to it. At the end, each country will have a song touched by students around the world.  How cool is that?!

It would be really neat at the end of the project to create an iMovie of the final song that includes the globe animation zooming into each country as their bit of the song is played and including a slideshow of students from each country.

Tips: Take a look at previous projects by clicking on the “Media” tab.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Rock Our World in your classroom.

Felicity from Thin Air: Inviting creativity, imagination, and play in the classroom

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Character Education, Create, Fun & Games, inspiration, iPod, Language Arts, Math, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 17-12-2010

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2

The following is a re-post from my other blog: iPad Curriculum.  I shared Send Felicity a few weeks ago as part of my advent collection but thought I would give everyone a little more information about this incredible site and invitation for play.  Even though Send Felicity has an iPhone/iPod Touch app, the app isn’t necessary to engage in the creative play which is also available on the Send Felicity website and Facebook page.  I encourage you to offer your students opportunities for play.  I deeply believe that play is a strong catalyst for learning.

Application/website: Send Felicity

What it is: Everyone could use a little more magic and enchantment in their lives and Send Felicity brings students (and teachers/families) just that.  Take a look at the video below to watch some of that magic unfold.

Felicity is six and three-quarters years old.  She loves imagination, making things, and magic.  She comes from a magical place called Thin Air. Felicity invites children everywhere to join her in play.  Every day there is a new special surprise waiting for children.  Each surprise invites students to engage in creativity, play, imagination, and learning.  It is an enchanting-ongoing place that involves technology, imagination, and the real world in new ways.  The artists, geeks, and minds behind Felicity are deeply committed to keeping the childhood experience one of magic, imagination, and exploration.  They bring these values to life beautifully as an application, website, and social experience.  What I love about the Send Felicity experience is the storyline behind Felicity, and the invitation to be part of something that is engaging, meaningful, and magical.  The combination of the three makes Send Felicity a unique learning and interactive experience.  So, how does Send Felicity work?  Children can visit the application or website to learn of a new craft (adventure) to take with Felicity.  Felicity takes every day objects like paper plates and makes them magical.  Children follow the adventures and create and pretend along with Felicity.  Children can take pictures of their finished masterpieces and upload them to the Send Felicity website, sharing the creative experience with others.  The application is truly unique and takes what is real and adds a bit of magic (as you saw in the video).

How Send Felicity can enrich learning: Play is an important part of learning. It provides the building blocks for self-regulation and executive functions, promotes creativity, imagination, and divergent thinking.  Unfortunately play is often stripped from the classroom.  Send Felicity weaves together a wonderful tapestry of play and learning in the form of an application, a website, and a social movement.  Felicity uses open-ended play and experimentation that leads to an attitude of fun learning.  Felicity helps your students turn ordinary objects into creative works of magic.  Use Felicity’s daily dose of magic to spark your students imaginations.  Set aside some time for your students to do a little creative play.  The benefits that play has on the rest of the learning day will be well worth the time invested.   Go beyond the crafts and invite your students to write stories, poems, or secret letters in connection with the imaginative play of the day.   Activities for Felicity are open-ended and include art, language arts, literacy, and even math and physics.   Send Felicity marries technology and real life in new fun ways.  The application is just a piece of the bigger picture.  The application takes students physical creation and adds a little magic to it.

Send Felicity is really an app all about engagement of the mind.  As an example, one of my personal favorite Sending Felicity projects Beautiful Oops:

Today we are boldly making mistakes.Today, our children will make a small mess.

Today, we’ll set out on an adventure and begin with an “oops” and end up in a place where we can look and wonder. Together, we can do something mistaken and wrong; and audacious and wonderful to surprise everyone.

This project shows children that it is okay to make mistakes, and that, in fact, those mistakes can be turned into something wonderful, new, and meaningful.  Students don’t hear often enough that it is okay to make mistakes and that it is indeed an important part of the learning process.  Take a look at what these beautiful oops turn into:

The Send Felicity App has not yet been released to the iTunes store, but don’t let that stop you from using Felicity in your classroom right now, the Send Felicity website is full of fun activities, instructions, and even a bit of magic.  You can also check Felicity out on Facebook where she shares creations made by children from around the world!  Send your students home with a wonderful gift this holiday season and point them toward the Send Felicity website. Students will love the opportunities for play and imaginations, parents will love the ideas to keep their kids learning and playing.  Let parents know about Send Felicity along with this article from Geek Mom for a little explanation.

The wonderful people over at Send Felicity are so passionate about creating a world of wonder and imagination for children to play in that they have made the technology that Send Felicity is based on open source.  Interested parents, educators, and developers are invited to sign up to play along with them.

Devices: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch iOS 3.1.3 or later

Price: Free!

Bloom’s Taxonomy Bloomin’ Tree

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Blooms Taxonomy, Create, Download, Evaluate, inspiration, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain) | Posted on 20-09-2010

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

16

Okay, here is my LAST Bloom’s re-imagine (although I’m not promising it is the last that I will come up with, it is just the last I created for my classroom).

Over the past few weeks I have been sharing some of my Boom’s Taxonomy re-imagines.  I created these for my classroom so that I could share Bloom’s with my kids in different ways that would make our classroom fun, but also give them a different way of viewing the information.   Today I am sharing my Bloomin’ Tree.  As I started making my Bloom’s re-imagines, students started coming to me with ideas of how to display the information.  The tree was a student idea and the boy underneath is Lance, who made the suggestion.  (Lance was my personal Dennis the Menace, loved him to pieces!)  Some of you have asked what program I used to create my pictures.  I use Apple’s Pages for almost everything, the Bloom’s Taxonomy was no exception.  I use the free hand drawing tool, the shapes, fill tool, text box, and inspector to make my version of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Below you will find my original Bloomin’ Tree, along with my digital version.  Many of you have asked for a printable version of these Bloom’s Taxonomy re-imagines, you can now find a bundle of 4 (Bloomin’ Peacock, Um-bloom-ra, Bloomin’ Pinwheel, and Bloomin’ Tree) in my store.  You will get 8 8.5″x11″ posters, this includes the digital version of each.

Digital Bloomin’ Tree

Here are links to the digital resources in my digital Bloomin’ Tree:

Remember:

BBC Skillwise- http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/

Spelling City- http://spellingcity.com

Starfall- http://starfall.com

Discovery Streaming- http://streaming.discoveryeducation.com

Lexipedia- http://lexipedia.com

YouTube- http://youtube.com

Gamegoo- http://www.earobics.com/gamegoo/gooey.html

PBS Kids- http://pbskids.org

Understand:

Into the Book- http://reading.ecb.org

Skype- http://skype.com

Treasures- http://activities.macmillanmh.com/reading/treasures/

Book Adventure- http://bookadventure.org

Twitter- http://twitter.com

Apply:

Kerpoof- http://kerpoof.com

PhotoBooth- Software

Scholastic- http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/learn.jsp

Fotobabble- http://fotobabble.com

Google Earth- http://google.com/earth

Analyze:

Read Write Think- http://readwritethink.org

Cool Iris- http://cooliris.com

Wordle- http://wordle.net

Creaza- http://creaza.com

Mindomo- http://mindomo.com

Evaluate:

Shelfari- http://shelfari.com

Wikipedia- http://wikipedia.com

Think.com- http://think.com

Nota- http://notaland.com

Create:

Pic-Lits- http://piclits.com

Kerpoof- http://kerpoof.com

ZimmerTwins- http://zimmertwins.com

Wiki Spaces- http://wikispaces.com

DomoNation- http://domonation.com

Glogster- http://edu.glogster.com

Creaza- http://creaza.com

Voicethread- http://voicethread.com

Kidblog- http://kidblog.org

Wetpaint- http://www.wetpaint.com

edublogs- http://edublogs.org

Stage’d- http://stagedproject.com/

Garageband- Software

iMovie- Software

 

Bloom’s Taxonomy Bloomin’ Pinwheel

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Blooms Taxonomy, Create, Download, Evaluate, inspiration, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain) | Posted on 17-09-2010

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

19

Over the past few weeks I have been sharing some of my Boom’s Taxonomy re-imagines.  I created these for my classroom so that I could share Bloom’s with my kids in different ways that would make our classroom fun, but also give them a different way of viewing the information.   Today I am sharing my Bloomin’ Pinwheel.  As I started making my Bloom’s re-imagines, students started coming to me with ideas of how to display the information.  The pinwheel was a student recommendation.  I think it turned out pretty cute!  Some of you have asked what program I used to create my pictures.  I use Apple’s Pages for almost everything, the Bloom’s Taxonomy was no exception.  I use the free hand drawing tool, the shapes, fill tool, text box, and inspector to make my version of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Below you will find my original Bloomin’ Pinwheel, along with my digital version.  Many of you have asked for a printable version of these Bloom’s Taxonomy re-imagines, you can now find a bundle of 4 (Bloomin’ Peacock, Um-bloom-ra, Bloomin’ Pinwheel, and Bloomin’ Tree) in my store.  You will get 8 8.5″x11″ posters, this includes the digital version of each.

Here are links to the digital tools in my Boomin’ Pinwheel:

Remember:

BBC Skillwise- http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/

Spelling City- http://spellingcity.com

Starfall- http://starfall.com

Discovery Streaming- http://streaming.discoveryeducation.com

Lexipedia- http://lexipedia.com

YouTube- http://youtube.com

Gamegoo- http://www.earobics.com/gamegoo/gooey.html

PBS Kids- http://pbskids.org

Understand:

Into the Book- http://reading.ecb.org

Skype- http://skype.com

Treasures- http://activities.macmillanmh.com/reading/treasures/

Book Adventure- http://bookadventure.org

Twitter- http://twitter.com

Apply:

Kerpoof- http://kerpoof.com

PhotoBooth- Software

Scholastic- http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/learn.jsp

Fotobabble- http://fotobabble.com

Google Earth- http://google.com/earth

Analyze:

Read Write Think- http://readwritethink.org

Cool Iris- http://cooliris.com

Wordle- http://wordle.net

Creaza- http://creaza.com

Mindomo- http://mindomo.com

Evaluate:

Shelfari- http://shelfari.com

Wikipedia- http://wikipedia.com

Think.com- http://think.com

Nota- http://notaland.com

Create:

Pic-Lits- http://piclits.com

Kerpoof- http://kerpoof.com

ZimmerTwins- http://zimmertwins.com

Wiki Spaces- http://wikispaces.com

DomoNation- http://domonation.com

Glogster- http://edu.glogster.com

Creaza- http://creaza.com

Voicethread- http://voicethread.com

Kidblog- http://kidblog.org

Wetpaint- http://www.wetpaint.com

edublogs- http://edublogs.org

Stage’d- http://stagedproject.com/

Garageband- Software

iMovie- Software

 

Friday Recap

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, Friday Recap, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary | Posted on 13-08-2010

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1

Happy Friday everyone! In case you missed it, here is what I was up to this week outside of iLearn Technology.  Have a perfectly wonderful weekend :)

  • Redefining Cheating- this post created a lot of discussion and controversy this week on my Dreams of Education Blog.
  • Why I Love Worksheets- this was a follow-up post I wrote to the Redefining Cheating post on Dreams of Education.
  • Flipboard- a review of how to use the Flipboard app in the classroom on my iPad Curriculum blog.
  • ARIS- a review of an Augmented Reality and Interactive Storytelling application…probably the best application I have seen for education to date!  Check out the review on my iPad Curriculum blog.
  • This week I created an Edublogger Alliance social network.  Join us if you are a blogging educator!
  • On Blogging- a blog post I wrote on the Edublogger Alliance social network about blogging.
  • Still no word on funding for my iPad project.  I would still appreciate your votes in the Kohls Cares $500,000 give away.  Click this link and vote for Cherry Hills Christian.

Thank you all for your comments, tweets, retweets, and support this week!

My iPad Journey

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, collaboration, education reform, inspiration, iPod, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 29-07-2010

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

13

The story above is meant to be an illustration of the school/learning experience.  The first explorer’s journey represents the traditional school model.  Here, students are given set tools and led in one direction down a river of scripted curriculum and standardized tests.  Some wonderful things are learned along the way, but there is little freedom to stop and explore more.  This is further limited by the tools provided that allow for little or no discovery.  On this journey there is a single goal in mind: graduation.

The second explorer represents a rich learning experience made available when the proper tools and experiences are made available.  In this model, there is still a destination and objective, but the journey is one of discovery, adventure, and opportunity.  On this journey, students are given the resources that will allow them to explore and learn at their own pace, deepening the learning experience and passion for  a life of learning.  While there are many resources that could enrich the learning experience and help students on this journey of discovery, the tool I am recommending is the iPad.

I choose the iPad over other devices (such as netbooks) because it is an intuitive device (particularly for the elementary level) that puts the focus on the journey unfolding.  Other devices may be cheaper, or offer Flash, or allow multi-tasking but these devices get in the way of the journey because they must be learned before the journey can even begin.  These type of devices can end up being THE journey because there is a learning curve for using the device.  The iPad is brilliant in its simplicity.  Students can pick it up and immediately understand how to navigate and use the device with little guidance.  The iPad offers portability not available in other devices.  It is the go-anywhere, all day learning device that allows students to explore, communicate, and collaborate at their own pace and in their own way.

In the current school system, students aren’t afforded the luxury of having the teacher to themselves all day.  The iPad can fill some of this void by guiding learning, offering instant feedback, giving the ability to pause-rewind-replay learning, and allowing students to learn collaboratively.  This frees the teacher to spend more time guiding students individually on their individual learning journey.

As I have written previously, one device may not make sense in every school, in every classroom.  In another demographic, the cellphone may be the best portable learning device.  I am proposing an iPad study pilot program because for my students at my school, the iPad is the right tool for the journey.  I have had an average of 400 students each year.  I know every one of them by name.  I know many of their families.  I know their hobbies, interests, fears, and passions.  Being a computer has afforded me the opportunity to teach these kids every week of their elementary school lives.  I know these kids. The iPad is the device that would make the second explorer’s journey possible for them.

Before the school year was over, an idea formed to start a 1-to-1 iPad pilot program in first and fifth grade (180 students).  I decided to make this program a formal research study to find out what affect the device really had on student learning and achievement.  I wanted the results of this program to be farther reaching than my school and my students.  It is my hope that by turning this into a research study, not only would my students be given the best, but others could benefit from the results.  Perhaps we could provide the road map of how to implement a 1-to-1 iPad program.  I wrote out my proposal and immediately sent out a tweet asking if there were any research professors or graduate students who might be interested in something like this. Many from my PLN responded positively with help, Jason Schmidt was the one I chose.  Then, I got the wild idea to take the study to another level and sent my proposal to Robert Marzano and Debra Pickering.  They agreed to partner with us on research!  The problem?  We are still working out a way to fund this project.

Below is a pared down version of my proposal:

Objective/Purpose of Study
The purpose of this pilot program is to examine the effectiveness of the Apple iPad multi-touch, mobile device on student achievement and learning in a 1-to-1 environment.  The iPad mobile device will be used to augment instruction, differentiation, inquiry learning, and innovative classroom practice with a focus on reading/English language arts and Math.  Reading/English language arts and math are the primary focus of the study since these are the two subjects that all states have been required to develop assessments under the No Child Left Behind Act.1   The study will also seek to determine if instructional practices are influenced by the use of iPad mobile devices in the classroom.

Goals
The goal of this pilot program is to provide a 1 to 1 mobile device learning environment which will:

  • Provide consistent access to technology for a fully integrated learning experience by providing each student with an iPad mobile learning device for use inside and outside the classroom.
  • Make provisions for on demand learning opportunities which will expand the reach of the classroom with the iPad learn-anywhere platform (applications, podcasts, video, e-books all selected for individual learning needs).
  • Allow for customized, individualized content to meet each student’s unique learning needs.4
  • Increase student motivation and engagement in learning.5
  • Increase collaboration among students and teachers resulting in improved achievement.6
  • Provide students with student-focused instruction that is multi-level (for different student abilities), multi-sensory (for different learning styles), and individualized.7
  • Provides students with immediate feedback on learning.8
  • Provides teachers with the ability for immediate and individualized learning assessments.

Questions to Address

  • How can the iPad mobile learning device influence student achievement?
  • How can use of the iPad improve student motivation, attitude, and interest in learning?
  • How can the iPad mobile learning device be introduced into curriculum and instruction effectively?
  • What learning strategies are most effective in instructional applications of the iPad?
  • How can the iPad be used to extend learning beyond the classroom and school day?
  • In what ways can implementation of the iPad be a catalyst for a restructuring of school?
  • What are effective ways of evaluating the impact of mobile learning devices on teaching and learning?
  • Will there be an increase in student ability to use classroom or computer lab computers?
  • Will there be a change in the way teachers think about the use of mobile technologies?
  • Will there be a change in the process of learning from being largely teacher centered, to student centered as a result of the introducing the iPad?
  • Will there be a greater sense of student ownership, responsibility, and empowerment in their own learning (how does this differ in 1st grade to 5th grade)?
  • Will students use technology more purposefully to complete a task or discover new information?
  • Will there be a change of teacher’s philosophy, pedagogy, or approach to the learning process?

Conclusion
The iPad pilot program offers something innovative in the classroom.  It provides the potential to empower and uplift students in their learning.  To maximize effectiveness, education in the 21st century has to be active, engaged, and customized for students.  Students must have universal access to mobile technologies that will enable critical thinking, differentiation, and problem solving.  It is our belief that the technology in Apple’s iPad meets these needs and more.

I tell you all of this because we are still searching for funding.  We have applied for grants, talked with individuals, entered contests, emailed Steve Jobs, etc., etc., etc.  I am stubborn.  I refuse to believe that money is going to be the thing to stop us in our tracks.  I refuse to believe that in all of my PLN, Twitter, and Facebook connections that there isn’t an answer.  Surely Twitter shrinks the six degrees of separation between me and someone who can help get this moving.  Surely someone knows someone, who knows someone who can make this happen.

So here is my plea:

I am convinced that with your help I can get this program started and that our ripples will be felt throughout the education community.

Pages Tutorial

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive book, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources | Posted on 23-01-2010

Tags: , , , , , , ,

15