Jul 122012

Permalink: http://goo.gl/p3z6f

Bring your mobile device and your favorite iOS apps for Science and Social Studies with you today to share and learn from the other amazing educators in attendance. I’m a former Science teacher myself, so I’ll include a few resources below to get us started. 

If you’d like to share an app, please fill out this form with the information about it and why it’s amazing. Here’s the list of apps shared from the session.

Topics, Resources and Links:

Mar 162012

Thanks to Theresa Wilson for passing this article along to me. There are some fantastic rubrics here to evaluate educational apps for mobile devices based on relevance to the curriculum, ability to customize, level of student feedback, encouragement of thinking skills, level of engagement, and performance sharing.

Also included in the article are other app evaluation tools from around the country. If you are using the iPad, iPod or other app-driven mobile devices in your classroom, this is certainly worth a look.

Mar 072012

This software was just released today with the announcement of the new iPad. It looks like a good update to the iPhone Configuration Utility, but I’ve just only looked at the screenshots. It seems to be able to do more as far as preparing, supervising and assigning devices to groups (even supports Open Directory or Active Directory!).

I’ll give it a good thorough look, and report back!

Dec 062011

Some great ideas here on how to use any cell phone in class for educational ‘Phone-Casting’ for both teachers and student projects. The highlight? Learning that creating a phonecast with iPadio of ANY recorded speech will be automatically transcribed into text!

Nov 302011

More features, better value.

AirServer is the most advanced AirPlay/AirTunes receiver app on the market. No other app will let you seamlessly stream audio, videos, photos, and photo slideshows to your Mac or iOS device. AirServer gives you more features for less money, and it keeps getting better! Android fans rejoice: we now support AirPlay streaming to Mac from Android devices running doubleTwist+AirTwist.

Now, if this only worked with the iPad’s AirPlay mirroring function…. That would be a PERFECT way for teachers to show their iPad screens to their class via the computer/projector wirelessly.

Nov 102011

Here’s another couple of questions that I received from one of my teachers yesterday:

I have 2 ipads in my classroom that I would like to utilize more than I am at the moment. Do you have any suggestions, a website that I can go to for educational helps with the ipad, a list of cool apps, etc.   

And, I am really wanting to get my students to use the ipad for presentations. Do you have a suggestion of an app that will allow my students to take pics and video with the ipad, add pics from the internet, write, etc in presentation or storybook format?

These are great questions. With over 500,000 apps to choose from, it’s a bit daunting to try and find what you are looking for. There are several sites out there that are curating and organizing apps a little better than Apple is doing, but what you are looking for are recommended apps from other Utah educators. 

The Utah regional technology trainers (the other people from around the state that do what I do) are keeping a list of their favorite/best apps for the iPad and other iOS devices. We’ve tried to categorize them as best as we can, and the list includes links to the App Store so that you can quickly view more information about them and get them downloaded to your device. Here’s the short URL to that list:

UEN is in the process of developing a great searchable database of educational apps for all devices. The list is a little limited right now (they are still asking for recommendations), but it’s another good place to take a look. 

One other link that I’d like to share is from a series of presentations with the theme of ‘Interesting Ways‘ from Tom Barrett, an educator in England. He comes up with a topic, and shares it out to his followers on Twitter (@tombarrett). They share their ideas, and he compiles them into collaborative, interactive, and ever growing online presentations. The “Interesting Ways to use an iPad in the Classroom” is a great way to inspire you to do more with the tool than you could have ever thought to on your own.

Now, for your second question. With the integrated camera and microphone, the iPad is an amazing tool to create presentations, podcasts, and movies. I’ll point you to 5 different apps that I like for this, and you can decide which you’d like to give your students access to – it could be all of them!

Before I do, however, let’s talk about how to get images on to the iPad to use for these apps. There are many ways to do this, and I’ll go from the easiest to most complex:
  • Camera. With the iPad 2, you can quickly and simply use the Camera app to take photos or video. These are saved in the Photo app in the Camera Roll collection. PhotoBooth can also be used to take funny or silly photos, which are saved in the same place.
  • Internet. If you want to use an image from the web, in the Safari app you can simply do a long-press on the image you want, and the iPad will display a menu after a second or two to ask if you want to Open, Save Image or Copy it. Taping the Save Image option will save it to the Camera Roll as well.
  • Screen Capture. You can save an image of whatever is on the entire iPad screen by pressing the only two buttons on the device – the Home button on the front (the button with the square) and the On/Off button on the top/side. When you click these two at the same time, the screen will flash and you’ll hear a camera shutter sound. The captured image will be saved to the Camera Roll.
  • Email or Dropbox. If an image is saved on another device or computer, it can be transferred via email to the user. I know that you are in an elementary setting, so this may not be feasible. You could also set up Dropbox on your computer and download the Dropbox app on the iPad. Drop the image (or file or video or whatever) into your Dropbox folder on your computer, and it’s instantly available on the iPad through the app. It can then be saved to the Camera Roll.
Now that you know all of the ways to create and harvest images to use with these presentation apps, let’s talk about those. I’ll start with iMovie. This is THE best app for creating short videos and presentations on the iPad using video and images captured from the device, or any other images in the Photo app. It is very simple and intuitive to use, creates great looking videos, and these videos can be easily shared back to the Camera Roll, YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, iTunes, or even the CNN iReport!

My next favorite is Strip Designer. This one can be used in conjunction with iMovie or the other apps that I’ll mention because it creates comic strip like images from the photos on the iPad which you can then use in a movie or narrated story. It includes fun text styles, comic graphics, and speech bubbles that you can add to over 100 page layout options. Once the page is set, it can be saved back out the Camera Roll to share or use with other apps.

Next is Animoto. This is an app that is also an online service that takes images or video of yours, title/text slides that you create, music of your choosing or from their extensive library and creates an animated video remix that can be posted online or viewed from the app. The app guides you through the process, and they are simple and fun to create. You can get an educator account for free that will allow you to create longer videos online.

I’ll lump the last two together because they work in the same way and produce a similar product. Storyrobe and SonicPics allow you to take images
from the iPad, order them in your sequence, and record a voice narration over the top of the images to create a video slideshow. Storyrobe stories are only viewable on the device or on the Storyrobe Web site. SonicPics videos can be emailed, shared to a computer via WiFi, or viewed from the device. They are both iPhone apps, but work just fine on the iPad.
Nov 082011

A principal in my region posed this question to me:

Is there a way to manage 2 accounts on 1 iPad.  I have an iPad for each teacher, and would like to have a school account for school purchases, and a personal account for other things.  Is this doable?  

The short answer is yes, but it’s a little messy. Sadly, it’s not as easy as just signing into multiple accounts at one time on the iPad. You can only be signed into one at a time.

The iPad will allow you to log out and in of different iTunes accounts (in the Settings app, head to ‘Store’, tap the current Apple ID, and log out) without deleting or deactivating the apps on the device. So yes, if a teacher needed to get a school paid app they could log out of the personal ID, log in with the school ID and install the app.

The problem comes when you sync. From what I’ve read, it’s possible that the apps associated with the account NOT logged into at the time of a sync would be removed from the device. I’ve read mixed outcomes with this, but this is the main problem. The good news is that if you log back into the account where the apps were deleted, you can go to the App Store app, head to the ‘Purchased’ tab and re-download the deleted apps. The bad news is that the data associated with them would be gone, even though the apps could be reinstalled.

There are some potential better ways to work around the issue. Instead of a school associated Apple ID, you could purchase iTunes Gift Cards for the amount of the apps that need to be purchased for school use. If you have $32 worth of apps for a teacher to get, you can get a $32 (or any amount from $25-$5,000) iTunes gift card from the Apple Store.

You can also ‘Gift’ any app to one or multiple people at a time through the iTunes App Store on your computer (see the attached image). You can use one school Apple ID to do the gifting, and each person can install the app free of charge.
Lastly, there is the Volume Purchasing Program where you can buy vouchers for iTunes credits and either assign a dollar amount to an Apple ID or buy the licenses that you need for an app and then pass out a code for the user to download/install the app. 

This last solution is probably the best, but the most time consuming to get going. The biggest advantage of the Volume Purchasing Program is that IF YOU CAN buy apps in volume – at least 20 at one time, you can usually get a 50% discount on EACH COPY of the app. So, if you need 12 copies you can buy 20 for the price of 10 licenses. The extra 8 licenses do not expire – you can assign them out at any time in the future, and you saved the cost of 2 off of the top.

I know that was a long answer to a short question, but those are the options as of today. Who knows… Apple may change their thinking and allow multiple ID’s to be active at the same time on an iOS device, but I doubt it. Since ALL of an accounts music, videos, apps and other purchases are available to re-download now, it would be an easy route to piracy if multiple ID’s were easily added.
Aug 292011

I had an interesting question this morning come through my inbox, and I think that it is probably something that a lot of educators just getting their hands on an iPad or iPod Touch for the first time have…

I am wondering how to sync my Ipad to my home computer and school computer without having it replace my apps that are currently on the iPad.?? When I go to sync my apps, it wants to replace all the apps with what is on just my school computer.?? Is there a way around this?

By default, you are only meant to sync your iPad (or any other iOS device) with one computer. This is Apple's way of doing it's best to prevent piracy. If you could simply plug you iPad into someone elses computer and 'give' them all of your music and purchased media, then why would anyone buy anything ever again???

If you are using the same iTunes or Apple ID on both computers, use the 'Transfer Purchases' option on that window that pops up when you are trying to sync your iPad on a new computer. This will take any items purchased on your iPad and save it to the new computer.

There is a work-around. To sync to multiple computers, you need to set your iPad to the 'manual' syncing mode. Instead of automatically adding any new song, video and app when you plug it in, you'll have to drag-n-drop the new stuff onto your device. Here's how to do this:

There is one more option if you are only concerned about synching apps. On the iPad if you open the 'App Store' app, there is a 'Purchased' option on the bottom black menu. As long as an app was downloaded or purchased using your Apple ID, then you can head to this spot and download an app purchased on another computer (work or home) without the need to sync or re-purchase the item.

After the very first sync to get you up and running, you only REALLY need to sync your iPad once a month or so to back it up, and that should be done on the same computer all the time.

However, if you have two separate Apple or iTunes ID's (one for home purchases and a school account), then the management becomes really hard. I??have always just used my own Apple ID, so I have not had to muddle through this situation. It's best to pick one, and stick??with it.