Sunday, 6 January 2013

Getting Ready for 2013

Getting ready for the classroom in 2013 has some very specific challenges. I should create a list and address each one individually, however, for the moment it is whatever I stumble upon.

Today I am thinking about sharing! Technology is not new to classrooms but ability to save and share has not been a significant issue, beyond ensuring students understand the difference between saving on a computer at home and saving to a network. Saving and storing with iPads will be a test for best practice for students and staff.

Today's suggested reading:ipad Sharing pdf.

Also this site offers more suggestions! The Pains and Remedies of iPad Sharing

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Module 6 - Transforming Learning

Transformative Devices Reading Activity
Its heartening to commence this module with reference to Dr Puentedura's work on the transformative process of iPads and iDevices in education. Since being introduced to this model early in 2012, I have been able to give direction and structure to what I am trying to achieve - both in the classroom and as a member of our eLearning team. Hopefully, as our Stage 3 BYOD project commence in 2013, I will be able to direct my students from substitution to augmentation and beyond.

As part of the 1:1 project, we have constructed a list of apps to be installed by parents as many other teachers have before us. This is a difficult process as I firmly believe that all teachers cannot necessarily work from the same app list. We need to take into account research which has shaped our pedagogies in the past and allow them, e.g. Bloom's Taxonomy, to give structure to our choice in apps.

This list assembled by Kathy Schrock is an excellent example of selecting apps to focus on the specific levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. Over time other apps may fulfill this purpose better or could meet the needs of particular students more appropriately.

Camera Activity
Documenting student's work using an iPad has been the most commonly used feature by teachers who are new users. My first experience using iPad in the classroom involved students preparing an interview about their personal learning goals for 2012 and then recording one another on video. It was highly motivating and rewarding as I watched students collaborating and trouble-shooting to get the best result. Video certainly made easy!

Annotating Activity - Skitch
This activity was fun! I haven't used Skitch before despite having had an Evernote account for quite a while.

Creating a Blog
This blog has been so vital to my learning journey on iPads as it has provided me with a place to reflect, analyse and plan for my future direction. Blogger has a mobile version and like all apps on our phones, it allows the user to blog on the run! Although only a sample of each post is visible - I don't see this as a limitation.

Blogging is a tool I have used with success in the past with my students and 2013 will see our class blog as an integral component of our learning process. While it offers an authentic audience it also shows students first hand the impact of making public (although limited) comments.

iMovie Activity
My class used iMovie to create a small movie about our participation in the school's Veggie Patch project. They took video footage of each other planting, watering & weeding and added dialogue back in the classroom.  We also used Explain Everything constantly to document learning by interviewing one another or annotating a work sample which had been photographed on screen. This has been our most popular app in 2012!

Module 5 - Multimodal Literacies

Multimodal Literacies on iPad

Effective teaching and learning with multimodal literacies are essential components of a sound 21st century pedagogy and while there are common features of traditional literacy, other aspects need to be explicitly modelled for students. These are:
  • navigating web-based pathways and hyperlinks - while students are "tech-savvy" they are not always using pathways efficiently and require specific opportunities to develop and refine this skill.
  • understanding and creating meaning from digital resources sich as images and video - student require modelling and opportunities to collaborate or work on whole class examples to ensure that deep knowledge is extracted. Visual images contain literal and inferential meanings which are not always apparent to all students. 
  •  create meaning through digital story-telling

iPads and Literacy
As a teacher, it is always great to be able to access a resource quickly and easily and eBooks makes this possible. My class had enjoyed the witty novel by Andy Griffiths and I found that there was a recently released sequel which we downloaded and read as a class from my iPad on Smartboard! Too easy! It illustrated well the contrast between shared reading of a traditional text and digital story-telling.
The class also shared a picture book on an iPad following, following directions to download and  
then reflect with a written task. You would think that 15 groups reading at once would be a cacophony but it was a glorious example of 21st century learning at work.

ReRead, Record and Reflect Activity
This activity I modified (integrated?) using Explain Everything app where the students interviewed one another about a Maths task or created a scientific drawing and annotated as they drew. Not a reading tasks but the result was a collection of voice recordings of us all! An interesting observation was that the students were not distracted by one another. It is amazing how quickly they have adapted to multimodal classroom. 

Literacy Building Activities
I found an iPad invaluable for literacy-based tasks with my students requiring a higher level of learning support. One student simply used it to photograph the spelling words she had created with scrabble tiles. A simple substitution activity however using an iPad had a vicarious effect on her and she became highly motivated to challenge herself. This resulted in her fitting the words together crossword style which would had not been achievable in the past. 

Creating Digital Stories
My class were finishing the school term (T2) with independent creative writing tasks, using random ( and slightly ridiculous) book titles e.g. The Attack of the 50ft. Turnip!I wanted to find options for publishing their completed stories in a digital format that could be readily shared by the whole class. 

We used StoryKit: add images; simple drawings; records sound; adds text; records the file for each image individually; and final product looks great on the iPad.

My Story is another easy to use app for digital story-telling. It is best to use with a stylus as there is no function for the creator to type text in. I created one about my farm, importing photos and adding voice. My Learning Support students loved it the best!
Book Building apps                                                                       The catch phrase for this heading is that book creation allows students to "actively produce content", which I believe to be a core principle of learning through technology. Using my MacBook and iBooks Author I was able to create an eBook using information reports the class had written, including diagrams and images. They were motivated to produce well-edited text especially when we shared a draft of the finished product. It was easily accessed by parents and provided an insightful example of exploring books on the iPad.

Curating Information
Pinterest and Scoop It! are my favourite curating apps. and can be accessed from my first post. I have also found these to be valuable resources for my colleagues and used during Techy Brekkies sessions.

Personal Reflection
This module has provided an excellent opportunity for me to reflect on how I have been using iPads to support reading in my classroom. As we have only been in an introductory phase with iPads during 2012, it is certainly motivating to see how quickly the classroom environment and pedagogy has changed due to these devices.

I am ever mindful of the SAMR model and am endeavouring to move beyond the substitution phase of iPad integration. So when it comes to reading, I want to ensure that there is a skill or activity attached which is digitally-focussed.

Module 4 - Working with Files

How can we get them to talk?

One of the features of using a range of Apple devices both for professional and personal use is the ability to have your devices synced to enable the sharing of files.

This portion of the module been an important one to be clear about as my colleague and I have used our knowledge to lead new adopters on staff through the basics of using an iPad. While many people are aware of the nature of saving into a virtual location - it became apparent that it is vital to be clear about the features of cloud computing (Cloudshare - CEO VLE).

Another point to ponder is how to instruct students to manage their files also. My school is embarked on iPad implementation program in Term 4 2012 - 10iPads per classroom K-4 with Stage 3 going to 1:1 in 2013. The issue arises with school-owned devices for students to have a suitable location to store files. As we move further along into Cloudshare  and students receive their own email addresses, they will be able to use Google Drive, class blog and/or digital portfolio created in app such as Evernote or Dropbox. An iPad is an intuitive device and you are able to move files effortlessly from it is required.

Google Drive
As this year has progressedI have commenced integrating Google apps into my use of iPads in the classroom and for my own use. It has become apparent that the corporate sector has been using these Google-based apps, particularly Docs, for many years and due to the collaborative nature, they will be useful in education.

As I have become further involved with staff PD around iPads and Cloudsharing, I realised that I needed an app / program to help me create documents to help staff with step-by-step instructions and ideally to save these in iBooks (same as this course!) neu.Annotate allows the user to create new and edit existing documents on an iPad.

Module 3 - Working with apps

Finding content on iTunes is one of the first features you become familiar with when starting on an iPad. It's interesting to note how much free content is available - and much of it is really useful - although a little useless. Best discovery is iTunesU which a fellow teacher recommended to me before I commenced this course. Catholic Network Australia has beneficial material e.g. Cybersafety 2011 contains downloadable resources to support the main points within the topic. Most of the apps have not been reviewed as yet but this location provides a keyhole into Catholic education and will obviously grow over time. I'd like to follow up by doing more research into TextEdit as there is an app recommending its use with students with disabilities.

iLe@rn app Framework provides a sound structure to the use and selection of apps. Below is an example of how it is important to ensure that the apps we choose to use must be authentic to the outcomes and purpose of the content or skill. With such a wealth of apps available, it is going to be the responsibility of teachers to choose wisely and teach our students to do the same.

Module 2 - Making Connections

Surfing the Internet using Safari has been straight forward but working through this module still brings light to many extra tips & features e.g. Touch (hold) and drag the .com key to see/select a hidden options. Particularly useful is the Tap ‘Add to Reading List’ to add a webpage to the list so that you can read it later. I find articles quickly accumulate but when I do have some quiet reading time it's handy to quickly locate articles previously saved. Exploring the built-ins apps as enlightening when I first opened my iPad and I quickly found those apps which would be the most useful. I use calendars as my daily reference for school & personal dates & information. I have set up separate calendars for each with both visible a the same time. So quick to add dates too.

I commenced using Newstand to store my newspaper & magazine subscriptions - a quick go-to when there's time for leisure reading.

One chapter of interest in the Apple User Guide is that dealing with Safari as the web browser. Teaching young students, it has always been an important lesson to teach them how to become more proficient and effective when searching the web. This used to involve the teaching of skills when Internet Explorer. Teaching them to use Safari will involve viewing webpages, links, creating reading lists, bookmarks & history and printing weaves & PDF. This helps to remind us as teachers how important it is for students to have the skills they need to work effectively and it is our responsibility that those skills are clearly shown and students given many opportunities to Practise and reinforce skills learnt.

Module 1 - Exploring the iPad

All seems pretty straightforward as I've had an iPad for nearly 12 months, except for the 3 months between it being stolen and the insurance company replacing it. I am familiar with all the points in the basics checklist, so far so good.

Downloading Apple's iPad User Guide was a worthwhile endeavour as I'm always inclined to work things out as I go along. Reading the instructions first is a helpful tip! iBooks tools including how to change the appearance of pages including brightness - a great tip. Best tip though is highlighting text & adding notes to pages - old study habits can still be catered for.

As an aside - I have been using an iPad in my classroom with one of my students on learning support for a month or so. She enjoys using simple spelling app, however says she finds concentrating for more than 10 minutes to be too tiring for her. This is a reasonable response - just one I hadn't anticipated - hmmm... how to make adjustments for her. Even iPads aren't going to be the only answer in her personalised learning journey.