Friday, March 9, 2012

Mobile IPads

We've been doing something a little different at Sullivan Heights with our IPads, we've been using them as COWS (computers on wheels - yes I know, this acronym makes you smile).  That means that students get different IPads every time different teacher signs out the cart full of IPads - we're sharing.  This action would not usually make a difference except most of the Apps on the IPad use email to save your work or send your work to someone and most of these apps want you to put in your email address on the IPad setting.  Why is this a problem?  When the student sets up their email, they will then have to  removes the email before they put the IPads away at the end of the classroom period.  This procedure will take up valuable teaching time.  So what do you do?  The only thing is to ask the creators of the Apps to make some changes or to get a generic account that everyone uses to email their own work to themselves.  The second problem with this situation is that all IPads are on the "guest access" system in SD36 and this WiFi system does not let you email out.  Well, back to the drawing board....

As you can see, the booking calendar for the IPad COW is very busy, with teachers using them for projects for 3 - 5 days, but in between the project other students are using the IPads and the different Apps for different reasons.  We've had a number of incidents already where one student forgets to log out of their Twitter Account and the next classroom using the IPad uses this twitter account.  

One brilliant teacher (K. Phillips) is using blogs for students to record their learning, and to help in assessment of learning.  But when she was using the IPads and using Blog Press, once you log into this app you cannot log out.  So we've looked at others (BE Write HD - excellent look and great for sharing on Google Docs your work - I liked this one and Blogsy - we're still investing this rich one) and decided to use Blogger, a simple app specific for blogspot, and for the needs of the student.  They can add pictures from the photo roll with the IPad (to help record any scientific information they need).  I've seen their work and I (as well as Phillips) am amazed at the learning, the analytical evidence shown, the exploration of learning in different areas that the student chose.  

So where to next?  We're still experimenting with Blogsy, and BE Write worked for one student but not another.  We're looking at apps that have a "sign out" feature.  So beware, those that get a COW of IPads, make sure any app you purchase has a sign out feature and also has it so there are a number of ways to get your info to the teacher.

On a side note, I love Comic Book but if you don't finish your comic in that time period and post it to Twitter (the great feature I loved), then you're hooped.  Because you can't save it to your system without it disappearing when sharing the IPads.  Sorry Comic Book, you need to fix that  ;)

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