Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Problems with Sharing the IPads in a School...

If you're sharing your iPads in your school in the senario of a cart of iPads being signed out by a number of different teachers every day, you've probably encountered one of its most glaring shortcomings -- the iPad was designed primarily as a one-person gadget.  Most of the apps typically only supports a single user account that may be hooked to the email setting of your iPad.. That's a major problem if you've bought the iPads to share with the entire school.   Now there is an app that lets multiple users share a single iPad and maintain separate identities.

Our Pad lets a number of users access a single iPad, each with their own separate password-protected accounts.  It may not be the answer to every problem you may encounter, it's made for one family who want to share a device, but that doesn't mean you can't use it in a different area.  

Our iPad does not actually create separate log-ons and user accounts like you'd expect with an OS like Windows. Instead, it's an app that sets up any number of unique accounts for identity-driven services like Gmail and Facebook. That means most of the apps on your iPad are still community property, but there's a firewalled zone users can go to to get webmail, so this helps when it comes to emailing your work in programs like ComicLife, and such, that use the email setting on your Pad.Right now, Our Pad supports Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Twitter, and Facebook, with more services promised. Users don't need to enter passwords to get to their accounts; the program recognizes a user-specified lock pattern for easy access. It automatically signs users out when the iPad is idle or goes to sleep for added security.  

This may solve some of our problems, we'll see if we can bust this program or not.   As LifeHacker stated "It's not as good as Apple allowing multiple user logins, but it works well enough so people who share an iPad don't have to constantly log in and out of social networks and emails when they hand it over."  I'm also considering how many users can you put on this IPad?  Not for every student I'm sure but can we not make generic email accounts and try that?  Will have to try.

So, here are some considerations and questions to answer in no particular order:

  1.  How many users can you have on one IPad with this app?
  2. Do you have to reset everything when you factory set your computers?  Or rather you can then go with the backup if you want?  Do you have to reset when you upgrade to a new OS system?  There's a lot of time and effort (close to an hour a pad) to update.
  3. Can you break into the system?
  4. Will this help the saving issue?
  5. Will Dropbox have the same problem?
  6. Do I need generic accounts (30 of them) to assign to a classroom of students to be able to use this feature?  
  7. How do I fix the problem of Web 2.0 tools not working with IPads because of the flash?  
  8. There is a dilemma of constantly updating all these apps.  So we have to limit the apps we use.
Hopefully these will be answered in a later blog.

To see more check out the reviews below:

This App supports the following:

❏ EMAIL    ✹ Gmail    ✹ Hotmail    ✹ Yahoo    ✹ ZohoMail    ✹ GoogleApps Mail (without SSO)    ✹ AOL    ✹    ✹    ✹    ✹ GMX    ✹ 
❏ SOCIAL    ✹ twitter    ✹ Google+    ✹ Facebook     ✹ Myspace    ✹ LinkedIn    ✹ Bebo    ✹ Flixster    ✹ Friendster    ✹ Hi5    ✹ myYearbook    ✹ Orkut    ✹ BuzzFeed    ✹ VK    ✹ Hyves    ✹ Tumblr    ✹ fotki    ✹ tagged 
❏ BLOGS    ✹ Blogger (Blogspot) 
❏ MEDIA    ✹ YouTube    ✹ Last.Fm 
❏ CHAT    ✹ Meebo 
❏ PHOTOS    ✹ Picasa    ✹ Smugmug    ✹ Shutterfly    ✹ Shutterstock    ✹ Webshots    ✹ Flickr    ✹ Photobucket 
❏ EVENT    ✹ PunchBowl    ✹ Evite 
   ✹ Dropbox 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What to use with your Students for putting their learning online.

Many people are into Wiki, many are doing Blogger, some are into easy web designing programs like Webnode and Weebly.  So which do you do use with your students? It all depends on what reasons you want to start putting up your students work on the internet.  I have done Blogs with my students using Blogger, have helped teachers with their Wikis, used Facebook for e-portfolios for student work on Illustrator and Photoshop, and now I'm trying Weebly with my Grade 8 students for e-portfolios and ease of marking.  So which ones do I recommend?  I show a number of them to the teacher and let them decide.  It may take some time but in the end they can do their own comparisons and take responsibility for their own choices.

The following are some advantages and disadvantages of each program for you to consider before you make your own choice.  These are a few that I have come across or thought of.  I hope this helps you

·      Great for using the photo albums
·      Students can “Poke” you when they add something to their photo albums.
·      The program gets the other person’s comments on your desktop when they have added something.
·      Great for peer assessment, students all become friends  and can comment on each others work.
·      Easy for the teacher to assess with comments, for instant feedback without giving a mark.
·      Can add videos if doing animation in your classroom.
·      Security is good, to keep others out.
·      Parents can become Friends so they can check out their own child’s work.
·      Additions are not sortable
·      Hard to search what was done.
·      When you have 30 or more students doing work and adding to their desktop, your desktop gets flooded.
·      Need to have a YouTube channel to add videos.
·      Cannot embed other Web 2.0 programs (ie Glogster, Prezi, etc)  in Facebook.
·      Need to watch student’s friends, sometimes they invite their friends and  they don’t watch their security, so their “desktop” gets crowded if garbage.
·      Students add games to their  account so they can play online during class time.  It also adds to the teacher’s desktop.
·      Students can hide through security what they are doing.
·      Free
·      Easy to set up and use.
·      Can be individualized with your own pictures, colors, etc.
·      Many different Templates and different pages you can put into your Webnode.
·      Has stats you can see.
·      Has RSS feed
·      Has different types of pages you can choose including a Portfolio section.
·      Can embed any other program using the HTML code, like YouTube, Prezi, Glogster, etc.
·      Can have more then one web site on your account.
·      Can have as many pages as you want.
·      Many designs that are free.
·      Easy to use and self explanatory.
·      Can Tweet anything on the page.
·      Has many gadgets you can add to your web page, ie poll, codes, different videos from different web sites (educational sites).
·      Can have a list of student sites to your list.
·      To embed you need to know some HTML coding.
·      Does not feed in well with Blogger “Blog lists”.
·      Does not appear well if you use the RSS feed for a newspaper program like “paperli”.
·      Cannot lock it down.

·      Free
·      Easy to set up and use.
·      Has RSS feed
·      Has a page for a blog.
·      You have 5 pages and as many photos as you want.
·      Easy to add in columns with picture on one side and a write-up on the other side.
·      Can embed any other program with easy, a copy and a paste.
·      Easy to embed a video
·      Instantaneous so there is no need to wait for a publisher to create a new edition or update information
·      Teacher creates the account for all students, giving them individual user names and passwords.
·      Teacher has access to all accounts, so it’s easy to assess as well
·      Can set it up so that you cannot see the site unless you have a password to get on the site.

·      When you embed other programs sometimes they affect the running of the program on the Internet.  An example is “Prezi” will freeze your Weebly home page.
·      Open to SPAM and Vandalism if not managed properly. There are easy ways to restore a page however, and on WikiEducator you must be logged in to edit pages so this reduces vandalism by automated spam bots.
·      Only get 40 accounts to set up.  So if you want more, you either pay or get a colleague to join and this gives you more accounts for students.
·      Limit of size of a photo.
·      Free
·      Easy to set up and use.
·      Some wikis allow for a lot of formatting.
·      Can use this program to collaborate – giving control of different pages to different users.
·      Can be password protected.
·      Can check to see when the last update of the Wiki was.
·      Has RSS feed
·      Give permission to anyone that you want to have access to edit
·      Wikis are instantaneous so there is no need to wait for a publisher to create a new edition or update information
·      People located in different parts of the world can work on the same document
·      The wiki software keeps track of every edit made and it's a simple process to revert back to a previous version of an article.  All the drafts of a document are saved.  If a team of people have altered a document several times and feel that using the original introduction would now work better than the revised version, they can easily go back and retrieve the original.
·      Some of the Gadgets you can add to your Wiki are very interactive, and easy to do.
·      Has Stats.
·      Does not feed in well with Blogger “Blog lists”.
·      Does not appear well if you use the RSS feed for a newspaper program like “paperli”.
·      Not to crazy about the look of the Wiki.
·      Need to know some HTML coding if you wish to embed some programs.
·      Wikis do make it easy for several people to brainstorm and collaborate on projects by adding content to a group website, but if no one is keeping tabs on the content, it can get pretty confusing. 
·      Although this program is user-friendly, it doesn’t look like it.
·      Free
·      Easy to set up – step by step, easy to use.
·      Can be individualized.
·      Create your own design.
·      Can save drafts of post and work on it later.
·      Has a number of apps you can use with an IPads.
·      The App lets you take pictures with your IPad and then put it up on your Blog
·      Teacher can have a “Blog list” of students blogs and this makes it easier to mark.
·      Instantaneous so there is no need to wait for a publisher to create a new edition or update information
·      The “Blog list” can be set up so that when students add something to their blog the blog address goes up to the top of the list, and you can see the date of when it was added.
·      Can embed anything in your Blog.
·      They can add their own blog list
·      Easy to embed a poll, a video from your YouTube account.
·      Once you set up Blogger, you have a gmail account and a GoogleDoc account as well.  Easy to embed all together.
·      Parents can follow their own child’s work, see what is happening in the class.
·      Easy to make a homework list or embed a Twitter school account for tweeting homework.
·      You can add pages to your blog for different subject areas.
·      There is a limited number of setups for the template but you can change the look of it.  Does take some time to set the template.  You may lose the kids in the initial setup so give yourself and the students time to play with the look of it.

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  ;)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Passion for Motivation

What is your passion?  Why is it important for a person to feel passion about what they do?  This is a simple question to answer and to understand.  Have you every seen a teacher that was not passionate about the subject they were teaching?  Have you seen one that is?  Does that not answer your question?

A teacher needs to feel appreciated for the passion they show, and that means telling them.  Lately you don't see this, what with the news or the comments on blogs and news site in regards to the teacher's strike (not a first time occurrence in my teaching life time).   I feel battered and bruised, beaten down with negativity.  How can you feel passionate with so much hurt being hurled at you.  The most common one "Fire them all and hire new ones" doesn't make sense since the number of enrollment for people going into the teaching profession has lowered, and who can blame them.  It is a hard job, long hours of volunteering and or keeping up with your own homework of assessing students right away so they get instant feedback, developing your network of people, updating your learning of new innovations, etc.  The needs you have to meet are constant and as a 'giver' you the teacher wish to meet everyone's needs.  

But what is this passion? Passion creates excellence when mediocrity will do. Passion makes you laugh, when you feel like crying. Passion makes you open your mouth and proclaim something, when a whisper will do. Passion allows you to sit still, when you feel like walking away. Passion makes you close your mouth, when you want to talk.  Passion will make you stay up all night long, when you want to sleep.  Passion makes you continue on when most will give up.  Passion is a MUST for a teacher

Passion comes from within and what starts the passion is our inner desires, making the fuse for the ignition of this passion differs for each individual.  Passion comes from our belief and value system, which, in turn, creates a purpose for our very existence, both in work and in our personal life. A desire is something that you long to see or have happen, a desire to cause change to happen.   This is the passion that drives most teachers, a desire to help or change the life of a student. It's what drives me.

Observing passionate people is very uplifting and exciting. Working with someone passionate uplifts your creative drive and helps you to enhance your own passions.  People who are passionate don’t let anything stop them. They have a “do or die” attitude. They don’t accept “no” for an answer. They are first "to get bloodied", to try something new.   

Is passion necessary for life and living? No, but it is necessary for a better life, a life with purpose, not just going through the motions. It's the reason to get up in the morning and to look forward to going to work and making a difference.  To stand in front of 30 - 35 students every hour each day, to motivate them and to get them to feel passionate about something requires great strength and motivation.  But as they say, passion is contagious, and if the students see you passionate about something, they too will feel this. That's what makes a good teacher exceptional.  

So what do you do when you lose this passion?  You go looking for it again because being a teacher without the passion will hurt you and your students.  

And so to my colleagues and to my students, I dedicate this video that I found on YouTube.  I also thank Secrettosuccess for uploading this video.  Spending a day with my students today, seeing the growth in their learning for the past two months and their accomplishments has helped me to slowly recover my passion.  This video helped to put a smile on my face and to remind me where to look for that passion.  Thank you both.  

Uploaded by  on Nov 5, 2007

Although this web site is for the research and learning in my school, with the different means of learning (eportfolios, self-assessment, and Bloom's Digital Taxonomy), I believed I learned something today about myself.  I need to feel passionate for my students to grow as well.

The Wonders of Weebly

My students have been learning a number of Web 2.0 tools, photo modification, sideshows, the need for Avatars, etc.  Because of all of these different programs on different sites, we needed an area where all can be put, and that way, seeing the growth of their learning would help build confidence in students, would help them self-assess, and would help students in comparison, and analysis of different tools with the same purpose.  It is the hope that the students will be able to synthesis all these tools and come up with an analysis of which Web 2.0 tool is the best for what situation.  The  evaluation in this area is to make judgements of each tool with their own defined criteria of needs, for a specific project that is called for in any course or subject, not just my  course.

Weebly is a simple, free Web design and hosting system that takes nearly all the pain out of creating a site.  You use drag and drop features to create the pages.  As a teacher you can set up a class of 40 students, setting the user names and passwords of the students one by one, or by uploading a text file of students names, etc.  The program lets you print out all passwords and as the teacher you can lock up the web sites so no one can see the student sites unless they have a password that you set up.  This is for the security and safety of the students.  

Another excellent feature of this tool is their blog area, which you can use for critical thinking activities and also for peer assessment as there is a comment section for his area.  

Weebly has big gaps in its feature set (when dragging and dropping, sometimes the machine lags in this area and sometimes the embedding feature jams up the visual look of the site but by closing off the site and then opening it, all rights itself.  As a quick-and-dirty site host, it's not bad. I really like its simplicity. You can start by selecting a page layout from Weebly's templates (all of which look good - see above picture), or just start typing on the default template. Adding elements like pictures (via uploads or Flickr), YouTube videos, and Google maps to a page is very simple, just drag and drop the feature.  Adding pages to your site is also easy, a click of a button.   But there are some limitations in this service. You can't put a picture into a block of text after the fact--there are separate module types for text and for text-plus-image. You can't put a headline or a caption on an embedded object (like a Google map or YouTube video);  And I'm not sure about space (how many pages you are allowed).  

At present it suites our needs for our eportfolio.  We'll continue to explore this aspect, and I'll continue to assess Weebly in this blog.

Below is a YouTube video on Weebly.

Here are more Web 2.0 tools that my students will be exploring this year in Grade 9/10.  As you can see below, Google covers many of the aspects of Bloom's Digital Taxonomy with their aspects.

Finally, just to see how you too can integrate some Web 2.0 tools into daily practise see the Prezi below.