Tag Archives: iPad

Learning with Spheros

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 9.06.51 PM

I intended to share this blog post much sooner than today, but life has been a little crazy.

 

On a recent (March)  visit to Ryerson P.S. I had an opportunity to visit the grade 1 classroom of teacher Jenni van Rees.  The excitement in the room was obvious as it was coding day!  Learning goals for the session were clearly laid out and reviewed with the students.

coding_chart

Students were clearly comfortable using both iPads and Chromebooks as they worked in groups of 2 or 3 for collaborative learning and problem solving.

CB&S

 

 

Tickle

 

 

 

 

The students really did work collaboratively, and it was great to see their joy in planning, testing, reviewing results and determining next steps.

Fast foward to April where I had an opportunity to attend a Sphero Challenge event organized by teachers Scott Dickie and Chad Lloyd from Westmount P. S. 

I arrived early to see the first of 4 sphero tracks being marked out in the gym. The remaining tracks were laid down as teams from a variety of schools began to arrive.

IMG_0459

As was evidenced in Jenni’s  classroom, the energy and excitement was in abundance.  Teams were eager to embrace the challenge: planning, measuring, calculating, comparing, testing, observing, collaborating, communicating, iterating … “all in” problem solving for sure. 

I hope this highlights video give you a good sense of the  Sphero Challenge event.

I am already looking forward to the next one!

~Mark
markicon2

Publishing Makes a Difference

I recently had an opportunity to enjoy a site visit to John Mahood PS,  a WRDSB  K-5 school to see a their technology use in action.

Under the leadership of principal Tracy Tait, the staff has been working hard over the last 3 years to explore new effective ways to utilize technology to enable student learning in new ways, change and improve practice and share their successes.

The traditional lab at the school has been dismantled and the desktops have been redistributed throughout the school.  The mobile technology (iPads and Chromebooks) within the school has been allocated so that each classroom has a minimum of 6 to 8 devices to share among the students.  The lab space is now used as a “tech lounge” – more of a flexible creative work space.

In a site walk through, Tracy commented that she expects staff to integrate mobile technology into the learning environment as part of their daily practice.  I enjoyed observing a couple of classes during silent reading time and seeing that student had a choice in both what they read and HOW they read it: paper based, via iPads or Chromebooks. Talk about a great example of student voice and choice!

The school focus on choice for students is making a noticeable difference.  Several staff commented about technology options providing choice and independence for students.  In some cases, the use of technology created benefits in socialization between students both in and out of class.  In conversation, it was noted that technology use  improves the focus on learning which in turn impacts behaviour in a positive way. In some cases, the use of technology removes frustration when paper and pencil based tasks create an obstacle for students.  The result is increased  participation through differentiated approaches.

This video captures some of the observations and thinking of students and staff at the school.

[youtube http://youtu.be/eEDd5oOwI4k]

Ethan’s Story

Kyle’s Story

Samuel’s Story

Note: The video and story presentations are published with permission.

~Mark

Technology Enabled Learning at Millen Woods PS

I recently had a chance to spend some time at Millen Woods PS (link) with principal Gwen McCutcheon and her staff.  The school had a very welcoming atmosphere. There was a definite energy for learning, and yet a calmness at the same time. Impressive!

The visit began with an opportunity to meet with Gwen in her office to discuss some background information and leadership philosophies. Gwen is very interested in how technology can support and enable learning. Gwen states emphatically that she is “NOT a techie”, but has worked hard to establish a culture to leverage the best uses within her school. One of the resources that is shaping Gwen’s thinking is the book Visible Learning. She has noted a few key quotes from the book that really resonated with her, and reads them often. Some of the key points include:

  • teachers need to understand learning through the eyes of the student
  • what works is not just the tool or the structure
  • students learn best when they understand the learning process
  • learning is an:  explicit goal, appropriate challenge or  measuring progress towards meeting a learning goal
  • in this context, effective use of technology makes a difference to student learning
  • technology can add a level of accountability
  • when students explain their thinking, they become their own teachers

Millen Woods P. S. has 60 iPads at this point in time – some from their start up funds 3 years ago, some purchased by the school and 20 from our  central allocation this year.  Principal McCutcheon views iPads as the most versatile piece of equipment in the school. She has been impressed with how well staff have adapted to thinking in a technology enabled framework and using iPads to support small group instruction, rather than taking a 1:1 approach.  She is proud of the way the staff have focused on using technology to enable, support and capture student learning – making student learning visible, exploring critical questions and sharing thinking. Students enjoy the hands on approach and many staff feel that this has increased accountability.  One example of students capturing their work is by using the Explain Everything app.

I enjoyed meeting teacher Stephanie Ringwood and her French immersion class.  I was very impressed with seeing how her students used the iPads to support their learning. Listen to  Stephanie’s perspective  (video) on the shift to using technology in her classroom.

At the time the school opened two years ago, one of the big changes for staff was having the computers dispersed in pods around the school.  While it took some time for all staff to adjust, Gwen feels they have “mad the transformational journey” and see the value in this approach.

As we walked the school, I saw other groups of students working in classrooms, pods and in hallway groups using technology to capture their learning — making movie trailers regarding physical fitness.  I could tell from the way the students interacted with Principal McCutcheon that they were used to seeing her out and about in the school.  I noted that there were some interactive white boards in the school, perhaps in roughly 25% of the classroom.  Gwen feels this number is quite appropriate for the school and that there is no need to have one in every classroom.  I do concur with her views on this as many teachers find it challenging to move past the teacher centered instruction early phases of using them. I also took note of some students working at their literacy skills using electronic books.

As we returned to the office area, the large flat screen TV in the hallway captured my interest.  It is used to display student work the Millen Woods way – students teaching other students and students capturing their learning — AWESOME!

One video example of a student demonstrating their work is evidenced in Roane’s Video (posted with permission).

iPad syncing trays and Mac Mini (side mount) for syncing
iPadtrays

Hallway TV displaying student work
HallTV

Laptop controlling hallway TV
TVsetup

Thank you for sharing your learning journey!

~Mark

OASBO Workshop: Apps for iPad

At last week’s Ontario Association of School Board Officials  (OASBO) conference, I had the pleasure of presenting a demonstration of iPad apps with Mary Hingley and  Wayne Toms.  As promised to our workshop attendees,  I am posting the list, and links to, the apps that were demonstrated on behalf of the presentation team.

Personalized Magazines

Note Taking and Storage Tools

OSAPAC

Phone Alternative

Related Resources

iPad writing tools

~Mark

The Notability App

Notability is a great little iPad app that lets you write and/or draw on the iPad screen. This inexpensive app ($0.99) offers a number of features including: advanced word processing, pdf annotation, linked audio recording, auto sync, media insertion and library organization.

The notes below were created by my daughter in preparation for her math exam. I have included screen captures here, as well as a link to the original pdf document.

This is certainly a well priced capable program.

Related Documents:

Notability Trig PDF file

Notability App

~Mark

iPad music software

As the calendar roles into August, my thoughts turn to CATC Camp, our Board’s annual summer 3 day, self directed,  computer PD session for staff. This year I will be taking some time to explore music applications with the iPad. Some of the things on my explore list are:

iRig Mic

iRig Guitar Adaptor

iPad music stand mount

Nano Pad

MIDI Interface for iPad/iPhone/iPod

GarageBand

Band in a Box

Music Studio

Pianist Pro

Virtuoso Piano

What am I looking for? — apps and ideas suitable for classroom use, applications that are easily used in the student performance context and applications that can interact with OSAPAC  licensed software (for Ontario publicly funded schools)

As always, I am looking forward to this learning opportunity.

~Mark

Related Links
Kellysmusic
SoundTree Music

Traveling with your iPad

Adventure 1

I have traveled from Canada to the USA several times in the last few months. Wanting to be connected via 3G in a cost effective manner, I ordered an AT&T sim card for my iPad with the understanding that I could activate the sim once I was in the USA with a wifi connection.

  • Attempt 1 – I was unable to activate the card due to lack of wifi in the location I was at.
  • Attempt 2 – I was unable to activate the card since the sim account activation process would not validate a Canadian credit card  & address against the USA based template using a local hotel address.
  • Attempt 3 – I was unable to activate the card since the sim account activation process would not validate a plain vanilla no address credit/cash card as the name field cannot be left blank.

Adventure 2 –  excursion to Austria to perform with the KWCO orchestra.

Our hotel was located in downtown Saltzburg Austria conveniently next to a small shopping mall which contained a T-Mobile store.  They had iPad compatible sims for Austria in 1GB or 3GB packages ($15 and $22 respectively) which are active for 30 days. There are options to top up the data if required and/or reuse the chip again on a future trip.

I popped in the sim card, entered the sim card password and the T-mobile network was detected in about 5 seconds. All as it should be – easy, convenient, affordable and hastle free for the end user.

Kudos to T-Mobile. I think the North American TelCo.’s could take a few pointers from the European approach re service levels and customer satisfaction.

Now to research a better travel to USA from Canada solution — starting with T-Mobile.

~Mark