Tag Archives: ipad

iPads for Administrators

Today I attended an ISTE webinar with one of my colleagues at Boston Renaissance, the Lower School Director, Mrs. Bestgen. We attended a 1 hour session presented by Chris O’Neal on “productivity apps for administrators.” The webinar was only $39 for ISTE members, and a recorded version was provided afterwards for replay any time as many times as needed.

It looked like about 40 people from across the nation had signed on with us. I was eager to learn what their experiences had been so far with the iPads, which apps people were using, and more importantly, to see how my school’s pilot measured up.

I was encouraged to see that the apps I had been sharing with our principals and directors were similiar to those presented: Dropbox, Evernote, and QuickOffice Pro were the top recommendations. Chris also highlighted a few social media apps like InstaPaper and FlipBoard to help administrators keep up with news and announcements in their field.

In the chat box, a lot of people were asking about walkthrough and observation apps, which has been the primary focus of our use of iPads in administration. So far, we have been using TouchNote with a stylus to annotate a walkthrough form and a Belkin bluetooth keyboard to type up notes. From the chat box, and from Chris, we learned about a number of apps and other methods people have been exporing: eCove is one we have looked at. Users in the chat room listed a bunch including: GoObserve, Observation 360, TeachScape, and ISTE’s iCot.

Most of these are out-of-the-box data collection apps, and so schools would not be able to customize the forms to match their evaluation forms. Google forms, however, allow users to make their own forms, however the data is saved into a spreadsheet that is not easily printed or formatted, with no reports that I know of to run through the data in a meaningful way. Still, I have found our current annotation system a bit too complicated in terms of the number of steps involved, and writing legible notes with the stylus has been challenging! It is clear that we and many others across the nation are still piloting their methods!

I did share my Pinterest boards of the favorite apps we have been using in both our adminstrative and special education student pilots. We have distributed 1 iPad to each Special Ed department (OT, SLP, Resource Rooms, and ESL), and 1 iPad to each administrator in the school. You can check out my findings here: http://www.pinterest.com/lisakatesspace

BTW…it feels good to be blogging again!! I admittedly havent done much more than tweeting in the last year. And I think it may be time for a new look to my blog, too!

Thank you for registering for the ISTE Webinar, “iPads for Administrators,” presented by Chris O’Neal. You can access the recorded Webinar athttp://iste.adobeconnect.com/p4fwrw1p8t8/.

Visit Chris’s wiki for lots of great information and resources at http://ipadbackpack.wikispaces.com and the livebinder he created with Susan Brooks-Young athttp://www.livebinders.com/edit?id=91276.

He also recommends these sites:

•      http://www.lwbva.org

•      http://www.learninginhand.com

You can reach Chris at ipadclassroom@gmail.com

iPads in special education

Yesterday we had a trainer from Apple come and spend the day with our Assistive Technology Team. The AST consists of 8 members including myself, our IT Coach, our Media Specialist, two Resource Room teachers (Primary and Elementary), one inclusion Kinder teacher, a Speech and Pathology staff member, and the Director of Unified Student Services. AST meets once a month to share best practices and evaluate assistive technologies such as the iPad, the Neo2, and other software.

Using grant money, we were able to purchase a set of 10 iPads, professional development, and money for itunes and the app store in an effort to investigate the impact of iPads on teaching, learning and administration in special education. Each AST member was issued an iPad in December and our IT Coach kicked off the program with an overview of the tool.

Yesterday, I found the discussions we had to be equally if not more valuable than the skills we learned. The iPads and their capabilities can be very overwhelming, and the wealth of online reviews and blogs to help our search for its best uses takes a lot of time to go through! It was both reassuring and frustrating to know that there are many K-12 educators like us who are investigating the best practices with the iPads, and that Apple acknowledges their need to adapt their purchase programs, PD, and content to meet our needs. It made sense that most of the content is aimed at very young children and young adults and professionals – their primary market is stay-at-home moms with young kids and college students and businesses. So as we learn, Apple is learning too.

Some of my quick wins (or A-ha!s) were:

  1. scaffolding projects for children by assigning specific and achievable tasks or roles per child, per device
  2. pre-loading content onto the devices to drive the lesson (folders of web site bookmarks, photos in the photo app, folders assigned to a child’s name, etc)
  3. re-thinking the “group” project as a presentation on 2 or more devices. They don’t have to combine all of their work into ONE device…
  4. …but if they did, use BUMP to share content between devices! BUMP now shares photos, music and apps, not just address book info!
  5. games can be incentives for learning in addition to being stand-alone skill-builders – and that’s OK!
  6. the ipad mobile lab may be best used in a regularly scheduled small group/center as opposed to a whole class teacher-led instruction projected from the device (only some apps project, not all)
  7. podcasts are professional development tools – itunes U and itunes is rich with content!
  8. use the power search (search by keyword etc) in itunes on your laptop and it may be easier to find content than the itunes or app store on your ipad
  9. our searches should not be for the “best” app, but what is “best” for the child! Search with the AIM in mind and craft the device to your lesson, not your lesson to the device.
  10. This accessory was a BIG hit: my pink pogo at https://tenonedesign.com/products.php

I am looking forward to continuing the investigation!