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/.
He also recommends these sites:
You can reach Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org