Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The iPad Adventure Day 3

The iPad Adventure Day 3

It's the evening of the second day and I'm a bit tired, but full of determination to find a way to make things work the way we want them to.  I finally conceded that Remarks may not be the solution we need, so I went on the hunt.  I downloaded 16 pdf annotator apps that looked promising and began to experiment.  It's a good thing I am stubborn, because it was app number 16 that solved my issues.  Allow me introduce to you the app DocAS.  (on a side note, I'd love to find a really cool way to pronounce the name of this app)  DocAs is perfect for us!  This app is awesome!  Students can arrange their pdf files from teachers into folders, annotate them and share the finished document directly with the student/teacher folder for the course.  How awesome is that?!?  I was a little nervous at changing apps at this point (I didn't want to end up swinging from the rafters), but once I demonstrated the app to the educators, they liked it as well.  Pdf annotator issues...resolved!!!!  Now it's on to our classroom management system.  My staff had asked questions about quizzes and our classroom management system, so I allowed them to take this path for a while.  Since it isn't directly iPad related I'll skip that part of our morning.

The last of the large hurdles is the student planner.  We had decided on a student planner several months ago and it was time to teach it.  When we started this part of our day I announced that we could review more options if anyone was interested.  (this is when I should have been afraid, let's just say they weren't interested)  So we went through how to use the app ClassOrganizer.  We aren't using some of the features available in this app for our fifth grade students, be we felt the app was easy enough to use that it was still worth the cost ($2.49 USD education cost over 20 units).  We could have removed the need for PaperDesk and used Class Organizer as the students note taking tool, but felt it was a little less user friendly for an 11 or 12 year old.(our Upper School students may use it though).  Teaching the app itself took about 10 minutes.  Coming to agreement on consistency between courses took a bit longer, but we got it done.  I am very pleased with this turn out.  We take a much needed lunch hour(ish) and return for a fun filled afternoon of Socrative and iMovie.

Have you ever taught a group of teachers how to use iMovie?  Oh my.  It took me about 10-15 minutes to teach the iMovie interface to my group of educators.  iMovie on the iPad is so simple and fun to use they were off to the races in no time.  It took me about 10-15 minutes to get them to record themselves.  (for people that spend their lives in front of an audience, they sure do hate to get recorded)  I must say, even my least tech savvy educator (who REALLY didn't want to do a movie) managed to make a simple three scene video with very little extra assistance from myself or another educator.

Finally I taught them the app Socrative.  Just like comic books and interactive whiteboards, there are a variety of options when selecting a class survey/quiz tool.  I also made the decision for my staff (I don't usually do this, but they seemed to want the guidance).  Socrative is fun to use, does everything we want and is free.  My educators took a short quiz I created, then each educator made a quiz and used the rest of us as guinea pigs.  They seem to understand and enjoy Socrative, so I guess I made the right choice.

I felt learning four apps was enough for one day, so I allowed the time to explore the app store in search of apps they may wish to use for their individual classes which I can then purchase through the Volume Purchasing Education Store.

To recap, we have learned the following apps so far this week:

Class Organizer
Explain Everything
Office HD
Google Drive (app)
DropBox (app)
Comic Life

No wonder i'm tired.

Tomorrow is our final day as a group.  We will discuss who will teach which apps to the students and when.  We will also decide where I will be located the first few weeks of school (I have promised this 1 to 1 program my full and possibly undivided attention(yeah, right)).  After that nitty gritty I promised to not teach any new apps (well, maybe just one more) but I would organize them in a way where they will have the time to use some of the apps listed above again in order to become more comfortable with them.  Let's see how that works out!

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