Tag Archives: mobile devices

iTunes U – what do schools need to know?⤴

from @ teachitgeek

iTunes U 3.0 was released as an update to the existing app – and it is packed with features that iPad teachers have been crying out for. Those of you using iTunes U will be familiar with the interface and features available in the last version – so this post will focus on what you need to know about the new features and how they effect your use.

Briefly the new features include:

  • Students can hand in homework to specific assignments

  • Students and instructors can mark up PDFs within iTunes U

  • Instructors can grade and track student progress in an integrated grade book

  • Instructors can have private, one-on-one discussions with students

  • Instructors can include multiple attachments per assignment

Dan Edwards has put together a great post which you can find here. I was lucky to be able to chat with him and some fellow ADEs at the launch and they have put together some useful thoughts around this. (shout out to  Mat Pullen, Gav Smart and Tom Riley as well). If you are not already doing so, I suggest you give them a follow on social media as well as Fraser Speirs; whose thoughts on the update can be found here.

This update to iTunesU seems to mark a shift away from a content delivery platform to a feature packed teaching and learning platform. This puts it on a par with apps like Showbie; the goto paperless classroom for many iPad educators and the newcomer Google Classroom; which is available for any teacher or pupil with a Google Apps for Education account. Showbie has had PDF and document annotation for a while now and both apps offer cross platform support if you have a variety of devices in use in your school or have implemented a BYOD policy. The downside with this you have to select products and services which are supported across each platform/device.

Submit assignments

One of the main disadvantages of the previous version of iTunes U was the inability to deal with the submission side of workflow. While it was a great teacher-to-student content delivery tool it lacked that ability for pupils (and teachers if they were simply enrolled in a course) to submit work. This made it very one sided and required the use of a third party option. Now, pupils can choose to submit work via the app or by using ‘open in’ option found across iOS. One of the additional options here is the ability to select a file from a cloud storage solution such as Google Drive or Dropbox. This is great for schools using Google Apps for Education. Unfortunately for staff/pupils in Scotland using Glow, OneDrive for business is not supported.

Files can be submitted as attachments and students have the opportunity to enter a comment to their teacher and start a 1to1 conversation. This is not unique to iTunes U as Showbie and Google Classroom have these features for some time – but the integration into iTunesU makes it an even more compelling option to use in schools.

One-to-one conversations

One of the advantages of services such as Showbie, is the ability to have a conversation with a pupil in the same way you would have if you were in class. This is a big factor in making education an anytime anywhere experience. This does however, start the conversation over whether teachers should be required to answer questions at evenings and weekends. Teachers are some of the most overworked individuals out there and adding to this could be met with a level of negativity. That being said, with it being increasingly difficult to increase motivation and engagement in pupils; if they are actively taking part in a task, should teachers not continue to encourage that? I leave it up to you.

Annotate PDFs

This is a great stand out feature. Annotate over PDFs that students have submitted and give instant feedback. The power of this feature is not one to be overlooked. There are a number of downsides – no option to add audio feedback and the images are ‘flattened’ after you have finished annotating them. This means that the pupil has to edit and resubmit their original file. Always retaining a copy of the original file is a good practice to instil in pupils.

Gradebook

Teachers can track and monitor the progress of individual pupils within a course/assignment. This information can be exported as a .csv file and upload to an MIS system. SEEMiS is the choice for all authorities across Scotland and can be used where appropriate. At the moment only numerical grades are supported so teachers can make decisions as to when/where this information is used. National and Higher assessments may not be appropriate here, but it may lend itself well to BGE courses.

 

Final thoughtsScreen Shot 2015-06-30 at 14.32.18

Those are some of the standout features for me in terms of the new update. It is certainly encouraging to see the shift to a learning and teaching platform and for schools that have embraced the 1:1 iPad route, the use of iTunes U is def a no brainer. For schools that have a shared deployment or mixed with other devices, using a service that works across a range of devices and platforms may be a better choice at the moment.

 


iTunes U – what do schools need to know?⤴

from @ teachitgeek

iTunes U 3.0 was released as an update to the existing app – and it is packed with features that iPad teachers have been crying out for. Those of you using iTunes U will be familiar with the interface and features available in the last version – so this post will focus on what you need to know about the new features and how they effect your use.

Briefly the new features include:

  • Students can hand in homework to specific assignments

  • Students and instructors can mark up PDFs within iTunes U

  • Instructors can grade and track student progress in an integrated grade book

  • Instructors can have private, one-on-one discussions with students

  • Instructors can include multiple attachments per assignment

Dan Edwards has put together a great post which you can find here. I was lucky to be able to chat with him and some fellow ADEs at the launch and they have put together some useful thoughts around this. (shout out to  Mat Pullen, Gav Smart and Tom Riley as well). If you are not already doing so, I suggest you give them a follow on social media as well as Fraser Speirs; whose thoughts on the update can be found here.

This update to iTunesU seems to mark a shift away from a content delivery platform to a feature packed teaching and learning platform. This puts it on a par with apps like Showbie; the goto paperless classroom for many iPad educators and the newcomer Google Classroom; which is available for any teacher or pupil with a Google Apps for Education account. Showbie has had PDF and document annotation for a while now and both apps offer cross platform support if you have a variety of devices in use in your school or have implemented a BYOD policy. The downside with this you have to select products and services which are supported across each platform/device.

Submit assignments

One of the main disadvantages of the previous version of iTunes U was the inability to deal with the submission side of workflow. While it was a great teacher-to-student content delivery tool it lacked that ability for pupils (and teachers if they were simply enrolled in a course) to submit work. This made it very one sided and required the use of a third party option. Now, pupils can choose to submit work via the app or by using ‘open in’ option found across iOS. One of the additional options here is the ability to select a file from a cloud storage solution such as Google Drive or Dropbox. This is great for schools using Google Apps for Education. Unfortunately for staff/pupils in Scotland using Glow, OneDrive for business is not supported.

Files can be submitted as attachments and students have the opportunity to enter a comment to their teacher and start a 1to1 conversation. This is not unique to iTunes U as Showbie and Google Classroom have these features for some time – but the integration into iTunesU makes it an even more compelling option to use in schools.

One-to-one conversations

One of the advantages of services such as Showbie, is the ability to have a conversation with a pupil in the same way you would have if you were in class. This is a big factor in making education an anytime anywhere experience. This does however, start the conversation over whether teachers should be required to answer questions at evenings and weekends. Teachers are some of the most overworked individuals out there and adding to this could be met with a level of negativity. That being said, with it being increasingly difficult to increase motivation and engagement in pupils; if they are actively taking part in a task, should teachers not continue to encourage that? I leave it up to you.

Annotate PDFs

This is a great stand out feature. Annotate over PDFs that students have submitted and give instant feedback. The power of this feature is not one to be overlooked. There are a number of downsides – no option to add audio feedback and the images are ‘flattened’ after you have finished annotating them. This means that the pupil has to edit and resubmit their original file. Always retaining a copy of the original file is a good practice to instil in pupils.

Gradebook

Teachers can track and monitor the progress of individual pupils within a course/assignment. This information can be exported as a .csv file and upload to an MIS system. SEEMiS is the choice for all authorities across Scotland and can be used where appropriate. At the moment only numerical grades are supported so teachers can make decisions as to when/where this information is used. National and Higher assessments may not be appropriate here, but it may lend itself well to BGE courses.

 

Final thoughtsScreen Shot 2015-06-30 at 14.32.18

Those are some of the standout features for me in terms of the new update. It is certainly encouraging to see the shift to a learning and teaching platform and for schools that have embraced the 1:1 iPad route, the use of iTunes U is def a no brainer. For schools that have a shared deployment or mixed with other devices, using a service that works across a range of devices and platforms may be a better choice at the moment.

 


iTunes U – what do schools need to know?⤴

from @ teachitgeek

iTunes U 3.0 was released as an update to the existing app – and it is packed with features that iPad teachers have been crying out for. Those of you using iTunes U will be familiar with the interface and features available in the last version – so this post will focus on what you need to know about the new features and how they effect your use.

Briefly the new features include:

  • Students can hand in homework to specific assignments

  • Students and instructors can mark up PDFs within iTunes U

  • Instructors can grade and track student progress in an integrated grade book

  • Instructors can have private, one-on-one discussions with students

  • Instructors can include multiple attachments per assignment

Dan Edwards has put together a great post which you can find here. I was lucky to be able to chat with him and some fellow ADEs at the launch and they have put together some useful thoughts around this. (shout out to  Mat Pullen, Gav Smart and Tom Riley as well). If you are not already doing so, I suggest you give them a follow on social media as well as Fraser Speirs; whose thoughts on the update can be found here.

This update to iTunesU seems to mark a shift away from a content delivery platform to a feature packed teaching and learning platform. This puts it on a par with apps like Showbie; the goto paperless classroom for many iPad educators and the newcomer Google Classroom; which is available for any teacher or pupil with a Google Apps for Education account. Showbie has had PDF and document annotation for a while now and both apps offer cross platform support if you have a variety of devices in use in your school or have implemented a BYOD policy. The downside with this you have to select products and services which are supported across each platform/device.

Submit assignments

One of the main disadvantages of the previous version of iTunes U was the inability to deal with the submission side of workflow. While it was a great teacher-to-student content delivery tool it lacked that ability for pupils (and teachers if they were simply enrolled in a course) to submit work. This made it very one sided and required the use of a third party option. Now, pupils can choose to submit work via the app or by using ‘open in’ option found across iOS. One of the additional options here is the ability to select a file from a cloud storage solution such as Google Drive or Dropbox. This is great for schools using Google Apps for Education. Unfortunately for staff/pupils in Scotland using Glow, OneDrive for business is not supported.

Files can be submitted as attachments and students have the opportunity to enter a comment to their teacher and start a 1to1 conversation. This is not unique to iTunes U as Showbie and Google Classroom have these features for some time – but the integration into iTunesU makes it an even more compelling option to use in schools.

One-to-one conversations

One of the advantages of services such as Showbie, is the ability to have a conversation with a pupil in the same way you would have if you were in class. This is a big factor in making education an anytime anywhere experience. This does however, start the conversation over whether teachers should be required to answer questions at evenings and weekends. Teachers are some of the most overworked individuals out there and adding to this could be met with a level of negativity. That being said, with it being increasingly difficult to increase motivation and engagement in pupils; if they are actively taking part in a task, should teachers not continue to encourage that? I leave it up to you.

Annotate PDFs

This is a great stand out feature. Annotate over PDFs that students have submitted and give instant feedback. The power of this feature is not one to be overlooked. There are a number of downsides – no option to add audio feedback and the images are ‘flattened’ after you have finished annotating them. This means that the pupil has to edit and resubmit their original file. Always retaining a copy of the original file is a good practice to instil in pupils.

Gradebook

Teachers can track and monitor the progress of individual pupils within a course/assignment. This information can be exported as a .csv file and upload to an MIS system. SEEMiS is the choice for all authorities across Scotland and can be used where appropriate. At the moment only numerical grades are supported so teachers can make decisions as to when/where this information is used. National and Higher assessments may not be appropriate here, but it may lend itself well to BGE courses.

 

Final thoughtsScreen Shot 2015-06-30 at 14.32.18

Those are some of the standout features for me in terms of the new update. It is certainly encouraging to see the shift to a learning and teaching platform and for schools that have embraced the 1:1 iPad route, the use of iTunes U is def a no brainer. For schools that have a shared deployment or mixed with other devices, using a service that works across a range of devices and platforms may be a better choice at the moment.

 


#WWDC15 – what does it mean for the classroom?⤴

from @ teachitgeek

Apple kicked off it’s World Wide Developers Conference on June 8th in usual fashion. The keynote is available for streaming and can be found here. Be warned it is 2.5h long so bring snacks.

There had a been a lot of speculation as to what they would announce at this years WWDC. Rumours of a new Apple TV, which is an essential for iPads and iOS devices in class but hasn’t seen a hardware update in almost 3 years. It is still a great device for wirelessly mirroring and the fact that a device that is running 3 year old hardware is still an essential item for classes is a testament to its versatility.

iOS and OS X are always mentioned during this keynote with a focus on features rather than hardware; that’s later in the year, and this year was no exception. OS X EL Capitan will be released later in the year and focuses on performance and experience. As I said, this was a mammoth keynote which covered a lot of new features for both platforms as well as the newly released watchOS. This post will focus on the features of iOS that will have a direct impact on classrooms and learning and teaching using iPads.

iOS 9 will be the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system with support for all devices that currently run iOS 8. This means that schools which still use iPad 2 (still a great device) will be able to get a little more mileage out of them before having to look at upgrading. It still remains to be seen if they will include the AirPlay option for these devices which is noticeably absent from iPad 2 but not iPad mini. However, apps like instahsare give these devices the same functionality as AirDrop and can be just as reliable in class at times. The amount of space needed on a device to upgrade has also been reduced. For iOS 8 the space required to update sat at 4.3Gb. This was a massive requirement for schools which only had 16Gb devices. As you know these devices can become full rather quickly with photos and applications plus their data. The space required to install iOS 9 is only 1.3Gb which is a little more manageable for schools.

All of these are under the hood performance stabilisers. Yes, they will have some impact on the day to day usability of the iPad in school but how about the features that will have an impact on the way pupils use the device in effective learning  and teaching.

Keyboard

iOs 9 has seen an update to the stock keyboard, focussing on getting things done quicker and easier. While there is still no native support for gesture typing; (Apple introduced third party keyboards in iOS 8 which led to success for keyboards like lower case with support for the OpenDyslexic font) there are shortcuts to format options at the top of the keyboard as well as options for cut, copy and paste included also. There is an additional button for quick access to app switching and the keyboard can be used as a trackpad when two fingers are placed on the keyboard. If you have ever tried to select a specific piece of text or highlight a passage or paragraph then this option will be of huge benefit when it is available. If pupils use a paired bluetooth keyboard, for e.g. some Vision support pupils require the use of a physical keyboard in order to benefit from the full display of the iPad; physical keyboards will have more commands added to them in iOS 9. By using the press and hold option on a key such as command, option or control users will be able to see the list of custom shortcuts available in any app.

Another useful addition is that the keyboard will finally display lower case characters when the caps lock function on the shift key is switched off. I am often asked in training sessions if this is possible and often direct users to the lower case or similar  third party keyboards available. Lower Case will still have a purpose in iOS education as it is very useful for pupils who require use of the OpenDyslexic font but for others the lower case characters on the iOS 9 keyboard will be a welcome if not needed inclusion.

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 12.19.33

Notes

I am a massive fan of the popular app Notability. It is my default option for note taking in meetings or at seminars. With support for images, text, sound, handwriting and custom looks it is hard to beat but at £2.29 it can be one of the more expensive apps to include on a pupil iPad. The notes app on iOS has been in need of an update for some time. It’s great for quick notes on the go and the syncing to iCloud is useful but in terms of practical use it never really had a stand out place in the classroom. Apple mentioned that currently half of iPhone users were using the notes app, if we were to survey schools I wonder what the answer would be?  The updated notes app is now a nice lightweight replacement for notability. It contains the ability to add images, turn lists into checklists and supports sketches using the finger or stylus. Notes will also appear in the share sheet, letting pupils quickly add content from another app such as Safari. This will be hugely useful for pupils making notes for research topics or when brainstorming ideas in class. AirDrop will of course be supported and pupils can share simple notes with each other or their teacher.

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 12.18.54

 

Multitasking on iPad

In iOS 9 the iPad finally gets true split screen multitasking. Apple refers to it as ‘Do this. While you do that.’ Split view is only available on iPad Air 2 due to the requirements on the processor, but schools/pupils using this device will have access to powerful functionality that will allow them to do multiple things at the same time. There was a recent BBC report that indicates that pupils ‘cannot multi-task with mobiles and study’. While I won’t go into the particulars of the report or the research behind it, the main gauge was how well pupils achieved when it came to standardised tests and assessments. One of the main advantages of mobile devices in education is how they relate to the pupil experience while in school. The increased motivation and engagement that comes from pupils taking charge of their own learning, looking at ways that work for them. We all learn and work in different ways and being able to personalise your approach provides pupils with the rich learning experiences they deserve. Multitasking in this way on the iPad Air 2 means that pupils will be able to research effectively while working in notes, safari, iBooks or iTunesU. iTunes U will be a big winner from this as it will allow pupils to look at given examples while making their notes or skimming an iBook. There is a lot of potential for creativity on the iPad as well. Pupils could use 53 to sketch an image that they are referencing from the photos app or safari. The possibilities are endless, all built directly into the software and adding to the experience of both pupils and teachers.

While older iPads will not support split view, they will support picture in picture, PiP. While watching a video, press the Home button and your video screen scales down to a corner of your display. Tap to open a second app, and your video continues to play even while using the other app. Services like Zaption have been around for a while and allow teachers to create interactive videos curated from YouTube, Vimeo, BBC bitesize as well as user uploaded entries. You can set questions to appear at certain times that relate to the content that is being shown. This is where PiP will come into use in the class, in a manner similar to Zaption. Set pupils a task in Showbie or iTunes U, have them watch the video, then answer questions in another app while continuing to watch the video. It could be very useful for media studies style courses where pupils have to research clips of movies and determine visual aspects, sound, lighting and so on. Being able to make notes while watching it all on the one device will be a useful step forward.

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 12.41.47

 

There were also some improvements to Maps and Siri and I will look at them on more detail when i install the beta. I will look to make some user guides that relate to the use of stock iOS features in the classroom and how they can help shape our pupils experiences to increase their engagement and motivation.

For more info on iOS 9 have a look at the support pages on Apple.com and if you have any questions or comments please feel free to ask.


#ipaded – App Smashing in the classroom⤴

from @ teachitgeek

App smashing is the process of using more than one app to create a project or product. It is highly engaging, asks students to be creative in their approach to their learning and use of technology and challenges them to take their learning to a higher level.

– Mark Anderson @ictevangelist

appsmashing
Image courtesy of @ipadwells

Appsmashing is a term first coined by Greg Kulowiec of edtechteacher.org. Greg has written a lot on the subject and can be found on Twitter @gregkulowiec

Appsmashing lends itself beautifully to the iPad in Education. Often, the questions ‘What is the best app to use in the classroom?’ or ‘Is there a good app for literacy/numeracy?’ are asked during CPD sessions. There is not one killer app or feature that makes the iPad a compelling choice of device, but rather the combination of apps and features that allow the pupils to express their understanding of a key concept or skill that makes it a go to for so many of our schools.

The purpose of technology in class is to enhance learning. Appsmashing is an activity that can be lots of fun, but can also focus too much on the technology if being particularly complicated. We do know, as teachers, that pupils are motivated and purposively engaged in the learning process when concepts and skills are underpinned with technology and sound pedagogy. This post will highlight a simple appsmashing activity that will motivate pupils and allow them to take ownership of their learning by giving them a realistic expectation and allowing them to be particularly creative.

For this task we will only need to use one app; Tellagami. This is a free app (the best kind) that allows pupils to create short animated videos. You can add your own background and record your voice to an animated character.tellagami

Stock iOS apps and features can sometimes be overlooked in terms of classroom benefit. Siri; while great for telling you a joke or the current weather conditions; can also be used to give you definitions of words, solving equations or showing you maps of famous landmarks. By using the command, ‘Show me the Eiffel Tower’ , pupils are able to view the famous landmark in 3D glory, screenshot the image and use it in another app. Spelling does not have to a barrier and allows pupils to focus on the clarity of their speech. This can be a huge plus for pupils who are not confident in their spelling and/or developing their language skills.

appsmash

Once we have the image in our photos app, we can launch Tellagami and start to record ourselves. The video below details the process.


#iPaded – How to give apps access to photos⤴

from @ teachitgeek

When using an app for the first time, a pop-up may appear asking you to grant access to photos, camera, or the microphone. Explain Everything and Book Creator are two examples of applications that request this. As teachers, some of us are trained to say ‘no’ right away or pupils may tap don’t allow accidentally. There is an easy fix of this.

For the purposes of this post, I will demonstrate the steps to reenable photo access for Explain Everything.

  1. Tap Settings
  2. Tap Privacy
  3. Tap Photos
  4. Slide Explain Everything to on.

That’s it. This also works for the Microphone and Camera apps as well. Now you don’t need to panic if your pupils accidentally tap ‘Don’t Allow’ the problem is easily resolved.

Enable photo access


#ipaded – Speech Selection⤴

from @ teachitgeek

Speech selection on the iPad is a great way for pupils to interact with text across a range of applications available throughout the device.

Before we look at some of the ways you can use this feature in class here is how you activate it:

  1. Open Settings and tap General
  2. Tap Accessibility
  3. Tap Speech
  4. Slide Speech Selection to ‘On’.
  5. You can download additional voices, languages and dialects by tapping Voices.Speak Selection

Text-to-speech is an excellent tool for pupils developing their understanding of the meaning of words or can be an excellent tool for pupils who comprehend the meaning better when they hear the words spoken aloud. There is also benefit to pupils with a vision impairment who may need to access this feature at varying times depending on their level of fatigue or level of impairment.

As the instructions above show, the feature itself is very easy to activate. Using the feature is also very simple as the image below demonstrates. You highlight the word or paragraph you wish to hear spoken aloud and select the Speak option from the choices that appear.

Speak text

 

At the moment, it depends on the particular application as to whether or not this feature will work. As it is a built in feature to iOS, it will work with Apple’s native apps, including the iWork and iLife apps that are offered for free on new accounts/devices. This means at the very least this feature can be handy when researching topics or information in Safari, reading a file/ePub in iBooks, or reviewing a written piece of work in Pages. All useful for pupils developing their RISK (research and information skills) while using the device in class.

As an added bonus, you may have noticed the Reader View Available option appear on certain websites when using Safari. This is an excellent way to reduce the distractions of websites and focus solely on the text. Distraction free learning with the text readily available to be read aloud.

Reader view

Reader view enabled

 


#ipaded – iPad Lock screen rules⤴

from @ teachitgeek

There have been a number of excellent posts shared online with ideas for numbered backgrounds and lock screens to use on devices shared in class. I have written articles on this myself here, where I gave you access to 40 numbered iPad wallpapers.

These can be a great way of quickly identifying which device is being used by which pupil. This is especially effective in a shared deployment where it may be difficult for a pupil to quickly identify the device they were on during the previous lesson.

Technology Erintegration took it to the next level shared a post that highlighted 5 creative ways these can be used. One of these ideas was setting the device lock screen to display the rules and expectations of the iPads. The idea is that when every pupil swipes to unlock they are agreeing to the rules.

Her original idea is below:

iPad lockscreen demo

I have modified this into my own version and this is shown below:FullSizeRender.jpg

The file along with an updated set of numbered backgrounds can be found here.


#ipaded – Explain Everything ideas⤴

from @ teachitgeek

On twitter the hashtag #ipaded, is a wonderful way to categorise articles and apps that can enhance the teaching and learning and process in the classroom.

At the heart of implementing the iPad in class, is the notion that it is a creativity device. Another tool that allows pupils to share their knowledge and experience in a new and exciting way. This can be daunting for teachers sometimes as the pupils often have more technological knowledge than they do. As teachers, it has always been important that we lead the learning in our classes. Without effective teaching the pupils will not pick up a concept or skill, using the iPad is no different. These articles will allow to use the iPad to facilitate an exciting concept or skill, the main difference will be the tool that the pupils use to share their knowledge and experience with.

Before proceeding further, have a look at this video on using AirDrop as a way to share files/images in class.

It can become easy to find yourself lost in a sea of applications. There are approximately 1.2 million currently available on the app store at present, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. We will hopefully show you how you can achieve success using a select number of applications; focussing on content.

The first is the app Explain Everything, an interactive whiteboard in the hands pf every pupil that does so much more. From creating a numeracy policy for parents to having pupils create animations that tell a story. For teachers it is ideal for feedback. Import a piece of pupil work into the app and record yourself giving feedback on areas that need improvement or showing where a piece of work has been done well.

The following example shows how early years pupils can practice their handwriting skills using the explain everything app and a stylus. The paper background can be found here.

This can be very useful as it allows you to see the way in which pupils are forming the letters allowing you to support their development a little more efficiently.

Numeracy on the iPad is another area that can be enhanced using Explain Everything. I have made a template file that can be shared with pupils via AirDrop, recorded over using Explain Everything and then submitted either via AirDrop or via Showbie. The template file can be found here. Please note that this file is only compatible with Explain everything.

Here is the file for reference:

Using Explain Everything in this manner can be a very useful learning tool. Pupils can hear their own thought process, share it with others and facilitate discussion in a key concept or skill. From a teachers perspective, hearing a pupil explain their thinking behind an answer can be a useful way of determine their understanding. If a pupil is struggling in an area you can pinpoint where they are going wrong and aid their development.