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There’s been a fair bit of mention of the SAMR framework recently so I thought I’d share another rendition of the framework. I’ve always preferred looking at it in a vertical sense, moving upwards rather than a top down looking model. It makes more sense to me. What do you think?
Below is a quick introductory tutorial in how you can use Book Creator app with students in the classroom.
What’s it good for?
…including all the different elements of a project where they’ve curated those elements on their iPad.
Easy sharing of their completed book to their teachers too using the ‘Open in another app’ feature which ties in to:
- Google Drive
…so that finished work can be easily shared with teachers.
Other benefits include the obvious ability to open their completed books in iBooks in order to facilitate later revision of the topic. Books created in Book Creator can also be opened back up in Book Creator for further editing / addition but also in Creative Book Builder for the same too.
Book creator is exceedingly easy to use making it something particularly suitable for activities which require students to be able to focus on compiling elements of created work in to one location, i.e. their book
It doesn’t have some of the extended features that Creative Book Builder does but it’s dead simple to use.
Creative Book Builder – ePub creator for iPad
Involving all stakeholders in any large scale school project is really important and it’s essential to remember this. Parents are no exception. I wouldn’t say that we got everything right with what we did but certainly, involving parents in the project is something you should definitely do. It’s particularly crucial as it will be highly likely that with the project you will be embarking upon that you will be further building your relationship between school and home. Let parents know how it will affect them, their families as a whole and their children and open communication channels to take the discussion further.
I’m looking in to providing training opportunities for parents which are coming in different forms. Some will be sessions run by Digital Leaders and by myself. Parents will be offered support with their infrastructure at home, with esafety and ensuring that their questions are answered. We ran lots of different sessions across the build up to offering iPads to students. They took different forms:
- Introduction information evening disclosing intent
- Information evening offering information about progress
- Small, genius bar style sessions with opportunities to discuss issues with small groups
- Open forum meeting with parents given opportunities to ask questions and have them answered in a large forum.
The most powerful session was definitely the one which involved the open forum with parents being able to ask open questions. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive about the session, far more so than from any other session too.
We also found it beneficial to have other avenues of communication so we created the iClevedon Twitter account and the iClevedon site to feed back information to parents and other stakeholders too. The site has become a portal for lots of different stakeholders. There’s information on there now for pupils, parents, teachers and more. There are a number of videos there too with ‘how to’ guides on various aspects of using iPads and their apps. This site will grow as time moves on and our learning about pedagogy related to iPads and their use increases.
Have you embarked on a project similar to this? How did you liaise with parents in your project? What are you planning to do to involve parents. I’d love to hear from other schools on how you’ve approached this and what the feedback has been.
I often get asked the question about mirroring your iPad and how you do it. Mirroring is the process of getting whatever is on your iPad screen on to a projector in your classroom or a TV / monitor elsewhere.
There are a number of ways in which this can be done, however the most effective way of doing this is through an Apple TV box.
This brings with it a number of issues though, particularly for most schools. Most schools will have either standard projectors or IWB projectors. Most of these support VGA inputs whereas Apple TV works with HDMI. Therefore, not only will you have to spend circa £80 per Apple TV, you’ll also have to spend £30-40 on a HDMI/VGA converter. If you’re already sharing the projector with a desktop workstation too, you’ll most likely want to be able to switch backwards and forwards between mirroring your iPad and showing your desktop workstation. This will mean you’ll need a switch which will probably want to tie in to a VGA hub too. Not a cheap option. Although it does look very good and does give you extra options within the Apple TV box itself.
Another way which is far more cost effective is to use mirroring software. Currently there are really two programs on the market which do the job, Reflector App and Airserver app. Reflector mirrors both video and audio and works on both PC and Mac. Airserver works on both too. Both are essentially identical, however add to the equation that Airserver app is built on licensed Reflector technology… You make your own decision. How did I decide which way to go? I tried them all. See what works best with your network and your classrooms before making your choice and don’t forget the budget implications of choosing an Apple TV solution as both Reflector and Airserver both work out to about £10 per machine total.
If you’re mirroring iPads in your school I’d love to hear from you, how you’re doing it and which options you’ve gone for and why. Please leave a comment below if you’d like to get in touch.
I don’t profess to have all of the answers with any of this, all I’m trying to do is share what seems to have worked for me (although colleagues could tell me otherwise!). I’ve found engaging with staff is something which is really important. Ripples created by conversations about apps and learning have led to other things flourishing. Show one colleague for example how to use Google forms and the knock on effect where they’ve then started using it to set assessments, gather data, and then sharing how they’ve done that with other colleagues in their team… the impacts are massive and it builds a momentum. Show another colleague how to use Explain Everything and set up a YouTube channel and before you know it there are loads of screencasts on their department YouTube channel and learning is being flipped…
…I have lots of examples of how the ripples caused by casting a stone with some sharing of edtech ideas and resources is a powerful thing. It is exceedingly rewarding working with colleagues. Like me, they all enjoy learning new things and if Hattie is correct, learning new things (instruction) can have an effect size of up to 0.9 standard deviations. A definite plus point! (If it works for students, why shouldn’t it apply to staff too??)
Source: NESTA report – Decoding Learning
If you want a project to really flourish though – you need to invest in training. Make sure that if you’re going to invest or embark upon an initiative such as using mobile technology across your school, your staff have plenty of lead time to familiarise themselves with ideas, workflow, apps and give them opportunities to share and reflect too. “App- offs” with colleagues are always great fun… “Have you seen this app?”… “Well if you like that then you’ll love….” “I’ve used this with my Year 9’s and what they did was…” – it’s brilliant, always being mindful though to bring it back to the learning… Give staff the opportunity to think about workflow too – how will they be able to use multiple apps to create learning resources but then compile them in to a great learning resource that is accessible? Be sure to give staff opportunities to plan and think about how they will use the technology to help their practice in the classroom too. Time and investment in staff will reap massive benefits to learning once a project goes full steam ahead.
Don’t forget too to include thinking about SAMR and the critical pedagogy behind the way in which devices might be used either by staff or by students. This is perhaps the most critical part of the journey; making sure that not only are staff versed in how a device might be used, the opportunities for learning it can bring, but also to think about how the use of ‘said’ device, might bring forth more transformation learning opportunities that wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the technology.
How are you working with staff (and students) to support their learning with iPad? We are also using Digital Leaders to offer support to both students and staff in their use of iPads, the etiquette of iPad use in the classroom and the means by which iPads can be used to benefit learning too. Do you use Digital Leaders in this way? I’d love to hear from you on all of the things discussed here. Please feel free to leave a comment or question below if you have any.
One of the greatest positives of the iPad as a learning tool in education are the many different apps that allow students to create amazing pieces of work which demonstrate their learning. Not only that, but the productivity tools that go with their day to day activities are vast. Whittling down recently our core apps for students, you’ll see there are tools for taking notes, creating professional documents, presentations, making books, creating screencasts, the whole lot.
One of the negatives with the iPad though has been the problems associated with workflow. How do you get the work off? How do you, as a teacher, receive work from the students? How are you going to check their progress? How are you going to assess their work?
Some recent developments have really helped to alleviate many of these concerns.
Firstly, with the advent of iOS6 came the option to be able to open files within apps in other apps. This was huge because before, the ability to open up work in another app was extremely limited. Let’s imagine I wanted to take a presentation from Keynote and put it in to Explain Everything to talk through my presentation. This was possible, but it was a very convoluted proposition. For a start, Keynote didn’t have a link to anything other than a WebDAV server (and let’s face it – who wants to set up WebDAV links in every single app you own, on the off chance that you’ll want to save it to that particular WebDAV server? Not me!) so you were left having to email things left, right and centre, if you didn’t want to make use of iCloud that is and pay for it! So the arrival of the ‘open in another app’ feature was very welcome when it arrived.
In fact, this new option has been massive. Now, you can simply and effectively open up your work in any other compatible apps in your toolkit. So now, for example, I can take my presentation, tap ‘Open in another app’ and hey presto, I get a load of options that facilitate me getting that work in to other areas. Just what we wanted!
Above, you can see just some of the options I get upon choosing to open my Keynote presentation in another app. Fantastic. My workflow has improved significantly as a result of this. I can open my creations up in all apps that support the ‘open in another app’ feature that has compatible files. This means I can now move work between apps and combine it with absolute ease. This is particularly useful too when wanting to share work back to another location for saving purposes.
We have been trialling a service at school called ‘FoldR‘ which in essence, works like a WebDAV server, but is not. It’s just a LOT more clever than that. If you’d like more info on the FoldR service then please check them out here: http://minnow.it/.
So in this instance, I’m really pleased I’m able to use the cracking iFiles app now to share and move my documents from apps I create things on, on my iPad, direct to multiple services all within the iFiles app. It supports lots of them.
…it also supports Rackspace Cloud Files, Amazon S3, CloudApp & SugarSync too. So pretty much, whatever your storage solution, iFiles can help you manage them all with bulk move, copy and upload features from one service to the other and more. It has some great security settings too, so you can actually password protect the app too, stopping anyone who might gain access to your iPad getting any further with access to sensitive information or data.
So if this feature has been around for a few months now, why am I writing about it now? Well – an app that has some seriously killer potential when it comes to workflow solutions in the education space is Edmodo. This ‘like Facebook’ safe, walled garden, social media-esque community builder for students, parents and teachers, has just had an update. Now we can use the ‘open in another app’ feature to add files directly from the iPad in to the library or the student backpack. This is great when it comes to answering some of the key questions at the start of this post:
- How do you, as a teacher, receive work from the students?
- How are you going to check their progress?
- How are you going to assess their work?
Now, students are able to submit their work directly to Edmodo, in to the backpack and then, to wherever the student wants to share it. They can submit it in assignments, they can add it to their notes in their backpack, in their individual folders too. This is a great step forward, both for students and their access to documents in one central key place but for teachers too.
Apps currently supporting this facility to put work straight in to Edmodo:
The list goes on…
One which unfortunately is not on the list yet however, which is one of the apps I use most frequently, as do students, is the Explain Everything app. I would hope it’s on their ‘to do’ list however, and then we will be really ticking all the right boxes. You can get around it using a workaround which requires rendering of the Explain Everything screencast to the Camera Roll, placing the video on to a slide on a Keynote presentation and then opening the completed presentation in Edmodo in Keynote format. It’d be so much easier though if it just ‘did it’.
Edmodo for me is a great tool, and I use it all the time – it’s been great for:
- student voice
- student engagement
- access everywhere
- sharing of ideas / blog posts / news reports
- tracking assessment
- and more…
But with like all things, it’s not my only means for working with students. Students are always reminded to back work off and save it on the network, to make sure they still have a copy of the work. I guess that’s all a part of workflow. One thing that always rides with me though on my iPad journey, is the recognition, that as the whole iPad ecosystem moves forward and develops, so the boundaries and goalposts shift, albeit ever so slightly and mostly in the right direction. With that firmly at the forefront of my mind though, I’m always thoughtful of the adage we say in my department at work;
“Save early, save often.”
It just makes sense!
So with that in mind, please ask students to not just keep their work stored in their ‘digital backpack’ but to make sure it is backed off safely, either by backing up their iPads regularly, or by using a solution such as FoldR, WebDAV or whatever, to ensure work always has a secure home.
Innovative uses of technology are fantastic but at its core, the daily business of using technology to support learning has to be based around sound thinking and critical pedagogy. Are the foundations there to build transformational learning opportunities? Do the staff (and students) have the skills in order for them to move forward?
Like any decision about what takes place in the classroom, careful planning of lessons is crucial. Recent posts by @TeacherToolkit and @learningspy have talked about 5 and 2 minute lesson plans respectively but the timing of the planning belies the thinking that goes on beneath the surface; the years of teaching experience that goes in to making it possible to be able to create a lesson plan in this time. The framework they’ve given helps with this; breaking the thinking down so that learning episodes and thinking can be represented on the plan. All that said, there’s no room there for planning technology use – this also needs careful planning and decent consideration. Best thinking about how technology can be used in the classroom in and of itself can bring about higher order aspects of transforming learning. This isn’t to go against the mantra of technology ‘enhancing the learning, not dictating the learning’, but given that technology use in lessons can help to bring about learning which is more transformational, it would be remiss not to give it due consideration. Choosing not to use technology in a lesson is fine and certainly, analogue activities can on many occasions be far more valid than those completed digitally. The work of AJ Quidgely on using multiple whiteboards in his classroom or Tom Sherrington’s idea of using mini whiteboards in lessons to support learning and AfL are great ways of using analogue methods.
When thinking about how you can or whether you should even use technology in lessons to support learning, following the superb framework by Dr Ruben Puentedura of SAMR always seems to be a terrific way of ensuring activities are more purposeful. This is his Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition model. This framework and more about it is highlighted in this post here: http://ictevangelist.com/?p=979 and in my recent TeachMeet presentation here: http://www.rvl.io/ictevangelist/transforming-learning-using-technology which can also be viewed from a live recording here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Md2AmD1g_ys and my beginner’s guide to SAMR here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxNe04JYR-g. The framework breaks the various activities down in to two sections – enhancement (that’s the substitution and augmentation levels) and transformational (that’s the modification and redefinition levels).
The process of giving detailed thought about the way in which technology is used to support learning is one which is really going to help to give activities more meaning. Thus, the learning potential gained is more meaningful too.
So what has all this got to do with iPads? I mean, I haven’t actually mentioned them in this post at all yet, other than in the title. Well, it’s thinking about the learning which is the most important aspect of technology use. If anyone asks me about the iPad project I’m involved in I’m always keen to stress that it’s as project about learning, not technology. Ok, yes, there’s technology involved, but with iPads, the opportunities and possibilities for significant transformational gains are far more considerable than with other models (currently).Take BYOD for example. Yes, having extra equipment available to research from, to take notes on, to take photos on, so forth and so on, is improved, but with a diluted ecosystem, (with multiple devices in place) the opportunities for planning learning with pedagogy at the heart of it are diluted further. You simply don’t have the same kind of opportunities you have when you’re working with single devices all capable of running the same applications to support learning. Don’t get me wrong – getting technology in to schools is a great way of supporting and enhancing learning, but if the NESTA report ‘Decoding Learning‘ can teach us anything, it’s that in many schools across the world, technology is being highly underutilised. Interactive whiteboards, iPads, Galaxy tablets, Surface etc – the money spent on all of it will be highly wasted if people aren’t engaging in their use, thinking about how the technology can be best used and sharing in a culture of driving modern learning forward in ways that students want to learn in, appreciate more and brings about a redefined way of learning.
Why bother using technology at all if you’re not going to get the best learning out of it?
I recently read a blogpost by Greg Swanson (@GregDSwanson) on iPad apps linked to the different levels of SAMR here: http://appsineducation.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/samr-model-apps-poster.html - what he had done was to create a poster with different iPad apps linked to the various SAMR levels. Now fair play to the guy, to a large extent I would agree with many of his choices at the different levels. We could certainly argue too that some of them could help to hit improved levels of transformation if used in the right way. Conversely we could argue those matched to the redefinition level could come down if used in different ways too. That’s the thing though – because we have both spent time and energy familiarising ourselves with these applications; trained ourselves in the pedagogical benefits and the means in which they can be used; discussed them with like mind Twitter folk to squeeze out the best possible uses… we are better placed to take those kinds of distinctions, thoughts and put them in to great practice. What concerns me greatly is what I hear every day on my Twitter feed and the sorts of evidence I read in the NESTA report. Schools have been buying tech again without giving it the thought and the training of teachers required to ensuring that it is a LEARNING project and not a technology project. So when a teacher stumbles upon Greg’s site and sees that poster, they would be quite right in thinking “DING!” if I use “Book Creator” (which he has placed at the redefinition level) then I’m automatically transforming learning in my classroom. Well, no… not quite… there are some great opportunities to hit that level against the SAMR framework in using that app. However, if that teacher just gets students to type up their work in Book Creator then they are only hitting a substitution activity. Couldn’t they actually just be writing this on paper? How is using the app transforming learning here? It’s simply not.
I was greatly heartened last week when @AndyBartlettCPD tweeted me the image above. A planning document he’d made for one of the initial meetings of a group of 8 teachers and SLT looking to develop iPad pedagogy in school. Just how it should be with learning and thinking right at the heart of the matter.
So what’s the best way forward? Well – I know that for my thoughts, having done my research that:
- tablets are here to stay
- the best tablet available (currently) to support learning is the iPad
- careful thinking about learning is paramount
- it’s key to not let the technology dictate the learning
- don’t be afraid to use analogue or digital methods – just do your best thinking to make sure you make a sound choice (or even better, give students a range of choices)
If you’re thinking about bringing in new technology, whatever it is, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the above and how you’re approaching it. I don’t profess to have everything right and know it all, but this is my best thinking. My utopia in education is a world which recognises that with hundreds of thousands of pounds being spent on such expensive equipment, effective CPD and training is required. Schools and managers must recognise the importance of it all being related to learning, supported by sound CPD that empowers teachers to make the best choices about learning in their classrooms with the kit they’ve got. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
I’m being asked over and over again at the moment about iPads and how they can be used in education. Here are some of the questions I’ve been asked lately.
“My Head has given me 30 iPads and an Apple TV, what do I do?”
“I’m looking at iPads. Are they the best way to go?”
“What do you think about replacing all of our desktop machines with iPads?”
“What’s the best way to go about getting some iPads in my school?”
“I’m looking to put iPads in to our SIP, what’s the best app to go on there?”
This series of blog post is by no means a bible, but over the past 18 months I’ve learned an awful lot about how bringing mobile devices in to education can help to develop and transform teaching and the ways learning can take place. I hope that this and subsequent posts go some way to answering the questions above. Most of all though, I hope that you realise in order for me to get to the stage that I am at, I have had to go along a journey. I urge you to do the same. Rather than jump in feet (or wallet) first, take the time to experience and learn from the things I have, and more.
I’m not going to give you all the information you require, technical or otherwise in this post, but certainly I’ll give you some signposts, just don’t just expect the information on a silver platter. Seek advice yes, but experience it too.
Over the years we have seen too many digital schemes fail. We’ve seen schools spend hundreds of thousands, millions even, on initiatives such as IWB’s and VLE’s and more, to get technology in to education. Unfortunately, all too often, it has just been a waste of money. Mobile technology in education offers a new and exciting way forward with new opportunities for transforming learning in our schools. It also however, gives us new opportunities to fail. If we don’t take the time and the effort to learn, plan, engage and interact with every stakeholder in the process, it is very likely that it could be another massive investment by thousands of schools (and in this brave new education landscape we see ourselves in, parents too) wasted. This will, of course, keep manufacturers and sellers happy, but what is most important is that our learners are happy and making the best use of the technology to equip them fully for their lives in the digital age we now live.
The same is absolutely true in relation to the pedagogy behind the use of technology in the classroom. As Matt Pearson wrote here “iPads do not have magic learning dust coming out of the back vent” and he is correct. He also echoes this too in this excellent post “You are not doing an iPad project”. Sound thinking about how and when technology is used in learning contexts is absolutely key if we are to make these transformational learning gains that so many people talk about. And that’s what it’s about. Learning. Of course, in this series of posts I’ll talk a lot about the technology, but never lose focus; it has to be about the pedagogy and thinking behind the choices made, both by us as facilitators of learning in our classrooms but also in the choices students make when they are learning in the classroom too.
The brilliant Zoe Elder says that using technology should…
“enhance the learning, not dictate the learning”.
Make sure that thinking is at the forefront of your thinking too.
With the new school year around the corner – here are some of my best picks for students starting with their own iOS devices in September.
One of the first things you will do on your first day back at school is transfer your timetable to your planner. Why not use this brilliant app to keep track of not only your timetable, but your exams, homework, deadlines, etc.
Want an easy way to get files to and from school and home or just somewhere good to keep your work safely in the cloud (and for free?), then Dropbox is for you. Grab it here: http://db.tt/OufAWFp
This app works on almost every platform, syncing across them all. Create a notebook for each subject, share that notebook with your teacher, with your classmates, use other Evernote apps too such as ‘Skitch’ to annotate photos, collated images and more which all feed through to your Evernote notebooks. You can add a web clipper too to your Safari which means from your Safari browser, when you find a site you like; you can take a chunk of text or an entire page, and add it straight to your Evernote notes. It’s great. It’s really powerful (it can even recognise text from photos which is then searchable!) and it’s free.
This is simply THE best calculator for iPad. Calcbot has a brilliant live as you type expression view shown in landscape mode on the iPad. Access advanced functions on the calculator by swiping across the numbers to reveal those features. Brilliant.
More info here: http://tapbots.com/software/calcbot/ipad/
Watch a demo video of Calcbot here: http://tapbots.net/videos/calcbot/demo/calcbot_iphone.m4v
EXPLAIN EVERYTHING (£1.99)
This app is a must have for any student (or teacher for that matter). This app enables you to rack up slide after slide, like you would in Keynote or PowerPoint; the great thing here is though, you can then annotate it in a live recording, with you speaking over the top of it – you can add elements to highlight key points, you can draw straight on, add arrows, circle objects and more. When you have finished, then all you have to do is share your finished work as a video file with export options to YouTube, Camera Roll, Vimeo, DropBox and many more. Not only that, if you have existing content you can import those and then talk over and ‘explain’ those things too, such as PowerPoint, PDF, Excel, Pages, Numbers, Keynote and much more. It is superb!
App here: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/explain-everything/id431493086?mt=8
Info here: http://www.explaineverything.com/
It is very likely that if you are going to be in a school embracing handheld devices, be it iPad, Android or BYOD that your teachers are going to want to use Edmodo.
Edmodo is a social learning network for students and teachers. It works in a very similar way to Facebook but allows teachers to set and assess different types of work and it also allows students to submit their work too. If you haven’t come across it yet, it really is worth looking in to. It is free too and any forward thinking school is looking to it as a brilliant solution to tie together learning in an environment that students and staff are used to given its similarities to Facebook.
More info here: http://www.edmodo.com/
Management info here: http://blog.edmodo.com/
App here: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/edmodo/id378352300?mt=8
BOOK CREATOR (£2.99)
This app is a fab alternative (and a bit cheaper too) to Pages. It has some fantastic features too. Not only can you export your finished document in PDF format (perfect for submitting work to your teacher) but you can also use it to create your own iBooks which you can then utilise in iBooks.
Definitely recommended, but… if you have Pages already, it is of limited use, unless of course you are looking to create your own books.
Info here: http://www.redjumper.net/bookcreator/
App here: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/book-creator-for-ipad/id442378070?mt=8
Ok, so apart from being really inspiring about what technology can do and perhaps for live mixing of tracks in a DJ style in Music lessons; and perhaps in Media lessons, or perhaps creating a video montage quickly and easily of Sports Day or a trip you’ve been on….. and then of course, really showing off the massively brilliant multi touch environment on iPad…… Ok – so the new VJAY app by Algoriddim is simply awesome. If you love audio/video, have any interest in DJing or just want to have access to something which, if you look at the specific hardware equivalents on the market, eg the Pioneer DVJ-X1 then you’re looking at upwards of £1000. For an app which gives you access to two decks for the currently 1/2 price offer of £6.99 – get it while you can.
I produced this sample effort using the app within minutes of purchasing it. It’s intuitive, fun and I can see it having mass appeal. It takes the best features of their award winning DJAY app (which is also 1/2 price at the moment to celebrate the launch of VJAY) and adds in video.
Tracks: Levels – Avicii – Spinnin’ Records & Michael Woods ft Duvall – Last Day On Earth – Diffused Music
Video clips: Standard bank of vid clips that come with the app
Here’s a short intro to some of the features of the app. Apologies for some of the jitter/lag in the screencast (slow wifi at home) – that is why I didn’t do a full mix: