Saturday, October 29, 2011

iPad Project: Post #1 Setting up iPads in a classroom

Due to the generosity of a private donor, I have the opportunity to experiment with the educational and academic possibilities ipads afford a third grade public school classroom.  These were privately purchased and donated, and therefore not serviced by the school district.  School and district level permission was granted to use them in the class, but support is not possible.  That being said, the technology specialist that serves our school two days a week is very knowledgeable and offers assistance and advice as time allows.   An older, 5th grade, student offers her support and help once a week after school.  Another technologically-apt friend, who is interested in seeing the advent of the better use of technology in schools, offers his time, assistance and expertise as circumstances allow.  I am grateful to all of these people for their assistance as we try to find the most appropriate means of educating the 21st century digitally native student. 

“That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the task itself has become easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved.”
                                                -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I embark on this experiment with the hope that we will all become better teachers of the next generation!  I intend to blog about both the successes and failures, as it will take both to find our way through these ever-changing waters of educating the digital generation.  I welcome all ideas, concerns, comments, and suggestions!

My concerns in obtaining, setting up and managing ten iPads in a public school classroom were fourfold.  I needed to store, secure, charge and sync them on a routine basis.   Scouring the web for recommendations and ideas, I found this wiki website to be beneficial.

The donor would like to gift a class set of iPads, but we agreed that we should begin with 10 iPad2s, with the possibility of getting another 10 of the iPad3’s when released, and some of the initial management issues get settled.

My steps:
1.  Unboxed.  Each ipad came engraved with my name and a number 1-10 on the back.  Although it is possible for that to be removed in the event of theft, it is beneficial in classroom management.   While I am still searching for a cabinet to secure and sync the iPads, I purchased an inexpensive rolling cart with 10 trays from Office Depot.  This will serve to store the iPads.   Until a means of securing, charging and syncing the iPads is found, the iPads are not left at school overnight. 

2. itunes Account.  I set up an itunes account on my computer.  I synced all 10 ipads to this account and will have identical apps on each one.  Having one laptop, this was a time-consuming task.   Until a better solution to syncing the ipads is resolved, this will be a weekly job for my 5th grade student helper. 

3.  Select and Install Apps.  The core apps I wanted on the ipads for my students were iMovie, Garageband, Pages, Keynote, dropbox, Schoology and a typing program.   Other than that, I searched for applications that would enhance the third grade curriculum.  I download the free “lite” versions of applications that have potential for teaching academic subjects.  My 5th grade student helper tries them out and makes recommendations based on her experience. 

4.  Introduce Students to iPad:  To introduce my students to iPads, I created an “ipad scavenger hunt”.  Students work in pairs to complete this google doc.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Media Asset Creation: Week 1 Comment on Michael Dunn's blog

Michael posted this welcome and wonderful blog post about  

Hello friends! For this post I would like to share an interesting website with you. hitRECord is a website/concept developed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Members of the hitRECord community credit "Records" or pieces of art both musical and visual. From there members are allowed to use and remix another members work eventually leading to a full project. The community democratically decides on projects and crowd-sources the skills of the community. Some of the final projects are pretty amazing but the process is really at the core. I am inspired by the openness of these users to share their work and allow it to be remixed so freely. This attitude seen in the Creative Commons community really shows the spirit of collaboration and artistic exploration.

Here is an example of a hitRECord piece:

Thanks for posting this site. After listening to hours of extreme law locking erudites, this site was a welcome relief. Morgan M Morgansen's Date with Destiny lip lifted me. A wonderful example of a creative commons solution and a bridge to the future! Thanks.

Media Asset Creation: Week 1 comment on Marc Hunt's blog

Marc Hunt's blog post on copyright issues:

Copyright is a very complicated topic that really is about a very simple thing. Protecting your intellectual property or, in plain English, original ideas. I decided to make a very basic presentation that will provide basic ideas about copyright and its definitions. I hope you enjoy and that help you understand the topic a little bit more.

I have been a musician since I was a little boy and the topic of copyright always is a heated discussion. In the readings we covered this week it was apparent that most people have different ideas on what they think copyright should allow or even protect. The DJ GirlTalk made that point as he spoke about how he makes original art using already recorded music. The question of whether or not you are allowed to use copyright protected music in your productions is also answered below in the presentation I made about copyright as it relates to music and royalties or payment that are due to the copyright owner.

Marc created two prezi's about copyright.  I hope to show one of them to my students.  Follow this link to that prezi.

Media Asset Creation: Copyright Issues

Thank goodness for Ted talks.  Watching these hours worth of copyright issue videos was enough to make a teacher quit her job.  So, rather than dwell on the extremes that many of these videos did, I want to focus on the little bit of hope I found within the creative commons information and within Larry Lessig’s TED talk.   
Lessig quoted John Phillips Souza in 1906 who said that these “talking machines” referring to radios will ruin the artistic development in this country.   And, in fact, the 20th century became a culture of “read only” people.  However the 21st century seems to be assuming artistic development again.  Thanks to the $1500 computer, the tools of creativity have become tools of speech.  It is what the next generation bases its life upon.   Yet, Lessig insists, the law has not greeted this revival with very much common sense.  It prohibits to such an extreme degree that legal creativity becomes stifled, at best.  
Creative Commons offers possibilities and hope and does in fact seem to be a “bridge to the future”.  This will begin our journey to thinking more about communities and less about content.  However, in the meantime, educators have to find a way to give our students the tools and information they need to legally create, express, and use the digital technologies that are available to them.

Shutterstock image used with permission!