TIES Conference Highlights: A CMLE Scholarship

The following was submitted by a CMLE scholarship recipient.

 Submitted by: Nancy Lorentz, Becker High School Media Specialist

 TIES was once again an outstanding conference.  The biggest problem at TIES is choosing from the many truly awesome sessions–but we did our best.   I tried to attend as many sessions as possible on managing iOS devices, since Becker High School (BHS) is a 1:1 iPad school.

iPad 1:1 session

The school that presented during this session, located in South St. Paul, has 32 charging carts and are using Mobile Device Management (MDM) systems (Casper and Filewave).  This school’s situation is not really similar to ours at Becker High School.  We did our entire rollout with two staff members and seven students, and the management since the rollout has fallen to me and four student TA’s.  Things that I did learn are that we need some syncing carts–hopefully one per grade level and some kind of MDM so that all of my time is not spent managing the iPads.  I also found out that the Volume Pricing Program in iTunes now takes credit cards, making it easier to purchase large numbers of apps.  The fact that this school has had 150 damaged iPads out of 800 made me feel better about our 35 or so broken iPads out of 850–even though they purchased much more expensive cases than we did!  We’re hoping the Lion Servers that we purchased will do much of the management that we need.

Apple iOS 5 session

 This session was focused on the management of the iPads–which were not designed for mass deployment/management.  Apple is working to improve management of multiple devices for schools, and between the iPhone Configuration Utility and the Lion Server, we hope that we will be able to push out apps, update apps, and allow us to change settings.  I feel that we are ahead of the game, but still have a lot to learn about managing the 900 iPads in my building.

Braincasting – Using Brain Research in Presentations

 The presenter gave us several ideas about how to help teachers improve their presentations by using widgets that are free and available on the internet.  He talked about how teachers should be teaching differently with a data projector.  The use of images is key because “words can only recall images we’ve seen.”  Brain research also indicates that the use of color and student participation in the presentation is important to keep their attention.  The presenter should be anchored to the left of the screen, use a clicker so you can move around the room and NEVER read to them from the screen.  Be careful of the fonts you use, how many words you put on a slide (6 x 6 Rule) and include pictures or video of your students or of people they know.  I look forward to incorporating these ideas for an upcoming staff development session.

Using iOS for Higher Order Thinking

 Presented by a 4th grade teacher, this session had some really useful tips and examples of students using mobile devices in the classroom.  Using a combination of paid and free apps, his students were able to write their own ePub books, to create ePubs with video teaching their future selves what they needed to remember for the science MCAs in 5th grade (a brilliant idea which I immediately shared with my curriculum director).  He also showed some very quick ways that comprehension can be quickly determined by students answering a question on the iPad and showing the teacher their answer on the iPad. I also shared this idea with my staff.