The following observations, musings, and missteps are from my perspective, and by no means capture the brilliance of the presenters or the content at this well-attended event! Your humble reporter…..Patricia….
Sartell Middle School hosted this free, three-hour Apple event on Wednesday, November 14th (we did an earlier blog post about registration). The event was fast paced and invigorating and many people identified new learning they could apply immediately. I will share a few of the highlights, including the areas where I observed audience engagement and excitement.
Things I Learned about iOS 6
- Once you move to iOS 6, you can’t go back
- 200 new features
- Can lock the device into a single app (to contain students)
- Guided access allows you to lock parts of the screen while in an app (student control)
- Your Google Apps will no longer crash with this operating system.
Two hours was spent on short presentations from representatives from Central MN schools. Schools included: Becker, Sartell, Little Falls, Milaca, and St. Cloud. Presentations were modeled after the famous TED talks, and the presenters did a great job. It was so inspirational to see a 39-year, veteran teacher (Milaca) energized and excited about new ways of teaching the subject he loves (biology). Most districts admitted that some teachers are very engaged, others struggle more, so there is plenty of coaching and assistance still needed. A few highlights from the talks or the Q & A that followed:
- Becker has been doing its 1:1 iPad initiative for several years now, and they are taking pause to ask teachers which apps they use the most. Then, Director of Instructional Technology Ryan Cox, hopes to help teachers develop deeper skill levels with those apps. The three apps that rose to the surface in Becker are: Socrative, Edmodo, and Showbie.
- I have always wondered how elementary teachers share a complicated url and get their little fledglings safely to a website. Angie Kalthoff, Technology Integrationist at St. Cloud Schools shared that she uses an app called Chirp!
- An Apple rep shared that if you are looking for an app for moving files around more easily, you may want to invest in Good Reader, the true “swiss army knife” for these tasks!
- “Release the hounds” became a popular phrase with presenters. When trying to make this shift in education in integrating technology, the teacher cannot possibly know everything ahead of time. Teachers are masters of the subject area, but often need to challenge the students to figure out how they might use a specified app to do their subject-specific-project work. In other words, “release the hounds!” and have them report back to the class! Students love it….
- I am going to bite the bullet, spend $10, and buy the Keynote app for doing presentations on my iPad. Enough with finding a workaround solution already.
- Just when I thought I knew something, I learned differently. I assumed that all schools who are doing the 1:1 initiatives, were also doing flipped classrooms, when in fact, Little Falls, who has also been 1:1 for a few years, has deemed that flipped classroom will not serve their purposes! Moral of the story: Stay humble in what you think you know in any given moment!
- Sadly, I thought I had found the app of my dreams….in a mad scrawl I wrote down, Touch Feel Go, and it was an app that enables you to take a picture of a pdf, which turns the doc into a form that you can type directly into. Then, you can email the doc, or drop it into Dropbox too. Unfortunately, I can find no such app. If you were at this event and can solve this mystery for me, please save me by typing in the comments field to this post. Thanks!