iPads in Education

Innovating education with technology.

1:1 iPad Curriculum gets go ahead. What should Professional Development look like?

Well the go ahead from management has finally come through, and Trinity College Foundation Studies will be going ahead with a full 1:1 iPad curriculum in 2012. We first have a repeat of our initial 2010 trial with a small intake of fifty to sixty students from August this year, as a step to establish new practices, further experiment and refine, and conduct further research with students and staff.

In the interim, I am responsible for conducting staff professional development in the lead up to a significant change in our classroom practices. We have a diverse curriculum - English, Literature, History of Ideas, Mathematics, Sciences, Economics, Accounting, Media, and Environments. Naturally, I don't have expertise in all these areas, and I'm taking a constructivist approach to this support role in the same sense I take in my classes with Literature students. I'm extremely daunted, but the teachers I'm working with are skilled professionals, and I'm learning so much from them.

Here's my first round of informal PD options - drawn from requests and feedback from the teachers after having their devices for a few months of trial and experimenting. They do seem to be device centered, but the context I am shaping is one of developing expertise in using and exploiting the features of the device, to better appreciate ways it can then be used to enhance the learning objectives and goals of the different disciplines. Teachers want to understsnd what it is capable of doing before they can think clearly about how to maximise its potential for their students' needs. Each session is being presented twice, with 15-20 participants in each.

Is there anything that seems to be missing? What else is crying out for attention? What would you want from an Education Technology Manager and staff Professional Development?

Topic: Basic skills, customizing, document management.

Topic: Pedagogy First: Interactive students - some potential activities and applications 
(Apps explored: GoodReader, Adobe Ideas, AudioNote)

Topic: Using cloud servers: Linking applications to Dropbox and Google Docs.

Topic: Saving and embedding videos in E-Books / Keynote. (Using KeepVid and Handbrake)

Topic: Using your iPad as a research / resource management tool. (Apps explored: Instapaper, GoodReader, Flipboard)

Final Topics - By demand (What else do you want to know about?) E-Books? Posting resources on the LMS? You choose.

Do let me know what you think of the offerings, and anything else I seem to be missing.

Here's a link to the Project information on our website. http://bit.ly/k8cqXJ

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Comment by Jeremy Dorn on May 11, 2011 at 3:50pm
Hum... I know both devices have to be in iFile or they won't see each other. I'll see about testing it bit more...quick trouble shoot would be to make sure both have bluetooth on. Almost got me the first time as I keep my Bluetooth off by habit out of old security paranoia. Other question, how are the iPads named? I don't think it should be an issue but out of good habit they should have unique names.

I did find one odd thing, if you press and hold a file it brings up a contextual menu which includes the "open in..." command. I ended up finding this when trying to send a ePub file to iBooks. Odd place to put it.
Comment by Jennifer Mitchell on May 8, 2011 at 11:22pm
Thanks for the suggestions Jeremy. I've had a look today at iFiles, and tried to connect two iPads running the app through Bluetooth and failed. It must be one of those things which need careful settings to be established. But it has definite potential. Can't show it to teachers until I've worked out how to make those useful sharing functions work.
Comment by Jeremy Dorn on May 8, 2011 at 9:57am
I would add to the Cloud services section ways for students to pass project material back and forth on a local network. Or perhaps that can go in your last topic. The iFile App would be a good example, and plays much the same role as GoodReader for central document management, it's advantage over GoodReader is Bluetooth files share for users off a WiFi or 3G service area, such as students doing field work. iFile is a bit more clumsy at passing files around "Open In..." apps (as you need to view the file before using that command), but it is another option. Not that I'd ever give up GoodReader! Best bargain in the App Store.

I think that's going to be a key point in your first topic, if teachers and students are looking at Apps to expand functionality then they should usually check to see if the App supports "Open In..." and how it can export data. iOS 5 isn't too far out with what seems to be a better file management system, but as far as I know it is opt-in not default. My guess is that companies take the extra step using "Open In..." are more likely to take advantage of it.
Comment by Sam Gliksman on May 7, 2011 at 10:53am
Read your last paragraph several times over ... :)
Comment by Jennifer Mitchell on May 7, 2011 at 10:38am
Yes, I've invited some of the teachers from the original pilot to come and demonstrate activities they did with students, but it's hard to pin them down to commit to coming. The only times when most staff are available is lunchtime, which is when my 45 min sessions are running. I'm also planning a final Q&A session where some of the students from the original pilot are present. Bribery will be necessary.

The cloud session is theoretical and practical. We'll do some document collaboration, but I'm also going to send those present a questionnaire on Google Forms and get them to fill it out in the session, then show them the instantly populated spreadsheet. Dropbox is good for teachers and students to share files around, and import materials for class projects - but students submitting assessible work that way might not be feasible, or wise.

We have Moodle as our LMS, and it's being upgraded to Moodle 2 this year. We access it through a bookmark in Safari. The app designed for Moodle access on iPad, mTouch+ is a bit unstable, and crashes a lot. All the .pdf resources, audio podcasts and other resources are visible, and downloadable, except, of course, the flash animations carefully prepared by the Mathematics dept. They can still show these on the lecture theatre computers, but the Maths staff are planning to convert these to HTML 5 for iPad access which is a lot of work.

Sam, the days in Parkville, Melbourne are cool and crisp, and the leaves falling on Royal Parade are daily swept up in a flurry by the trams. The Italian food and the coffee on Lygon Street is still fabulous, by the way.
Comment by Sam Gliksman on May 7, 2011 at 9:00am
I might try and integrate some sessions on sample classroom practice and not focus solely on personal expertise. Just as one example, you have a great sounding session on cloud use. How does this reflect on information flow in the classroom? What options are there for students to get or submit information to teachers on the cloud? How can information be shared on the cloud? What are ways cloud storage can be set up to be used in collaborative projects in class?

By the way, what are you using for your LMS and how do you access it on iOS Jennifer?
... And I used to have a close friend that lived around the corner from Trinity (many years ago).


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