Friday, December 9, 2011

iPad Pilot Program Launched!

We finally launched the iPad Pilot program in eighth grade science on Monday! Many of the students had not before used an iPad and were very excited to use one in the classroom - one student even wanted to continue to work on his class project during his free period today so he could finish (I wonder if the iPad influenced him?). 

The teacher has big plans for this class - she is using several Apps that together help to create an interactive learning experience for the students. mTouch+ enables students to access their Moodle content from the iPad; Explain Everything is an app that lets students create content for the class - they can draw and type as well as record the screen and their voices while drawing and typing! A powerful assessment tool. Another App they are using is Evernote (a personal and professional favorite of mine!). Evernote enables the students to take notes on the iPad, personal and group, and share them not only with their classmates, but also between any devices they have. Evernote syncs between mobile and desktop devices as well as with the Internet. You should definitely check it out! Here is the link to their website: 
Of course, there are several Science Apps they are using. Chem Lab, VideoScience, and QRC Elements are a few of them!

Final Setup of the iPad Pilot

I spent Thursday and Friday of last week setting up all of the iPads for the classroom. It was a tedious process - we have 15 iPads to set up. One thing I did not realize about the case for the iPads is that you can not sync and charge at the same time! If the sync cable is attached, then the iPads will not charge. Other than that glitch, the set up went well. I had to touch every device because out of the box, the iPads have to be configured at the hardware level as well as the software level (you know, all those questions that came with iOS 5?!).

See my next post for what is happening in the classroom with them!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Using Moodle to Conduct Professional Development

Moodle (or Blackboard, Vista, Haiku, etc. for that matter) is a great tool to use to deliver learning content. About a year into my role as an academic technology integrator and as a Moodle administrator, I decided to use Moodle not only to administer my classes to students, but also to deliver technology training to my faculty. I've actually used Moodle to teach...Moodle! Course delivery systems provide a great way to augment the classroom experience. In the same vein, they also provide a great way to deliver content, interact with participants, and assess learning. I upload short videos to demonstrate how to execute a specific skill, or I link to videos I find on the Internet. Any instruction sheets that I create I also upload to Moodle for my faculty to access.

This year I am going to try something new with my faculty - we are going to actually try running a course. In the past all of the content has been up on Moodle for reference. This year I am going to interact with the teachers as if they were taking an online course. I plan to keep the learning online, but to offer as much contact time as possible. I welcome any comments on experience you have had or any advise you'd like to give me!

iPad Pilot Update:
We finally got the covers in and we are still waiting for the cart!!! We've had some problems with inventory being available (covers) and we changed our mind about the original cart we bought and changed to a desktop model (as opposed to a rolling cart). This put our project back a bit, and we had to return the original cart and purchase the new one. Oiy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Selected a "cart" for the iPad Pilot Program!

I continue to call it a "cart" because I don't have a short name for it!

We decided on the Ergotron 24-237-085 Tablet Management Desktop Module (see how long) to charge, sync, and secure our iPads.

The module is small enough to place on the counter in the science lab and will provide the security we need.

Just ordered it yesterday, so, I'll keep the blog updated on the progress.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pearson's OpenClass and Google Apps for Ed

I took a break from the iPads today and spent some time testing the new *free* LMS put out by Pearson called OpenClass. What interested me about it is that it was created to integrate with Google Apps for Ed and since our school is a GAFE school and we use a CMS (Moodle) I thought it would be good to see what OpenClass could do. I have been looking for a seamless solution that combines/integrates Google Docs and Moodle.
On the first pass I created a teacher (Instructor) and student account to play around with. Because I was playing the role of three different people (admin, instructor, and student), I decided to use Google Chrome and log in as the teacher in an incognito window. THIS DID NOT WORK WELL! I was unable to access the teacher editing tools until I logged in in separate browsers.
I have not read any manuals or watched any tutorials, so right out of the box there are some confusing features.
1-I have no idea how to create an assignment with a due date (like in Moodle) or even if it is possible;
2-the organization is confusing andi can't easily see how to customize it
3-what is the difference between a "submission" and the other "gradable" items?!

Snapshot from OpenClass
That said, some cool features I found is the ability for course participants to post on "the wall" and the icons on the top left that enable a user to see how many email messages they have as well as upcoming events taken directly from the Google Calendar.

Clearly I still have a lot of learning to do!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

iPad Covers and Carts

Today I shopped for iPad Carts & Desktop models and iPad Covers.

We decided to go with a "cart" that enables sync and charge for at least 15 iPad 2s. Instead of using a floor model we decided on a countertop model. I found two models that provide security and perform the sync and charge asks effectively - and simultaneously.
They are made by Ergotron and Datamation. [see my google spreadsheet of my research: iPad Purchases]

I'll decide on which one to purchase tomorrow.

Covers for the iPads are necessary. We are looking for a cover that is not expensive and also covers both the front and back of each iPad - they will be used primarily in a chemistry class/lab! I chose a cover that fits the bill; I decided on the covered pictured on the left, $23.98 each at

I also attended a webinar on Google Chromebooks today...but that's another post!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Setting up the Apple Volume Purchasing Program on the iPads

Today we began opening the boxes containing the 15 iPads recently ordered for the iPad Pilot Program at PCS. The iPads are not loaded with iOS 5 and we do not yet have the sync/charge cart set up. Sooo, I connected two iPads to my laptop (MacBook Pro) and commenced to see what would sync.
The big task was setting up the iPads with a single Apple ID. I signed up for the AVPP and already had a Program Manager account and a Program Facilitator account. What I did not have was a user account. So, we figured out that A minimum of three Apple IDs are needed to participate in the program - one for the management of the program, at least one for the purchasing of apps, and at least one for the iPads. To create the iPads Apple ID I used the instructions to create an Apple ID without a credit card [see:] and then successfully downloaded apps and even shared downloaded apps between the two iPads I connected to originally.
OH - We finally figured out that both devices would sync simultaneously using a USB hub, and are therefore confident that using a sync cart will allow us to sync multiple iPads at the same time.