So . . . you’ve got great stuff on your iPad, and you want to project it to your SMART Board, but you don’t have *that* dongle . . . or
You want your students to take turns displaying what they’ve created, but you don’t have a projector . . . or
You have a projector, but you don’t want to deal with the hassle of having kids come up to front to connect then disconnect . . . or
You want to “drive” your students’ iPads and make sure that they’re looking at what you want them looking at . . .
Reflector: if the devices you want to mirror are iPhones or iPads, consider installing Reflector on your SMART Board or projector connected laptop. Reflector turns your laptop into a wireless receiver, and using Airplay, you can just choose it and mirror whatever is on your iPhone or iPad. What’s really nice is that the audio is mirrored as well, which was a real nuisance with using a dongle to connect the iPad to a SMART Board.
Not using iPhones or iPads? Consider using Mirroring360 by Splashtop. Mirroring360 does the same thing, only you’re not restricted to iOS devices.
These are slick, easy-to-use solutions that are not very expensive. It’s made a huge difference in my non Apple TV classrooms, and the students love it when they can share what they’ve created on their tablets with the rest of the class.
What about when you want to mirror from your device to the students’ devices? Here are some options:
Splashtop Classroom: This is a cloud-based product that requires you to pay an annual usage fee. The cool thing is that your users download a free app, you install the free Streamer software on your computer, and you can mirror what’s on your laptop to your students’ devices. You can also give control to a student and he or she can interact with whatever is on your computer, or he or she can share what’s on theirs. Very nice!
Nearpod: Nearpod is by no means just for mirroring, but it can certainly be used for that.
Handouts: Handouts, the app that lets you distribute a handout to your students and get them back, can also be used to distribute documents to a number of devices.
How do you share?
My colleagues have been playing with the Handouts app and they’re simply loving it. It isn’t exactly earth-shattering or paradigm-shifting, but it’s simple, to the point, and elegant. The process is easy: create a handout (either make a PDF or take a picture of something), import it into Handouts and send it to your students. Students use the now-familiar method of joining a class via code, receive the handout and fill it in and send it back. Students can “write” or type their response. Simple and elegant.
My teachers are most excited for this in terms of its potential for a digital portfolio. That and the whole paperless part. Very cool!
One of my professional goals is to determine our course of action regarding a 1:1 initiative. We began this year with 3rd and 4th grades after a pilot of sorts last year with increased accessibility in 3rd grade. Each of the students in those grades has access this year to an iPad all day, regardless of class. The iPads stay in school.
This year we’re piloting using iPads in language arts in 5th grade. Week one brought the question of “where’s spellcheck in the Docs app?”
We’re also dealing with the issue of sharing iPads in 5th grade, since there are two carts for four sections. Students have to remember (and their teachers have to remember to tell them) to log out of the Docs app at the end of each session and to make sure they’re the one logged in at the beginning. It no doubt is cumbersome for the teachers, and I’m sure chaos will ensue at some point when that procedure isn’t followed.
So I started thinking about my own digital life.
I am not 1:1. I’m more like 3:1, with laptop, iPad and iPhone as my 3. I instinctively move from device to device, choosing the device based on the task I need to perform. If I need to do heavy word processing I reach for my laptop. If the laptop isn’t available (or, more likely, in the dining room and I don’t want to get up off the couch to retrieve it), the iPad is a suitable stand in, but only as a second choice. On the other hand, there are definitely things for which the iPad is better suited, like quick movie making. Apps like Show Me or Explain Everything are much more useful for video tutorials and much faster to use.
Is 1:1, defined as one specific device per child, realistic? Or does it make more sense to define 1:1 as the ratio of total devices available to the total student body as a 1:1 ratio, without assigning specific device to specific children?
Buy a couple iPad stands. Once you have them you’ll find dozens of ways to use them. For our yearbook this year we took iPad photos of the graduates’ baby photos rather than scanning them. It was much faster and the quality was great. My teachers use them in class as document cameras, too. We bought the Justand brand – they’re really durable and versatile.
Here’s a video from the company:
The folks over at LearnStuff.com tipped me off to their rockin’ infographic on tech use in the classroom. I’m actually kind of shocked that, with 70% of students entering school knowing how to use a mouse, only 40% of elementary school teachers are using technology. What do you think?
Once again I’m traveling with Centropa for their annual Centropa Summer Academy. This year I’m excited that it’s Germany: Mannheim, Frankfurt and Berlin. I really can’t believe that I’m doing this again – it’s a phenomenal opportunity and a wonderful, educational and stimulating way to spend ten days, but simply exhausting! I’m glad I have three weeks after I return before school begins to recuperate. Oy – only three weeks?
Are we there yet?
Of course I’m worried about how I’m going to entertain myself while I’m on the plane. I’ve already been to British Airways’ website to scope out the in-flight entertainment (excited to watch Salmon Fishing in the Yemen!), and I sprang for the iTunes Essential George Gershwin collection, but I want to put some movies on my iPad too. I mean, what if my video player thingie doesn’t work? Or what if I’m bored at night (yeah…right) and need to have something other than German TV to watch in the room?
Unfortunately, season two of Downton Abbey only got me through my last three trips (thank you, Downton Abbey – that was six blissful flights!), and there wasn’t another TV season I wanted to download. I do have some DVDs, though, that I want to watch but I’m not bringing my laptop – just the iPad (it’s so much lighter and easier to get through security!), which, of course, does not have a DVD player.
Now…I know you’re not supposed to do this. I would NEVER suggest my students do this…But if you already own the movies you want to bring on DVD, and let’s say you wanted to watch them on your iPad…you could rip the movies using Handbrake. Be sure to choose the iPad preset. Then you end up with a .m4v file that you could throw in iTunes and transfer when you sync. Easy peasy.
The only problem is that those movies can be pretty heavy – reaching 2 gb. That’s a lot of real estate on an iPad, so…
You might want to bring them along on an SD card. If you have the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit, you can do that. You just have to set them up in a way that your iPad will recognize them and know to import them as media. This post on CNET will be very helpful if you’re thinking about doing that.
Finally – I decided to spring (amazing how these trips cost SOOOOO much!) for a really good set of earphones. I wanted good, I wanted noise canceling, and I wanted small. I also didn’t want to spend more than $50. This is not as easy as it sounds. I researched a lot of companies, and finally settled on Thinksound. What got me were the reviews on Amazon. Now, many of those reviews mentioned having cable separation problems, so the big question is why did I pay $50 for earphones that could break? It’s simple – every single one of the reviews also stated that as soon as they contacted the company, they were immediately contacted by the company (in many cases, the president) to arrange for a replacement. I also really loved that they’re made from wood, and that the product has a low footprint packaging-wise. I appreciated not having to dig out the scissors and deal with those nasty plastic clamshell packages which fill up my recycling bin. They came in a lovely little brown box, with their own little cloth bag for storage. I was using them in about two seconds after receiving the package and they rocked. Pun intended.
Oh – and I also bought a new suitcase. But that wasn’t interesting.
I hope to post lots from Germany – stay tuned.
Update on learning how to design a digital quest:
I introduced my religious school students to arisgames.org last week. I broke out the laptops and had the kids go to my Interesting Questing wiki page. They watched some movies about using ARIS and SCVNGR and about Global Kids’ NY Haunts game. They are EXCITED!
After getting them excited about the project we played Grow a Game (thank you Natalie from the iCenter for introducing us to this!). I wanted to get their creative juices flowing.
Then we talked about what kind of quests we could send Jewish teenagers on. My students offered ideas like “teach about Judaism to someone who doesn’t know about it,” and “wear a kippah for a day and journal about what happens.” They had some great questions too, like “can we link this to Facebook?” (great idea!)
Then I started spending some time playing with ARIS. The editor is still under construction, and the creators warn you that the interface is shaky, but I haven’t had any problems in my limited testing. The biggest issue for me is that support materials are rather scarce: I like to work through tutorials and read manuals and those just don’t exist. But that’s part of the fun of using emerging technology, right?
I’m totally psyched about using ARIS for this project. I love that you can drop items anywhere using the map interface, so we can create the game from the comfort of our classroom and then just go into the field to test it. Once I understood the basic interface I found creating quests and characters fairly intuitive. I still need to master the terminology and how to logically create quests, and of course, how the game flows will be a big challenge. But I definitely see this having tremendous potential!
1. Design a few quests that kids can experience in the synagogue so they get the idea
2. Create a plan for designing a game flow
3. Design classroom dynamics. There are close to twenty kids who come regularly. How do we split these kids up so everyone’s engaged and productive?
Big questions: what are the educational goals for the activity? How do you blend “experiential education” with mobile devices?
To be continued!