Tag Archives: apple

Quit Insulting Teachers

I am pretty unimpressed with some recent articles from the New York Times on Education, and this one is not an exception: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/02/technology/silicon-valley-teachers-tech.html 

This article outlines how teachers who participate in ambassador programs are as a bad as doctors that prefer drugs that were promoted through free lunches. How Insulting!

I was insulted by the article on multiple levels.   First, teachers are intelligent professionals and they can make intelligent choices (I know this is the doctor argument).. but how they came to the technology they promote is not accurately represented.

For example, I am not a FlipGrid ambassador but I could see doing it.. Why, I explored a free trial of the software and it filled an educational need.
Have I told other teachers about it? You betcha!!!
Did I need someone to give me a t-shirt to promote to others – No.. because I am a professional that understands how people learn and the transformative power of technology, so I made an instructional choice that I am jazzed about.    I tell others about it because it works for my classroom and I am excited about what it does.

There are lots of programs that I tell people about:  Flipgrid,  Twitter, Explain Everything, BookCreator, Clips, Adobe Spark Suite, Canva, CoSpaces, Remind, Doink GreenScreen, Code.org. Swift Playground, Botball Robotics and Badgelist etc..  Am I member of any of these promotional programs? No, because I am lucky enough to have the resources of a University and I am not starved or completely reliant on my own funds to get tech for my class. (But I do spend a bunch of my own money – for example I paid for Flipgrid because the paperwork was not worth my time).  I have rejected technologies and do it all the time – because I am a knowledgeable professional and can make choices.

But here is the big point of this- I care about the education of children and college students – and you insult me to think that I quit being a professional when someone gives me a sticker and all judgement flies out the window when someone gives me an endorsement.  I am a professional, a thinking and  ethical professional.   Educators are professionals.

We are starving our teachers, so yes, some of them are pimping themselves out for t-shirts and stickers so that they can get access to the tools that they know work well with kids and helps to supplement their curriculum.  I would consider being an ambassador for access to some of the free professional development they get.  Some of these ambassadors are great member of my professional learning network – (PLN) and they show me things about these tools that help me be a better teacher – things they sometimes learned through the access of the ambassador programs.

As far as being an Apple Distinguished Educator – the article has it backwards.  It is not an ambassador program, and I did not join it to get free Apple stuff.. I was doing Apple stuff and I joined it to get the ability to make the Apple stuff I was using better, interact with the development teams, and work with other educators that are doing amazing things. (They do talk about this)  There are Apple fanboys in the group, but honestly there are real conversations about workflow and what works best.. (which is not always Apple products). I know there are Apple people who tire of my criticism and critique.   I am insulted that the article infers that by being part of this group I have lost my ethical compass. Let me be clear,  I am part of this community to make my teaching and student experience better – through my learning and advanced knowledge.  This was a very ethical choice!

The way that we fund our schools has created this ethical dilemma. If we continue buying devices and then said – you can’t get any apps or programs for them, we force our teachers to be creative and try to get what their students’ need in different ways. From the Tulsa teacher panhandling for school supplies to the constant barrage of teachers asking for copy paper on Donors Choose – we have cut these professionals off at their knees. They know what is best for kids, because they are trained educators, and in our deficit educational economy, I too would get a free program if I wore their t-shirt a few times. If you don’t want teachers to have hustle and be scrappy- then fund them fully and provide them with a rich environment where they continue to learn and are free to innovate themselves.  Right now we are not doing that.

We need to trust our teachers to use their best judgement and we need to allow them to explore the professional tools available to them – like any educated career. Back to the Doctor argument – we don’t keep Doctors from prescribing other drugs, but they may not have the time to fully explore them.  What we see with teachers, is that they having to hustle to provide the basic classroom resources, if we supported them appropriately,  with both the tools, resources and time – they too could have more tools available in their pedagogical toolkit to help all learners learn.

In the end, the ethical dilemma is ours as a society and community.  We have the power to support and fund teachers and they deserve our respect, support and thanks -each and every day!

 

Using Apple Distinguished Educator Books in Preservice Teacher Education

So I have been asked by local schools to quit teaching smartboard.  I am on the fence about this because my ed tech classes are a mix of Early childhood, elementary and secondary students.  So this semester, I instead made smartboard a choice, not a requirement and we will see how that goes.

Instead I made interactive whiteboard apps a requirement.  (they have been for several years) but I have always struggled to think of a way to have students use them in a meaningful way and not waste important content time.  Also, slimming smartboard bought me more coding time, a chance to visit our connect ed school in OKC, and more time for interactive whiteboards.

  • Previous Attempts:
    I have had them make tutorials (snoozeville) and then it also only focuses on the tech not content.
  • Last year I tried to have them report on Horizon report and the National Ed tech plan – and that was problematic for two reasons. Dry content and then they tried to use the IWB as powerpoint -which they are not..

So I had to redesign the assignment again.  Additionally, on my evaluations, I always have complaints about not doing enough allow enough content choices (ie.. secondary want to do secondary, early childhood want early childhood etc..) And all my students have iPads so how do I do it?

This summer I realized I was not using a great resource – the Apple Distinguished Educator Books available in the iBooks store.  They can be hard to search for but there is way to link to them.
https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewMultiRoom?cc=us&fcId=1107473595&mt=11

This listing gets you to all the books that have been published by Apple Distinguished Educators where they associated it with their account.   These are stories from the classroom,  of how they are using Apple tools in the classroom and different Apps.

So to teach interactive whiteboards, I divided students up into groups and assigned them a interactive whiteboard ish app (Baiboard, Notability, Explain Everything, Educreations, ShowMe,  Paper by 53, and NearPod)  Then I let them pick any book from this list.. It was great because they triaged the books for me and could share with their classmates a few that are really good.

Lessons Learned
I am pretty happy with the assignment, they picked things they liked and were able to demo the apps well. I learned some new tricks in different apps and students were creative in using the tools.   They also had strong opinions which is what I wanted them to have so they can influence choices as a teacher by their school.

They needed more than 10 minutes for sure to present though.  I need to also add a youtube tutorial watching requirement (I could tell the groups that knew the apps better than others). Finally, I need to make a dibs google doc. ( Ie.. I need to have people call “Dibs” on a book), because after three classes, Bea Leiderman, I love ya, but if I see the Aphid story one more time, I am going to wig out.  So not allowing a duplicate book is more for me than anyone else.  Also, I could have directed them towards some that I really like – for example no one read Peter Esperanza, Brendan Kelly, Letty Batista or Dustin Carlson,(to name a few there are so many  more..)  and those are some good books for my preservice audience.  However, in the end their choice was important for me both to learn what mattered to them and to give them ownership.   Also it seems there are books that I know that are out there do not show populate the ADE directory in iBooks – different Apple ID maybe?  (For example Letty, Samantha and Jim ‘s heart book which is published under UGA – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-heart-lungs-corazon-y-pulmones/id1047843039?mt=11 )

Here are some of the books
I did not get an exhaustive list,(and I fudged the titles a bit as I went – my apologies but use the links)  but here are some of the good ones that students really liked.. If you are not checking out Apple Distinguished Educator books on the IBooks store, you should be.

Mary Kemper is a Math Rockstar !  I have had several students create reviews of two of her books. what I really liked that is that elementary and secondary math minded students found stuff they liked.
Patterns – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/patterns/id1195763478?mt=11
Photo Walks
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/photo-walks/id1193098306?mt=11

Bea Leiderman – Great story books with her bug photography My students really went to the Lady Bug and Aphids – They loved the independent nature of aphids – cuz they don’t need no man!
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-lady-and-the-aphid-a-tale-of-two-bugs/id898064625?mt=11

Rabbi Michael Cohen -Students Teaching Students  This sparked a good discussion on how to group students.   https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/student-teaching-students/id1081721908?mt=11

Mat Pullen – Engaging Parents – students liked this because they feel not especially well prepared.  They also loved Mat’s son in the pictures. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/how-schools-can-engage-with-parents-using-technology/id1024718761?mt=11

Jodie Deinheimer -Middle School zoo book.  This was a favorite among all three classes. They liked that the students had made the book themselves and found it appropriate for elementary students as well.  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/through-their-eyes/id1105593599?mt=11

Cathy Hunt – IPad Art – I had three really artsy students – all different majors and they loved trying out the apps and getting inspired about how they could incorporate art in the regular curriculum.  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ipad-art/id706608032?mt=11

John Neal Augmented Reality – This book was great because it made it seem approachable (which it is) and the students had ideas about using it AR right away and they tied it into IOS 11 and how you will be able to use AR tool kit.  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/augmented-reality-a-teachers-handbook/id1074499012?mt=11

Joe Allen – this book was very popular because students were hungry for ideas to help students. While it is Aussie, it had some great overviews for the students to think about accessibility and easy to use apps. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/technology-to-support-students-literacy-difficulties/id1068322814?mt=11

Jenny Graibec – Jenny is well known as an expert for kids with learning differences. Many of my students reviewed this book and she took the air out of my accessibility lesson. happy to have that happen.  Students were excited to try out the tools she talked about. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ican-with-ios/id1057967830?mt=11

Natalie Woodward  This is an international book and I don’t think I know Natalie.  but the book was called iFlipped and it really had students debating if flipped learning was a good or bad thing.  Fruitful discussion for sure. Many were unsure what flipped was.. so definitions were great.  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/iflipped/id1097347389?mt=11

David Wingler – Gamification for Math.  This book was chosen often for a great cover and gamification. Students explored using this app and liked the idea.  It will be food for thought. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/gamification-made-easy/id1052413867?mt=13

April Requard Keynote for storytelling. Students really enjoyed this book because of the showcase of student work and the creativity. It allowed me to talk about the updated vector shapes in Keynote which was a great teachable moment.  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-key-note-to-storytelling/id1058989829?mt=11

Students used Educreations with screen shots to show assistive tech settings. 

Students used vending machine cheese its to show counting patterns. 

 

I flipped had students explore if flipped learning was “good’ 

Students Baiboard as a group presentation with questions throughout.

Finished Multi-Touch Application – File size nightmares!

So I finished our Apple Distinguished School Application yesterday but had my regular last 24 or 48 hours of drama..

This time, it was due to file size.  Submission guidelines said it should be between 250 and 400 MB complete..  so when I finished the size was 1.5 GB..!!!!!

I spent 2 days whining (it was my own mistake) and asking for help and finally got the file size down to 394.3 MB often at 1 to 10 MB at a time.. (resizing, resaving, and editing pictures and videos)

So now that I have slept some, I want to figure out some best practices and I want to reach out to my Ibooks Author Friends to come up with some tips on making the project go better for others next time.

So here is what i have already learned, and honestly its more questions than answer…

  1. Make sure to not do screen shots that are saved as PNG – but edit them down to JPG.
    1. But what is the best resolution?
    2. What is an adequate size? (may even iPhone picture results in a huge picture) – Ibooks author – will mask the clip but not take out the original.
  2. Movies – I took the movies down to iPod touch level using QuickTime – but I really did not gain much space .
    1. What is the optimal movie size for Ibooks author?
    2. What is adequate for iPad and retina displays?
  3. Getting the most bang for your buck – as I deleted stuff – sometimes the file size would even go up with my replacements – I books author optimizes movies -so often a few MB smaller movie in a another format (.mov versus .m4v) could increase file size.   Is there a rule for this?

Apple has a support page for this (Thanks John Shoemaker for this)   https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202391  but it is pretty vague –

What are some best practices for file management with Ibooks Author..  I don’t want to have to this late night party ever again.

Please comment on this blog so maybe I can make it a resource for others?

 

NYT Article on Silicon Valley and Education

So sometimes you see things shared again and again on your twitter and facebook feeds and think – I need more than 140 characters to share my thoughts on this..

The article by the New York Times on How Silicon Valley Billionairesare changing education  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/06/technology/tech-billionaires-education-zuckerberg-facebook-hastings.html?mcubz=1&_r=0  requires a blog post.

Okay first, my background;

I am an Associate Professor and Apple Distinguished Educator – and I teach those studying to be teachers how to use technology in meaningful ways with kids (and also some practicing teachers).  I have been a professor for 11 years and lead a 1 to 1 iPad program.  So obviously I am an Apple fan but just to put myself in a adopter continuum – I will say I own two chromebooks,  don’t have an Apple watch or iPad Pro and my first iPhone was a 6s Plus which I am still using.  (and intend to for least another year) I try hard to be aware as many new technologies as I can and trends in education because it is my job to help my students learn about many technologies and choose which ones they want to use..

A lot of the innovations that they are talking about in the New York Times article are great, and in many cases these startups, while free now move to a freeium model – so while these things might be really useful now, the subscription costs (for which schools are not well set up) will be coming.

I find these also to be pockets of innovation – and don’t get me wrong we need pockets but I feel as though the large scale, company commitments were left off from this article.  I appreciate the CEOs that spend their own money, but I also appreciate the large scale initiatives that are looking at larger changes to education.

For example, Google got a small shout out in their article for Google Suite (formerly known as Google Apps for Education)  They said : “Already, more than half of the primary- and secondary-school students in the United States use Google services like Gmail in school.”  A true statement and this free service has changed the workflow in so many schools. I can see it in my college students and practicing teachers getting their masters – we expect to collaborate in real time in our documents.   Apple and Microsoft have just joined in on this, they are late the game, and don’t have the seamless nature to the collaboration yet.  (ie.. they still have problems with conflicted copies etc..)  However, educators are worried that this will become a freeium in the way that Dropbox SpaceRace gave free storage to University students and faculty and then forced us to pay once it was an important part of our workflow.

So definitely Google is changing productivity in education and is currently free. but what this article missed all together is more of the philanthropic nature of some of silicon valley’s work.  I have had personal experience with ConnectED which is an initiative funded by Apple (100 million)  in an agreement with the Obama White House.

ConnectED identified and gave grants to 114 of the most underserved schools in the US to transform education for some our of neediest students. https://www.apple.com/education/connectED/

I have had several opportunities to interact with the students and teachers at ConnectED and I can tell you that I believe this philanthropy is changing the lives and learning experiences of students, teachers and communities.

We have a Connect Ed school in Oklahoma City – Arthur Elementary (part of OKCPS) . This school was one of the first schools to get going with Connect ED.  Not only are their teachers new iPads new ways with kids, many of whom are English Language Learners but they also have partnered with our College of Education to host practica students and student teachers.   I have offered training to them and several of their teachers are pursuing masters’ degrees with us. Whenever I visit the school, I see many other educators from within OKCPS and other districts visiting to see how they can use technology to reach their students.   Their impact is much greater than being measured.

Arthur Elementary
Miranda Hannon learned from Connect ED students
Miranda Hannon learned from Connect ED students

In February, I was able to participate in a training for Connect ED leaders from about 75 schools that was put on by Apple.  Meeting these educators who were not only preparing students to use technology but also providing for many of the basic physical and emotional needs of students who are often not in a stable environment and may need food, clothing and shelter was inspiring.  These were some of the most dedicated educators I have ever met and I found myself inspired by their projects and stories. As part of this, Apple has been activating the Apple Distinguished Educator community to serve this group.  In all of the examples in the NYT story, I did not see where educators were helping to lead these efforts.  I can’t help but think of the other news story that keeps popping in my feed about the need for large reform and philanthropy about schools to include teachers.   http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-gates-education-20160601-snap-story.html  

I know many people will say that Apple has an up side, by giving away 100 million in tech, training and apps they must be setting themselves up to sell more.  But lets look back to 1986 – in 1986 they did the Apple Classroom of Tomorrow (ACOT) which is the still the gold standard for planning technology professional development programs for teachers.   In the end, they added to the collective knowledge but the research but that project really did not change their sales that much.  Much of what they learned has benefitted all tech companies and ed tech researchers.

I know that Microsoft and other companies spend a lot of money on education too.. but to my point,  I think the NY times missed the boat here, individual commitments from CEOs to create new educational products is great, but so are company wide commitments especially those that have a strong educator input.  Where is the talk of that?