Thursday, February 16, 2012

iPad Initiative - Restrictions and Responsible Use Policy

Another update on our iPad Initiative. I'm trying to play a little catch up with this post. The next step we took before we handed our students their iPads was to create a Responsible Use Policy. We reviewed various iPad RUPs before creating ours to help give us an idea of what we needed to include. The iPad RUP that we created is called, "iWill". Very creative, huh? Earlier in the year the students reviewed and signed a District Acceptable Use Policy but we felt that the iPads needed a little extra attention. It's not perfect, but then again what is. What we wanted to do was create some dialog between the teachers and students on the purpose of their iPads. I've included a sample of what we included in our "iWill" at the bottom of this post. Please let us know if you have any suggestions on how we could make it better.

In addition to the "iWill" RUP and the classroom discussion, we enabled various restrictions on the iPad. I've included a screen shot from one of the devices. I'm sure many of you will say, "Wow. That's a lot of restrictions!" Remember, this is new to us and we would like to avoid some of the potential mistakes that may happen. These devices are also shared. Therefore, one teacher may not be ready to manage a classroom set with all the bells and whistles. I'd like to share our thoughts behind the restrictions and get any of your feedback. 
FaceTime - We may look to open it up for certain projects. This is more of a student safety concern. 
Ping - Managing a social network for music is not a priority right now. 
Deleting Apps - Why would we want kids to do this?
Location - It's enabled. Just locked.
Email - We plan to open this up very soon with an email address. As of now, we just have not figured out how we will manage it. Will we have one email for all 30 devices or one for each. 
Allowed Content - We set these according to the age of our students. 
In-App Purchases - There is not a credit card on file with the Apple ID's that we are using but we would still like to avoid any accidental charges. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

METC 2012 Presentation

For those of you who were unable to attend my METC presentation, No More Paper, No More Books.... I wanted to write up a short post on a few of the tools that I shared. 

The focus of the presentation was to share with teachers several free web-based tools that can help turn student netbooks, laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphone into learner response devices.

You can view my "virtual handout" here:

The first tool is MentimeterMentimeter is a free web-based tool that provides the teacher a quick and simple way to interact with their students and receive feedback. Teachers can do this by having students respond to multiple choice questions via their mobile device. All the participants need is a link to the question. Results are displayed in real-time. No login required. 

 Poll Everywhere is a another free-web based polling service that allows a teacher to gather live responses from an audience via their mobile device or desktop computer. Students access the question via a direct link to the poll and can respond to a single multiple choice question created by the teacher. There are two features that set this tool apart from Mentimeter.
1. When you create an account, all of your polls are saved and can be used again.
2. Teachers have the option to ask an open ended question that the students can respond to in a free text format.

 Socrative is my favorite of the three listed here. Socrative is also a web-based tool that allows the teachers to collect response from their students. However, there are several great features that set this tool apart from the others.
1. An entire multiple choice tets can be created and saved within the application or upload using their .xls template. 
2. Questions can be graded and results can be sent back to the teacher via email or downloaded as an .xls file. 
3.  It's also a free iPad, iPhone, and iPod app. There is an app available for the teacher and an app for the student. 
4. Very simple to use.
Currently, Socrative is in beta and is free. However, with the easy to use and needed features, this will not be free for long. 

Monday, February 13, 2012


If you are looking for a simple web-based tool that can make your lessons or presentations more interactive, then Mentimeter is a good solution for you. Mentimeter is a tool that allows you create a simple one question poll that your audience members can respond to via their mobile device. As long as their device can access the web, they are ready to respond! Just provide your audience the Poll URL or Vote ID and send them on their way. Give it a try for yourself.

Go to and type in 71756
Or go to

Now watch the results below populate instantly!

Mentimeter is free and there is no log in or registration required. Your poll is saved forever and you can go back an edit it at any time as long as you keep the administrator URL that is provided once you create your poll. Results can also be embedded into your blog or wiki or shared via Twitter or email.

Friday, February 10, 2012

iPad Initiative - In the Classroom

Well the day has finally arrived! The iPads are in the classroom at Lucas Crossing Elementary. I think i was just as excited as the kids! Here is a glimpse into the first day!
Day 1
Ms Camp's 2nd and 3rd grade class had a day of exploration and reading. Students had a chance to do a little clicking and a little swiping. Many of the students had never used an iPad prior to this. They treated them with extreme care! Students were also introduced to reading their favorite books online.
More pics and details to come!

Friday, February 3, 2012

iPad Initiative - Volume Purchase Program

Apple IDs. Check. 
Sync cart. Check.
30 iPads connected. Check.
Synced free apps. Check. 
Now lets spend some district money!

Apple App Volume Purchase Plan
To maximize our small budget we decided to go with Apple's Volume Purchase Plan. Many of the apps in Apple's VPP are sold at a discount. The more you purchase, the more you save. Many apps are up to 50% off! I would love to say that we went in this direction because it was the easier process. However, it's actually a little more involved than just going into the App Store to download and sync. Well, the initial set up is. Here's the low down.
Program Manager
To enroll in the program, I had to identify someone as the VPP (Volume Purchase Plan) Manager. This needed to be someone who would will set up the VPP account for the campus or the district. This person would also submit purchase orders for VPP vouchers. More on the vouchers a little further down. In the end, I decided to take on this role. My goal is to extend our iPad program, if we see positive results, to other campus. With my position as the district technology coach, I felt this was a good idea.
Program Facilitator
The next step was for me, the Program Manager, was to identify a VPP Facilitator. This person would be the one who does all the app purchasing with the VPP vouchers. Everyone I spoke with does this a little different. Some PM designate a person on the campus, others designate someone in the district office. After talking with our team, I was nominated. Lucky me. Once I workout any kinks in the process, this will be moved back down to the campus level.
How it works
With the Volume Purchase Plan, the Program Manager will submit a purchase order to buy a certain dollar amount of Apple VPP Vouchers. These can be purchased in $100 dollar increments. Once they are purchased, these vouchers will be mailed out to the PM in 3-5 business days. The PM then sends those vouchers to the Program Facilitator. The PF will then go to the VPP portal (different from iTunes) to redeem the vouchers and purchase the apps in various quantities. App specific download codes will then be emailed to the PF to begin downloading the purchased apps to the devices. The downloads can be done by the PF, the teacher or the students. It all depends on how you are managing your devices. With our situation, the teachers will be performing all the downloads and syncing.  
That's the Volume Purchase Plan in a nutshell.