Friday, March 2, 2012

iPad Initiative - Who downloads your free apps?

Currently, our district is enrolled in the Apple's Volume Purchase Plan. However, we are still waiting to receive our first set of volume purchase vouchers. So until then we are downloading free apps to the iPads.
I thought I'd post a Q & A between myself and I to show you how we are managing this task. Don't worry. I didn't ask these out loud. Nor did I respond to myself out loud. But I guess that should be the least of our worries. 

Myself: Good morning. How are you?
I: Great. Enjoying my first cup of coffee.

Myself: Well, lets get started. 

Q: What are you using to sync your devices?
A: A Bretford Sync Cart with a dedicated Dell laptop. We are using 30 devices (iPad 2)

Q: Who purchases and syncs the free apps? 
A: Me (District Instructional Technology Coach). I will eventually delegate this down to the campus ITS.

Q: How do the teachers let you know what apps they want?
A: We're using a Google spreadsheet with color coding. Teachers have editing permissions and may add apps that they would like to have synced to the devices. I then go in and sync what I can. I use a color coding system to let teachers know it has been done. It's simple and makes sense. Take a look ours. Nothing fancy. iPad App Spreadsheet

Q: How often do you sync the devices? 
A: I try to do it as often as I can. At least once every two weeks. Well that is my goal until it gets too overwhelming. I have to go to the campus to do this and it can take a couple of hours. I've only completed this twice. We haven't had the devices long. 

Q: What if a teacher needs an app ASAP?
A: They can do it themselves if they'd like. They know how to sync them using the Sync Cart but it can take a lot of time. The cart does not sync them all at one time or very quickly. The other option is for the teacher is to touch each device, log in and sync them. It's up to the teacher and how much time they have. 

Q: Are you going to use the same process for the new cart you are expecting with 30 additional iPads?
A: Yes. I'll just use a different spreadsheet for different teachers. And then the delegating will begin!

Me: I'd like to thank you for your time and I hope we can talk again soon. 
I: You welcome. Have a great day!

iPad Initiative - Writing Workshop Research

Last Thursday, Ms. Murphy's 5th grade class utilized their iPads to begin conducting research for their writing workshop that would focus on careers. Students participated in an open class discussion and generated a lengthy list of potential career choices to research. The students then used the iPad app Qwiki to help with their research. With Qwiki, students could search a topic and Qwiki would combine relevant images, videos, graphics and narration into one presentation that students could begin exploring. From there, students would then decide if this was the right career choice for them to write about. If not, they could move on to another option. I loved how easy it was for a student to begin researching another career without having to get up and grab a different book or other resource. Everything was at their fingertips!

From the images below, you can see that our next app may be a mind-mapping or brainstorming app! If you know of any good ones, please feel free to share. I've had some Twitter followers give me several recommendations. Thank you to @nanc765 and @MissDSciTeacher for your recommendations. Here is a blog post by Greg Swanson from his blog Apps In Education titled 10 Mind Mapping Tools 4 the iPad.

Ms. Murphy teaches an all girls 5th grade class at Lucas Crossing Elementary in the Normandy School District.