- iTunesU (This is a pretty cool service from Apple that lets teachers create courses and share all class resources with your students such as documents, audio and video, iBooks, website links, and more!)
- Google Docs
What became clear was that 1:1 implementation requires flexibility and a forward-vision. Person after person emphasized the importance of training and sharing – that it’s the big picture, the change in philosophy around the tools that makes the difference – not the tool itself. As one presenter put it, you can’t take a 21st century tool and just put it in a 19th century box (the old education model). We need to be ready to embrace collaborative, real-time work and let go some of the old ways of doing things to really allow these 21st century skills to flourish.
To quote from our notes on the day: “Institutions tend to cram innovation into the existing models” – tech is brought in, and the efficacy varies dramatically from room to room because the foundational classroom model has not changed to match the technology. We end up putting 1:1 devices into an environment not designed for it. This strikes us as very similar to what happened when we changed to the standards-based approach: at first, many of us simply tried to cram what we already do into this new framework. Given time, however, it led to a philosophical shift – a change in our approach, delivery, and assessment models. The same is true for this new wave of technology.
- Writing has been shown to be a major area for gains in the 1:1 model – studies repeatedly show that scores go up in the 1:1 model. The gains come when the nature of the process changes – not just typing a final draft, but using the tool collaboratively in the writing process. Again, it’s not the tool itself – it is how the tool helps shape the instructional model into a more collaborative approach.
- There are many innovations out there, especially regarding some simple conversion over to the cloud. Some administrators have converted teacher evaluations and many other forms over to the IPad, reducing paper and allowing for instant delivery of documents. One English teacher – whose excellent blog is worth a peek – now has her kids keep digital portfolios, and she grades all the papers online – she has some how-to videos explaining how she does it, and will be presenting at the EdCamp Boston conference in April.
- iBooks Textbooks currently has digital textbooks being sold by some of the major textbook publishers for around $15 apiece. They promise to be engaging and interactive. Unfortunately, these digital textbooks must be sold to individual students. What this means is that schools would be need to purchase these digital textbooks again every year. Most school districts are hoping teachers will collaborate to create their own FREE interactive textbooks using the iBooks Author program. Teachers can then share these for free with their students and colleagues.
- Clamcase ($150) is a very cool iPad case that also acts as a keyboard. It swivels to let you alternate between using the device as a laptop or a tablet.
- Kensington ($80-110) also makes keyboard cases that convert the iPad into a more conventional laptop when needed, and act to protect the iPad when it’s closed. Both of these cases would be well worth the investment, especially for those who want an actual keyboard for typing on the iPad.
- Apple TV ($100) lets you wirelessly stream content from your iPad to a TV or projector. This allows you to walk around the room freely with your iPad while, for example, displaying student work via the iPad camera. Kevin Buckley at Oak has used the Apple TV for this purpose with great success.
MassCUE – They will hold their annual conference October 24th and 25th.