In this video I continue to discuss how to apply the accessibility features on the iPad through the framework of Universal Design for Learning. The video focusses on strategies for supporting all learners in the classroom using the iPad's built in text-to-speech settings.
Over the next few weeks I'll be making a series of videos covering different Universal Design for Learning strategies for the iPad. This first video looks at different features on the iPad that make text more accessible for all students not only by enlarging the font size but also by providing greater focus or by allowing students to add greater detail to handwritten annotations on various note taking apps.
This week I created two screencasts focused on iPad organization.
The first video about creating albums and organizing photos is one I've needed to make for a long time an fits in under my general category of "Getting Started"
The second screencast is more specific the the app Notability and looks at the basic steps for organizing notes in this app.
I'd like to share with you a brand new app that was developed by a fellow Michigan educator, Brad Wilson. Brad was a 4th grade teacher before taking a position with Jackson ISD as an Education Technology Consultant.
His app, called Write About This, uses high quality and thought provoking imagery combined with writing prompts that are tied to different levels of Bloom's taxonomy to inspire students to write more. The app is very intuitive, includes a writer's notepad area, and voice narration of the writing prompts to assist emerging and struggling readers. The app is really an embodiment of the Universal Design for Learning principals because it clearly provides "multiple means of Representation, Expression, and Engagement."
The app costs $2.99 and is primarily targeting grades 2-5 but could easily be used in other grades, both younger and older as well. I could see this being used whole class as a quick write activity by displaying the app from the teacher's iPad or having students rotate through a single or small set of iPads. It could also be purchased for an entire cart using the Volume Purchase Program.
Finally, as a matter of full disclosure, Brad is a friend of mine, and he consulted me for feedback and suggestions during the development of this app. That being said, I'm confident that this app is worth purchasing for your classroom if you want to help students become more active and engaged writers. If you decide to download and use this app with your students please share your impressions with me or with Brad on how it is working and how it might improve.
You can also read about Brad's journey and vision for developing his app here.
There are several ways to record audio for test accommodations that can then be accessed by students during a test or in other settings where audio would support the learning needs of the student. The procedures described below were specifically designed to support a 1:1 iPad setting but could be modified to meet a variety of classroom settings.
One other note: Offering audio to all students and not just students who require accommodations is great Universal Design for Learning strategy. You may be surprised who chooses to listen to your narrated test when given the option!
Procedures for using Soundcloud app on the iPad for test reading accommodations
Step 1. Download the Soundcloud app from the iTunes app store.
Step 2. Open the Soundcloud app and register for a new account.
Step 3. Make a demo recording, name it, select “private”, and save.
Step 1. Download the Chrome Browser. (You can use Firefox and Internet Explorer, however the steps for adding a “bookmarklet” may differ).
Step 2. Go to the Active History QR Bookmarklet page.
Step 3. Click on the Chrome settings icon, hover over the “bookmarks” and select “show bookmarks bar”. You can also use the keyboard shortcut ctrl-shift-B to reveal and hide the bookmarks bar.
Step 4. Drag the red “QR Coder” bookmarklet into the bookmarks bar.
Step 5. Go to http://soundcloud.com and log in.
Step 6. Click on “You” and select “tracks” to locate the recording you made earlier on the iPad.
Step 7. Click on the “Share” icon for the track you wish to share.
Step 8. Copy the “secret link”, Open and new Chrome tab and paste the link.
Step 9. Click on the “QR Coder” bookmarklet. This will generate a QR code link for the Soundcloud recording.
Step 10. Right click to save the QR code image or Right click and copy to paste the QR code into a document or click ctrl-P to print the QR code
Step 11. Attach, paste or post the QR code where students will be able to access using a QR code scanning app from their mobile device
App Review: Croak.it audio recorder
Croak.it is a super simple audio recorder that works on multiple devices including iOS (iPad, iTouch, iPhone), Android phones, or via your computer browser. It is similar in many ways to vocaroo.com with the added benefit of having a mobile app. The advantage of using a cross-platform program like croak.it is the ability to use every computing device available whether these be student or school owned.
Another advantage of the Croak.it recorder is that it does not require any account sign up. This means students can quickly create and share their recordings without the hassel of logging in. One suggestion that I have for saving recordings is to create a simple Google Form that students can use to submit their recording links. (see video below) This allows you to collect student recordings with out having to use an e-mail account.
The recordings are limited to 30 seconds or less which could be both an advantage or disadvantage. I often warn teachers to be careful when assigning video or audio projects to students due to the time it takes to listen to each recording depending on the length. Because of the 30 second time limit you may want to encourage students to rehearse (never a bad idea) before they record.
App Review: Make Dice Lite - Differentiating with cooperative learning structures and thinking cubes
Here is a brief video app tour of Make Dice Lite. This app allows you to create up to six custom six-sided dice. One or multiple dice can be thrown at a time. Creating custom dice is relatively simple and could be created quickly by having students open a document or website that contains pre-written questions or categories and then copying and pasting these onto your custom made dice. The one drawback to this Free app is the pop-up adds that occur between rolling events.
For more information on using Cooperative Learning to differentiate instruction with or without the iPad I highly recommend these resources put together by St. Clair County RESA Math and Science Assistant Director, Laura Chambless.
I've also included a few links to Cube and Thinking Dot activities and examples to help get you started.
Kagan Cooperative Learning - Learning Cubes
Cube and Thinking Dot Activities
Thinking Cube resources
Thinking Cube example
Link to original posting.
One of our greatest fears as educators surrounding mobile devices like the iPad is the camera. The camera more than any other feature seems to have the potential for doing the most harm while simultaneously having countless educational value.
As we introduce mobile devices into the classroom or invite students to bring their own devices is there a way to effectively teach good digital citizenship and safety regarding the camera before it's too late?
I believe that the solution lies in asking students to use their mobile device camera frequently and repeatedly within the classroom to accomplish a variety of academic purposes each and every day and to conduct regular, purposeful checks of the images we ask them to take.
Here are some examples designed with a 1:1 or BYOD setting in mind with the potential for modification to fit in a shared device classroom. As students enter the room I might ask them to take a picture of the day’s agenda written on the board. This visual schedule will assist students with time management and provide a reference to the day's objectives when they are home. I might then ask students to open an app such as skitch or or paperport notes and have them photograph the day's bell ringer activity. They can then use annotation features to respond to the question and submit their response. Throughout a lesson I would encourage students to photograph notes on the board, their own notes and ancillary items in the room like posters or models. I would also ask students to take pictures of assignments I pass out or graded work that I've returned to them. And throughout this process, I would be explicit in my expectation that they refer to all of these photos for completing class tasks, homework, or as study guides. I would also do spot checks to see that students are taking photos of the required items and embed tasks within assignments that draw on information found in the photos. Finally, I would have students evaluate their photos for evidence of mastery and organize these photos for a portfolio.
Variations of these photo activities might also work in shared device settings by having students organize folders for the photos or by sharing the photos to an e-mail or dropbox account that the student can access using a different device. Designating student roles such as class photographer and class videographer would also help model appropriate use of mobile device cameras and turn the shared mobile device into a classroom resource.
Realistically, the storage on these mobile devices is limited and organizing the countless photos would require some room in our already crowded instructional schedules. But let’s be honest. This is not a storage or time crisis. This is about digital footprints and averting disaster.
In short, we hog the heck out the camera and expect not only access to the content but also encourage application, reflection, and the development of a final product using the photos taken. Not only does this reinforce the idea the camera is a tool and not a toy, it supports student organizational skills, provides multiple means of a representation (See Universal Design for Learning), and most importantly makes questionable content far less inviting.
I believe that given two weeks of near constant reinforcement of using the camera as a tool coupled with embedded instruction on the importance of digital citizenship and safety the majority of students would hesitate before taking and posting the kinds of pictures we all fear.
Today I came across this great infographic for helping students make good decisions about the pictures and videos they take. I also had the opportunity to share the poster with some Middle School students working in a nearby school. Yes, they’ve heard some of these “rules” before. But hearing it again and within the context of taking a picture of themselves (a reflection activity they were asked to complete) deepens their understanding and lets them apply the criteria we discussed.
By the way, there is an alternative. We can disable the cameras on devices we own. We can ban the devices they own. We can have once a year conversations about digital citizenship and safety that are isolated from the content of our lessons and that interfere with “real” teaching because “we have too.” Oh wait, that’s what we do right now. How’s that workin’ for ya?
In all seriousness, teaching digital citizenship and safety requires innovative strategies and deliberate effort. Let’s work together to find solutions that work. Please share how you are tackling the “fear of photos” in your classroom.
The following response was in reply to a question posted in our iPad edmodo forum.
New question - I have two school iPads each with a separate username and password. I now understand that my colleague has taken her 3 iPads and can sync whatever app she buys to each iPad. I would like to do the same thing since funds are so limited and I don't want to pay two times for each app. Should I have made the same username and password for each iPad? If so, can I go and rename a new username and password for one device so it matches the other one ? How do I do this?
This is an excellent question and one that is very important to understand.
Schools/Teachers can and should use a single Apple ID for syncing "free" apps to multiple school owned student devices. However, it is a violation of the Terms of Service to sync a "paid" app onto multiple school owned devices. In short, you Must pay for every "paid" app on every school owned student device and this must be done via Apple's Volume Purchase Program. To do this your district must enroll in the Volume Purchase Program and then have a procedure for purchasing apps for student devices. More info on the VPP can be found herehttp://www.apple.com/education/volume-purchas...
My recommendation for both you and your colleague is to have all school owned student devices in each classroom on one a single classroom Apple ID. This Apple ID should not be the same as your personal Apple ID. The Apple ID should be made using a generic district e-mail address (e.g firstname.lastname@example.org) and should not be connected to any form of payment or credit card to ensure that no paid apps are purchased using this account. If you find a "paid" app that you wish to have on multiple student devices contact the person in your building or district in charge of the Volume Purchase Program and then follow district protocol.
The exception (grey area) to this rule is if your district has issued you (the teacher) a single device for instructional use and given you PERMISSION to use your personal Apple ID to install and free and purchased apps on that single device. For example, a "paid" app that I purchased last year on my personal iPhone could be installed on my teacher iPad and my son's iPod touch. These are considered personal devices managed under my personal Apple ID.
I realize that Apple has not made the use of "paid" apps on student iPads easy or cheap. The Volume Purchase Program does offer discounts on app purchases of 20 or more and tax exemption but this doesn't always help the typical classroom teacher. Unfortunately, this is the current model for remaining compliant with the Terms of Service and as such is really the only way.
I would be happy to clarify further and answer any other questions you might have. As I said at the beginning this is an excellent question and one that everyone should understand. Best of luck.