Archive for 1:1 Deployment

One thing I’ve already noticed this year is how much less cluttered my classroom is. There isn’t the pile of resources covered in post-its for my TA to photocopy each morning and I’m picking up less scrap at the end of each day. I’ve relegated the charging cabinet outside another classroom and manage with one surge protected tower of 10 plugs – that doesn’t count as clutter! Surely 34 iPads haven’t made my room tidier? Well possibly…

I also realised the answer to the declutter question was more importantly linked to a process that allowed the children to choose and self differentiate the level at which they want or are able to work, look at things at their own pace and at times in more detail. And as I typed, I also realised the iPads were saving me time!

Whereas previously I might create a resource in the evening, put in in dropbox, print and photocopy in the morning, I now email them, as soon as completed, to children in readiness for the lesson. Other resources are photographed by the children and used directly into an app, or written about in their books. As they have constant access to the web if required then any images are just searched for on a need-to-have basis. Gone are the days when I used to print reference out for a lesson or new topic. Our weekly maths pre and post learning questions are now done in Socrative rather than making, printing, sticking in books. Marking and assessing the paper versions for 35 children takes an hour, Socrative takes me less than a minute – and I still have evidence. As they do it on their own device – it is far less likely that they copy the person next to them. An exit ticket can be completed within the end phase of the lesson, I can scoop up and talk to the children that need clarification immediately. This alone has changed the way my partner teacher and I teach maths. Another post on this later.

In addition to saving paper, emailing worksheets and resources has several other HUGE benefits. I send them as ONE document – this allows children to have choice, self differentiate, see what other groups are doing and challenge themselves to work at a level they feel comfortable with. I encourage them to move on to the next one if they find the first few questions easy. It also means for most of them there is ALWAYS an extension activity. I colour code the top of each resource with a graduated colour so children know it may be appropriate for more than one group. They are always encouraged to up level if possible.

The physical aspect of preparing materials ready and on tables and the transition between main teaching and independent learning is easier, even blurred, as children view these on their device as part of the lesson. I can’t yet say with confidence that these things are specifically impacting on progress, but it certainly is making aspects of my teaching and children’s learning smoother and more successful.

NOTE: there is probably a better way than email, but as we run an internal Educational GApps environment where every child has a single username and password giving them access to GApps features as well as all other . I have set up groups with their own short cut email address. After a mistake where one child hit reply all (and all children asked why ChildA had emailed them!), I realised I wasn’t been as efficient or safe as I could be, and I now send all emails to myself and BCC the group in. We are constantly learning and refining, this may not be the way in which we continue to send it but it works for us at the moment.

iPads in class often put children in the driving ‘expert’ seat. My attitude to new apps is generally not to understand them inside out first. I find that constricts my idea of an outcome and tends to waste valuable time trying to ‘teach’ them how to use it. So I tend to have a general idea of how it might work and let children explore and teach me. It has happened often in the last 4 weeks.

However today it wasn’t the functionality of the app that made the children the ‘experts’ today – but knowledge of a deeper level. We use Dictionary.com a lot. Not just as a dictionary, but also as a thesaurus to extend vocabulary. It has worked well with our Pie Corbet models of teaching/learning and shown improvements in the language used in even a short space of time.

Today we were exploring how writers use character descriptions to tell us not only what characters look like, but to give us clues about their personalities as well. The more able children were asked to take the text we had been looking at as a class and change the character by only changing the adjectives in the text. As part of the task explanation I admitted to the children I was struggling to find the word that meant other words with ‘opposite’ meanings. Immediately several hands shot up. They all said the word I needed was ‘antonym‘. Rather surprised (embarrassing admission, but I don’t think I’ve ever used the word!)… I asked how they knew. They all said that when they have been using the app Dictionary.com looking for synonyms, that at the bottom of the selection were a list of words with opposite meanings and that they had a heading of antonyms! Independently they had worked out what this had meant but until that point, and my admission, had not had the opportunity to show or share their knowledge. Guaranteed that that would not have happened by using the standard issue of thesaurus we have in school.

I was really proud of them and hope there are many more moments when such ‘expert’ knowledge occurs. I envisage when they start to go home, enabling children to have more ‘experimental’ time, that their ability to use them more expertly will very quickly supersede my own level of skill! I guess my role as a fascilitator will have to be more finely honed to guide their skills to extend and deepen their knowledge.

 

Apps can be costly. Even 69p x a few add up. Multiply that by 160 and it adds up more alarmingly. Many developers don’t release a LITE version, so it is difficult to evaluate or try before you buy. (A longer rant due on this – publishers (both traditional and software) will almost always let educational establishments try products on approval for 30 days, imperative when looking at a £500+ spend – when VPP comes in proper I think App developers have to look at ways of allowing schools to evaluate before buying in bulk)

So to date I had relied on looking at what other schools had been using, via twitter. blogs and internet searches.

Then I stumbled on Apps Gone Free – an app that lets you know of apps that are free for a limited time or even just the day. I’m sure it is only one of many such products, but in a couple of weeks of following, we have acquired more than £20 worth of apps per device – for free.

A lot of it is not applicable, I won’t go into my criteria for an acceptable app here, but if you are selective you can pick up some gems. The thing I like most about it, is that it puts apps that you might not otherwise consider into you consciousness – or even your hand… and allow you to use them creatively  in ways that the developer had probably not intended!

So far we’ve loved Scrap It! (was £0.59), Lost Winds – for Literacy (was £2.99), Ice Age Story Book (was £0.59), Minature Cam (was £0.59), Fox Tube (was £1.79), Pic Caption (was £0.59), Colour Vacumn (was (£0.59) and templates for Pages (was £2.99)

 AB Math App

We’ve been using AB Maths as a warm up, it allows plenty of self differentiation as children enter the maths class. The twist at the end is a game of “Beat the Teacher.” Children choose their target times table and have 80 seconds to get as many answers correct as possible. I try and do all xTT – so far I haven’t won so more practice required! But if they get more than 25 correct in the time, they can achieve a target step.

Dance – PE – You Tube and Apple TV
We are doing dance as part of our indoor PE. I have linked it to our habitat topic and our objective is to create a dance exploring plant growth and the garden as a habitat. Now we have the large screen in the hall I have been using it to show both examples of dance (Royal Ballets Peter and the Wolf), plant growth (slow motion of time lapse plant growth) and animals movements (in normal and slow speed). This immediacy has helped the children’s interpretations of movement as well as provided examples and inspiration. However where it has come into it’s own is as a self and peer assessment tool. I have videoed groups as they have practiced and then played them back immediately. I have found children are far more interested in watching themselves on film than just being asked to critique another group of peers, this self-critical analysis then appears to transfer more eloquently onto their peers. Whole group work is far easier to evaluate on film than just from experiencing it. Progress is made more quickly within a lesson.

 iPads on Tour
Well not quite but we did take 10 on a trip to Kew gardens. Adult leaders used these to photograph and note take throughout the trip. I found the Notability app really useful, I could take photos directly in the app and add captions. I could handwrite and record audio. When I got back I emailed it and shared it with the children who then wrote setting descriptions of the location we stopped in to record language. We then also used the notes from the workshop to explain how plants had adapted to different habitats. All photographs were put into our class Dropbox folder and children have had access to these for subsequent activities. There is definitely mileage for an app that works closely with iBooks Author and allows the building of 4d notes/books on the go.
Here is an example of the trip notes Kew Gardens NW Group 3 – 3 Oct 2012

I’ll reflect and write on what didn’t work later…

I must have written million posts in my head over the last 3 weeks. Life with iPads is a roller coaster – highs of children learning independently and lows of them being dropped! As well as the overwhelming desire to make the most of them, but not enough hours in the day to try stuff out!

However the total highlight of the trial so far has been the 21 I bought and gave to staff. Staff have been enthusiastic, engaged, trying things out and teaching us more seasoned tech users all a thing or two. For those who ever followed my previous teaching blog, you may remember blogging and my school didn’t really get on – they are now blogging from within classrooms, direct from the iPad within lessons! To watch our school NewsBlog grow – fills me with pleasure and pride.  As a teacher I LOVE knowing what the rest of the school is up to. CLICK HERE to see it. I have also shifted all my ICT Assessment over to a single Gdoc for each class. Staff can now sit with their device within a lesson, observe and check off strands by level and ‘I Can’ Statements. These are shared with me, and as we have decided to develop our ICT teaching by focussing on a different strand each term, I can see how children are progressing. Worth the financial investment!

Year 6 have embraced the small class sets they have (2 self confessed technophobic teachers – but now using iPads, Apple TV and GApps with results!), the older children are taking home the ideas they have learnt in class and doing homework on their own devices using App ideas learnt in school. Year 4 are still struggling with the novelty at times, but there have been more than a few flashes of brilliance. Charging is an issue, but we think this is the covers not closing properly. Adapting ones teaching style whilst getting to know the class and fall into a rhythm has been more than challenging – I’m still not there, and not sure I will be for a while. Finding the right workflow has been frustrating – we are still awaiting our VLE to release their App which will enable e-portfolios and feedback to become a more fluid process. If this has not happened by Oct HT I will need to find another solution. Printopia has saved us a fortune in wireless printers. Apple TV is flaky to say the least, we have had faulty models and it seems the close proximity of the devices causes issues. We have also tried Reflection, but similar issues at times with devices not ‘seeing’ airplay as an option. My hunch is we need a wireless controller for all the access points as devices seem to be flicking between them randomly.  The whole issue of updating, VPP and mass deployment (we now have nearly 160 devices in school) is a whole other post! Primary schools have a different set of issues from secondary 1:1 deployments and Apple, resellers and IT firms need to be aware of these. Our new IT Support company has been a invaluable support throughout.

I need to blog more… short successful lessons as well as the mistakes we make. Usual excuses of planning, teaching marking as well as an imminent Ofsted Inspection keep getting in the way!

Jul
29

On Friday I had the second meeting with the company we have decided to purchase our iPads from – Jigsaw24. Three hours of productive discussions – both exciting and scary in equal measure as the reality of what I have taken on starts to hit home.

It is worth saying here that are also part of Jigsaw24’s e7 program – a free trial of 40 ipads put into a school for a full (long) term. There are terms and conditions – you can read more about this program here. However, having decided during the course of last term we wanted to trial a 1:1, this for us is less about the hardware and more making the most of the free support and advice. We will be able to purchase the actual 40 we have on loan at the end of the trial which is great news. So far I am impressed.

The objectives for yesterdays meeting were to finalise the order, map out the deployment plan and decide on the set up procedure of the iPads. As we progressed through the discussions it became clearer that we had three different mini-projects each requiring a slightly different deployment solution. I have outlined these below;

Staff iPads – x19
18 x Wifi
1 x 3G to be used as a ‘floating’ device, taken on school trips etc
The primary aim of these is as a staff tool to give staff the opportunity to familarise themselves with the device, engage and use it regularly in the classroom, learning from the the staff using them on the 1:1 program and being able to practice using the additional class sets.
There will be some specific things (register, LP and some assessment/evidence data we also want them to collect using the device – but more about that later).
I am giving staff the ownership of these, it will be their responsibility to set up, charge, and sync these devices. A list of required apps will be given along with an ITunes gift voucher to purchase paid apps with. Gifting will be used to push out additional apps. Support will be offered where necessary.
The primary purpose of this was I really want the staff to engage with the device, this deployment option enables them to retain ownership for any apps they purchase as well as transfer any existing apps they own onto their school device. We all learn from a transference of information and I want my staff to be in a position to find and try out additional things that work and share it back in rather than me be the only one pushing out suggestions.

Class Devices x 48
48 x Wifi iPad2’s
(Pockets of 8 with a charge trolley in each year group – R-Y6)
The purpose of 8 is so they can be used for a Guided Reading group or paired with another year groups set to have one between two.
These will be set up on a more manual basis using two iTunes accounts, a primary credit card account which gifts multiple licences to the account linked to the devices. Syncing, updating and pushing out of new apps will be done via the Cloud. As these are more generic devices, movement of work to and from devices will be done via Dropbox and device email.

1:1 Trial
70 x 1:1 iPad2’s
Each child in Year 4 will have their ‘own’ device funded by the school. These will stay in school until half term and following parental meetings, training and agreements in place they will go home for the rest of the year. This has implications for charging, I do not want to spend £2000 on trolleys for 6 weeks, so a more manual approach via towers will do for now.
Set up and management will be done via Casper Suite. Each device will have it’s own iTunes account (device generic due to age of children). Mail will be set up with children’s mail accounts not the devices. Children will be given the device with the initial set of apps as on all other devices. Push out of new apps will be done via Casper Suite. Children at this stage will not have the ability to find and download their own apps.

In addition we have 2 MacBook Pros on order for the 1:1 project teachers, covers and stylus for all, including some covers with built in blue tooth keyboards which will be used on a trial basis around the school to start with.

This is a learning curve, I am documenting a journey, not a guide – as I am sure I haven’t got a lot right yet. Having written this out today, I am not convinced I have got the management of the 48 classroom devices right. I want to revisit Casper as an option for this. I am adamant despite the absence of Volume Purchasing (frustrating) we are trying to do this as legally as possible. Given that it is our intention to roll out a full 1:1 BYOD deployment in KS2 for 2013-14 I want to set a good example from the outset.

So now what? A list of apps for each part of the project needs to be chosen. This will be a small core, ensuring all are used well rather than lots for the sake of it. I am trying to tie these in with some form of progressive mobile curriculum strand. Week beginning 6/8/12 all of the staff and class ipads will be arriving. Jigsaw will spend some time with us, starting to set these up. 4/9/12 – INSET training, Jigsaw will bring in the 1:1 devices, partake in the INSET and then stay on to help set up staff iPads and iron out any last minute issues.

 

Jul
25

Well two days into the holidays so far and I have enjoyed a couple of days of meetings with interesting and inspirational people. It has been a good way to make the transition from the circle of teaching, marking and planning to the other things I want to do these holidays. I always thought my days as a graphic designer and years in educational publishing would eventually combine with my teaching experience to give an unique insight into both sides of the fence and this is starting to come to fruition. I do think it combines all my interests well and I am starting to realise I do have some valuable skills and thoughts to offer.

So now the real work begins.

After months of researching, deliberating and costing we are embarking on a 1:1 ipad trial in September. This is both exciting and scary. I currently have several ipads, imacs and 15 ipods in my classroom and I know how time consuming these can be to keep maintained and up to date. The thought of the responsibility of dealing with an excess of 150 frightens me somewhat! All our Year 4’s (70) will receive an iPad, there will be other pockets in every year group throughout the school for class and SEN use and every teaching staff member will get one. Apple TV is being placed strategically throughout the school, along with some new smartboards and electrics to go with it! As much as the infrastructure changes I am nervous and concerned at how our teaching will need to change. There seems to be few guidelines out there for cooperative facilitation with mobile devices, especially in primary schools that I feel this is going to be a bit of an experimental year. One where iPads will be used alongside some traditional methods – I do not want my attainment to suffer through shiny distractions. So I’m going to blog my journey – hopefully it won’t be too much of a roller coaster ride.

In addition to setting up the iPads, I have changed ICT maintenance support suppliers, finally choosing a small but dedicated company called Infratek. I needed a company who could support our current pc based network and infrastructure and proactively and knowledgeably support our burgeoning Apple arm. So they need to spend a couple of days at school, hopefully sorting out our cabling (see below), servers, new active directories, backup systems, and our independent web filtering. I have moved away from LA broadband and we should be getting at least 40mb on a contained line rather than the current 2mb!

On top of all of those changes comes a new website and learning platform. After much deliberation individually and with local partner schools, we are the first of our partnership to go with e-schools. It looks like a good all round package, and finally sold itself to us on the basis of their commitment to working on mobile devices. We are going to be their flagship iPad school, I hope we do them proud. Unfortunately I still need to populate the website to meet the new government guidelines – no small job in itself.

With all of the above changes I am running a staff inset day on the 4 September, I’m trying to work out the best way to not overwhelm a predominantly technophobic staff and leave them with tools that they can go back and refer to independently afterwards.

If all of that was not enough – I have my work with the NHA to do, newsletters to produce and some exciting publishing opportunities which may open up. I’m also preparing for some formal research into iPads and attainment, it’s been a while since I did my doctoral research, but I’m looking forward to doing that in partnership with some other like-minded people and being able to add some empirical research to the countless notes of anecdotal evidence out there.

And last but not least my new Handwriting Apps will be completed and released. This is exciting and has been almost another full time job on top of the teaching for the last 4 months. However most of it is now with the developers and I just need to produce a website, some videos and some marketing to go with it.

So a busy busman’s holiday!