Thursday, December 13, 2012

Apple Learning Tour 2012 - Engage students. Explore apps, interactive books, and Multi‑Touch textbooks

Today, I had the opportunity to spend a day at the Apple Learning Tour 2012 in Regina.

The first workshop I attended was all about apps and multi-touch textbooks. The description of the morning session was:

Engage students. Explore apps, interactive books, and Multi‑Touch textbooks.
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Discover amazing interactive iBooks. Immerse yourself in the world’s largest online catalog of free education content in iTunes U. And experience some of the thousands of education apps for iPad. Learn how to create your own interactive Multi-Touch books with Mac and iBooks Author. Discover how a course is built with iTunes U Course Manager using interactive learning materials. Then see how it all comes together with an overview of ownership and deployment models for content.
The second session I attended was all about creating my own course for the iPad using iTunes U. The description of the afternoon session was:

Learn by doing. Create courses with iTunes U Course Manager.1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
In this hands-on session, you’ll learn how to build a course by exploring all the capabilities iTunes U Course Manager has to offer. Experience the ease of pulling together content such as audio, video, iBooks textbooks, and over 500,000 resources in iTunes U into an organized syllabus. Make available all the assignments, quizzes, and materials for your students or anyone who’s interested in the topic — whether in your class or anywhere in the world.

Resources that teachers might want to check out can be found on the Apple website for education: Resources

My notes from the session:

Demonstration of products:
  • Apple TV to turn your projector into a sharing screen where students can use airplay to share what they are working on from wherever they are working in the classroom.
  • Exploration of accessibility features on an iPad such as speaking, guided access, mono audio to make the device meet the needs of students and their different learning requirements.

Apps we explored on iPad and Mac:
  • Explain Everything: (iPad) Allows students to record a voice over, edit photos, write text. Project idea is to give the students a slide deck (or have them create a slide deck) and each record their understanding of a concept or explanation in 60 seconds or less. Interesting demonstrating of learning idea.
  • Doceri: (iPad) Allows you to use an interactive whiteboard similar to Explain Everything recommended by another participant.
  • Book Creator: (iPad) Allows you to create your own book with photos, text, voice over and drawings. Students could even create their own book for their demonstration of learning.
  • iBook Author (Mac) We then spent some time exploring how to create books on iBooks Author which is a Mac app that allows you to create your own book using video, links and interactive features. For more detailed instructions, I encourage you to visit the education resource section of the Apple website as it has instructions to help you create your own iBooks. Apple Education Resources
  • CloudOn: (iPad) (Thanks to Jim Swan for this one) Awesome app that allows you to use the Office Suite of products to create and use documents but save them to your Google Drive or Dropbox. 
iBooks we explored:
  • Life on Earth (Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University)- Saw features like including video and interactive maps and materials. Also saw how highlight parts of the text and allow students to create their own study notes and cards based on their highlighted information. There are also accessibility features that allow the student to have content read to them.
You can create your own account (using Safari browser on Mac or PC) in the iTunesU. Once your school or division signs up, then you can be linked to an institution, which I understand has extra features or benefits. Using their course management system, you can design your own courses to be delivered through the iTunesU app. More resources and instructions are included in the Apple Education Resources

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Using Twitter to Connect and Learn as a Professional

Lately I haven't had a lot of time to write a lot of formal blog posts about what I'm doing in my classroom or to share new ideas and resources with others. I've simply been too busy to sit here and write a post and ensure that it is well written before I post it. (The perfectionist in me sure slows down actually posting all the stuff I have in my drafts folder!)

As I read new and interesting content online, I tend to use Twitter on a more regular basis to share new and interesting articles and media that I find online. I know I have written about this before on my blog, but there seems to be a new uptake in using Twitter by my colleagues lately and I hope it continues to be a growing trend. It is one of the easiest ways to connect and grow as a professional online and isn't complicated to learn. Plus, there are lots of us on Twitter already and we are always happy to help you out if you have questions or need help getting started!

There are numerous articles online already written about how to use Twitter to connect and learn online. I'm continuing to explore this tool as a way to incorporate Twitter into my classroom to further engage my students. But before I suggest you use it with your students, start using it yourself. If you are a teacher trying to embark on Twitter for the first time, or you haven't used it much in awhile, I encourage you to start by reading this post about Twitter chats for educators on Edumatic: The Top 50 Education Twitter Chats (And How to Use Them). Other good reads are The 7 Habbits of Highly Effective Teachers Who Use Technology and 100 of the Best Twitter Tools for Teachers by Category

I also found this article interesting on Edumatic: The Teacher's Quick Guide to Educational Twitter Hashtags, most likely because of my new obsession with infographics as it contained a good one.

Source: Edumatic
And don't forget to follow me @MmeSanders (and I will do my best to follow you back) so we can share and learn from each other. It is one of the best places or online tools that has let me grow and connect as a professional and has impacted my practice immensely.