Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Apple IT training at Haeata

We were lucky to have some Apple Experts come into Haeata to talk us through getting the best use out of our laptops. These are my notes so that others can also gain some insight and perhaps get a few tips.

James Petronelli, Meredith Bean and Dan Partridge were with us for a few hours and they took us through some of the software we have on our Macs, but also gave us some hints on Accessibility and quick tips. I personally knew many of these having been a Mac user for a while but it's always good to have a reminder and as always, I learnt a few new things.

James opened with some context around using technology in the classroom and showed us a video from the String Theory Schools which I hadn't heard of. It was interesting to go and have a look at their website and learn more about this. Seeing schools using technology always brings me back to the SAMR model and
remembering why we use technology and what the reasons are for this. One app he mentioned was Elements 4D app for Chemistry where you can see reactions between 2 elements. I was intrigued by this but don't own an iPad, so I went looking for it online. I found it was available on Android and Apple so I downloaded it and had a play with it on my Android phone. It's pretty cool, but I felt the phone screen was a bit small to really see what was happening, so the bigger screen would be better. I'd love to have it on my SurfacePro with the bigger screen, so have sent the company some feedback to that effect.


As a GAFE (Google Apps ForEducation) school he asked us "how are you pushing students to demonstrate learning?" We need to go beyond what we are doing. Our technology becomes a tool - a musical instrument, a sketchpad, a camera. Apple have been working hard to cater for diverse leaners. They believe all technology needs to be accessible and straight out of the box. Apple has a screen reader and an onscreen braille keyboard accessible out of box.
I liked the question "What is the reason to download an app?" as many that are downloaded become just skill and drill apps. Students are not creating things but the technology is just keeping them occupied. They "play on iPad" instead of "learned" on iPad. Everything on iPad and laptop is for student creation not consumption.
 
"Everyone should have the opportunity to create something that can change the world"

Things that make a technology learning programme successful:
Vision, team, community, measurement, student learning, porfessional learning, environment design, financial stability.

Simon Sinek's "Starts with Why" course was mentioned and I had a look at this. I like the quote "Your Why is the very reason you exist".

iTunesU
This is the largest site for educational content. You can download the app from the store on an iPad. It is designed for touch screen which is why it is not on a laptop.  You can create your own and access more that others have made. Opportunity for kura to create content to talk about history or for teaching Māori.
There are Podcasts created by schools, Uni, and libraries to share content.
They have been working with Te Akau Ki Papamoa Primary School putting up materials, one of these being minecraftmeasurement101: create your school in Minecraft which has all the information on how to do this. He also mentioned the Gallipoli in Minecraft Exhibition, amazing ideas in here for teaching.
There are lots of resources on iTunesU that we can redesign for our classrooms. Everything, courses and pdfs are all free. There are also Apple education courses to learn about specific Apple products - search for Apple Ed - Units of study.
We then went through how to create a course in iTunesU which was very simple. You can put anything in an iTunesU course that is digital including Mp3, pdf, audio. You can hand in assignments and also grade them, although at this stage grading is just a number, not our system of Achieved, Merit Excellence. I thought this was  quite good as a course system, but the way we are looking to have learning at Haeata it probably was not going to be that useful. I did wonder though if students could make their own courses for other students. Something to think about.

iBooks Author
The next app we looked at was iBooks Author. This is free and could be used for creating teaching resources to be read on iPad or Mac as well as for students to create their own books.
We looked at "Tigers" and were shown how you can highlight text and have text spoken to you, although the app is not good at te reo yet. More suggestions to send to Apple. However, you can record a voice into the book so you could read it yourself. You can take notes on a book which highlights it, then you can see all notes you've taken and make study cards if you want them. There are lots of cool widgets to add to books and we were taken through Phasmids  which has some great examples of widgets in action.
We also looked at the iBooks store where if you search for Apple Education there are lots of instruction books for apps. Really hepful when you get stuck!
When writing an iBook it is template based so you need to look for the layout you like. Students prefer landscape. Stick with the template by dragging and dropping. A good way to start a textbook is with a video to draw them in. The table of content auto generates which is nice.
My reservation with iBooks is that you can only play them on a Mac. I feel this could be limiting if the student doesn't have a Mac at home. I found this article which talks about the pros and cons of using iBooks. 

Tips and tricks:
Turn off notifications - Go to the top right of your screen and click on the 3 lines to find the notifications.
Adding te reo Maori keyboard instructions - Here is a link to instructions for Mac and PC.
Ability to zoom in and out - Go to Preferences - Accessibility - Zoom
Preferences tips:
Display - Can change size of cursor, contrast
Speech - Karen closest to NZ accent
Dictation - more you use it the better it works/ Open up Preferences and enable it. Will recognise some Maori place names. We all need to email Apple and tell them we want Maori dictation!
Use for writing email quickly, can dictate lots of writing.
Gestures
Closing hand on the trackpad brings up access to all apps, open up to close the screen.
To change the gesture go into Trackpad.
3 fingers pushed up to see all open apps.

To bring up Spotlight search - Command-space - can use to search anything on the laptop including emails. 
Screenshot - change where it goes to by following these instructions.

iPad 101
Button at bottom - double tap to see what you have open. Swipe it up to close it. Good to see what students have open by double tapping.
Swipe up from bottom to get control centre and use orientation lock.
Swipe down from top for notification centre.
Swipe from middle to get Spotlight.

Classroom App - free on store
You can lock iPads.
Can open same app on all iPads. Can make small groups and push out pages or apps. Can lock them in that app until teacher changes it.
Some groups are created on the fly so you can see who is on camera, in safari etc.
Can have an iPad managing multiple classes as well.
Built dependant on wifi network though. Need a good network.
Blue bar at the top of student iPad means they are being watched. Students learn to self-managed.
Can share student work on a particular iPad via AppleTV.
Can be used for NZQA online assessment and testing - could take students into an app to create assessment and can lock the iPad to that app to stop them from browsing.
It can't work with BYOD - have to be institutional iPads. 

Coding
We need to see coding as a digital literacy. I totally agree that all students hould be given the chance to code as I see it as a step to problem solving as well as a technology skill.
We had a look at Swift Playgrounds which is an app for iPad which enables you to learn to code in the language of Swift, which is for Mac. It has to be an iOS10 iPad to run.
Some notes:
Can pinch and zoom into the coding graphic
Click on character and you can choose one
Click on speed button - can run it really fast or step through slowly - can see where you go wrong
Pictures, pdf or movie to prove learning - can broadcast live
Commands can be typed in - j key drag to right and it give () or {} by just one key
Can reset page or can reset whole programme - if sharing device need to save vid or pdf and they can go back to where they are up to with menu.
In iBooks, they have built a teacher guide on how to teach students to code.
Swift is Open Source - coding for iPhone and iPad apps and for Linux as well as ports to Windows, Android and Raspberry pi.
Playgrounds are prescriptive but you can create your own later in the learning process.
Targeted at 8 to 10yrs. Can do basic coding younger than that and I found this product, OSMO, which looked like quite a cool idea to be able to create the code with your hands first. I am also very keen on the ideas on the CSUnplugged website to teach coding to students. There are lots of resources out there for Mac, Android and Windows. It's important to know what you are trying to achieve first. 

It was a great session to get to know some new apps and to think about the use for these at Haeata. It also made me think a lot about what is fit for purpose and what the best tools are for the job we want to do. We do need to be careful of jumping on a train, when there may be another one that takes us to our destination faster and with more options. There is so much out there worth investigating. 

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