iCloud Photo Sharing – Allowing students to be creative, create and collaborate on visual narratives

iCloud Photo Sharing is a great little platform on all iOS devices. It allows a user to create a ‘Photo Stream’ and invite others to participate, adding images, comments and more.

An example of where this is handy is on an excursion, all the students have taken a bunch of different photos and videos and when you get back to school they create a new sharing folder. Every student can add in the photos of their choosing, comment on them and more, then you have an online album you can share with parents, save for the future, create a video or more.

How does it all work? Check out my video below:

Convert older documents (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc) to Google Docs (Video – 7min)

No doubt you have a lot of documents you have created in older programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc.
Now you may want to use and update these files to continue working on them in Google Docs and using all the collaborative functions of that platform. A perfect example of this could be your reports. You may have originally written them in Word but now want to use the Google Docs platform to share these and allow others to edit and comment on your document in realtime.
It is very easy to convert documents to the Google Docs platform, but there are a couple of things you want to be aware of. This video goes through the entire process.

Catholic Primary Schools: Literacy Tests – Easier with Google Docs (Google Docs to SAS Template attached)

spreadsheets-iconOne thing I have found working in a Primary School is there is a lot of data collection. Data on students, achievements, goals, reading levels, maths data, and more and more…

A lot of this data then needs to be collated, uploaded to different sources and then sent off to the Catholic Education Office Melbourne (CEO) for their records. I have also found there is a lot of needless double handling – Data is imputed by the teacher (by hand), then all the teachers pass on their data to someone else, this data then needs to be sorted and type up - I’m getting tired just thinking about it.

This is where the collaborative nature of Google Docs is so handy.  By creating one document, all teachers can type in the results of their students at anytime (even easier when they have their iPad handy). Once this document has been completed you simply export and upload it to the relevant source.

Currently we are about do Literacy Observation Tests, these are run in all Catholic Primary Schools in Victoria and the data needs to be exported to the CEO.

Now there is a little work involved, for these tests, they will be uploaded to a reporting package used by the CEO, SAS, so you need to know the correct fields needed for the data, but nice guy that I am, I have figured it out for you.

So, for my CEO school chums, feel free to use the Doc below. Hope it helps!

I will be making more of these for all the testing that goes on in schools and will continue to share them with you all.

Click here to view and add it to your Google Drive

Cupcakes + iPads = SAMR

As you know I am a big fan of using the SAMR model when looking at technology use in the classroom (for a detailed rundown click here).

The SAMR model describes a “continuum of how technology is integrated in the classroom – moving from substitution to redefinition of classroom activity” but I stress to my staff that this isn’t scale from good to best, each activity may benefit differently from technology use in the classroom – figuring out what, when or even if is the key.

Check out my Cupcake Comic (soon to be the next big movie at a theatre near you…) below to see how some clever teachers are using Augmentation!

Augmentation involves some functional improvement but is still a direct tool substitute. The task has not changed but been enhanced slightly. For example, using some of the iPad’s built in tools such as the thesaurus, dictionary or speak mode to augment the classroom task.

Augmentation involves some functional improvement but is still a direct tool substitute. The task has not changed but been enhanced slightly. For example, using some of the iPad’s built in tools such as the thesaurus, dictionary or speak mode to augment the classroom task.

Support for Teachers transitioning to Google Apps for Education: ‘How-to’ Setup your account, email, and devices

Gafe - email iPadGoogle Apps for Education is a breeze to setup new users, but what about those teachers that have been at the same school for many years? (another benefit of Google Apps – you can easily move all that new data as the teacher moves to say, a new organisation)

This is what is happening at my school, to aid in the transition I have been creating a lot of resources for my staff (mostly on our private iTunes U Course – I’ll share some of that stuff here soon) for some of my CEO School chums, I thought I would share some of the documents here as they may come in handy in their schools, click the link to download the related PDF ‘how-to':

Using Google Docs for collaborative report writing, editing & moderation in realtime

Reports time, fun. Well maybe not. Though I can’t get rid of reports with shiny new things – yet (I have talked in the past about using platforms like evernote and blogs – systems that can provide parents with constant, easily accessible info on their children – as a way to get rid of reports) I do want to make the process easier for my staff.

For this term, we will be using Google Docs exclusively for report writing. The collaborative realtime creation, commenting, editing and chat, sharing with other members of staff for moderation (goodbye wasted printing) and more will save staff a lot of time and stress.

It is also a great way to introduce staff to the Google Docs platform and allow them to see the possibilities that they could then take into other aspects of their teaching.

To make this work is it is now an expectation to use this platform. Leading up to this point, staff have been given devices and support to make the hangover seamless (it also helps that this direction was reinforced by the school Principal – always a big plus)

So, how does this all work? – Check out my how-to video below:

Using Apple Devices and Software with Google Apps for Education Services for Teachers and Students

As you know, all our staff are now rockin’ with there Apple Devices (MacBook Air and iPad) and for good reason, they make powerful and easy to use tools and software. My other concern was the services that were currently in place at the school. Being a CEO school (we are part of the Catholic Education Office) the are services that have been in use for a long time that, sadly, have not aged to well. Services like email, communication, and storage are all handled through some rather clunky web interfaces. The plan is to get rid  of these in a seamless way as possible.

I have started this process now using Google Apps for Education (Google you see make great online, collaborative services…though they could do with a good graphic designer), it will handle all our email (and can be used with Apple’s easy to use mail apps) and storage (unlimited cloud storage and easy to use Mac App). It will also be a great platform for teacher collaboration and resource creation (more on that in a later post).

For official documents, communication and professional development we will be using Apple’s iTunes U platform for its easy of use, sharing and study features (some teachers and year level teams are also using this in tier class planning), and Apple’s Message and Photo Sharing services for our informal communication.

That was a lot of words, but you can see it all in action with my handy, dandy, visual guide (c) Mr Dan below:

Communications_at_Good_Sam

Staff MacBook Program & Professional Learning Day – Info and Resources

eLearning Day.001As you remember many months ago I started our staff iPad program, and the lovely little journey of discovery that we went on. Well, it has been going very well, so much so that we took it to the next logical level, a staff MacBook program.

The goal here was not only to support the iPad program with new, teacher created resources, but to foster an environment of communication, collaboration and creation with all the staff. If you want to know more about the thinking behind this and my goals for the program you can download my proposal below (the resources part of this post you see)

Now setting up staff on MacBooks was a pretty big change. We were yet to have a laptop program for staff, and a lot were new to the OS X operating system. I went about getting the devices into hands of the staff in a similar way to the iPads. Getting the Macs them before the holiday break, providing a range of resources to help get going with the device (such as videos on the Staff PD iTunes U Course) and let everyone explore and experiment over the break.

When we came back for Term 4 I ran a Curriculum Day that focused on our new devices and also the pedagogy behind them  – the why, what will these devices enable in our teachers? and of course, students – all very centred around communication and collaboration.

Below you will find all the resources I created in the lead-up and launch of this program.

 

Students Noeel, Stavro and Sam – 2,800 books sold* and counting!

* Well, they are free…

In a follow-up to my last post on our successful EAL Book Project (info here and here), I thought I would check the numbers. And yes, the student’s books are still being downloaded all over the world.

The highest selling? – that would be: A MineCraft Story by Noeel, Stavro and Sam at 2,800 books downloaded so far. Now I would love to say this is because of the riveting story and the effort the students put into telling the story in Arabic and English, but in reality I am guessing it has most to do with the title.

But either way, this book is now in the hands of thousands of people around the world and highlighting the Arabic language to those that most likely have never heard it.

Even our iTunes reviews have been interesting:

iTunesBut this is what will happen when you open your work up to a world audience (of most likely 13 year old boys).

Remember, the whole point of this project was for the students to work on their English speaking and writing skills. The students that created this book were focused on exactly that, and chose a topic that interested them. The fact that it is now out their and has been read nearly 3000 times, even if those readers don’t understand the driving force behind the book, is a bonus.

It also showed me that even though I would love people to be focusing on the more personal stories the students have been writing, you can beat pop-culture…

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