Thursday, July 26, 2012

iPad Tote and Other Summer Stuff

I'm sure you are all feeling like I am right about now - wondering where the summer has gone.  I think this feeling creeps up on me every summer when I begin to see August 1st approach.  Summer has been busy for me - after a wonderful, sunny week on a lake in July, I returned to work to get ready for September: new computers, old computers, new phone systems, iPads, Macbook Pros, endless installs. Fortunately Abshir and Laurel have been wonderful workers all summer and have plowed through a huge pile of work!

I wanted to share one project that Laurel helped me out with (she actually assembled them all): an iPad tote and charger.  These will be in classrooms that have sets of iPads for students.  They can be charged; they can be carried from home station to home station; and they can be locked.  Here are some pictures - hope you can see them ok:

What do you think?  It was waaaay cheaper than anything I could buy :-)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Nearpod and Slide Shark

One of my summer goals was to experiment with interactive presentation apps on the iPad.

To date I have tinkered with SlideShark which some saw at our end of year Tech Camp.  It allows your Power Point presentations to be accessed on the iPad and shared via AppleTV.  There are some fun features in that slides can be rearranged and you can "hide" slides allowing you to cater for a specific audience without recreating an entire presentation.  

I have also experimented with Nearpod.  I sense that Nearpod will have the most impact on our work in the classroom, and I am very excited to share it with you.  Like SlideShark, Nearpod takes your Power Point presentations as a PDF.  Once in the Nearpod cloud, you can rearrange slides and add new content from your files or from the web.  This content may be PDF files, video, or images.  Once everything is in order, you can present using the Nearpod Teacher app.  What makes Nearpod stand out is that your presentation is linked directly to your students' devices that are using Nearpod Student.  The presentation starts off as teacher-paced in that you control the swiping of the slides.  However, the application allows you to embed a video, a poll, Q & A, quizes, and draw-it slides.  For these portions of the presentation, the students take over.  Students watch the video on their device, pausing as needed.  Students take the quiz you created, whether it be multiple choice, free response, or short essay, at their own pace.  The same is true for answering polls or responding on the "draw-it" slides (student diagram any PDF,  jpeg, or blank screen that you embed).  After these interactive slides have been completed by the students, teachers receive instant feedback on their devices.  You have the opportunity to see students' answers, their diagrams, and their poll choices on your device.  You also have the opportunity to have the results sent to you via e-mail and converted to a spreadsheet.  You can also see when students log off.  This morning, I sat in on a free Nearpod Webinar and left pretty amazed by the platform.  For now, both the student and teacher apps are free.  Grab it and experiment and see if more free webinars are being offered (July 5th, 10th, and 12th.)  Tell me what you think.