Welcome to our blog!

May Community Academy's 5th and 6th grade students are fortunate to be recipients of a 1:1 iPad initiative. Please follow our journey!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Trip to the Apple Store

In November the 5th and 6th grade students took a trip to the Apple store.
Ms. Tell writes about the visit:

The Apple Store was a nice experience for the 5th and 6th grade ipad users at May. 
The students were asked questions about how they are using the IPADS in the 
classroom. They were eager to share their daily experiences with the ipads. Students
then took pictures and videos of each other. Students then turned their pictures
and videos into exciting i-movies. Students had an exciting time at the apple store!

Students:  What did you enjoy about the trip?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

One to Watch: Popplet Lite

Generating thoughts?  Organizing information?  Popplet Lite may be the app for you!  The paid version is $4.99 and offers many great features.  The FREE version is on our iPads and has met our needs just as well.  Popplet Lite allows students to create concept maps of their thinking.  With the paid version students can create and edit multiple "popples"at one time.  The free version allows users one popple at a time, but don't let that scare you off. There is also a beta version on the web at http://popplet.com/app/#/home

This is what the application looks like:

Students double tap the screen to begin.  A blank box will appear with 4 options beneath it:

  1. The first option allows you to change the color of the box outline (black, grey, blue, green, red, orange, pink).  Changing the color of the boxes could be good for categorizing.
  2. The second option allows you to add text.  There are 3 text sizes available with left/center/right justification options
  3. Option three is twofold:  you can write inside the box freestyle and change the color of the pen
  4. Finally, the last option allows you to embed a picture into your box.  Tapping on this option pulls up your photo library.  If you want to take an image from the Internet this is also an option.  Do this by finding the picture you would like to use (be mindful of copyright).  If you are using your iPad, hold your finger down on the image. A box will appear giving you the option to save or copy the image.  Go back to your popple (it will appear as you left it when you left the app) and click on the box you would like to place the picture in.  Hold your finger in the box and you will see three options appear:  paste the image, paste the URL, or copy the popple.
You will notice the box has four circles along the outside.  Selecting and moving these will allow you to link another box to your original.  If you would like another box but NOT have it linked simply double tap the screen where you would like a new box to appear.

The menu along the top of the application allows students to change the name of their popple as well as lock it (making it closed to additional edits).  You can also export your finished product!  Popplet allows students to email as pdf, email as jpeg, or save as a jpeg.  

Here are some sample popples created by our 5th and 6th grade students.  As an introduction Mr. Hetrick, our writing teacher, asked the students to create a popple about themselves and email the finished product to him.

Students:  what do you think of Popplet?  Do you like using it?  Do you have any ideas for additional ways to use it in your classrooms?


Monday, November 21, 2011

QR Codes in Education

QR Codes are awesome!  To kick off the Shoe Project at MCA the students participated in a short QR code fact finding mission!  They were given a short introduction on what QR codes are and then allowed to try their own.  We hope to utilize them more throughout the project.  The presentation and a link to their assignment is below.

Link to Additional Resources for Educators: http://nicolezumpano.wikispaces.com/QRCodes

Students: what do you think of QR Codes?  Would you like to use them in more classes?  Have you seen them before?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Our Journey to iOS 5

Apple has recently updated its operating system for the iPad.  Initially we were asked to hold off on the install for our iPads due to a conflict with a management app that CPS uses.  Recently they've lifted that restriction and given us the go ahead to proceed.  Needless to say....its taken more than a minute to begin to get the iPads upgraded.  Below are the step by step procedures I followed.  Hope it helps.

1.  Plug in your iPad to your MacBook and wait for iTunes to launch.  A message should appear saying that new software is available.  Click "update" to proceed.

2.  A new message will appear telling you that updating will backup and restore your apps, media, contacts, etc.  Again, click "update".  The first time you download the OS it will take over an hour.  After the initial download it should be (somewhat) quicker.  As this is taking place you'll see messages along the top saying the iPad is being prepared for restore.  Don't do anything else at this time.

3.  Next you will be asked to enter a password to unlock your iPad backup file. This is a password that you would have set up previously.  It is not necessarily the password to your iTunes account.  Select ok after entering the password and the iPad restore will begin.

4.  After the restore is complete iTunes will sync the iPad.  At this point I usually take a minute to make sure the amount of apps is correct and all of our iTunes U programs are up to date.

5.  At this point, eject the iPad from iTunes.

6.  When you open the iPad you'll see a grey screen that says "restore completed".  Press Continue.

7.  You'll see the prompt for "Location Services".  I chose to enable the location services.  Click next.

8.  You'll see on the next screen a prompt for the Wi-Fi Networks.  The CPS network should be selected.  Press next.

9.  The next screen is for the Apple ID.  Select "sign in with an Apple ID".  When you select this you'll be prompted to put in your Apple ID.

10.  Agree to Apple's terms and conditions next.

11.  Next its time to set up iCloud.  I chose to "use iCloud".  Select next.  You'll be prompted to merge your bookmarks from the iPad with iCloud.  I chose not to merge since there are 95 iPads on the same account.

12.  You'll be asked if you want to back up to iCloud or Back up to your computer.  I chose to back up to the computer.  Select next.

13.  At this point it's time to set up the "Find my iPad" feature. Select next.

14.  The next screen will ask if you would like to send diagnostic information automatically to Apple.  You can choose to automatically send or not to send.  Select next.

15.  Finally!!  The iPad is ready to use!  Click "Start Using iPad".

If you are part of CPS the fun isn't over.  Although all of my iPads are named, CPS has a naming convention that they want utilized.  The first letter is either I (for Instr) or A (for Admin). Next place the Oracle number of your school.  Place a T (for tablet).  After that the Asset Tag number.  Finally, if you would like to put something personal to your school in it goes at the end.  I have the cart number and iPad number on mine.  An example may look like this:  A12510T51542522_Cart01#2

When this step is complete you are done!!  Now in my case....94 iPads to go.....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I had the fortune to present our iPad initiative to a great group of people at the Illinois Education Technology Conference in Springfield on November 15th.  The presentation I've shown is below:

A link to the PDF handout is here: http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/72806463?access_key=key-qhxgrl0efyt18o8dcwe

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Linking First Class Accounts to the iPad Mail Icon

All students in grades 5-8 enrolled in Chicago Public Schools have access to the collaboration tool First Class which includes an email address for students to collaborate and communicate with other students and teachers within the system.  As we've continued down our journey of iPad integration in our 5th and 6th grade classrooms we've come to the conclusion that student emails needed to be linked to the mail app.  This is not an easy process.

Thanks to Ms. Kelly and Ms. Shea from Brownell School for walking us through the steps.  Here she is...in all her glory.

Step 1:  Before even attempting to configure the iPads a couple of things need to be in place.  To begin, each student needs to have an active First Class account.  CPS has started to deactivate accounts if they haven't been utilized in an extended period of time.  A call to Tech Excel to ask them to activate all school accounts was unsuccessful.  What was needed was an excel spreadsheet which contained the name, username, and I.D. for every student in 5th and 6th grade.  This took a minute to compile.  After it was complete the process involves calling Tech Excel to open a ticket.  When this is done I was instructed to send the excel spreadsheet to cpssdteamleads@cps.k12.il.us.

Step 2: While waiting for Tech Excel to make sure all accounts were active I proceeded to the next step.  I needed to create a new email account to serve as my "outgoing" mail server.  First Class won't work as the outgoing server (don't ask me why).  I set up a gmail account.  Its my understanding that all of the emails students send to others from their iPads will show up in this account.  This will help to cut down on the emails that may not be related to education.  All of the teachers involved in this initiative will have access to this account.

Step 3:  Begin by selecting the mail icon on your iPad.  You'll see a "Welcome to Mail" screen that gives you choices such as Microsoft Exchange, Gmail, Yahoo, Aol, etc.  I selected "other".

Step 4: The next screen asks for your name, email address, password, and description.  This is where the students would input their First Class information and select 'next'.

Step 5: The next screen should have "IMAP" highlighted in blue at the top.  The First Class information entered on the previous screen is already populated in the first section of this page.  For the Incoming Mail Server section enter fc.cps.edu.  You enter your First Class username and password as well.  For the Outgoing Mail Server you enter "smtp.gmail.com" (if Gmail is the email you set up).  Enter the username and password for that account.  Select next.  You'll see a "verifying" prompt at the top of the page.  This will take a few minutes.  A prompt may come up for IMAP that has the mail radio button 'on'.  Select 'save' to have the account added.  If you happen to get a pop up that says "Cannot Verify Server Setting" select "continue" and proceed.

Step 6: There is one final step to check.  After the account has been added click the Home button.  Click on Settings.  Select Mail, Contacts, Calendars.  Under "accounts" near the top select "Cps".  This will bring you to an IMAP screen.  Select Account to see the IMAP Account Information.  Select "Advanced".  Make sure SSL is turned on.  Happy iPad emailing!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One to Watch: Flashcardlet

Looking for a way to develop flashcards for your students to use on the iPad?  How about using flashcards that have already been created by someone else?  Flashcardlet is a free application that allows you to do those things easily.  This application allows users to create a front-and-back flashcard from scratch.  It allows you to copy or combine decks or to download (and modify) flashcard sets from Quizlet that were made by others or made by you (make sure you make your sets public for this to work).

If you are unfamiliar with Quizlet it is well worth a peek.  This free Web 2.0 tool has features where students can study flashcards, be tested online, play games to help with mastery, and allows a quiz to be custom designed (true/false, multiple choice, written, etc.).  All features of the site work on iPads.

If you would like to learn more about how to use Quizlet take a look at this tutorial (originally designed for Social Studies teachers).  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

One to Watch: Show Me

As we are progressing with our integration of the iPads there are applications that come along and seem to fit into our program with ease.  Show Me (free) is one of these apps.

Show Me is an interactive whiteboard for your iPad.  Students can record a voice-over as they are demonstrating a concept.  For example, in mathematics students can solve a math problem and explain the steps they are taking as they do so.  In music students can demonstrate the knowledge of notes.  For science students can draw a picture of a cell and describe it or chose an existing picture of a cell and label the parts.

Within the app students can draw or write using black, grey, red, blue, green, orange, or purple. They can erase individual components of their board or erase the entire screen at once.  Photos can be inserted.

These short clips can then be uploaded to the Internet for public or personal viewing.  The finished products can be embeded in a blog, a wiki, or on a website.

The steps detailed below explain the process of posting and embedding your Show Me creations!

On the iPad:

Install and launch the Show Me application.  Create your own short clip by pressing the record button and drawing on your whiteboard.  When you finish a menu will appear asking if you want to name and
save your clip. After you complete this step it will prompt you to upload your Show Me clip to the Internet allowing for public (within their directory) or private (viewable by only those you share the link with) views.    If you don't have an account you can create one from the iPad or from your computer.

On the Internet:

1. Visit Show Me's website at http://www.showme.com/

2. If you are new to the site click the "sign up" link and create an account.  After you have an account you'll select the "login" link.

3.  Once you are logged in click on the "my profile" link near the upper righthand corner. 

4. From here you will see all of the Show Me clips you have uploaded from your iPad.  Select one of your clips. When selected the video rendering process begins automatically.

5.  After your video is rendered and ready to go you will see a screen where it can be played right away.  You can also edit the settings (title, description, etc.).  If you are interested in embedding your Show Me clip click on the "embed" option and copy the code.

Examples of an embedded Show Me clip are below:

Here's a link to another blog post on using Show Me:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Internet Safety Reflections

During our Internet Safety Presentation we learned ten tips about staying safe on the Internet:

  1. Anything posted on the Internet can be traced back to the sender. 
  2. Once it's online it can stay there forever (or be altered or passed around). 
  3. Always log off of accounts even on your own personal devices. 
  4. If you wouldn't say it to your parents or teachers don't say it online!  
  5. Don't post pictures of yourself or your friends on the Internet. 
  6. Never post your full name online (stick to your first name/last initial). 
  7. Think before you post! Don't let anger or frustration cause you to post something you will later regret. 
  8. Block and report anyone you feel is threatening you. Tell a trusted adult right away. 
  9. Don't open emails from people you don't know. 
  10. Don't be mean! 

 Which of these tips do you think is the most important? Do any of them mean something to you?

Internet Safety at MCA

Internet Safety is everybody's business!!  Below is a presentation that was shown to our 5th & 6th grade classrooms to make sure they stay safe on the iPads.  If you can't view the presentation below it can be found at http://prezi.com/b3vxxlfei4n4/online-safety-at-mca/.  If you are interested in seeing the information and contract that was sent home to parents please visit http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/70104499?access_key=key-zx2omjg78v9otp8dq2i

Monday, September 12, 2011

Student Survey CPS

Hi Students. As you know May Community Academy is fortunate to have iPads due to a grant we were awarded through Chicago Public Schools. Last week you took a survey for us, this week you need to take a survey for CPS. Please follow the link below to get to the survey.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rolling out the iPads

Today was the first day of iPad roll out at May Community Academy.  The teachers and I have been meeting on a regular basis to establish procedures for this week.  Ms. Beckom's 6th grade class, room 203 were the first to receive the iPads.

Today the iPads were brought up by me in bags (7 per bag).  Ms. Beckom had the students make signs that listed their name and iPad number prior to my arrival.  These would be taken with a photo of each student and made the background for each iPad.  This provides more ownership by each student and makes it quick to identify who's iPad belongs to whom.

When I arrived I simply had to call out an iPad number such as B-7 and the students came up to collect their iPad.  The distribution went smoothly.  I demonstrated for the students the basics: home button, using the camera, maps, how to zoom, and volume control as well as how to save a picture as a background. Students quickly adapted to the iPad and found Photo Booth right away.  They seemed to enjoy browsing through the other apps, stopping to practice math facts in the Math Ninja app!

The final part of today's roll out was to take the iPad survey embedded as a post in this blog. This is a survey unique to MCA; they will complete iPad grant surveys later in the week.  The plan is to take screen shots of the survey results and allow students to interpret data based on the responses of their classmates.  Check back in a few weeks for that post.  

Three students (along with 3 alternatives) were chose to be responsible for picking up, distributing, collecting, and reconnecting the iPads daily.  Those students did a great job today!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

iPad Survey for Students

Initial Thoughts

So....what are your initial thoughts on the iPads?  Do you think you will like them?

Managing the iPads

We received our iPads and syncing carts near the middle of August.  While the preference would have been to take them right from the box to the classroom, that was not a possibility if we wanted to do this successfully.  Each iPad (yes, all 96 of them) needed to be registered, named, updated, and synced in order to make them "user ready".  Below lies the process. As you can well imagine, it took more than a minute to get through all of them!

Step 1: After connecting the iPad to the Macbook iTunes launched automatically.  A 'welcome' screen appears.  Click "Continue" to register.

Step 2:  Next you'll be asked to read the "Terms of Agreement" novel.  Accept the terms by placing a check in the box and click "Continue".

Step 3: The next screen will ask you to identify yourself based on your Apple I.D.  I set up a school account at our first training session.  Click "continue".

Step 4:  Now it's time to register your new iPad.  Because this is a school account that I won't be accessing on a regular basis I unchecked the request to receive emails from Apple.

Step 5:  There is a "must have" app that comes up next:  "Find My iPad".  This app is tied into your iTunes account.  If you happen to misplace an iPad or it is stolen you can use this application to lock or erase your iPad remotely.  It also uses the GPS signal to locate the iPad on a map.  I have personally known two people that have used this app on their iPhones to locate them (both, ironically were left in cabs and later retrieved).  On the flip side, I know someone that thought they had the feature but did not, losing their stolen phone.  While not required, it's certainly highly recommended.

Step 6:  Now it's time to set up your iPad.  Here you have two options the first time you connect:  set up as new, and restore from a previous account.  I chose to set each iPad up individually as a new iPad.  When I tried to set them up from the restore feature it changed the name of my iPad to that account name and had to be changed back.  Click "continue".  
Step 7:  This step allows you to name your iPad.  We have 3 sync carts.  Each iPad is named based on its location:  A-1, B-1, C-1, etc.  As a personal choice, I unchecked "automatically sync songs".  I kept "automatically sync apps" checked.
Step 8: You'll be prompted to create a password in order to access a backup file that is created each time you sync.  This will come in handy if you ever need to restore from a back up.  I chose to keep the same password that I have for my school Apple ID account to make it easier to manage.

Step 9: Now that your password for backup has been entered any apps you have installed on the MacBook are synced to the iPad.

Step 10: One part of this process that surprised me was that iTunes University videos did not sync automatically.   I picked up the icon for the iTunes U app (or in our specific case Little Kids Rock) and dragged the icon on top of the iPad icon within iTunes.  It then appears as "iTunes U" under the device subheadings.

Step 11: Once all the apps and videos were synced to the iPad I clicked on the name of the iPad under the "Devices".  This allows you to see a summary of all the information associated with your device, including whether the software is up to date.

Step 12: If you look at the picture for step 11 you'll see that there is an updated version of iPad software available.  Click on "update", then "continue" to launch the software update.

And that's it!!  In our case....only 95 more iPads to go.