This day in Ed. Tech

In the late morning classes, one senior teacher was using an iPad as he wirelessly connected to a projector via AppleTV in order to demonstrate to students how to understand UNHCR country profiles as part of their Model United Nations training. As he gave a tour of the profiles, students used their smart phones to view the web pages being shown. On the other side of the room, an exchange student who does not have a smart phone was issued a school iPad connected to the room’s WiFi system for the activity.

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Happy Winter

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iPad student check-outs

It’s a great feeling to know that students are finding our small number of iPads useful. This past week, students of our UNESCO club have been borrowing an iPad to make a slideshow of their activities to be shown at a school assembly next week.

Students are using Microsoft’s Powerpoint App (I know, Keynote is better, but it’s a matter of student understanding) connected to an office OneDrive account. Even though we only have one wifi router in the school, the router is strong enough to reach most classrooms, allowing the students to save their work without the threat of it being erased when the iPad is used for other purposes.

Overall, students were able to engage both the iPad and Powerpoint app without any teacher intervention, demonstrating the ease of use (and usefulness) of having iPads available for use.

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This week’s iPad use

This past weekend, two of our students participated in a Model United Nations in Tokyo, with their coach accompanying them while using one of our UNESCO iPads to document their achievements, and uploading media to our office DropBox account.

This week and next, students are once again using iPads as video players to learn about the challenges developing countries like India face when denying the right to an education to women. In small groups, tasks are performed and discussions are being held in a peer-to-peer setting to challenge their understanding of the situation.

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An oldie but a goodie: iWebKit

A web app framework allows anyone with little to no programing knowledge to create a website that is designed specifically for smartphone and tablet devices. There are a few out on the internet to choose from, depending a lot on your own taste and what you want to achieve with the web app.

In 2016, the Kansai High School Model United Nations is looking to implement a web app that can be used by participants to receive announcements and other information pertaining to the day-to-day activities.

To prepare this web app, I chose an oldie but a goldie. iWebKit was introduced to me by a fellow Apple Distinguished Educator while we were working together in an iOS integrated school a few years ago. iWebKit has not been updated in the last 5 years or so, but its simple UI and ease of use makes it a choice for me. There is also the nostalgia of the original iOS interface.

For this web app, we will be integrating Twitter for live announcements, Google Drive to access needed documents, Google Calendar to display the days’ events, and Google Sites to allow group editing of MUN draft resolutions.

I am a big Apple fanatic, but being able for a project like this to work on other mobile devices is crucial. iWebkit has been doing just fine with that.

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Dubbing with YouTube and qrcodes

For my listening class, an activity I ask students to engage in from time to time is a dubbing activity, where students are divided into small groups and perform the voiceover of a clip from a video we had been watching.

To prepare this, all video clips are uploaded to YouTube as unlisted, then with one of the many qrcode generators on the Internet (just google qrcode generator), a qrcode for each video’s URL is made and distributed to each group, along with a copy of the script.

Students are then instructed to review the video, focusing on various intonation and pronunciation keys to make their speech as close to the video’s actors as possible. With the videos on YouTube, students are able to use the qrcode to access the videos with their own smart phones, though class iPads are also available for those without phones.

Activity finishes with each group doing the voiceover of their videoclip for the class, with the video playing on mute on the class projector.

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CamScanner Free for iPad

In my schools international exchange office, we have come to the annual scan and send moment where we have to scan over a half-dozen documents and send them to our exchange agent in New Zealand, where our 90+ students will spend 6 weeks abroad this coming winter.

imageThis year, I installed CamScanner Free on our 2 office iPads to use for this purpose. The features in the free version allows us to not only take photos of the documents to convert to PDF, but also allows us to crop them, and share with our office’s Dropbox account. Another feature is that the app allows us to save a batch of scans as a single PDF file.

Though it is still a time-consuming process, we have been able to omit a few steps between the scan and send process. It has been a viable alternative to a computer scanner.

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A Day of Tech in Multiple Classes

Continuing to record the use of tech in the classroom, I had the privilege today to assist two teachers in tech use, aside from my own use.

  1. Teacher A being given an iPad to be used as a debate timer using the app Presentation Timer, as well as a video player. This was his first use of an iPad in the classroom.
  2. Another teacher was given our electronic blackboard projector to show and demonstrate how to fill in forms for the students’ preparation for an abroad school trip coming up in February.
  3. Myself, placing a number of audio speeches on 3 iPads for students in small groups to listen to while practicing the preparation of a debate summary speech.

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iPads for assisting in international exchange office

IMG_2332Our International Exchange Office were assisting potential exchange students in their application for admissions into schools throughout Victoria, B.C., Canada. As the application was only available online, we found our iPads to be a valuable tool for not only ease of use, but also gave our International Exchange officer the flexibility to move around and assist students, all while using an Apple TV to project and example application. The setup also allowed students to easily move around and assist each other.

For as simple as an application process may be, the mobility of the iPads (lack of computer desks, wires, and the like) made the process much more simple.

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Students vote, prefer small groups to whole class in video-watching activities

I started off my 2015 listening workshop class using the traditional approach of a class watching a video on the big screen and completing appropriate work. Last week, I broke them into small groups to watch videos on a group iPad while completing appropriate work.

I then asked in an informal manner which setting they prefer, and all who replied voted for the small groups. I would agree. I find the larger class to be very passive when everyone is sharing a big screen. As is the manner, students face forward, mouths shut, while their teacher lectures. However, when they are broken into smaller groups, interaction occurs, and the work seems to become more enjoyable.

It also allows more teaching moments for individual students as I can walk around and answer questions.

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