Benefit of wireless video connection in the classroom

Not all classrooms are designed to maximize the benefits of an electronic display, especially when the classroom itself was either not designed by a tech-savvy architect, or the it was modified to somehow accommodate electronic display functionality at the request of administration. In the case of one classroom, a little bit of both.

We have two flatscreen monitors on either end of a classroom, with a mobile rack (held down by the length of the cords connecting to the wall jacks) in the corner. For someone wanting to use video or a slideshow via computer, the task of using a computer while trying to engage with the students is a daunting task, unless you’re willing to walk through a floor of wires in what is already a tight space.

It’s a perfect storm to showcase the usefulness of a wireless connection; more specifically, the Apple TV. Using the Apple TV has allowed the teacher to remain in the ‘teaching zone’ of the classroom, rather than disappearing into the corner, or jump roping through wires during a lesson. The iPad is easy to hold, and the Apple TV gives the teacher full access to the wall displays.

In short, the Apple TV allows the classroom to used as it’s intended purpose without the distraction of its potential assets.

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Proof-editing photos

If we insist that our students proof-read their work before handing it in to the teacher, why should we not do the same with photos they use?

I had the pleasure of listening to ADE Mike Mural @the_muralman give a short presentation on simple photo editing techniques (remember: rule of thirds, leading lines, patterns, interruption, and symmetry) and options found on our smart phones using apps such as Apple Photos and Google Snapseed, followed by a short workshop of snapping, editing, and sharing.

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Six ‘useless’ things foreign language teachers do

Recasts Recasts are the most frequent form of feedback that teachers give students in the course of oral interactions. They consists of utterances by the teacher that repeat the student’s erroneous…

Source: Six ‘useless’ things foreign language teachers do

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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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