Thursday, August 25, 2011

Why hide technology in the Locker??

I have been following the trend of schools allowing and actually encouraging students to bring and use smart phones in school.  It is becoming common in the work field as a tool so why not allow middle school and high school students use this technology in the classroom. Heck, with education budget cuts this could actually become a free resource.  How many free or low cost educational apps are available on the iphone.  How many students have these devices in lockers, book bags or maybe at home. Why not instead of telling students to leave them at home, take them away when they have them out we as teachers teach them how to responsibly use them. They are not going away. 

I went two years ago to a workshop that  one teacher discussed was how the  inner city school teacher who “gasp” allowed students to use their smart phones. She set up rules:
1.  place them on airplane mode unless an app needs the 3g or wireless.
2. She could answer it if it rang and no texting while in class.
3.  IF Caught misusing the phone they would loose use of the phone in class for the week . No using it for research, games or  projects, like a normal classroom. They got the textbook, pencil and notebook. She had the students write on a large paper what misuse would be. (Oh an internet safety lesson)    Examples: no camera use unless for project.  She taught about professional uses of facebook and twitter.  A computer ethics course.
She also allowed students to text or e-mail home work.  During the year she documented an increase in test score and turned in homework.  As for misuse she had non students did not want to loss the privilege and respected the rules they created.

I researched a few article and successful schools that are allowing smart phone use
Very Recent Article:

Schools starting to allow use of digital devices

Some schools rethink ban of cell phones Best advice I have read
But the American Association of School Administrators itself argues the other side, promoting the use of cell phones in class as “genuine educational tools.”
“Handheld devices like cell phones, iPhones, BlackBerrys and iTouch are beginning to offer applications that enhance classroom learning by engaging kids to use tools they are constantly using anyway,” Daniel A. Domenech, the association’s executive director, wrote in an essay last fall.
Cell phones head to classThe students are expecting immediate answers and, if we don't always have a room full of computers and they do have answers right there in their pockets, it's sad for us to say, ‘I know it's there and you can't (use it),'” Faulkner said. “Some teachers were saying, ‘OK, you can look that up on your phone and I'll stand right here and watch you.'”

School Districts Lay Foundation for Mobile Devices

Over the past two years, Forsyth County Schools in Cumming, Ga., has slowly allowed some of its 34,000 students to bring their own notebooks, iPhones or other computing tools to school and connect them to the district network.
This after reading numerous articles has to be the best use of available technology I have read about. If you allow students to link with WIFI not the cellular network you can monitor what they can and cannot use. That is what I use in my classroom. I have iphones and ipods using WIFI only and I know the students are only able to get to appropriate sites. Have the student remove the sim card and place it a container labeled with their name if your worried about them usng the cellular network at the end of the day they can put the sim card back in. In my classroom they are old phones that does not have a sim card.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My pick ipad back to school apps

I just purchased my teen an ipad. Yes, I am cheap so I bought her a apple store certifies refurbish ipad 1st gen. from the apple store but I did go with a 3g network one. I finally decided that the ipad 1st gen. fit my budget $399 16GB 3G and had a lot of apps she could use while on the bus ride back to the house or staying afterschool  for events. She will be going to high school 45 minutes away, to a private school. So I wanted a portable device that she could use for homework.
After research between android and apple. I liked both but the price won out. I went with a certified  refurbished.  Due to another supposed refurbished item I bought through from a non-certified dealer.  After I went to the apple store and they said the item had water damage and the refurbishment was sticking said device in a bag of rice. Luckily it was an fulfillment seller and Amazon will accept returns for 30 day after purchase. SO now I go with the company certified refurbished it my cost a little extra $20 –$50  they usually come with a warranty.  The ipad 2 has a few newer features but costs for wifi 16GB $499 and 3G 16GB $629. Purchasing the older generation gave me a $230 savings. Well a savings I then put into for apps and data. Otherwise the ipad2 would have cost with educational and fun apps and the $180 for the year  data package ($15 a month) closer to $850. Where I spent a total of about $600 including the allotted $$$ for data. I have $30 to spend for the year sitting at  Panera drinking a nice refillable coffee, waiting for said teen to finish what ever afterschool activity, maybe even borrow the ipad to surf the web.

Apps  have found I like:
Mental case flashcards $4.99 or  Free classroom edition for teachers and students
Auditorium notes and text $4.99 can't use in the classroom but reading notes and text book out load  creates great notes. Though if daring could run on ipod or phone in pocket in class??
My teens lowest subject math I found mestudying : algebra 1 hope it helps the Florida virtual school uses this app:
Cramberry website and app $3.99
coursesmart free ??? not sure of yet but could be helpful
iworks at $30 a little  $$$ but worth it compatible with microsoft also. You can get a 30 day free trial to try it out. I think it should be on the pad to begin with as part of the software.
Well since I am an art teacher I had to go over a few new art apps that I found:My favorite and I am going to need to borrow my teens ipad a few times a year for class is brushes they do gave an iphone/pod version but it is best on ipad just because for kids the screen is larger.  I have 3 ipods and 2 iphones that I can use in class. SO have decided to add this to my art lessons this year. I am going to mention it to administration about allowing students to bring in their own ipod/phones but we do have a policy so I’m not sure if it would be ok’d or not.

NY artist