Category Archives: Apps

A Whole New World of Apps (for the Under 13 Generation)

Green PG-13_Hv_CS3As students fill the hallways of our schools on their first day back, there is a major change afoot for those kids under the age of 13.  Students in the pre-teen realm have always had less options when it came to personalization and use of certain websites/social media.  While some of those rules still apply when it comes to the web, Apple’s new system of allowing districts to issue Apple IDs for those students under the age of 13 (with parental consent) means that the days of every elementary students having the same standardized iPad are in the past.  Combining that with the new deployment system and (in our case) an MDM like Casper, and we are finally starting to see some of the real powerful potential of the 1:1 iPad platform.  While I know there will be some glitches (there always are in technology), I’m looking forward to the improvements listed here this year for our K-6 students.

App Provisioning

For the past 2 years, our elementary students have been living in the 1:1 world when it comes to devices, but haven’t really gotten the full-fledged personalized experience of their older counter-parts when it comes to apps.  Because we couldn’t have individual Apple IDs on each iPad, we used Apple Configurator to provision “images” to sets of iPads at every grade level. This was a painfully arduous process that entailed having a Support Tech go classroom to classroom with a Macbook and provision the images to each iPad.  With the amount of time and man-power it took to accomplish this, we basically had time for one app-refresh cycle every year.  Besides the inefficiency of this model, we also had several times when iPads would get “hung up” during app refresh and have to be completely wiped, losing important student work that hadn’t been backed up.  Now that every student will have an Apple ID, we can “push” apps out to students over the air (OTA).  If a classroom wants an app, they contact our MDM campus manager who loads the app and pushes it out to the class overnight.  If it’s a free app, the kids can even download it themselves!

App Personalization

Since we basically had two groups (K-2 and 3-5), that meant front-loading the images with pretty much every app we would think to use for the school year.  The resulting images were somewhat heavy (taking up over 6GB of the 16GB space) and many were unnecessary depending on your grade.  Here’s our example list of apps for elementary last year. You could have 3rd graders looking at 5th grade apps that they didn’t even need. While we’ve really focused on productive apps vs. consumptive ones, we at least knew that all kids would have the tools they needed to create a finished product.  Now that we can now push apps over the air, that means starting with a much leaner set of core apps to start (nearly all “productive” apps) and adding those content or grade-level based consumptive apps as needed.  One drawback of not having a set image on them is that iPads are essentially naked to begin the year until the students have their Apple IDs set up.  Enter the always clever Janet Couvillion. She’s an Ed Tech at one of our elementary campuses and she created this tremendous Thinglink about all things you can do on an iPad with only basic apps:

Content Distribution

We utilize eBackpack as our web-based and app-based content distribution system.  However, we’ve also found some successes using iTunesU at the upper grades when it comes to quickly creating courses for students.  Now that our students under the age of 13 have Apple IDs, we can have them enroll in a class course at the beginning of the year that a teacher can use to push out content as it becomes relevant. We can also provision specific iBooks or class sets of iBooks to students based on their Apple IDs, something not possible in the past.

Time to Focus

Another potential bonus of all of this is the new Casper Focus feature we had a kindergarten teacher test for us last year.  With all iPads in this new system and each student with an Apple ID, a teacher can now “control” or “lock-down” all the iPads in his/her class into a specific app.  While I’m not a big fan of the lock-down control model when it comes to teaching and learning, I do know there is a time and place when this might need to happen from time to time.  With state and national testing moving to an online platform, we’ll need to have this ability going forward.  This year we’ll be pilot testing the ACT Aspire test on iPads for students in grades 4-9 and we’ll also be piloting using a Desmos Calculator app during our 8th Grade Algebra State assessment.  None of this would be possible without this new system in place without individually going to each iPad and enabling Guided Access.

Parent Involvement

In order to make this system work, we have to really rely on parent support.  They have to go through the online consent and Apple ID creation process for us to be able to utilize all the advantages listed above.  As a parent, the advantages to this program versus making your own Apple ID are many (here’s a Parent Guide from Apple).  They’ll be able see what apps their students are purchasing.  With their students being in the Under 13 program they’ll have less advertisements and data mining to worry about.  As a parent of a new kindergarten student, I was excited to not only set up her Apple ID because we can now mirror the apps she’s getting at school and put them on our devices at home to help with her learning.  I’ve always been a believer in the concept of a village raising the child and in our ever-increasing online world, the lines between home and school are no longer clearly defined.  This process gives us as a district another opportunity to communicate about the education of their child, which can in the end only be a good thing.

To help introduce parents to this process I made this somewhat silly 3.5 minute video (below) along with some instructions for them on their end.

 The future is bright and no longer just for those born before 2001!

The Best App For Monitoring Students

About a year ago, we decided after much input to open up YouTube Safe Search for students.  While there can be a lot of mind-numbing videos about squirrels on jet-skis, there is also a large amount of instructional content on there.  Want to learn how to do Photoshop?  Or maybe just the right way to carve a turkey? It’s all on there.

Being a 1:1 iPad school district means that anything we enable on the filter side, pretty much goes out to all students since it’s all at their finger tips.  It’s taken some time for teachers to adjust to this new student-centered focused on learning versus the teacher as “disseminator of all information” model.  One thing we’ve noticed throughout this initiative is that a lecture-based, teacher at the front, method of instruction lends itself to more distraction and less educational use of the devices.  As teachers have shifted the knowledge to the students, distraction has decreased and learning with iPads as tools has increased.  This may seem like a simple enough switch, but we are asking some of the best and brightest teachers to change everything they have been doing the past 20-25 years successfully. Which brings me to last January and the opening of YouTube.

Ten full minutes after announcing that YouTube would be open for students, I received the following email: (Name omitted)

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 8.19.37 AM

 

I knew the sender of this email very well and for the sake of this article we’ll just refer to him as Jim.  Being a very accomplished teacher, I realized the worry that Jim had with all the distraction and possible off-task behavior.  I had a list of apps that allow some sort of screen-sheltered management.  Apps like Nearpod or “Focus” by JAMF allow some form of screen control and embedded lock-down.  My gut reaction was to seek out one of these apps as a way to help this him with his teaching.  Knowing Jim well though, I decided on a different approach and response:

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 8.19.44 AM

 

I made sure to include the all important smiley face on my response so that Jim knew I was being somewhat tongue-in-cheek but also sincere when it came to thinking about shifting the pedagogical practice he was employing. I later regretted not adding the statement that you can also use your “iMouth” to enforce restrictions.

2EyesApp

The Infamous “2Eyes” app

While this was done to spark thinking and hopefully garner a bit of a laugh, the overall message has had some affect, even outside of Jim’s classroom.  I mentioned this to some colleagues shortly after this and word spread about the “2Eyes” app.  Before I knew it, people were actually sending me messages asking what the 2 Eyes app was because they couldn’t find it in the app store.  In fact, Jim even responded with “I know that Carl. In fact, any teacher worth their salt knows that.  It’s just that…this is hard!  Having all this distraction pulls their attention away from what I’m trying to teach them.”

We ended the email exchange and opted for a face to face conversation, at which point I offered some assistance.  While I couldn’t ask him to change his entire pedagogical practice, I made him a  promise to work with him on changing some of what he’s currently doing to a more student-centered approach.  A month later, Jim invited me into the classroom to watch an interactive lesson using formative assessment and Socrative.  While this wasn’t a complete shift to student-driven learning, it was a step in the right direction and helped solve two issues:

1. Students felt much more empowered and more engaged in the class and lesson. When I informally asked them what they thought of this new approach many mentioned it made learning fun again.  Some said that normally (even without an iPad), they would just check out and day-dream while the teacher asked the kids questions.  Now they felt like they needed to participate to be a part of the class.

2. The teacher also left feeling empowered.  Jim was able to walk around the room and send out the questions via the app and watch and listen as kids responded.  He was able to instantly show the class data on the screen and have discussion about which points the group did poorly on.  He was able to focus his direct instruction on those weaker areas in future lessons.

The moral of this story is that changing in teaching practice doesn’t happen overnight. You can put new devices in the hands of kids, but without some adjustments by the instructors, they are little more than expensive eReaders. I applaud teachers like Jim who have the courage to reach out and admit that this is hard.  His original email was a call for help and I could have taken the easy way out by just giving him some screen-controlling app and been on my merry way.

That would have benefitted me in terms of time and energy saved from having to work with him on those changes.  It would have benefitted Jim because he could have had a quick fix for teaching the kids.  There’s one group though that wouldn’t have benefitted, those students in Jim’s class.  They are the reason we are all here and sometimes it means taking the more difficult road if it’s for the betterment of learning.

If you are a teacher or administrator reading this, you will experience this exact scenario if you haven’t already when it comes to a “mobile device initiative” or BYOD.   While it may seem like that easiest answer is the best answer, take a moment to think to yourself and ask the question: Is this beneficial to student learning?

10 MORE Things NOT to do in an iPad 1:1 Initiative

Trying to be a mobile Djay

Trying to be a mobile Djay

At the end of last school year I reflected on the 10 things NOT to do in an iPad 1:1 program.  I was blown away with the amount of responses and views the post got from all over the world. It seems that it was at the right time, and right moment for districts out there planning on entering the Fall with a new 1:1 implementation.  That said, it’s almost too late by that point to make real swift changes to your implementation.

I felt assured we had ferreted out all the little details that make things go astray during this process and hoped by providing a list of the 10 things, other districts could learn from our mistakes.  Since that article, we have now collected the student iPads, re-distributed them, rented them out over the summer, distributed them to the rest of the high school, all the 8th graders, and now 2 grade levels at each elementary.  Needless to say, we’ve learned a WHOLE lot more about both what to do and what NOT to do.  Don’t get me wrong, the level of personal learning and shift in instructional focus, while slow at times, has been breath-taking to behold.  I have no doubt in my mind that shift wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t take the “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach to putting these out there.  That said, here are 10 MORE things I wouldn’t do again if we had to do it all over:

1. Do NOT pick them all up on one day

Talk about a nightmare scenario.  Imagine trying to collect and assess 1800 iPads from high school students in just one day with limited staff?  Talks with the high school administration and the technology department determined that this would be the way to go, and it didn’t seem like a bad idea at the time. Knock the whole thing out in one day and rip off the bandaid.  The only problem was, this was happening a few days before final exams and kids weren’t exactly thrilled to give them up.  We actually started our rental program (“rent” your iPad over the summer for $30) because of the feedback from staff and students. I was lucky enough to be in one of the rooms collecting the iPads.  We had a gallon zip-lock bag where they would write their name and iPad number and then put their charger, case and iPad in there.  Not only did we end up with about 4 or 5 missing chargers per class period, we had to assess each iPad in the class during a 52-minute class period.  Talk about stressful!  This year we are planning to work with students well in advance and over several days as well as discussing the possibility of letting all high school kids take them home over the summer.

2. Do NOT try and build the “Charge/Sync Stations” by yourself at the beginning of the year

Our Elem iPadStations

Our Elem iPadStations

For the elementary classrooms, we knew 1:1 would look different.  They wouldn’t be going home with students and they wouldn’t need to be stored in those $2700 Bretford carts since they were going to be stationary.  We decided to build our own “Charge/Sync Stations” modeled after those wood letter-sorters we used to have at elementary school.  Build the shelving,  attach a 32-port Charge/Sync device on top (we used this one), attach it to a wall and voila! Done.  Only problem was, there were 55 of these we had to build, and it was the beginning of the year.  In retrospect, it would have been better to outsource this to parents, volunteers, hourly workers, rather than tie up our tech department’s time at a crucial point in the year.

3. Do NOT fall in love with a certain app too quickly

We’ve all had an app so cool, so inspiring, we just had to share with everyone else how great it is.  As with anything in the tech world, change happens quickly.  With apps, it is even faster. Here’s an example: We were trying to select a comic strip app to put on our elementary iPads back in July.  We had a pretty good process for rating apps, but the only problem was, the apps selected in July weren’t installed until the end of October.  In the course of that time we discovered Strip Designer and decided it was superior to the other, more expensive app that we had purchased back in July.  This will happen from time to time, so I encourage everyone to try out apps in small doses before buying 2000 of them.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/87711413@N00/4277985572/

Courtesy Paulo Signorini

4. Do NOT forget to communicate with everyone ALL the time.

While it’s certainly possible to over-communicate, we are much more guilty in education and administration of under-communicating.   Collection day for the iPads? Oh yeah, we sent out an email a couple weeks ago about that. Restrictions on the student iPads? We put that info on our single website for everything iPad.  No matter what you are doing, 1:1 or otherwise, be prepared to communicate in multiple mediums with multiple distributions and repetitions.  Spreading the word will help decrease confusion and frustration and increase trust and clarity.

5. Do NOT be surprised by parent concerns

One day I will write a book about both parent concerns I’ve heard over the years when it relates to technology and interesting ways in which teachers have broken their iPads.  When you start a 1:1 program where students take the device home, realize that there is a real sentiment that the school is “invading” the parents’ home.  While the intended purpose is to extend learning to the home environment, it adds a new dynamic to parenting and home life.  “I have to use my iPad for my homework” can quickly turn into a 4-hour Minecraft session when the mom and dad aren’t monitoring. Think of the shift (in sound mostly) when a student brings home a musical instrument to practice.  This is like that only it doesn’t make a lot of sound and can be highly distracting if proper frameworks and parenting techniques are employed.  No matter how ludicrous the stories are, they are real and it should be our role to educate and listen to all, including parents.

6. Do NOT take all other technology away for months in advance

A technology desert

A technology desert

Getting rid of the old to replace with the new is a tried and true method every technology department spends the summer doing.  However, I would never recommend taking the old (desktops in the backs of classrooms) and then waiting a few months before you put in the new (1:1 iPads in our case).  While it will increase appreciation for technology, it’s not necessary and just adds stress to the beginning of the year.  You want them thirsty, but not at the expense of crossing the desert to get water. Consider a transition time when both are in the classroom and remove the “old” only after the “new” are in.

7. Do NOT assume students know how to use them

Sure they can play Angry Birds and check Facebook, but can they create, edit and send a Pages doc? Kids can pick up technology must faster than adults, largely due to the programing in their brain, but don’t assume they know WHEN and WHY to use it even if they know the HOW.

8. Do NOT give elementary teachers iPads without some grade-level apps on them

Last year, we were able to give most teachers a few iPads or even a cart to share and experiment with on the elementary level.  Teachers loved this extra access and converted many of the shared iPads into centers of sorts.  Since these are meant to be personal devices, the idea of creating and keeping work on them wasn’t really emphasized in the shared environment.  That all changes when they become 1:1.  When we distributed the 1:1 iPads we put a “trunk image” of apps on there and encouraged teachers to suggest other apps to be installed that were more grade level specific.  This meant that the 1:1 iPad classrooms only had 40 or so general apps on them and not the 120 or so shared apps they had in the previous model.  Not having the grade-level apps they were familiar with to start made some teachers hesitate using the devices.  I actually think it’s a good idea to start with just the core apps, but you need to make sure that is communicated to those teachers as well as expectations of early use in class. (See point #4)

9. Do NOT underestimate Middle School students ability to break your restrictions

With the high school, we left the iPad fairly open.  We didn’t restrict app or music purchases with the thinking that teaching the students responsible use before they head off to college isn’t a bad idea.  For middle school kids though, they aren’t quite ready to comprehend that level of power, so we placed some age appropriate restrictions on them.  It took a couple of weeks, but soon a small group of students figured out how to remove them and the word spread.  Luckily we have it written in their Responsible Use document that removing restrictions or jail-breaking is an offense and our MDM can detect who has done it.  That said, it’s a good idea to make sure kids are aware of this when you distribute them, otherwise they will eventually be done in with pre-pubescent curiosity to try and break the system.

10. Do NOT short your count of iPads on distribution day

I had to put this last one on here, even though it’s pretty embarrassing.  On the second of our high school distribution days we had pretty much accounted for everything, or so we thought.  We changed the way distribution took place, centralizing it, rather than going room to room which was a great time-saver.  However, in the course of handing kids back their iPad from the year before, rental iPads, or new iPads, our student count got lost in the shuffle. An order was placed (not naming names here) for what was thought to be the right amount, but in the end, it was about 200 short.  As incredibly embarrassing as this is to share, it shows you that every minor detail can become major if not accounted for.  I captured this video of our assistant principal telling the last class period of students that we had run out.  Not a great moment, but on the bright side we had some put aside for elementary so with a little extra effort, we were able to repurpose those in a few days for those kids without.  Lesson learned though, always triple-check your counts and allow for a few extras!

K-12 iPad Deployment Checklist

School has started for most of us around the country.  Alarm clocks are set, bleary-eyed kids stumble their way to class, and iPads are being handed out.  Just a typical day here at Eanes and many districts across the country.  As the amount of 1:1 schools and districts continue to grow with many different devices, but specifically the Apple iPad, I thought it might be good to reflect and share the laundry list of items we’ve prepared in getting ready for our roll-outs.  (all high school students, 8th graders, and 2 grade levels at the elementary schools are 1:1 this year) I’ve already written about 10 things NOT to do in a 1:1 here (the list is growing in year 2) but  what about things we SHOULD do?

I’ve broken down the check list into three main categories -Administrative, Instructional, and Technical.  There are parts of each that intermingle, but needed some general categories to go off and these are the main three components.

– Administrative Duties – 


Communication –  This covers everything from Board presentations to community dialogues to basic stuff like making the campus aware of when deployments are taking place.  I can’t stress enough the amount of communication that will be needed in this entire process which is why it’s in all three components. Face-to-face communication is extremely important and should always be anchored in district goals and strategic plans.  Remember, like Simon Sinek talked about on TED, it’s the “Why” that’s more important than the “What”.

Documentation –  This almost goes hand in hand with communication, but these are areas where districts should seek some legal input.  Handing out expensive devices, while the total cost may be less than a stack of textbooks and a TI-83 calculator, needs to be properly documented for each and every iPad that is distributed.   Each student and parent should sign a Loan agreement and acknowledge the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP).  In our district, we updated our AUP and turned it into a Responsible Use Guideline for all technology, whether it be BYOT, iPads or computers.

Budget –  These devices, their accessories and their apps cost money.  There needs to be time spent on the cost to fulfill a vision of 1:1, which grade levels to start at, and ultimately, which funds will be used to sustain it once it’s off the ground.  Depending on the model of deployment that is used, there will either be a lot of money put towards apps or personnel to manage the apps.

Process – Having a core group of educational leaders on campus and throughout the district is an important part of the buy-in phase.  Part of the beauty of these devices is surrendering control in some senses to allow students to personalize based on educational needs.  That means there needs to be a process for getting apps to them and an idea about what happens when they break their loan agreement or have discipline issues.

– Instructional Duties – 

Staff training – It can’t be overstated enough that these devices need to be in the hands of teachers well before the student models arrive.  They need to feel comfortable with them and start thinking of ideas to integrate them into their instruction.  Summertime is an ideal time to get most of the level-based integration training, but consider putting training in an iTunesU course to revisit at a later date.  Throughout the year, provide opportunities to share what they have learned with their peers in an informal setting (which we like to call “Appy Hours“).  The collaboration doesn’t have to be face-to-face either, set up grade-level teams in Edmodo so they can share ideas across the district as a way to virtually meet.

Student training – Don’t assume that every kid knows how to use the iPad.  These kids may be digital natives, but most of their exposure to these devices has been for entertainment more than for education.  Lessons of digital citizenship and internet safety will need to be developed and taught, but also don’t overlook the fact that many students will need tutorials on how to set up their email, submit assignments, and backing up their data.

Tutorials – To assist with the high-level of training, both prior to deployment and during the year, instructional teams should build a database of resources and FAQs for all staff, students, and parents to access.  This will help take care of some of the little questions that can really bog things down once distribution has happened.

Process –  Like administrators, teachers and instructional folks will want to develop and deploy processes for purchasing apps. There will need to be clear expectations for teachers and students in terms of use and what happens if that is violated.  In conjunction with these processes, devoting time to research an ever-growing list of apps and online textbooks is important to better inform future decisions.

Communication – Teachers are the conduit to the parent.  They are the first person many parents see in the morning and last one they see in the afternoon.  It’s important that they have a clear understanding of district mission and how apps/iPads are distributed.  They’ll also want an avenue for sharing exciting projects as the year progresses.  These projects help with both campus and district-based communication.

– Technical Duties – 

Prior set-up – Prior to even thinking of deploying iPads, evaluation of wireless infrastructure is a must.  Nothing can bring a network down quicker than the sudden introduction of a few thousand devices into the system.  The devices will need to be prepped with some form of identification (we went with this laser etcher) and a profile if distributing these to younger students.  Apple configuration can help with some of these profiles and detection of iPads lost on campus, but it’s advisable to have a form of mass deployment for apps pre-established.  Entering these devices into a student information system helps with tracking all the pertinent data, so forms and fields will need to be established prior to distribution day to make that process run smoothly.

Communication –  The common thread in all three components is also extremely important from the technology department.  Any glitches, issues, budgetary discussions, and processes for repair will need to be constantly communicated to campus staff and leadership.  The actual process of distribution and pick-up can be pretty cumbersome as well.  This is where a type-A person comes in handy for organizing these events in making them as trouble-free and emotional-less as possible.

Repair – The first few weeks after deployment be prepared for any and all issues.  Technology departments would do right in finishing any other campus projects prior to these distribution days as the amount of issues will spike immediately following deployment.  Most of these are workable with proper training and tutorials in conjunction with the instructional department, but it doesn’t stop little Johnny from coming to the help desk to ask about a certain app.  Ideally, there would be a service desk (ours is called the Juice Bar) that is centrally located and manned during high-density times for student off-periods (lunch, before and after school, etc.).  The final piece of the puzzle is having a plan for processing insurance, getting spares from Apple, and having a quick way to assess and turn-around repairs so students are without this instructional tool.

There you have in a nutshell.  I tried to make most of this list as district agnostic as possible, but some of the “Eanes way” snuck in there.  I’m also attaching this handy checklist that details these above duties in greater detail for you to use or adapt.  Best of luck in all your iPad launches and I hope you have a successful program putting this technology in the hands of kids.

iPad Deployment Checklist

iPad Deployment Checklist K-12

5 Apps That I’d Like Invented in 2012

I’m always running across people saying, “don’t you wish there was an app for that”.  Sometimes I’m surprised to find that actually is an app for “that”.  With over 500,000 apps in the iOS marketplace, it’s hard to imagine that we could even need any more.  So as the new year begins, here are some I think should be created this year.  Some of these are very pie-in-the-sky and require quite a bit of other things to happen in order to be used effectively, but hey! It’s the New Year!  Anything is possible right?
1.  RefriderMinder – Just in time for those New Year’s weight-loss resolutions out there! Ever wonder what’s in your fridge but your at the store already?  Ever get surprised by that old tub of sour cream that’s gone green earlier than you thought?  That’s where “RefridgerMinder” app comes in handy. This app can actually detect what’s in your fridge! (Note: “SmartFridge” and optional bar code scanner readers and weight sensors not included) Imagine it, when you put food in your fridge it instantly scans it and let’s you know the expiration date. Enable push notifications to warn you when something is reaching expiration or running out (via weight sensors). With an optional upgrade, you could even have the nutritional information fed to your favorite weight-loss app. If you purchase accompanying  tupperware with an electric date/time diode on the lid, your left-overs could communicate to you as well.  Finally, if you really wanted to go all out, mini-cams could be installed on fridge shelves that let you actually look at what’s in your fridge via this app.  There will also be a companion app called “PantryMinder” coming out not too long after this.

2. BreadCrumbs – During our recent visit to the Big Island of Hawaii, my wife commented to me while we were driving by landmarks, “wouldn’t it be nice if we could have an audio tour happening right now that tells us what significant stuff is around us?”.  With the geo-location feature on iDevices, it would be easy enough to enable audio to come on based on your location and the direction your are facing. In fact, there are already a couple apps out there already that already do that. This app would take it even a step further.  Users could input their own images, videos, and audio based and geo-tag the location where they are for other users to experience what they experienced.  Volcano not erupting the day your are there? No problem! Click on a user-video from the exact spot your are standing and experience an augmented reality version of the volcano erupting.

3. YouTube Ed Edition – This one is exactly what it sounds like.  There are a lot of “filtered” apps out there like Kideos, which will categorize some YouTube videos by age level.  However, with the recent release of Youtube.com/education, I hope it’s only a matter of time before a separate YouTube Ed Edition app appears on our devices.

4. GreenLightGo – I know we are not supposed to check email or text in our cars.  In fact, many states are outlawing the use of any cell phone while the car is in motion.  Playing by the rules means we are stuck reading or responding to as much as we can in the 2 minutes it takes for a traffic light to cycle through.  Often times, I’m so into my response or research that I don’t notice the light has changed until I’m gently reminded via a driver’s honk to my rear.  This app solves that problem.  Simply run this app in the background of your device, then when the light you are facing turns green, the screen flashes and sends a small audio alert letting you know it’s time to move.  Sounds simple enough right?  The trick would be getting the highway department to let this app access their traffic signal cycles.

5. URL in a Flash – The one GIANT roadblock/question I get when talking about iDevices in school or anywhere else is the “yeah, but it doesn’t run flash” response.  There are currently several apps that claim to enable some sort of flash integration on the iPad. (Photon being the best, albeit a little clunky and not cheap.  Rover is a more limited free option.)  With the recent openess of Adobe towards Apple I think a true everything app that runs flash will be out there soon, only in all reality it likely won’t look like this.  It will probably be blue with a compass on it and be called “Safari”.

So there you have it.  Just enough to wet your appetite to the possibilities. I know I might be giving away a ton of money in free ideas, but the reality is I just want to see these apps invented.  (I also didn’t share my top 3 ideas as I do actually hope to invent those 🙂  The scary thing is, I think we all have these rattling around in our heads.  I just chose to create fake app icons and put them on a blog.  What app have you thought of?  Please share via comments below or invent it and share it with me!

My “APPendix” of App Lists

I’ve been gathering several lists of “Must Have” apps for various educational levels and subject areas.  These come from all sorts of different blogs, websites and sources that I’ve found useful and used on our district iPads at some point this year.  One of the things I love about many of these sites is that they give you some ideas as to how to use and integrate them too. So feel free to bookmark this and add more lists to the comments below.  Enjoy!

WeAreTeachers Blog of Educational iPad, iPod and iPhone Apps that You and Your Kids Will Love

Top Ten iPad interactive Book apps

Top iPad Apps to Keep You Organized

15 Essential iOS Apps for Students

Best Free iPad apps of all time

iPad Apps for Music Education 

100 iPad Apps Perfect for Middle School

25 Essential Apps for Your New iPhone 4s 

An Educator’s Guide to Apps A-Z

Must-Have iPad Apps, 2011 Edition 

Thousands of apps. Endless potential 

2o Apps for Librarians

Kristie Johnson’s Apps Apps Apps Slideshare

25 Best iPad Apps for Kids

1300+ Educational Apps

35 Best iPad Apps Creative and Useful 

Kerrville’s Appy Hour list

Lisa Johnson’s site 

Eanes Wifi Blog App Clearinghouse

70 Free Apps for Special Ed

Kathy Schrock’s iPads in the Classroom

iPad Sammy’s Symbaloo of 45 apps in 45 minutes

TCEA’s Ginormous list of iPad Apps broken into grade levels and subject areas

So, this is a start.  All told there are over 3200 Apps listed above (not including Apple’s education site which lists all 20,000+ Edu Apps) and hopefully some tools and ideas for integrating them.

Adding more here:

15 Photo Collage Apps

 

iPad Management Webinar

Hi all –

Recently I was asked to participate in a webinar with Bryan Doyle from Bastrop ISD on iPad management. I go into the nuts and bolts of why we chose to do the 1:1 iPad project at WHS during this webinar, but also some helpful management tips for those running a 1:1 environment.

Bryan has a wealth of experience with iPad carts and he spends some time clarifying the VPP process and the method to which he syncs his carts during the 2nd half of this webinar. Here’s the archived video:
http://connect.episd.org/p58955314/

Thanks to Tim Holt for hosting this!

p.s. If you want to actually view this on the iPad, an app called Photon does the trick since it’s in flash. (I mention that in this webinar)

My Radio Debut

Here’s my blog radio debut. Thanks to lovely ladies at http://www.techchef4u.com/, Lisa and Yolanda, for hosting and giving me 25 minutes to rant and rave about apps, our WIFI pilot and revealing what a car would do to an iPad.
Hope my energy level overcomes my allergy-induced Sam Elliot voice.
Enjoy!
TechChef4U Radio blog