iLife Suite for MacBook

Using iPhoto on the Mac is pretty similar to using it on the iPad, the main difference being the amped up editing tools that are available on the Mac. I had some trouble getting my devices to communicate with each other so I could transfer photos from the iPad to the Mac without tethering. Once I got the Cloud settings right, they showed up in the photo stream. ┬áIf I had them all in a folder on Google drive, I could have dragged/dropped them into iPhoto easily. (There’s an idea.) The slideshow feature is pretty cool–you could use it to introduce a new unit or to have kids write responses to images/art. You can also create a book and save it as a PDF instead of actually paying to print it.

I have to interject a reminder of how important it’s going to be for us to get our kids to save stuff to their H drives (or better yet their Google drive) so they’ll have access to it no matter what device they’re on. This will save a lot of heartache later.

iMovie on the Mac is very different from iMovie on the iPad. Where I thought I had made something pretty awesome on iPad, it became multiplied by 300 when I created something similar on the Mac. Endless editing features for video and audio. Wait until you have all of your images in the right order before you try to do any voiceovers–you’ll save yourself a lot of work and redoing later on. When the project is finished, just export to your Google drive for sharing. Be sure to save the project file until grading is complete so changes can be made without having to start over completely.

Garage Band on the Mac is pretty cool. Students can create podcasts and include images to support their words. Encourage them to write a script first and use the space bar to break the audio into tracks so if they mess up they won’t have to re-record the entire track. Students can also record themselves reading an essay they’ve written to check for fluency. I didn’t play with the voice features too much here because I’m not crazy about how I sound when I’m recorded.

Overall, iLife on the Mac is way more powerful, but students can be just as successful with these apps on their iPads.


Our Apple Educator introduced us to SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition). As we start out on our 1:x journey, using tech as a substitute to the “usual” way of doing things will be the easiest place to start. Instead of having kids write in a journal each day, we can ask them to type their thoughts on their iPads and save them to Google Drive. Later, we’ll find ways to augment lessons with tech. Maybe kids can share the journal via Google Drive with another student or with the teacher, improving the functionality of the tech. Eventually, we can modify assignments with tech. Students can peer edit others’ writing and give comments via Google Docs. Finally, we’ll redefine tech, or maybe tech will redefine the way we teach. We’ll find ways of using tech that we had never thought of before.

We’re on the brink of something pretty great, and I’m excited to be part of it!

First of August Musings

I just wrapped up an AP summer institute at SMU Plano. We spent our days talking about strategies and practicing different kinds of assignments to use with our students. We read a story and participated in a modified Socratic seminar to discuss the piece. When we finished, someone asked what to do when a student refuses to participate. I shared my experience with using Twitter in the classroom and allowing students to tweet questions or responses to questions while other students were in a fishbowl. One teacher asked, “How do you know they’re not texting?” That’s when I realized how lucky I am to be in a district that encourages the use of technology. I can’t help but be surprised by how many districts still don’t do some form of BYOT.

I really haven’t had much of a summer. Between xCamp, state assessment retesting, and other random workshops and trainings, I’ve been on the go and my brain really hasn’t had a chance to rest. Because I haven’t really shut off, I was probably the first person to reply to the principal’s request for session leaders for in-service in a few weeks. I decided to offer an “Appy Hour” session to share apps that I plan to use with my students. I created a Google spreadsheet that I’ll share with others and ask them to add to the list as we go through the year (I’ll link it here when it’s a little more complete). Every app on the list is free, except one. I finally paid for Notability, and it is totally worth $1.99.

More to come next week.