Day 4 – Think, Plan, & Apply

The first time I put pen to paper all week (except for morning sign-in).

Today’s big question: Driven by the synthesis of your xCamp experience and the Strategic Design goals, what is your role as a 1:X teacher?

Here’s my answer in the form of a short video that I made on my iPad with iMovie and Garage Band.

I spent some time orienting myself with the new curriculum I’ll be working with in the fall, then I used iMovie to create a trailer to introduce Unit 1, but it’s not quite finished yet.

We finished the day looking at projects that other groups had completed during the week, and I was so impressed with how polished everything looked. We used the pen and paper as an exit ticket.

Side 1

Side 2

My brain really needs a break. I’ll find some time to share reflections tomorrow after I’ve decompressed a bit.


Day 3 – iLife Suite & Creativity Tools

Today we focused on the iLife Suite for the iPad: iPhoto, iMovie, and Garage Band. The common thread of this week is that the possibilities are endless. You can edit and add and tweak everything to your heart’s content. It is so easy to move from one program to the next because the editing processes are so similar. Don’t be afraid to try something different: the undo button is your friend.

A good practice is to create your album in the photos app before getting started. Of all the really cool enhancement features in iPhoto, the effects palette is my favorite. It has features like those you find in Instagram. Once you’ve finished editing your photos, you have the option of sharing them to many different platforms. Two we looked at were Beam and Journal. Beaming lets you to share pictures with any other iDevice that’s on the same network. The journal option allows you to add text–it reminds me a bit of an interactive scrapbook. It could be another way of presenting the mind map project.

You can also share an album to iMovie to start a new project or just import what you want from the camera roll. iMovie is SO easy to learn. One #xCamp-er commented that she showed it to a group of second graders, and they required very little instruction to get started. If you’ve used Windows MovieMaker, you’ll find iMovie to be much friendlier. In about an hour, I filmed, edited, and produced a video demonstrating how to get your iPhone earbuds back into the case properly, then I exported it to my camera roll and uploaded it to YouTube from there. I couldn’t export directly to YouTube because my login didn’t work, but I’ve fixed that issue now. iMovie also has a trailer feature that would be great as an introduction to a unit or book or as a review. In 20-30 minutes, some participants completed some really amazing trailers. I’m working on one to introduce the stories and writings we will complete in unit 1.

Garage Band
Smart instruments turn the most off-beat, tone-deaf music fan into a pro. This is definitely an activity best used with headphones. Students can create their own soundtrack and share it with iMovie. Teachers can record student voices for fluency checks. You can use the regular instruments and create original music. It’s not surprising to learn that musicians have created entire albums using Garage Band. Here again, you’re limited only by your imagination. And you might be surprised by what you remember. Apparently I haven’t forgotten how to play “Heart and Soul” on the piano.

Day 2 – iOS Productivity Tools

We started the day with an introduction to Keynote for iOS, Apple’s presentation tool. The terminology is a bit different from PowerPoint, but the idea is the same. Once I learned how to navigate it and find what I needed, Keynote was a breeze. Files can be saved to view on OS or PC, and you can also save them as PDFs. Embedding videos is really simple, but you have to be sure you don’t delete the original file from your camera roll. If you do, the video won’t play in the presentation. I created a mini lesson with some background info on Brutus and his role in Julius Caesar. I might have kids do something similar with background info from To Kill a Mockingbird.

After lunch, the discussion shifted to Pages for iOS, Apple’s word processing program. Many of the features are similar to the features in Keynote, so if you learn one, you shouldn’t have too much trouble figuring out the other. Pages has a lot of great templates, and the important thing to remember is that these documents are meant to be viewed on a device–they’re not intended for printing. So go ahead and throw in all of the videos and links you want to make it as interactive as possible. I’m thinking of using the Flyer template to have the kids create their mind maps digitally instead of the old school cut-and-paste-on-poster board.

We finished the day with a really brief intro to Numbers. All of these features are available as tables and graphs in Keynote and Pages, so Numbers really seems to be more suited for math classes.

Day 1 – iOS and OS Basics

I’m going to try my best to be concise, but there’s so much to share!

We started the day with a team-building exercise, and this was our result:


That’s 4 inches of marshmallow genius right there. The project was inspired by Tom Wujec’s TED Talk, Build a Tower, Build a Team. The winning tower was 6 inches tall, so we were close. Sort of.

Following the tower challenge, we dove right in to iOS basics. Most of the info was a refresher, but I learned a few new things that have totally changed my life.

  1. Force quit closes out apps that may still be running in the background thus prolonging your battery life. There’s another way to use this feature that I’ll discuss another time.
  2. Create a reading list in Safari to flag articles to read later. The reading list can be accessed offline, a great feature for a wi-fi only iPad.
  3. iBooks is Amazing. Capital A. I had no idea, really. Many of the classics are available for free in the store, or you can find them on Project Gutenberg and open them with the iBook app. And once there, the possibilities are truly endless. You can highlight, annotate, define words, bake a cake… Books in the ePub format have a study cards feature that takes all of the annotations and turns them into flashcards to study. I cannot even begin to tell you how absolutely cool this is. This has totally shifted my thinking away from the iPad as an expensive Facebook-checker or Twitter-tweeter.

After indulging in a tasty sandwich from Jason’s Deli, it was time to unbox the MacBook Pro.


I’ve said before that I got my start on the Apple when I was in high school, but this is nothing like that. I saw shades of a few things that carried over from the old-school model, like no right click option. Once we started looking more closely at the OS basics, other memories started to click, like the Apple icon as the home base, so to speak. Aside from all of the trackpad settings and dock introductions, I found out that QuickTime is more than a way to watch videos. The screen recording and audio recording features automatically lend themselves to how-to videos and podcasting. Possibilities are endless.

Tomorrow we’re diving into some apps, namely Garage Band, iPhoto, and iMovie. Right now, I’m going to keep playing with my new MacBook.

In the Know

Here’s a rundown of what I’ll be learning during the 7 days of xCamp. Looks to be very hands on and student-centered.

Day 1: iOS Basics, OSx Basics and Student Creation

Day 2: Creating with iOS 1 – iPhoto, iMovie, Garageband 

Day 3: Creating with iOS 2 – iWork: Pages, Numbers Keynote 

Day 4: Customized Connections: Student Choice by Design 

Day 5: unSupport and Mentoring on 1:X Workflow 

Day 6: Creating with Mac OSx 1 – iLife 

Day 7: Creating with Mac OSx 2 – iBook Author 


I’m one of two teachers representing my high school at our district’s xCamp this summer. The blurb from the invitation states, “xCamp is an innovative and engaging experience that will take teachers through an immersive [sic] experience that builds deep understanding of how students create, connect, share and collaborate in 1:X classrooms. This high-energy camp experience will give teachers from across the district an opportunity to build relationships while learning new ways to empower students through Strategic Design. Presented by national experts, xCamp will ignite instructional design and take your classroom to a whole new level!”

I’m excited for the opportunity, and I look forward to sharing my discoveries here throughout the summer and with my colleagues when we return to school in the fall.