It’s Been a Minute…

What a busy 9 weeks it has been! We started the year with 12 lb text books then traded them in 3 1/2 weeks later for 1 lb iPads. We used pens and paper then switched to Notability, Baiboard, and Google Docs. We filled folders and binders with hole-punched handouts then stored files on Google Drive. All that said, it’s been a thrilling learning experience.

ImageStudents use Socrative to participate in a class discussion.

With our iPads, we’ve toured museums across the world and collaborated on projects. One student joined class from home via FaceTime when she was too ill to attend.

A couple of my early concerns have mostly been unfounded. I was worried the wireless infrastructure wouldn’t be able to keep up with our needs, and I’ve had very few issues there. I also wondered how the kids would do when something didn’t work the way we wanted to, and they’ve been such troopers, just rolling with it and adapting as we go. They are not afraid of trying something new, and it really makes teaching so much fun again.


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.

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 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.