Saturday, November 23, 2013

iPods, Google Drive, IXL and more

 A     This has been a great week in the classroom. Last Friday, after the fiasco with the iPod wireless authentication, I stayed after school and refreshed all the iPods using Apple Configurator. Then, I closed Apple Configurator, and opened iTunes with all the iPods plugged in. I checked them, and they kept the books and iTunes University, except for a few, so I was able to copy the files into those iPods. I still have 2 iPods which are giving me a little trouble. So, I brought those home to troubleshoot this weekend. One of them has some "voice memos" on it, which I need to figure out to delete. Maybe, I'll do a backup of it.          
     Last Friday, I introduced Google Drive to my students, and they LOVE it. One student came up to me and said, "Thanks for telling me how to spell that word correctly" (which I did via a Google comment). I am looking forward to using Doctopus, and have created a roster for that. My goal is to have one assignment created with Doctopus this weekend. Then, next week, I want to spend some time in the computer lab. That way I can make sure EVERY child has signed into their Google accounts. Plus, I signed up for a 30 day trial of, so I want every student to sign into that too. Perhaps, we'll do this on Tuesday, since it's the last day of school before Thanksgiving break. Then, they can use that site over the break. Unfortunately, ixl doesn't have an iPod app, but they do have an iPad app. If I decide to purchase the full year ixl subscription (which I may do for Christmas), I'll email them to encourage them to create an iPod app.
     Can students take their Storytown weekly tests with their iPods on the Think Central website? We will answer that question on Monday. If it's not possible, then we can do the test on Tuesday in the computer lab. If it is possible to use the iPods to take the Storytown tests, that will greatly impact my instruction. I'll then be able to have the students take the test in the classroom instead of waiting to go to the computer lab.
     Thanksgiving break will be used to rethink some of my instruction. I need to start incorporating small groups as well as fluency timings for reading and math. I also want to make sure I set time aside for more explicit writing instruction. I'm looking forward to this time to refresh. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to incorporate such great technology into my class.

Friday, November 15, 2013

iPods in the Classroom - Journal Entry- Friday, November 15, 2013

One of my students had been asking me to add books to the iPods. While the other students were working on iPods last week, I did manage to add download some free books. Last weekend, however, I found out that adding them to the iPods cannot be done through Apple Configurator. Also, I was able to download the iTunes U app, but the actual "courses" cannot be added through Apple Configurator either. Playing around with one iPod, I found I could add books and iTunes U courses through iTunes, rather than Configurator. However, these have to be moved into each iPod individually.

I made a backup of one iPod with all the apps I wanted on it. Then, for each iPod, I restored them from this backup. Then, I added the books and iTunes U material to each iPod. Unfortunately, I did not check the internet settings on the first iPod I used to make the backup. So, after this process, the authentication keys for the network that were added to the iPods when I first assigned the iPods through Configurator were lost. Unfortunately, I didn't realize this until the iPods were already distributed to students and the IT Dept. and the School Superintendent were in the room. The students noticed they could not connect to the internet, and we tried to troubleshoot getting on the network together. That's when I realized that the authentication settings had been wiped out with this backup I created. At least the students were still able to access the books and the iTunesU material I downloaded, without accessing the internet. They were even able to play some of the games on Spelling City.

Today, I am go to try to go through Configurator, first with just one iPod and see if I can restore the WiFi profile I created. If it works for one, I will try it for all of them. It's a lot of work to get all of this going in a classroom, but I think it it well worth the effort.

This weekend, I also hope to research Doctopus more, so that next week I can have students log into their school Google accounts for the first time and start working on documents through there. I'd like to have a folder/document already set up for each student that the entire class can view and comment on (but not edit). Many of them are really anxious to type some of the writing they have been working on.