Article on Classroom Management

MadeyeFollowing the discussion about classroom management at the end of today’s meeting, I thought it would be interesting to see if there were any recent blog posts or articles discussing issues involving inappropriate use of their iPad during classtime (playing games, chatting with friends, posting instagram photos, etc.)

I came across this great post from Tim Schumacher,  a professor of educational technology:

My main line of argument with teachers went like this… If a student in your class is reading a book during Math class, what do you normally do?  Well, you give a verbal warning and ask them to put it away, or you put a check by their name or whatever.  What do you do if they  pull the book out again?  Well, you continue following your classroom management plan – another verbal warning, or you position yourself next to them while you continue, or ….  At some point, yes, you may have to remove the book and set it on your desk and you may have to contact the parent, etc.  The point is, IT issues should be no different.  Set a classroom management procedure and following it consistently – and only the more severe or repetitive infractions should be escalated to involve IT staff or admin.

He also mentions that we need to change our practices in the classroom:

The other change that had to happen as we moved into a 1:1 netbook program, and later a 1:1 iPad program, came through training teachers how to supervise computer use and manage their classrooms.

He goes on to outline 4 things they implemented in their school in order to help teachers manage the classroom. Now, there is nothing new here, but I think the point bears repeating. The classroom of 2013 looks very different than the classroom 20, even 10 years ago. It follows that the way we supervise the classroom must change as well. I like Schumacher’s emphasis on teacher’s using a uniform and clear vocabulary when asking their students to turn off their devices.

I also like his emphasis on re-training ourselves. I would also add that it is up to us to instil best practices in the students. I like what Ms. Website lady said in the meeting: every time she sees a grade 7 in the rotunda chatting online with her friend who happens to be sitting a few people away, she stops them and makes them say hello in person. Of course the students are distracted. Of course they will find ways to misuse technology. But as my experience has a parent has taught me, a lot of these lessons are in repetition.

Oh, and don’t forget your constant vigilance.



A Student’s Perspective on iStudiez Pro

iStudiez Pro

iStudiez Pro

In Anticipation for Tomorrow’s Presentation, I thought I would post this article reviewing the app iStudiez Pro. here is Mr. Snelgrove’s conclusion:

My Recommendation

If you’re a starving student or a parent trying to figure out how to make sure your kid gets through the seventh grade, I can’t recommend iStudiez Pro highly enough. It suffers from a little bit of feature bloat, but in this app’s case, one student’s feature bloat is another student’s paradise. Since I started using the app, my grades have gone up, my productivity has more than doubled, and my schedule has become much easier to manage. Even planning vacations got a lot easier when I could see where the gaps were in between assignments and work.

It is helpful to see how an actual student uses the app. With that in mind, I asked my daughter to try out the app for the couple of months. She is also a big fan though I notice she doesn’t use it for her class schedule. When I asked her whey, she said she couldn’t figure it out.

I think the main challenge for our school will be the importing of the bi-weekly schedule in the app. The way they ask you to input your class schedule does not allow for alternate weeks. This only means that they will have to manually input their schedule into the calendar, instead of using the planner section of the app.

But more on that tomorrow!


rAPPido Review: Preparing for the demise of Google Reader with Feedly


Price: free

As I mentioned last week, Google has decided to scrap their RSS feed Google Reader. The decision behind this intrigues me. It makes me wonder if I missed the memo somewhere, if the way I collect websites and blogs to read is now updated. If they are scrapping it, it can only mean one thing, right? The tool is out-dated. Which means I am out-dated.

Oh dear. This will have to be further investigated in the near future, but right now, I want to cling to my lovely collection of feeds, please. In order to do that, I need to find another feed reader. As the article I found on Google Reader alternatives recommended, I thought I would try Feedly, as it has an app for the iPad.

I downloaded it first on my iPad. The first thing it asked me to do was access my google reader, which means that I didn’t have to figure out how to import all my collection to the new platform. Now whether or not my feeds will remain in Feedly once Google Reader is gone remains to be seen. Oh! But I just google this problem and the folks at Feedly anticipated me. They wrote a nice blog post for people like me who are migrating to Feedly from Google Reader! So yes, now all my sites are safely ensconced in Feedly.

The default view took posts from my interesting stuff file and laid them out in magazine format, much like Flipboard:


For my purposes however, that is not so useful. I quickly tapped the bars in the left hand corner and got my table of contents. I was instantaneously enamoured with the pretty colour-coding of my different categories as well as the clean, easy-to use interface::



The Saved for Later works much like starring in google reader. In fact, my saved for later tab is already populated by the stuff I starred in Google reader.

I did spend some time looking for where I could add a website to Feedly either through the app itself or an add-on in my web browser. I didn’t find a way to add anything through my iPad, which led me to download Feedly on my desktop.

I downloaded it as an add-on to Firefox, the web browser I use the most frequently. After restarting it, and signing in with my google account, I noticed the icon appear beside the URL field in my browser:

Screen Shot 2013-03-25 at 9.48.21 AM


If you click on the icon, it brings you to the Feedly site where you can add a website to your collection:

Screen Shot 2013-03-25 at 9.27.26 AM


On the iPad and through your desktop Feedly , you still haver the options to email, link, share, and save the articles you read:

Screen Shot 2013-03-25 at 9.51.23 AM


All in all, Feedly is a an easy-to-use, more elegant tool than Google Reader. No need for lengthy and complicated exporting and importing. It gives me everything Google Reader gave me plus a more elegant interface.

App-Based Learning- a critical perspective



I came across this article this morning via  Developing Education and found it intriguing. Keenan argues in it that we should be moving away from lesson plans that give our students only one choice of apps. That finding and evaluating which tool works best for them is part of the learning process:

However, in every talk I give, I try to mention several apps for each task I have students perform.  This can, at times, seem counterintuitive to those I am speaking to who want a ‘single solution’ in their classrooms.

Why do I do this?

The answer is simply that I believe students should have the opportunity to pick a tool to do a job.  I want students to have options and think about why they are choosing the tool they do.  If I give students one option, they may learn how to use that app, but have not learned why that app is there and why it was chosen for use.  –Derek Keenan

I have mentioned already in this blog how I thought our school should focus more on creation apps as opposed to content-based apps in terms of what we should be recommending our students to purchase but it never occurred to me to let the students choose which apps they use when they do a project. I know when I have been developing projects for the iPad for students I have never given them the option as to what app they use to get the job done.

I have also been intrigued about what I am increasingly perceiving as a disconnect between how we want to use technology in education (eg. the flipped classroom) and the students’ inability to change their own study habits to take on this challenge. (I posted a great Ted Talk about this in a previous post). Now don’t get me wrong- this is no criticism on teachers. The questions Keenan poses as well as Dan Meyer (the math teacher in the Ted talk) is I think an age-old one. How to we get students invested in their own learning process? How do we get them to think about how they learn and what works best for them? Are we giving them enough choice? Too much choice? As always, trial and error are a big part of learning- do we give our students enough opportunities to try, fail, try again and then succeed?

I don’t know. Do you? If so, please tell us about it!


“Our School would be better off without iPads.”

Via Edudemic

Check out this intriguing if not controversial comment by a student in a school where the teachers all have iPads:

NOTE: Since a teacher’s name and school was included in the comment, I thought it might be useful to remove any personal or identifying information from the comment before raising awareness of it.

I get that iPads can help students learn and it can open up new opportunities to learn. But at -school name removed by Edudemic editor, Jeff- the teachers get their own iPad. they play games all throughout class and give us huge packets to work on. They don’t even teach us the material, they just say here’s your work do it by next class. Then they give us hard tests and wonder why no one get’s good grades on them. -teacher’s name removed by Edudemic editor, Jeff- is one of these teachers. They get paid to be here and do nothing, I’m forced to come and do more work then them. Our school would be better off without iPads.

What do you think?

The Impending Demise of Google Reader

So, I got back from vacation and was confronted with the news from Google that they are going to kill their google reader.

anxious-nervous-woman-wringing-handkerchief-in-her-hands1.Pause for the horror to sink in.

2.Commence the hair pulling, hand-wringing and cursing those fickle google gods.

3.Get over myself and look for alternatives.

This is a big deal for me. For many years I have used google reader an RSS  feed to keep all the websites and blogs I follow in one place. I have them neatly divided into folders- one for iPad stuff, one for YA Book stuff, etc. When I need a subject for this blog I go to my ipad collection. If I am wanting to do some collection development, I will go to my YA folder.

Ok. I am making myself want to go back to #2 right now.

Luckily I found this article via The Verge about Google Reader alternatives. I totally relate to the author:

When I heard Google was planning to kill Google Reader as part of a “spring cleaning exercise,” I was appalled. Google had decided to disband the team of paperboys that delivered me the news every morning. While RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is years past its heyday, it had become a wonderful and efficient way to read news untarnished by the social networking age. It was my firehose of headlines, straight from the source.

And Google Reader is a lot more than an RSS client. It syncs news feeds between different apps, and makes sure you can always pick up right where you left off. It’s also simple and free, which means it drove most competitors out of the market long ago. Once Reader dies July 1st, we’ll be left with apps that don’t rely on its backend to sync your feeds — which isn’t very many apps. Various denizens of the internet and companies like Digg have volunteered to create new backends of their own, but for now, picking an RSS client you can trust means you’ll need one that doesn’t rely on Google Reader.

“Hearing that Google Reader is shutting down is like hearing that your favorite old bookstore is closing,” writesThe New Yorker’s Joshua Rothman. So what are all the “absurdly ambitious readers” to do?

He gives many of options and ranks them. He also mentions whether the RSS feed have apps and for what mobile device. Because I use a few different computers (work, home, ipad, phone) it’s important for me that the feed syncs with every device and that I can read it on every device. After reading this article, I am going to try Feedly.

Do you have an RSS feed you love? If so, tell me about it!






While your mind is refreshed: Can the iPad rescue the American Education System?

March Break is over, and you’re back to work feeling refreshed, invigorated and inspired, right? Right?

Here is an article via Wired with the bold title, “Can the iPad Rescue A Struggling American Education System?

Screen Shot 2013-03-18 at 3.01.07 PM


What struck me most was this statement from a chemistry teacher:

“When I see a chemical reaction on a piece of paper, I don’t see coefficients and symbols, I see a bucket of molecules reacting,” Stoltzfus said. “But I don’t think our students see that big bucket of molecules. We can give students a better idea of what’s happening at a molecular level with animations and interactive elements.”

I am curious to know if teachers at our school use the iPad in this way and if so, do they observe the same reactions from the students?

Check it out and tell me what you think!