Tag Archives: apple


3 Ways to Use the Apple Teacher Program in Your District

Charles Schwab once said, “I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best in a man is by appreciation and encouragement.“
For those of us working to support teachers with the integration of technology into their curriculum, each scenario is unique. There are no guides or play-by-play of what to do, and so we often turn to one another to share best practices such as Twitter chats like #TosaChat. With everyone’s plate relatively full, it can often be challenging to arouse enthusiasm for reimagining teaching and learning.
Every once in awhile a resource comes along that gets everyone excited. With the social media buzz around the Apple Teacher Program, we’ve definitely seen how this resource sparks enthusiasm for learning new ideas. A quick glance at the #AppleTeacher posts everyone has been sharing on Twitter, prove that despite not having grown up with technology everyone can learn how to use it.
As someone who works with teachers on integrating technology, I immediately ask, “How can we use the enthusiasm generated by the Apple Teacher Program to encourage teachers to transition from consumption of ideas to creation of their own.”
I’m often inspired by a mantra used by one of my colleagues, Maria Maldonado, at the USC PA program, “See one, do one, teach one,” an approach often used in the teaching of medicine. So how might we apply the see one, do one, teach one, model to the Apple Teacher Program?

Apple Teacher Program: See One

The Apple Teacher program offers two tracks: one for iOS and one for Mac. Each module begins with a starter guide focused in on a specific area, such as Keynote, Pages or Creativity. As you work through the different starter guide you learn about all the features and create your own product. If teachers have access to both devices, consider having them choose one track to work with initially. Simply seeing the design and structure of the associated iBooks is a powerful experience that can give teachers ideas for how to share their own content with students.
Each module ends with a series of quiz questions. The questions present scenarios that not only test your knowledge of the different features in the app, but also give you ideas for how you can use the apps when planning your lessons.
Teachers have a full plate, so be sensitive when creating a timeline for completion. Talk with teachers about their schedule and set a realistic time frame for when this portion can be completed. Moreover, instead of working in isolation, consider creating cohorts of teachers that teach the same content area across your school, district, or beyond who can work together to add a collaborative and social element to the process. Create an online space, like a Seesaw class for example, where they can share their learning, ideas and reflections throughout the process. Once the teachers have completed the modules they will receive their Apple Teacher badge that they can proudly share, so don’t forget to celebrate success!

Apple Teacher Program: Do One

Once your cohort of teachers has completed the modules and received their Apple Teacher badge, the next step is for them to “Do One” by creating their own teaching scenarios, similar to the ones that were presented during the quiz portion of the module. Begin by exploring what problem they are trying to solve. Use this opportunity to discuss learning objectives, challenges and opportunities in the classroom.
Teachers could do the planning of these lessons independently or collaboratively. As the instructional coach, work side by side with teachers to plan the lesson, if needed. While brainstorming, have them browse the Inspiration for Teachers and Learning Resources for Teachers sections to get ideas.
Once the teachers are ready to launch the lesson in their classrooms, be there to offer support and take pictures/video that you can use to publish in a blog post on the lesson to share with a global audience. These pictures and video clips can also be used in the final part of this process.
Encourage teachers to share resources and inspiration they found online in Seesaw with their peers. As always celebrate success! Create your own badge that you will give teachers upon completion of this milestone.

Apple Teacher Program: Teach One

In the final stage, imagine taking the framework presented in the Apple Teacher Program and having teachers build upon it. Like we say we should do with our students, provide teachers with choice for what and how they would like to create. Here the goal is for the teachers to take the lesson they have created, or an app they have used and, “Teach One,” to another colleague. For example, a teacher could use their newly acquired Keynote skills to create a short slideshow as seen in the “real stories” section in the Apple Teacher website, highlighting how to carry out the lesson they designed.
If anyone is feeling more ambitious, they may even like to create a “Starter Guide” to an app that they use. To support any teachers who may want to consider this option, create a template that teachers can then build on. The template could be built in either iBook Author or Book Creator. To accompany the book, the teachers could create a short quiz and design a badge that others will receive when they have completed their module.
As always, let teachers decide whether they wish to work independently or collaboratively. Once the teachers have completed this step, present them with their badge (you will have to create your own). Publish these books to share with others and celebrate their success.
If you are working to support teachers on integrating iPads and Macbooks, how have you been using the Apple Teacher Program? Perhaps an interesting topic for discussion at the next EdCamp or meetup could be, “how might we build on the enthusiasm generated by the Apple Teacher Program to encourage and appreciate teachers as they see one, do one and teach one?”

Don’t miss the chance to learn from Sabba and other Apple Distinguished Educators at the Innovation Summit next month in Boston.

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How to Become an Apple Teacher

The all new Apple Teacher program launched recently alongside the iPhone7 and Air Buds, though to significantly less fanfare outside of the education community. This free program offers teachers with four distinct sets of resources as well as the potential to earn badges towards an .

Learning Resources for Teachers

In the Learning Resources Section, you will find fantastic starter guides for both iPad and Mac all curated into the Apple Bookstore. Topics include Getting Started with the iPad/Mac, Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iMovie, Garageband, as well as Productivity and Creativity. I particularly appreciated the fact that the resources are geared towards both beginner and proficient users. Each guide not only has a wealth of information presented as text, videos, and even interactive images, but the structure of the guide gives you an opportunity to apply everything that you learn.

Apple Teacher Guide

Self-Paced Learning Modules & Badges for iPad and Mac

This is an outstanding resource for both beginners and advanced users of the iPad and Mac. Despite having taught in a 1:1 iPad environment, and being Apple Distinguished Educator, I learned so many new tips, tricks and ideas to take back to my classroom and to the teachers with whom I work. There are eight modules for both the iPad and Mac that you need to complete in order to get your certification.
Apple Teacher Badges
What I enjoyed most about the experience was the scenario-based quiz questions. These quizzes test your knowledge from the iOS Starter Guides found in the Learning Resources section. As you begin going through the resources and answering the quiz questions your mind will be buzzing with ideas. These are excellent to use to advance your own learning about how to use the iPad and Mac and are a great resource to craft learning experiences for your faculty during professional development. For example, once teachers have received their badge ask them to create scenarios for how they could use the different apps in their classroom. This is definitely not something to rush through! You could spend the entire year mastering the different apps, focusing on one module each month.

Inspiration for Teachers

You’ve mastered the apps, and you’ve earned your Apple Teacher certification, so what’s next? This area will provide you with lots of lesson ideas and inspiration that you can use to apply everything you’ve learned to transform the teaching and learning experience in your school. Whether you read stories about how other teachers are using the different apps with their students or watch video tips, this is a great resource to stay up to date with new tips about how bring iPad and Mac into your classroom. For example, you can learn about how to use the new Classroom app to view your student’s screens as well as how to use the multitasking features of an iPad. You’ll also find a variety of resources to spark new inspiration for how you can reimagine teaching and learning.

Everyone Can Code

“Everyone Should have an opportunity to change the world.” -Apple
This is the driving vision behind the new coding and app development curriculum recently launched by Apple, a story beautifully told in this video. There are two parts to this new initiative – Swift Playgrounds and App Development. From elementary to higher ed, there is something for everyone. This is a great resource for anyone looking to integrate coding and app development into their courses, and what I really appreciated were the teacher guides that accompany the curriculum.

Swift Playgrounds

The Apple website describes it as:

“Swift Playgrounds is a revolutionary new app for iPad that makes learning Swift interactive and fun. Solve puzzles to master the basics using Swift — a powerful programming language created by Apple and used by the pros to build many of today’s most popular apps. Then take on a series of challenges and step up to more advanced creations. Swift Playgrounds requires no coding knowledge, so it’s perfect for students just starting out. It also provides a unique way for seasoned developers to quickly bring ideas to life. And because it’s built to take full advantage of iPad, it’s a first-of-its-kind learning experience.”

Some highlights include 45 hours of lessons, enhanced and interactive activities, review and reflection activities and grading rubrics. You can click here to download the Swift Playgrounds Course iBook.

App Development with Swift

In an interview, Guy Kawasaki – former evangelist from Apple – once said that one of his regrets was not learning how to code; not because he wanted to become a programmer but because understanding the language would have given him a unique perspective in the work he does. For students in middle school and up, the app development course with Swift helps them to create their own apps. If you have an idea for an app, the App Development with Swift guide will help you create it from start to finish.

Like most things that come along, these tools are only as great as we make them. Socrates reminds us, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” As the stories from the Inspiration for Teachers section show us, iPads and Macs present an opportunity to truly reimagine what is possible. Share your story and how you use what you’ve learned from the eight modules to reimagine learning in your classroom in the comments below.

Looking for more inspiration? Come join the EdTechTeacher Innovation Summit in November!

  • Learn from Apple Distinguished Educators, Google Certified Trainers, and national thought leaders.
  • Get hands-on with iPads, Macs, and Chromebooks, as well as concepts like coding, making, and design thinking.

Featured Speakers-2016

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Apple Classroom: The 3 key features and 4 questions to ask right now

This is the last in our five part series addressing what teachers should know about iOS 9.3. If you’ve missed the beginning of the series and need to catch up, you can read part 1 here,  part 2 here, and part 3 here, and part 4 here.

new apple education resources

What is Apple Classroom?

The marquee feature for teachers in iOS 9.3 comes with the introduction of the Apple Classroom app. Currently only available as an iPad app, Apple Classroom provides teachers a seamless way to manage their iPad classrooms from their teacher iPad. The app is full functions to explore so let’s dive into them.
apple classroom app logo

How it Works

A consistent concern for teachers newly entering an iPad classroom is how to manage 25 students and 25 different screens. With the Apple Classroom app, teachers will have many management functions directly from their iPad. In order to set up Apple Classroom, your technology administrator will upload your classes through your school’s Mobile Device Manager. With that being done on the back end, teachers should not have to focus on the managing aspects of organizing students into their classes.
With classes established, teachers are given a wealth of options to manage their classrooms. First, Apple Classroom allows teachers to establish groups of students. Within these groups, teachers can push out specific apps or websites.
For example, a teacher may have an activity where three groups of students are analyzing three separate articles. The teacher will be able to place the students into groups from the Apple Classroom app and send each group the specific article through Safari. Those articles will then display immediately on the specific student iPads.
This process also works for launching apps. If a teacher would like to launch all students directly into Keynote, they are able to do this with only a few taps of their iPad. Conversely, they could also send one group to Keynote, one to Explain Everything, and another to Book Creator!
apple classroom preview
Next, with Apple Classroom, sharing student content has never been easier. If you have an Apple TV or other mirroring software available, teachers will now be able to airplay student devices directly from their Apple Classroom app. Student’s no longer have to find the mirroring option on their own which should greatly increase classroom efficiency!

The 3 Key Features Of Apple Classroom

Courtesy: Apple

Courtesy: Apple

Finally, there are three features that specifically help teachers manage their classrooms.
1 – Remote Screen Viewing
The first is the ability to view student screens in real time. Teachers are now able to see a thumbnail of their student’s device from their iPad. By tapping that thumbnail, they will be able to see the screen in full. The students are then notified when the teacher is viewing their screen by the blue Airplay bar displaying at the top.
2 – Remote Locking of Screens
In some cases, the focus of the class may need to be called back to the teacher. The Apple Classroom app also allows teachers to remotely lock the screens of the student iPads in their class. The familiar technique of “Apples up!” has been taken to a new level by the Apple team, and Apple Classroom now locks screens until the teacher triggers an unlock command.
3 – Resetting Passwords
The last management feature of Apple Classroom comes in the form of resetting passwords directly from the app. If administrators, in School Manager, have set up teachers with the permission to reset passwords, then they are able to complete this task directly from their Apple Classroom app. This has the potential to save valuable classroom time for students as they will no longer have to leave the classroom to get their password reset.

4 Things To Ask Your Administrator

  1. Do I have access to the Apple Classroom app?
  2. Are my iPads compatible with the requirements of Apple Classroom?
  3. Are my classes uploaded to our school’s MDM?
  4. Do I have the ability to Airplay my student’s iPads in my classroom?

Why Teachers Should Care

Apple Classroom is sure to help teachers manage their iPad classroom environment far more effectively than before. Your schools may not have the ability to set up Apple Classroom quite yet, but Apple has promised to roll it out to schools, hopefully, by the start of the school year.
If it works as advertised, Apple will have made a tremendous step forward in helping schools and teachers effectively integrate iPads into their curriculums. For more information on Apple Classroom, visit Apple’s Getting Started with Classroom PDF guide.

Come Learn more from Ben this year!

Ben will be a featured presenter in Boston and San Diego this year. He will be joined by other Google experts from across the country to share new ways to innovate student learning Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education.

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The Teacher's Guide: Using Shared iPads on iOS 9.3 and later

This is part four of a five part series addressing what teachers should know about iOS 9.3. If you’ve missed the beginning of the series and need to catch up, you can read part 1 here,  part 2 here, and part 3 here.

new apple education resources

What Are Shared iPads?

When Apple initially developed and released iPads in 2010, the intent of the device was to make an individual’s life easier. To this point, the device has succeeded in that aspect. However, in the educational world, schools may not be able to afford a fully individualized experience for their students with iPads. This issue has resulted in schools purchasing iPad carts for teachers and students sharing the iPads in those carts, hence the term “Shared iPads”.
While great in cost savings, the shared cart often created multiple issues for teachers and students. With the release of iOS 9.3 comes the Shared iPad environment. An environment that will help teachers and students in an iPad cart classroom create a personalized learning experience.

ipad carts

Source: indianapublicmedia.org

Prior to iOS 9.3, class carts of iPads were often viewed as a free-for-all. In many classrooms, mine included, each student was assigned a numbered iPad out of the cart in the back of the room, and each class would share that cart. This led to a system in which 5 to 6 students were using the same iPad throughout the day. This system created many issues including projects and files that would go “missing” (potentially deleted by a student from another period of the day) and students grabbing the wrong number to start the class. This often created a discombobulated start to class activities as students searched for their appropriate iPad.
With the release of the Shared iPads feature, now a fully integrated feature in iOS 9.3, these troubles will be no more as Apple intends to create a personalized learning environment for those students who may not be in a 1:1 environment.

How It Works

Shared iPads starts with students being assigned to a specific device by their teacher through Apple Classroom. Logistically, to make the assignments successful, the devices need to be in the same room and within bluetooth range of the teacher’s iPad. When the teacher assigns the iPads, the student’s image and Apple ID will appear on the lock screen of the assigned iPad. If students do not see their pictures, they do still have the option to login to the iPad by using their Apple ID.

Courtesy: Apple

Courtesy: Apple

When students select their picture, they will be prompted to enter their password. The password is actually a simple passcode similar to what users experience when their iPads or iPhones are locked. Once students enter their code, their profile is loaded on the device. This profile contains features such as iCloud data, pictures, and specific apps for that student. The syncing process should take anywhere from 15-20 seconds of load time. For new users not previously logged into the iPad, it will load the most recent data in the initial load time. After the initial download, the student’s remaining data will be downloaded in the background. This will be a tremendous time-saving benefit and greatly reduce the potential for a classroom disruption.

Things To Ask Your Administrator

  • Have student Apple IDs been created?
  • Has Shared iPad been established in our Mobile Device Manager?
  • Are the class rosters uploaded to our Mobile Device Manager so I can assign the iPads to my students?
  • Must I have Apple Classroom to make this happen?

Why Teachers Should Care

The exciting part about the shared iPad experience is the ability for schools to create a 1:1-like personalized environment inside of each student’s classroom. The iPad cart was previously a difficult environment to manage; but with the Shared iPad feature of iOS 9.3, it will now create a student-centered working environment as opposed to a technology hassle.

Come Learn more from Ben this year!

Ben will be a featured presenter in Boston and San Diego this year. He will be joined by other Google experts from across the country to share new ways to innovate student learning Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education.

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What are Managed Apple IDs and what should teachers know?

This is part three of a five part series addressing what teachers should know about iOS 9.3. If you’ve missed the beginning of the series and need to catch up, you can read part 1 here and part 2 here.

new apple education resources

What Are Managed Apple IDs?

One issue plaguing schools using iPads involves the process of creating Apple IDs for students and staff. The Apple ID is incredibly important in an iPad environment, as it sets up the iCloud account of the student and is the key to all of that student’s created data. With iOS 9.3 and Apple School Manager, school administrators are now able to create, in mass, Apple IDs for all of their students and staff through an upload or connection to the school’s student information system.
This is an incredible update from the previous system of generating Apple IDs in which schools would have to go through the Apple ID for Students program.

How it Works

teaching_assistant_largeThere are many benefits to the new system of Managed IDs. However, the single most important feature involves the ability for students to access their iCloud drive from any device. With this step, Apple is truly making iCloud available everywhere. For example, a student may create a Keynote presentation on a shared iPad at school. In the past, that Keynote would stay on that device in the teacher’s classroom. Now, if they need to continue to work on it at home, they will be able to log into iCloud.com with their school issued Apple ID and access that file. They can do this from either an iPad or a Mac computer. Students only need their school-issued Apple ID.
School administrators can use specific Apple IDs and assign permissions in the school’s Mobile Device Manager and School Manager for various tasks such as purchasing apps through the Volume Purchase Program or resetting student passwords. The password reset feature will also directly integrate into the new Apple Classroom app, allowing teachers to reset student passwords with only a few taps on their iPad.
It should be noted that students given these Apple IDs will not have access to the App Store, iBooks Store, or iTunes store to make purchases or downloads. Teachers given appropriate permissions by administrators could have the ability to download apps and books from the Volume Purchase Program, and then have those pushed out to their students.

Things To Ask Your Administrator

  • Have separate roles been established for staff and students?
  • Who has the power to purchase apps through the VPP store? (In other words, if I want something, who should I ask?)
  • Once an app is requested and purchased, who do we contact to push it out to the students?
  • How do students use their managed Apple ID at home?

Why Teachers Should Care

Courtesy: Apple

Courtesy: Apple

While it has a few challenges and kinks to be considered, overall, the Managed Apple IDs portion of the system is something about which IT administrators, teachers, and students should be extremely excited.
The ease of creating the IDs and their connection to iCloud’s storage will allow schools to create an environment in which students and teachers are connected and integrated through more than ever before. For more information on Managed Apple IDs, visit Apple’s deployment help page on Apple IDs.

Come Learn more from Ben this year!

Ben will be a featured presenter in Boston and San Diego this year. He will be joined by other Google experts from across the country to share new ways to innovate student learning Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education.

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What is Apple School Manager and how does it work?

This is part two of a five part series addressing what teachers should know about iOS 9.3. Read part 1 here.

new apple education resources

What is Apple School Manager?

If we start at the top level of the new iOS 9.3 update, the major release concerning administrators is Apple School Manager. Prior to School Manager, Apple schools would have many different websites and portals to visit in order to make changes to their technical iPad environment. This was everything from purchasing apps in the Volume Purchase Program to enrolling iPads through the Device Enrollment Program. These were cumbersome steps for technology directors and often a drawback of going 1:1 with iPads.
With the release of School Manager, technology administrators will have only one web portal to access when they wish to make any back-end changes to their iPad environments. This will include enrolling iPads, purchasing apps, and managing Apple IDs.

How It Works

apple classroom app logoApple School Manager is a system that will only be run by a few individuals in a school, and Apple has attempted to make it as easy as possible to get your environment up and running. Upon entering the School Manager for the first time, technology administrators will be greeted with a setup assistant to guide them through the process of establishing their School Manager. It is Apple’s intent that once this process is done, the school will not have to continually enter into School Manager to make changes.
One of the benefits of School Manager comes from uploading users and creating managed Apple IDs (we will visit Apple IDs in a later post). Users can be uploaded two ways, through a .CSV file or through a connection with the school’s student information system. Roles can be established inside of School Manager to give various levels of control to users. For example, technology integration specialists may need the ability to purchase apps for their teachers in the VPP Store, School Manager will allow the administrator to grant this power to certain users, but not all.

Why Teachers Should Care

For teachers, this is going to be a seamless step in the background. However, with the administrator’s ability to upload users and grant specific permissions to certain roles, students will only be able to use the devices for educational purposes while teachers can be allowed more freedom. School Manager will also allow staff and students to have managed Apple IDs. This will be discussed in a future article, but it is worth noting that the managed Apple IDs will allow for a more streamlined classroom for teachers.
apple classroom preview

Things to Ask Your Administrator

  • Has our school been notified by Apple with the ability to enroll in Apple School Manager?
  • Does our Student Information System work in conjunction with Apple School Manager?
  • Will staff members be granted permission to reset passwords and download apps?

In all, Apple School Manager should be a tremendous step forward for technology administrators operating in Apple Schools. While its features should not be confused with the Google Admin Console, administrators now have a much easier way to manage their Apple environments. For more information on Apple School Manager visit Apple’s School Manager Help page.

Come Learn more from Ben this year!

Ben will be a featured presenter in Boston and San Diego this year. He will be joined by other Google experts from across the country to share new ways to innovate student learning Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education.

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The 4 biggest (and newest) Apple education resources now available

new apple education resources

This is part one of a five part series addressing what teachers should know about iOS 9.3. Stay tuned for more in this series!

For the last several years, Apple’s iPad has become the ultimate creation tool in the classroom. However, it has continued to frustrate teachers and administrators alike in its setup and deployment within an actual classroom environment.

Steve Jobs unveiled Apple's new iPad at the Yerba Buena Gardens theater in San Francisco, Calif. Wednesday Jan. 27, 2010. (Karl Mondon/Staff)

Steve Jobs unveiled Apple’s new iPad at the Yerba Buena Gardens theater in San Francisco, Calif. Wednesday Jan. 27, 2010. (Karl Mondon/Staff)

I remember getting my first set of iPads five years ago and discovering that the only way to install a desired app was to plug the cart into my MacBook (the PC I had attempted to use first was not powerful enough) and drag and drop every app onto each specific iPad. It was a nuisance and took a terribly long time.
Fast forward through several major Apple releases that promised to make life easier for teachers and administrators in my same position: Apple Configurator, Apple’s DEP program, 3rd party Mobile Device Management (MDM) integration… Each time Apple made one of these announcements, I thought, “Finally! Here is the cure for the Apple ails!”

The Importance Of Mobile Device Management (MDM)

Although each announcement came with excitement and promise, none of them seemed to actually work as advertised and make the deployment or management of iPads any easier. To date, the best of those releases was the inclusion of 3rd party MDM integration. If you are not familiar with what an MDM does, it essentially provides administrators the ability to manage the iPads in their school environment – some teachers may know it as “self service.”
An MDM could be used to create a school iPad profile, distribute apps, managing classes in Apple Classroom, and many others. While the integration of MDM’s was a welcome solution to many iPad woes. It still left something to be desired as not every MDM was created equal, and Apple never gave any guidance as to which programs could be trustworthy and which could not.
As we enter into the current education landscape, administrators and technology directors are continuing to look to the Google Chromebook as the answer for their schools. While this article is not a debate on Chromebook vs iPad, it is important to note that the ability to manage and deploy a fleet of Chromebooks more efficiently than a fleet of iPads often drives this decision. However, with Apple’s release of iOS 9.3, schools that have been held-up on the decision between iPads and another device solely because of administration and deployment should take a second look at iPads.
As an EdTechTeacher instructor, I was recently invited to Apple for a presentation on iOS 9.3 and had the opportunity to ask Apple about the issues that I had faced in the past. There are four reasons 9.3 will change the game for administrators, teachers, and students alike.

Apple School Manager

Apple School Manager will become a technology administrator’s one-stop-shop for enrolling and managing their school’s iPad environment. School Manager will combine Apple’s current educational platforms – the Device Enrollment Program, Volume Purchase Program, and Apple ID for Students Program – into one web portal.
apple classroom preview

Managed Apple IDs

Apple will now allow Apple IDs to be managed by schools inside of Apple School manager. These managed IDs will be specifically associated with the school and allow students to access their iCloud accounts from any device. These IDs will also allow for a shared iPad environment!
identity management on apple classroom

Shared iPads

Perhaps one of the largest pieces to the release of iOS 9.3 involves the new Shared iPad feature. iPads stored in a cart in a teacher’s classroom, or shared between classrooms, can now be assigned to specific students. When a student logs into their device, all of their user specific data will be loaded onto that iPad including apps, iCloud data, and locally saved data. When the student logs off, their data is backed up to iCloud, and the device can then be used by another student.
shared apple ipads

Apple Classroom

This is undoubtedly the best new feature for teacher management of an iPad classroom as Apple Classroom will change the way teachers manage their iPad environments. Through the Apple Classroom app (iTunes link), teachers will be able to group students, launch apps and websites on student devices, view student screens in real time, remotely lock screens, reset passwords, and Airplay student devices. By integrating these management features, Apple has created an iPad assistant to help teachers effectively manage their iPad classroom.
It appears as though iOS 9.3 is the life preserver that technology directors and teachers using iPads have been yearning for several years. While the release of all these updates has yet to hit full implementation, the functions touted by the Apple Education team and their extensive support materials seem to appear as though they are on track with this update.

A Look At Apple Classroom (Slideshow)

Follow Daily Genius and EdTechTeacher for an in-depth look at all of the new iOS 9.3 updates coming soon!

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Education Work

How to use your iPhone as a laser pointer

I struggled to keep up with classwork during my time in school. I managed to compensate by working extra hard after class and by seeking out assistance whenever possible. One of the biggest problems I faced during my time in classrooms was simply trying to understand where a teacher was pointing. They rarely used pointer sticks unless it was for a large map or something akin to that.

Instead, I was left scratching my head trying to understand what exactly was being discussed. I’m no moron, mind you. I can hold my own in terms of academic discussions. So I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I’m not the only one who gets a bit lost in classrooms where teachers are gesturing and pointing at aspects with little regard to a student’s ability to follow along. I remember many times I was left more confused than informed.

Then something changed.

I took an art history course at my college (university to our non-U.S. readers) where the teacher used a laser pointer to point out key elements of a painting, statues, etc. It was instantly easier to understand what key element was being discussed. I didn’t get an A+ in the course but I did manage to get an A in it thanks in part to the newfound ability to focus on things with laser-like focus. See what I did there? Lasers? Anyone? Is this thing on?

Carrying around a laser pointer is a pain in the butt. It needs separate batteries, good ones cost quite a bit of money, and you may lose it.

What if you could use your iPhone as a laser pointer? What if there was a super sweet deal that let you get the iPin iPhone laser pointer for 23% off? For just 5 days as of this post’s publication, you can get an iPhone laser pointer for $42.99. They’re normally $56, by the way.

Click here to check out the deal. Limited time offer (5 days as of the publishing this post)

Want to learn a bit more about how it works? Check out this video:

About The iPin iPhone Laser Pointer

The same laser pointer that you chased your cat with as a kid comes in handy these days as a professional presentation tool. Rather than deal with batteries dying, and keeping track of yet another gadget, iPin conveniently beams a powerful red laser right out of your iPhone. This expertly-engineered device fits directly into your headphone jack, and the award-winning app gives you complete control over your audience right from your phone screen.

“Designed strictly for safe work purposes like highlighting information during a presentation, the iPin sips power from your iPhone but shouldn’t drain its battery.” Andrew Liszewski, Gizmodo

  • Enjoy the power of a laser pointer without carrying a bulky gadget around
  • Never deal w/ replacing batteries
  • Get wireless presentation control straight from your phone
  • Turn on & off w/ the built-in switch, so there’s no need to unplug to make a call
  • Seamlessly fit it right inside your headphone mini jack


  • Compatible w/ iPhone 3GS or later (NOTE: not compatible w/ iPhone 6 Plus or 6s Plus)
  • iPod Touch 4G or later
  • iPad
  • NOT compatible w/ iOS devices purchased in the European Union or conforming to EU volume limit regulation

Designed for iPhone cases less than 2mm thick


  • Free shipping
  • Ships to: Continental US
Expected Delivery: Nov 8 – Nov 15


  • Size: 1.9 cm
  • Weight: < 1 gram


  • iPin Laser Pointer for iPhone
  • Earphone Clip (for storage of iPin Laser)

Click here to check out the deal. Limited time offer (5 days as of the publishing this post)

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This simple test shows why the iPad is a tool, not the whole toolbox

I will make this a simple conversation. I will choose 10 qualities that a traditional educational technology resource should have. If the iPad has a quality in full, I will award it 1 point. If it is partially capable, I will give it a .5 . If additional accessories are required, it gets a 0.

  1. Works with existing software or licensing :   .5
    Sometimes there are Apps that come with software licenses, but often you have to buy the App version.
  2. Fits into the school’s purchasing model and/or accounting methodologies: 0
  3. Allows users to create media and share it easily: .5
    The tools are starting to evolve but moving things from the iPad to sharing mediums dedicated to the curriculum, and the privacy of the curriculum, is not always easy. Getting media on the iPad that was not created on the iPad is also significantly harder than using a laptop.
  4. Allows students to create long form written assignments for curricula such as the IBO, AP, and IGCSE: 0
  5. Can easily work with other hardware owned by the school: 0
    Not for free and not always intuitively. With some Apps the possibilities are growing but on the initial buy-in, the iPad creates it’s own little world.
  6. Cost effective and shareable resource: 0
    The iPad models seem cheap, but with the way they need to be accessorized the price is very close if not equal to a low-end laptop. Sharing a device designed for personal ownership is possible, and Apple makes it possible, but it is not ideal. Even if the price point for 30 iPads is usually lower than 30 laptops, asking 100 students to use 30 iPads is not the same as sharing laptops. 100 students need 100 iPads to really make the most of them.
  7. The device works with content provided by the curriculum publishers: 0
    Getting better but still not there. Amount of content used still greatly exceeds the amount available on the iPad.
  8. The device has a high level of local maintainability: 0
    Most IT departments cannot fix iPads when they break. I mean physically break. Unlike laptops and computers they need to be sent away to the iPad doctor. Trust me, kids can break iPads, they are not Starbucks Going Hipsters reading The Verge carefully swiping with clean fingers.
  9. Has a variety of cost effective software solutions available for various age groups: 1
    No argument, the Apps are there and they are very powerful when integrated properly.
  10. The device is scalable for future performance: .5
    I am giving this a .5 because the software is scalable, and it is possible for an organization to develop exactly what they need for the device. In fact, it is cheaper to have someone make a simple focused App, than to have them write a deeply integrated program for a platform like OS X or Windows.

Score: 2.5 / 10

get an ipad

The iPad is a tool, not the whole toolbox.

So why should schools want iPads? Because they motivate students to learn. In the same way that this device motivated me to love technology:

The fictional concept of being able to move around freely and have a device that gave me a different view of the world was very powerful. It powered my imagination. It drove me to start using computers at the age of 11, but not just for games, but to program. I always loved how the Start Trek Officers had to constantly modify, update, and reverse engineer their Tricorders to get them to do what they wanted.

That is what the iPad is. It is the reality of years of imagination. It is often a time-wasting, game playing ,mind numbing entertainment device. However, when students decide to make it forward-facing and use it to read the world, it is something much more.

The innate weakness of the platform is what makes it a good problem-solving tool. Trying to get the iPad to achieve the goal, is the goal. That is where the learning happens, through the process and through the imagination.  Students do not care about all of this, they just want to get it to work. To do what they want in the way they want.

It is not important what a grade 7 student does with an iPad. It is not important if they waste their time. It is not crucial for them to demonstrate that they are responsible enough to keep the music down. What is important is that at some point an idea sparks in their minds. An original idea. And then they take the resources around them, and make the idea into reality.

When in engaging students with iPads, do not tell them to get “Apps A and B” and do “Activities 1 and 2″.

iPads are not textbooks.

Instead, leave a problem or question in front of them with the following instructions: “Solve It and Prove It”.

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too. ~ John F. Kennedy 1962


More at TonyDePrato.com

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Apple or Google: Which professional development program is for you?

It’s not especially easy to quickly demonstrate your education technology skills when you’re not in the classroom. Sure, you may know how to effectively integrate Google Chromebooks or Apple iPads while simultaneously leveraging a project-based learning approach to STEAM subjects, but how do you actually convey that when chatting with colleagues or others?

It’s not easy.

That’s why many teachers are turning to professional development from the major tech companies like Apple and Google.

Since their names are both synonymous with education technology at this point, it’s no surprise they both boast some fantastic learning opportunities for teachers around the world. Anyone can apply and work to earn the certification, but there are a few things you should know. That’s why I really enjoyed seeing this visual guide to the key differences between the Apple Distinguished Educator program and the Google Teacher Academy.

As you’ll see, one of these programs may fit your needs and expertise better than the other. Since there’s no real way to determine which option is best, I wanted to lay out as many of the differences as possible.

I did want to give a shout out to my friend Adam Webster who is an Apple Distinguished Educator and can answer just about any question you may have about the program.

Okay, so let’s dive into the basics of each program.

About The Google Teacher Academy

The Google Teacher Academy (GTA) is a free professional development experience designed to help primary and secondary educators from around the globe get the most from innovative technologies. Each GTA is an intensive, two-day event during which participants get hands-on experience with Google tools, learn about innovative instructional strategies, receive resources to share with colleagues, and immerse themselves in a supportive community of educators making impact.

“My biggest takeaway wasn’t a new tool or trick, though we learned great ones, but it was the reminder of what’s possible with shared energy – that creative spark we hope to capture and recreate for our students.”
– Gretel Patch, Google Certified Teacher, Nepal 2013

Approximately 50 innovative educators from around the world are selected to attend each GTA based on the merits of their online application. Applicants include classroom teachers, curriculum specialists, technology advocates, librarians, administrators, professional trainers, and other education professionals who actively serve the world’s primary and secondary teachers and students. – via the GTA website

About The Apple Distinguished Educators Program

Apple Distinguished Educators (ADEs) are part of a global community of education leaders recognized for doing amazing things with Apple technology in and out of the classroom. They explore new ideas, seek new paths, and embrace new opportunities. That includes working with each other — and with Apple — to bring the freshest, most innovative ideas to students everywhere.

In her quest for authentic content, Noemi Trainor, Founder/Principal at The Varmond School in Mexico, is spearheading a curriculum revolution throughout Latin America. With iPads at their fingertips the faculty is able to customize learning for every student and provide interactive, bilingual-based curriculum using Multi-Touch books created in iBooks Author.
– Noemi Trainor, ADE Class of 2012

There are now more than 2,000 ADEs worldwide, from the United States to China, New Zealand to Turkey. And they gather every year at ADE Institutes and education events around the world as well as online in the ADE community to collaborate on solutions to the global education challenges of today and tomorrow. – via the ADE website

The Key Differences Between Apple and Google Professional Development Programs

Now you know the basics of each program. Nice! It’s time to check out this handy visual guide from Where Learning Clicks to get a better look at how the two programs differ.

apple google professional development

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