Field trip adventures with ActionBound App

During a recent trip to Spain with the RED Project  I was introduced to Action Bound App. The idea is that you use your device to explore a new area. It guides you to various points in a location at which you need to then take a selfie or answer trivia questions. Basically like modern day orienteering. Bounds are easy to create for teachers and provide great interactive activities for students. There are bounds created already that you can use or you can create your own via The app works on all mobile device platforms. I am looking forward to using this more with my students in the future.

Creating your own tracks with GarageBand and MIDI files.

GarageBand is an app I used a lot on Mac in the early days but I never engaged much with the iPad version until a couple of months back when I found myself being asked to run workshops and CPD for teachers.

One thing that really helped was when I discovered MIDI tracks can be imported. Back in the day of learning to play a keyboard I used to do this and play along. The process of importing MIDI tracks into GarageBand is actually a whole lot easier but I don’t know how well known it is.

For a typical lesson I would suggest picking a song that students are familiar with then split them into groups. A good divide is to split them into instrument family groups. Then have each table group create the melodies for their instrument family then combine to see how all tracks sound together.

For me this discover of using MIDI tracks has opened up a whole pile of other ideas of what to do and ignited a new found interest in the app. I am looking forward to seeing what my students do with it.

Everyone Can Code 🇿🇦

A couple of weeks ago I was invited by South African reseller Think Ahead to present at their Coding Summit in Johannesburg. Surprised by the invite I was making all kinds of excuses not to go but in the end it was too good not go.

The support I received from Think Ahead in the lead up to the event was incredible. They were great at checking in throughout the process and offering advise and assistance. At the end I was lucky to present to about 100 educators from across 🇿🇦. I really enjoyed sharing my experiences and hearing their stories. My favourite part of the day was when I got to see them prototype some apps they would like to create. Some of the imaginations and ideas were amazing and I can’t wait to see if they create them one day.

I was lucky to be able to explore 🇿🇦 a bit after the event and I think I left a little bit of my ❤ behind in that beautiful country. The food was so fresh and tasty, the scenery breath taking and the people were so friendly. I didn’t have long there but am determined to make it back there one day. Until them I am grateful to Think Ahead for giving me the opportunity to share my stories with their educators.

You can find a recap of the event here.

Creating student authors.

Each year I teach digital media and that includes the creation of all kinds of digital media by my students ranging from photos to videos, websites and multi-touch books.
My one group have four subjects including Work Experience. This is a subject I never chose to teach but one I found myself taking on a few years ago.
Because it was new to me and I got it half way through the year I have to admit it I winged it that first year. Second time the students all got work experience and then last year they also got work placements. The work placements while fulfilling the criteria of the module didn’t give them digital media experience. They would often find themselves in non-profits or stacking shelves in shops. Both valuable experiences but not opportunities to put their class learning into practice.

Fast forward to this year I had a very different group. A group who longed for a little more and who really wanted ‘real world’ experience in the area of digital media. While finding work experience for 1 or 2 would have been possible finding similar experience for the whole class was proving to be quite the challenge and so we came up with the idea to simulate a real work placement experience whereby they create and publish their own monthly newsletter.

In the 11 class weeks before Christmas the students learned all the skills they would end up putting into practice and just three weeks ago started their 10 week placements. These placements are just for 60 hours (1 day per week) and after a few ‘staff’ meetings they each found their roles from editor or as they like to call him ‘boss man’ to photographer, videographer and social media co-ordinators.
As a teacher I was cautiously optimistic about their enthusiasm but when the time came felt confident enough to cut the strings and let them work unsupervised.

After the first day they came to me with a draft asking for my ‘expert’ advice.
After the second day they said ‘we think we will be finished next week’….insert my shocked face 😲
After the third day they were true to their word and sent me their completed newsletter to proof read later that day.
The next day we uploaded the proof read (with a few minor typos corrected) newsletter to the Apple Books Store and they celebrated it’s official release a couple of days later.

As I have shown the newsletter to other teachers I have been asked what my input was, what template did they use, how much of it did I do and I can proudly say that it is a 100% student created publication.
Over the next couple of months more issues will be released and I am sure their creativity and confidence will grow.

While Peek has proven a valuable experience for my students it has also taught me that work experience doesn’t just have to be one of those ‘tick the box’ modules and can be creative.

You can find Issue 1 of Peek to download for free here

Using Managed Apple IDs in the classroom

Managed Apple IDs were announced over a year ago and I never really had a need or want for them. I had been using my own Apple ID for close to 10 years so you can just imagine the history of purchases and downloads associated with it.

However, this quickly changed at the Apple Education event back in March when they announced that Managed IDs would now come with 200gb iCloud storage. Given that I had been paying for this it suddenly gave that incentive to give Managed IDs another consideration. Another motivation came when Schoolwork was released to only work with Managed IDs

Below is a quick overview of how you can make Managed IDs work for you. I would suggest that when transferring iCloud content you either download to the new Managed ID or Airdrop across. It is a time consuming process but works well.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>There are more and more reasons to use Managed Apple IDs in the classroom. Here’s how I use them while retaining iTunes Store purchasing ability for staff (our student purchases are done via MDM)

Introducing Schoolwork

Schoolwork a new Apple app for teachers was launched this week and is everything we have been waiting for.
It is a way of handing out assessments and receiving and marking students work. This release came too late for my current classes but I look forward to using it in September.

To enable School work staff and student iPads need to use Managed Apple IDs and be set up using Apple School Manager.
Because I already had this all set up it was a pretty easy migration to Schoolwork.

Below is a quick tutorial I have created. You can find out more info about Schoolwork here

Fieldtrips with Clips.

Clips is a free video-creation Apple app for iOS that devices that was launched early in 2017. Since it’s launch I have been using it both personally and in the classroom.

Going back a couple of years the video creation section of my digital media module used to take weeks or learning and content gathering. Often times it was not possible for students to capture their own content so they would use some royalty free video videos and a bit of imagination.

Now with Clips I can take students on a trip and they can capture as they go. Some students like to capture everything within Clips which means that they are pretty much finished their videos by the time they return others like to capture their content in the camera roll, make some edits and then import into Clips. My personal preference is the latter method but whatever works for the students.

Here are a few Clips that were created after a recent field trip to Elizabeth Fort.

Assemblr in Education

I first heard about Assemblr at BETT 2018. Having used both AR and Octagon apps in the past I was keen to give it a try.

Assemblr is a free app that allows students to build virtual worlds in a Minecraft like setting and then view them in a real-life setting using AR or VR.

Students enjoyed creating the worlds. In terms of education, I don’t think the app is quite there yet for standard classroom use. The big drawback is the fact that Assemblr has introduced in-app purchases for a lot of their characters and items. While students can obviously still build their worlds without these purchases they can still see them and this can and has led to some frustrations.

You can see some of my classroom AR Assemblr worlds created by students in the video below. Assemlbr definitely has potential to be an engaging learning app if the developers consider an education version.

Assemblr can be downloaded for free here 

Forecasting the weather with Sphero Edu and SPRK+

For this, you will need the Sphero Edu app as well as a Sphero or SPRK+
This activity will demonstrate how you can use loops, functions, colours and sound to code a weather forecast.

Each weather type is a separate function an example of which can be seen below.

The full activity can be downloaded from here 

The Learning Games Project & App

The Learning Games project was an ERASMUS funded project which examined the use of gamification in education. The focus was to develop an App that would allow for gamification in all classrooms from secondary to university level.

The project had partners from Spain, Germany, Ireland, Hungary and Turkey. I was lucky to be part of this project and to attend some of the planning meetings. Our college was responsible for the website design which I helped develop while in Hungary and I also gave a presentation on gamification to the partner schools and students.

The final application is both teacher and student based which each playing a significant role in the testing and development of the app. Involving students meant that the app would be developed according to their needs and would hopefully be more engaging for them to use as a result.

BETA versions of the App were released in June 2017 with a public releasing following in October.

The software application, called “Classquest” was successfully completed and is now available free of charge on both google play and the apple store.

The application was nominated in the top ten gamification software products in this years European Gamification Awards and the regional Educational administration in Asturias Spain have indicated that they would like to further develop the application into the future.

Download Classquest here.