Google Site

Yesterday, I was developing my unit plan for our new novel study, I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore. As I was doing this, I was trying to figure out the best delivery model for the assessment pieces (vocabulary, comprehension, collaboration). I found this teacher’s wiki: http://e2socrates.wikispaces.com/Novel+Study+-+I+am+Number+Four. This was exactly as I wanted to do. I started recreating it on my wikispaces (which I hardly ever use), but then realized I had everything I already wanted at my Google Site. My ELLs are already pretty comfortable with getting on the site. We’ve saved it to our home screens for easy access. I currently use the site for uploading class files and giving them their warm-ups. All I had to do was grant them access to edit and we were set for the collaboration piece. I created pages for the vocabulary and the comprehension. I left the vocabulary blank, because I want this to come organically from our reading. I bought the book as an iBook. Students will use the highlighter tool. We can then add these words to our google site and do the student-friendly definitions and translations. As for the comprehension, I wanted it to look like a discussion forum. Google Sites does not have this embedded (yet), so I had to create an outside one and use an iframe to embed the forum. I chose Lefora based upon a recommendation. I emailed the students invites. Hopefully, this all goes smoothly. We shall see today at 1:06. #wishmeluck

My Perfect Digital Textbook

I have a vision. It is so clear; it’s almost as if I can feel the digital pages curling beneath my fingers. The textbook would be full of the most current content available on the web. It would have important people and ideas hyperlinked to 3D images that can be spun with the flick of a finger. I’m thinking of a bust of Mozart being able to be turned to see all 360 degrees. It would have vocabulary linked to the glossary, which was also in every language available on sites like Google Translate. Speaking of which, the entire textbook could change languages at the tap of a button on each page or as a setting for the whole book. Timelines would not be static; they would be dynamic, interactive hyperlinks. At the tap of a button on the timeline, images, video, and links within the textbook would become available. Charts, graphs, and tables could be drilled down to access even more data. Maps would of course be Google Earth-like. Videos would be embedded throughout with additional content. Music would even be included as an extra insight into something historical, cultural, or artistic. The typical quiz/review features would be clickable quizzes which provided students with feedback and show more content to help them understand what they missed. Project-based learning and social networking would be embedded throughout with instant access to twitter feeds, wikis, blogs, and creation apps to enhance the learning. This is my vision for the perfect digital textbook. Does it exist?

Terrific News Re:iBooks

Long story short, I was trying to buy I am Number Four as iBooks for my class set of iPads through iTunes. I thought I was being all legal and whatnot by trying to buy 17 copies. As it turns out, you only have to buy 1 copy per account and you can share it with ALL devices under the same account [Verified by speaking to an Apple rep on the phone]. Whoopee!! This means in a school setting, if all iPads/iPod Touches etc. were under the same account (even if it’s 100s) they could all have the same ebook (and audiobook and movie). Wow! Thank you, Apple. Once again, I bow to you.

iPad deployment

This year we went forward with using our Title III funds to purchase an iPad for each of our ELLs in the ESL 9-12 classroom. There are currently 12 students in that class and 1 teacher. We have 17 iPad2s and intend to buy 3 more to complete a 20 set. We’ve had an interesting beginning of the year roll-out. I’ll lay out some issues we’ve been having. My next post will be the successes (including what projects my students have been working on).
* We are still waiting for our iPad cart to arrive from Griffin Technology. It’s going to be 2 10-dock charging/stations which we will put on a mobile cart with a designated Macbook to help sync with iTunes. Without this cart, charging is a miserable experience and syncing is even worse. We expect the cart to arrive next week.
*We created a Master iPad and used iTunes to back-up and restore to create clones for the other devices. However, without the cart, we cannot sync the folders where apps are organized and we lose all app data. For instance, Strip Design lost the strips the students had been working on when we tried to restore to get all the iPads to look identical. In addition, when we do sync the pads together, students then get into the email account from the one student’s iPad we used as a Master Student device. We have some ideas for how to correct this including Mobile Device Management software or creating a separate iTunes email for each pad. Since these iPads are 1:1 and with high school students, we want them to be a consumer device for each student, but easy to manage apps as well.
*We are looking into how to create a wireless iPad projection. We currently have SMARTBoards in every classroom with a mounted projector and a Mac Mini. The obvious way to project the iPad2s are through AirPlay and Apple TV. However, ATV does not work with VGA, which is the only component the projectors use. We tried two converters (Sewell Direct and AVDemand) and neither worked. We think the issue is needing to go HDMI to VGA, not the reverse. We think we found one that will finally work. I will update when it arrives and is tested.

Welcome to my ESL EdTech Blog

Hello. To introduce myself, my name is Kim Beiderman (pronounced like Byderman, or Spiderman, or Vitamin). Vitamin is how my 3 year old daughter pronounces it! I am the ELL Supervisor at a K-12 charter school in Philadelphia. We are embarking on a pilot program to have iPads used in the 9-12 ESL class. I will be posting updates on that. I have also figured out ways to creatively use our Title III funds and I will be making posts about that as well. I hope you enjoy this blog and get a lot from it.