Guided Access on an iPad

We posted a video yesterday about how to set up guided access on iOS devices. I figured some viewers would immediately figure it out and no other explanation would be needed. If you have worked in educational technology you probably immediately see the potential for this feature. To be honest when we were recording the episode, I didn’t stop and think about this feature. I do a little of everything for our videos, but my most prominent role for this one was recording the voiceover. After seeing the final product, I began to really understand how I was going to use this feature.

Guided access is simply being able to control what parts of the screen are available to the users. Some benefit would be using these feature when students are taking online tests or keeping special education students on task. If you are like me and have a small child, you can let them use your iPhone or iPad without the fear of them purchasing items when you look away.

child playing on iPad
Someone likes Circle Pop

I am going to be experimenting with this feature when I get my first iPad for the classroom. It will be nice to know that the students will only be able to use the correct app. Hopefully, I will have more iPads in the future. This will make managing them easier. I have walked by too many computer labs and seen the students off task. This feature would allow you to turn on the feature before handing out the iPads. At the end of the period, the students could simply turn in the iPads and they would be ready for the next class.


My first experiences with bring your own technology

My school district started a BYOT policy this year. At first everyone thought this meant that we were going to install Wifi and that everyone would have access immediately. Nothing could be further from the truth. Essentially, we just said that we are going to officially allow something that students have been doing for a while. Since it was official, that we could allow technology in our rooms, I decided to take advantage of this. For years I have told the students that use of certain types of technology were officially against the rules. At the same time the students were telling me that were using technology (camera and phones) in front of officials with no consequences. Apparently, I was the only one who read the rule book and I had the most to lose by following the rules.

My first trial was by allowing students to use Google Docs turn in an assignments in class. Only a few of the students experimented with this option. Instead they chose not to turn it in at all by not printing it out.

My second trial was to have the students do a exam review sheet collaboratively. I did this in class. This is usually something the students dread doing. I thought by adding the technology aspect that my student would participate more. It was kind of novelty approach, but I had the students log in from school laptops to work on this document together. I thought it was such a neat idea that I invited others to come watch the review and my success or failure live. I would like to say that everyone came to watch but instead no one even commented on the idea. I was hoping that the students would then in turn work on the notes outside of class and use them to study. I am happy to say that several of the students did just that.

photo 1 photo 3 photo 4

I kicked it up a notch this semester by incorporating smart phones and devices into the mix. When I am teaching my students camera shots, I have them do a scavenger hunt by taking pictures around the school and putting them into a powerpoint. This project takes forever since I have only 5 still cameras so we do it 5 at a time. So this year I wrote new directions for this assignment that involved my students all taking pictures at the same time. I also created a Google doc that explained how to upload, rename and share the photos with me. By doing this assignment the BYOT way it would take less time. They could even turn in the assignment while riding on the bus to school. Then I took the students out of my classroom for 2 days to take the pictures. Not everyone had a device or turned in the BYOT paperwork for the assignment. Those students had to use my cameras. This is the only reason that it took 2 days to take the pictures. The assignment was due a couple weeks ago and I am in the process of grading them. Don’t judge, we had a lot of students out of class for sickness or other activities and I was waiting until most of them were turned in. The students who got the idea behind the assignment did great. I used these students to help the others turn in the assignment. It wasn’t that I hadn’t given them time to do the assignment, but they were having trouble using their smart device as tool and not a toy. Some of the students were missing part of the assignment and did not go back and do these outside of class. For instance, taking a picture of someone at their locker. This does not require me to take them on a special class trip because they see that several times a day. After speaking with these students they were really reluctant to try anything new on their device. Most had not downloaded the recommended app or viewed the directions online. They were comfortable posting pictures on Facebook, but not uploading the pictures to Google doc. These students are only going to go forward with technology when they see it socially beneficial. They were all very bright students but did not want to geek out.

Based on my last project, I don’t know that my students are ready for BYOT. I don’t mean it was not successful in my classroom. I believe that the students do not see the benefit of the technology that is sitting right in their own hands. They are too excited to be able to say I own an iPhone and buying a pretty case, but not in using them for anything else. I think it is was a lot more exciting to use them when they were hiding them underneath their desk to text their friends.

I spend a lot of time trying to teach people how to use their iPhone with my videos. I wish people would not purchase these devices, if they are not going to take the time learn how to use them. Why spend several hundred dollars on a device that does everything, if you are just going to use it for texting, tweeting and Facebooking. I am just mad I can’t do more with my technology.

Best iPad Apps for Classroom Video Production part 2

In my previous blog, I posted that I was going to make a video about the different apps I recommended. At the time, I did not realize how work was going to be interrupted for the next couple weeks. I have started several blogs in the last 2 weeks, but sadly none of them are finished. So I decided to do something different. I have created a video playlist on my personal YouTube site. To be honest I was playing around with this first on my school site. I wanted to put have a place for my students to go to learn about or get help with an app. I have included some tutorials and examples made from the apps I include in my list. I like YouTube playlists since I am free to add more videos at a later date.

After finishing the previous blog, I thought about a few other related apps that I should have included on my list. I was also impressed at the people had shared my blog with others so I felt it was my duty to do something else. BTW as someone who is new to blogging that is quite a thrill. Thanks.

So here are a few other apps I recommend:

Google Drive – free – When you finish your videos you are going to need to store the finished product. Uploading to YouTube may not be an option at your school or you may not want to share the product with the world. After the video is uploaded, it can be shared with the teacher for archiving and grading and deleted from the device.

iMotion HD This app allows you to make time-lapse videos. The app allows you set how often a photo is taken. After you are finished you can set the playback speed for how many frames per second. Included on the playlist, is a project I made while on vacation at the beach. In the video I posted I recorded the sunrise. It was difficult because I could not tell what was going to be in the shot when I started. If you look carefully you can see me taking photos on the beach.
I also started a playlist for the best photo apps and tutorials. I will write a blog on this shortly. For now here is a playlist.

Responsible Use part 2

I initially blogged that we had an incident at my school. Although we avoided media coverage on the event, we have made up for it in the aftermath. The story has been picked up by several news outlets (Yea, it must be a slow news week). A couple things bother me about the situation. The investigation by the main media outlets has been incredibly sloppy. I guess that is what I am supposed to say, but I really have nothing to lose either way. I get the feeling that the story is not being investigated or that they are relying on teens as credible news sources. Yes, they did send a news truck down to our location but it stops there. You think the news station could at least get the “where?” right. They had to drive to the location. It is pretty bad when some of the teens at our school go on the counterattack pointing out factual errors in the story on a station’s Facebook site.

What the story amounts to is that people are upset with the consequences of their actions. I believe I remember this from my journalism classes, if a coach loses a game, you shouldn’t ask him how he feels. You already know the answer to that one. You should ask a better question. Find out something that people don’t already know. Do a little investigating!

The second thing that bothers me about the incident is that people do not understand that social media is public entirely for the most part. A simple hashtag search will reveal tons of information. Examples of the information that can be found are your twitter name, your old posts, and other hashtags in which to investigate. It doesn’t take but a few minutes to find a whole chain of events from the initial pride in one’s actions to the remorse after they have faced the penalty. This shouldn’t be a shock. From what I am hearing, you would think a team of hackers was working full time to investigate all things social. NO! They are wrong. Curious minds want to know. If you leave enough information out there someone will find it.

A few years ago, I heard Al Tompkins speak from the Poynter Institute. He showed us a whole bag of tricks in which to investigate stories. I don’t normally investigate stories or write them but the information he shared is invaluable when doing research. I would highly recommend attending one of their training events, especially if you are a local journalist in a major market and you are getting your lunch thrown at you by high school students.

Best iPad apps for classroom video production.

Last week, I found out I was I getting an iPad for my class. This was quite a surprise because I had not asked for an iPad. Apparently, one of the other broadcast video teachers asked for a device to take to the Student Television Network Conference. Our students are competing at the conference, and instead of hauling a desktop computer and camera to the conference, he was able to convince our coordinator that it would be easier to take an iPad. So I will be getting my first iPad for classroom use. Yay!
I am not new to iOS devices. There are 3 in use in my living room right now, including the one that I am using to write this portion of the blog. As a matter of fact, my almost 2 year old can unlock the iPad, swipe until she finds her apps and open & close them. So now my task is to set up an iPad for use as a mobile capture and editing device. I don’t know how we will be purchasing apps for the device, but I assume it will not be an simple task. It will be a little difficult to add them after I have the device in my classroom. The best thing to do would be put a list together and get those installed by whoever sets the iPads up for us. I have a ton of apps on my own personal device that I have used before, so I have a good idea of what I would need in my classroom. To get the most out of these apps you will need a wifi connection.
So here is my list I what I am requesting and my personnel recommendations for anyone looking to use an iPad for video productions.

Celtx script: $9.99Celtx makes several video production apps. My favorite in their suite is the scriptwriting app. This allows you to write your screenplays in the correct format, and it can also be exported as a PDF or printed. Teaching scriptwriting is part of my curriculum, and this app will make that even easier. I don’t think I paid 9.99 for it when I purchased it, but screenwriting software on a desktop can run over $100 so this is definitely worth it.

iMove: $4.99iMovie for the Mac desktop is very easy to use, and the same can be said about the iOS version. I don’t plan on doing any complex editing so this will be fine.

FilmicPro: $4.99FilmicPro is a camera app. This app offers customizable recording settings that are not available in the built-in camera app.

Movie Looks: $1.99Red Giant makes professional video programs for video editors. This app allows to adjust the looks of your video for a fraction of the desktop programs.

Action Movie FX: FreeAction Movie FX is nothing but just plain fun. I am sure the use of this app in the classroom is limited, but it is such an entertaining app. This will assist in get students interested in video production. Action Movie FX allows you to record short scenes and then add realistic CGI effects, but be warned to get the most use out of this app you will need to do several in app purchases. I have purchased all but one of these upgrades.

I will be producing a video about using these iPad apps in the classroom and posting it with my instructional videos for iOS devices in the future. Please let your friends know about my videos and if you have any suggestions please let me know. I got the idea for these videos when I purchased my mother her first iPhone. I made her several videos showing her how to use her phone.

Here is part 2

Using iMovie on an iPhone

Every spring we have a night for the upcoming 8th graders. At this time, you need to put on a good show to recruit new students for your classes. I have tried a number of things, other students, green screens, interviewing people, but there is a lot of competition from other programs. Last year I decided to try something new. I usually have videos of student work playing, but that isn’t enough. So I decided to make a promotional video, one that was aimed directly at the students. I was thinking if they saw students having fun in my class, this might convince a few students to take my class. The problem is that by this time of the year, we are into full swing and all of my classes are doing production. I have had students make recruiting videos before but have been disappointed with the results. Although their videos are highly entertaining, they are seldom useful. Unless the 8th graders believed that ninjas would attack them if they didn’t sign up, I was going to need to make this video.
One day I took my students to the cafeteria so they could spread out and record commercials. This would be perfect day to record the students, if they were not using all of the cameras. I pulled my phone and began taking pictures thinking I might could use them for my website. After a few pictures I got the idea to shoot video. I had not been a big fan of cell phone video. However, it worked great and I quickly had a variety of shots.
About a week earlier, I had purchased iMovie for my phone. Although, I had no plans to use it for anything serious when I bought it, I decided to experiment with editing with it. I used iMovie on a desktop for a long time. It was a great program to teach students the basics of editing. Finally, I moved on to Final Cut Pro. Because I was training my students for careers in the broadcasting industry, I needed to use professional tools. However, I was quickly able to edit a 30 second promo for my class on a $5 phone app.
Here is the final product.
Not too long after finishing the video, Apple released an update to iMovie which included several templates. I put together few more videos using the templates which I showed for the 8th grade night. Using the templates has some limitations, but it is a great starting point for beginner students.
In video production, we discuss workflow. This is the process of taking video from your camera, and transferring to your computer. Once in the computer, you can transfer the video into a variety of programs to edit, adjust audio and color and output to DVD and the web. It doesn’t seem like we are that far off from doing the entire process all on an iPhone.

Responsible Use

Some people accuse me of being a pessimist. The fact is I am a journalist by training. I report the facts. Sometimes there are good facts sometimes there not. What I refuse to do is settle with the bad facts and go on acting is if there are good. So here are the facts, a incident happened where I worked. I am not going into this in any great detail because I do not want to promote the incident. If you know me and are a good journalist/ researcher you can probably find out. We had warning that this incident was going to happen. Those involved were warned beforehand of the consequences. Those involved acted anyway. Now those involved are dealing with the consequences. If it had been a slow news day, we might have garnered some attention. Thankfully, other much bigger local incidents captured the attention of the news media.
I used this as a teachable moment in my class. I explained to my students how journalists could use the twitter feed to investigate the story. I told them how searching hash tags could be used to investigate the story. I warned them that the local news could take their tweet and use it. If this happened there could be consequences at school. During the day students tweeted out their opinions about the incident. After school, when there was no fear of getting caught tweeting, the twitterverse exploded about the incident.
Using the same tools, I told my students I slowly investigated the events of the day. Then there it was, my students tweets. I was very impressed, they did not support the instigators. Instead they stood up against the incident and their peers. This was not a popular view. I will say I very proud of the way they conducted theirselves online. I believe that if you teach the responsible use instead of banning tools it can be very productive. #soproud #patmyselfontheback