Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Device Managment

Great conversations have been happening in our Art Teachers #PLN (Professional Learning Network) on both Twitter and Facebook.  Here are a couple of questions that have come my way.  I'm going to do my best to answer what is working (or has worked) in my classroom situation. 

Great questions ladies... Let's get started talking about devices. 

I have the opportunity to use both iPads and Chromebooks in my classroom.  I am all about the iPad in an elementary art classroom. I feel that iPads are better for creation.  Chromebooks are awesome for a lot of things too such as writing assignments.  Chromebooks are awesome if you are a Google school sharing Google Docs, Slides, and Forms.  They are awesome if your school is using Schoology and I think they are cost effective.  I would use a Chromebook more often in the middle and high school levels because I was requiring them to share with one another with words and almost every student in my middle/high school level had a device in their pocket if I needed QR code scan or for them to download and app. iPads are better for me in the elementary because we are using creation apps, we are taking pictures of work, and we are scanning QR codes.  Our school also uses Seesaw, a digital portfolio for students, and iPads are perfect for that.  I have been tempted a time or two to try an Android tablet too... they look very versatile as well. 

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I'm very lucky to have the opportunity to check out a Chromebook cart and/or an iPad cart.  The carts look like the one above.  They can be rolled down to a room and are checked out at my school using a shared Google calendar.  It works well.  Each grade level has a cart and the specialist share one.  Media has their own carts and lab for class.  A major drawback to these carts, is that the slots for the iPad are small, students are asked to return them in order (that takes time), and they are kind of a pain to plug in.  The solution for this is to have the iPads returned to the top of the cart and a couple of 'technology managers' work at the end of class to return the iPads to the correct area and plug them in.  When you ask a class to do this it takes no less than 15 minutes to complete. 

The fewer devices the better.  I was granted a 'class set' of iPads for the art room this last year. When I say class set, I mean seven student iPads.  I requested this because I have 7 table in my classroom.  For many of the technology supported activities, students can share easily.  When students submit to Seesaw, or take pictures to put on Creatubbles, they can share. When a device is needed for research, many times it can be shared as well.  When we are doing projects of creation or self-paced learning, a full class set is preferred.  I got these rock'n little iPad Baskets for my set.  I LOVE them!!! The are easy to transport and easy to charge.  You can even get them in different colors (click here).

Couple more tips about the iPads.  When I first got my set, I was given iPads with covers.  This did not work because the covers would hide the camera. A primary use of the iPads is to take and share photos.  My solution was to drill a hole in the cover... my dear technology assistant of our school quickly made an order for these iPad covers and they ROCK!  The are kid-friendly and have protected the iPads well.  Draw back is the iPads do have to be shut down manually (I have the settings so that they stay on throughout a class period in case we are using them as a resource). You will note a paper clip taped to the iPad.  This help students know where to look when you are taking a picture of them.  They can find the camera better if you say, look at the paper clip, or sticker... or whatever.  If there is a project that I want to download but don't have time right away, I use masking tape to place on the cover with a little note on it.  It helps me remember what iPad I need when I have the time to download. 

When I do lessons like my self-paced, one-point perspective lesson, I do ask students to bring their headphones.   All of our students use headphones for testing... Isn't it nice to have them also use them for self-learning as well :) I have a set of seven headphones with microphones for students use.  The microphones work AWESOME for students recording their voice... even with a whole active art class in the background.

This is my current situation.  It's pretty sweet, I know. When I was working at the middle school I had a very different situation. I had accessibility to check out a cart but they were hot... everyone wanted to use the iPads for assessment or research.  In the testing months, there was not a lab, or a cart available.  I quietly offered BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).  There was a sign in the front of the room that said device on/off.  When the off sign was on, the devices ha to be in their pockets.  This was mostly during instruction.  When it was on, students were able to have the devices out... fully out, they had to be on the table and students lost all privacy rights while they were using them.  I could pick up the device at any time to see if they were texting, I could pull the earbuds out of their ears to see if their music was appropriate.  If there was any situation that they were not meeting my expectations, they would loose the right to use the devices in my classroom for the rest of the quarter.  The devices were a motivator for sure and students did NOT want to loose them.  In the three years, 12 quarters that I worked at the middle school, I had no problems at all.

Yep, I understand not every kid has a device.  I get it.  I don't have a cell phone. No matter what I do, I always offer a not technology alternative.  I also can most often supplement for the students who do not have a device... having access to about 5 iPads was usually more than enough.

Well, that's what I know, I'm sure there are more tips and tricks out there and I would love you to share in the comments.  Let's share what we know so that we can learn from each other.

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