iPad Rollout tips

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Miami Device!!!! OMG

Well I'm planning to go to what promises to be a totally amazing tech conference - MiamiDevice!  What a clever name!  I met a wonderful educator at Podstock - Felix Jacomino


Felix!  Guy is just amazing, and he told me about this conference he was planning...  it sounds as amazing as Podstock, and its in MIAMI!  Much nicer venue than good ol ICT.   So yeah one of my buddies lives there now, so you know where I'm heading to soak up some rays and tech knowledge.  Check them out at:


See you there!!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

KBEA - iPad workflow

I'm very happy and honored to be presenting at the KBEA conference again this year!  As I've been working with schools to set up iPad deployments I've noticed an issue - because these devices make it a bit difficult to print, and they don't save to traditional file storage systems we have a bit of a dilemma.  How do you manage the workflow of distributing assignments and returning them?  How do you share work that has been completed with others?  Sometimes these questions are a gotcha after a successful deployment, but these issues should be a big part of planning!  I'll share a few ideas with the attendees at my session and here as well.

Even though printing is a bit complicated - it can be done with iPads.  Just DONT!!!  It's incredible how much money gets spent each year on printing - toner, paper, maintenance and replacing printers that are worn out.  We could buy lots of new devices for less than our printer budgets!  If you must print - newer printers do support Apples AirPrint protocol.  Older printers can be supported by software or hardware means - software would include Printopia which works great but requires a Mac to act essentially as a print server. But it does more than print!  It lets students "print" a file to a folder on your machine!  If you MUST print.. grumble...  then consider Lantronix xPrint print server. It is a device that is installed on the network and allows you to add printers which can be selected by iOS users.  Works well, and non platform specific.

Good old-fashioned email works too - but there are some gotchas, and disciplines that will help. Many schools don't provide email for students, and its a bit complicated for younger ones.  Google Apps for Education schools can set up accounts for students that only allow messages to be sent within the district.  This helps with some security concerns.  Teachers that use email will employ methods such as having students use very specific terms in the subject line, and then create a filter to route the mail into "folders".  Fairly effective.

Some districts would like to have "cloud" like service, but have the files kept locally within the network.  Apple 10.8 server is a very inexpensive way to do that.  A reasonably recent Mac, with the addition of the $19.95 server app can be turned into a server.  Yes a real file server!  Users can be added and the WebDav service enabled, and you have instant file storage and sharing!  Most apps in iOS support WebDav, so it isn't a bad solution.

I'm a big fan of GAE - sometimes referred to as GAFE -  Google Apps For Education.  It is free.  Yes free.  I've fought mail servers for years, and it was so nice to just turn that responsibility over to the geniuses at Google. Did I mention free??  GAE just takes minutes to sign up for and has become fairly simple to implement for tech directors.  Of course you get Google Drive, and the related apps.  Wonderful environment for schools - its cross platform and cloud based..  and free! I am a fan of a script that has been created to easily make classroom folder structures within Google Drive - it is known as gClass Folders and is worth a look.  Not the most intuitive thing to use, I'll demonstrate it at my session.

There are several CMS systems that now support iOS devices very well - I'm a fan of My Big Campus and Edmodo.  They have apps that facilitate moving files in and out of the directories that are created within the apps. Even Blackboard offers support now.  If you are using one of these systems, its worth investigating how well it would fit in your workflow.

There are some very nice web based solutions  - I'll cover a few here - recommended to me by the Queen of Apps - Linda Loder with Smoky Hill ESC in Salina.  Showbie is easy to use and free - within limits of course!  Another great LMS site is Schoology.  Both have a bit of a learning curve, not bad though and facilitate the exchange of files, in the context of a course.   Very helpful!

Well this is a pretty big list of stuff!  There's no right or wrong way, and there are many solutions, these are just a few that have proven effective.

Hey if you've read this far, like my JTTG page on Facebook ...  thanks!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Podstock... groovy!

I'm so excited to be writing this as I finish final preparations for my presentation at Podstock 2013 - one of the best education conferences anywhere!  I've been doing a lot of iPad setup work lately,  helping schools get off on the right foot on their iPod deployments.  They are a bit of a booger to get set up properly, but the good news is once they are off the ground - they have very few problems.  You did get really good cases, right???   Breakage is probably the biggest hassle down the road.  Use the banner link at the top of the blog to visit my links to helpful sites.   IPads are a truly transformative technology. We are truly in the post-PC era, and they are best of breed.  Looking forward to my session, hope to see you there!

Monday, March 11, 2013

it Works - how to convert MS Works files for Mac

I was working at one of my schools today and the Superintendent asked me how to get his collection of Microsoft Works files into some format that he could use - he'd switched from PC to Mac - (good move) but was a bit frustrated at the thought of re-creating files, or losing the information within them.  So with a bit of head scratching I came up with a good solution.. with just a few steps to solve the problem...

First - get yourself a copy of LibreOffice it is free and as a bonus is a pretty capable replacement for the Microsoft Office suite..  Did I mention free?  Some districts aren't buying Office and are using it instead.. but I digress..  Open your .wps (Works) file in LibreOffice, then go to File-Save As and select Microsoft Word 2007/2010 XML (.docx) .  This saves your old .wps file as a nicely formatted modern Microsoft Word document. I was surprised how well the formatting was preserved..

This made me look really smart, and I didn't confess that I sort of stumbled into it. I've fought this problem for years and used to keep an old copy of Works on a  PC just for this.  Much better solution!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Great Resource, with a great resource!

I just love IEAR - i Education Apps Review.  Not the prettiest or flashiest site, but it contains wonderful resources to track down good apps - all the entries there are posted by real educators and are organized by grade level.  So many great ideas and in a nicely organized fashion. There are so many apps out there, its nice to be able to take advice from those who have been there, done that.

I found a page there linking to a blogger named Tony Vincent, who posted three great items for schools to ponder as they consider an iPad or other iOS device.  Proper planning and attention to infrastructure, logistics and workflow are critical to success.  Mistakes made early, caused by poor planning can cost big money, and make it difficult to have a successful program.  I recommend anyone considering iPads follow this link and read the three articles.

Another essential bit of reading -  Apples iOS 6 education deployment guide.  It is Apples handbook so to speak about iOS deployment.  A great resource. Unfortunately - you don't know what you don't know, so reading it doesn't adequately prepare you for a rollout. I always recommend doing a cart pilot first to familiarize yourself with the process.  What you know after that - makes these resources a whole lot more useful!  Good luck!  These devices can revolutionize learning!  They can put the power into the hands of the students and teachers - a major shift in education technology!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I was asked to talk to the folks in the TEEN network about iPads for their TEEN mashup day. I'm very happy to be a part of the TEEN network family again, and I'm glad to be able to share a few ideas and resources I've gathered. I'm not much of a powerpoint, stand and deliver person. I'd like to share conversations and resources with the TEEN teachers and everyone.  Here are some great links to resources for starting up an iPad program, get started using the iPad, and finding great Apps.  Enjoy!

Getting started -

Preparing your school for an iPad implementation:

Next step, a must. Apples Volume Purchasing Program - save money!:

Apples home page for iPads in Education. Good starting place.:

Create an itunes store account without a credit card:

Ipad New users guide:

Can't figure out how to do "that"?  Ultimate how to resource!!!:

Another Objective based how to site:

Apps -

Huge LiveBinder of resources!:

Great Resource Wiki:

Kathy Schrock... can't go wrong here:

Lists of great apps, by educators, organized to help you find just what you want!:

Apps by Classroom Instruction Strategy. Is this the best way to think about apps?:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A question came up recently on one of my social networks, involving QuickTime Player on Macs system 10.7 or newer.  Apple discontinued QuickTime Pro which had some really nice recording and editing features, and incorporated many of them into QuickTime Player. A really handy function is screen recording.  Selecting New Screen Recording from the File menu lets you capture your screen as you are demonstrating software or a process and easily upload it to a variety of online or local destinations e.g. YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook.  Very handy, but it doesn't natively record computer sound!  It would be nice to include narration or a musical background in your screen movie or record a version of a web video resource for later use without having to pay for an additional software application.  Here's a quick and easy way to add audio to your screen recording -

1 - Download and install Soundflower -


This is a great little item, free and really works well with no problems. I've used it for a variety of purposes for several years.  Essentially it is a software simulation of a sound input or output - it lets you connect the "speakers" of your computer to software that you wish to direct sound to. In this case - QuickTime Player.  It installs itself in your system and when completed it will reveal itself in your System Preferences/Sound

There it is!  You now see Soundflower as an Output source, and if you peek at Input you'll see it as an option there.

2 - Set Soundflower as your Output Destination

Refer to the screen shot above.  It shows Internal Speakers as the Sound Output destination.  That's our normal way to process sounds from our computer - we click a video and hear the sound through our speakers or headphones.  When we set Soundflower as the output, we re-route that sound to software - which QuickTime (or other recording software) can utilize for our screen movie.  If you try playing sounds now you won't hear anything - don't freak out, you told it to divert the sound to the software, remember?  Just click back to Internal Speakers when you are done.

3 - Set QuickTime Player to use Soundflower as a sound input
Launch QuickTime Player, and go to the File Menu and select New Screen Recording. You'll see a control like this:

Click the triangle on the right side, and you'll see this menu:

Select Soundflower as you see above.  Note the ability to Select Built in Input  or Internal Microphone, if you just want narration, this allows you to use an external audio source or your mic to do just that.  If all you want is narration, just selecting Built-in Microphone will work just fine. Handy for a how to screen movie!

Click the red record button on the Screen Recording control to start your movie, Start your video or music background source and record away!

Click the square stop recording button where the red start record button icon was and you'll be presented with your brand new screen recording including audio!  You can click the Play button to preview your creation..  but wait - you just clicked play and don't hear anything!  Yikes!  No prob...  remember how you went to System Preferences/Sound to change your sound output to Soundflower? Its still set there, so you can't hear it!  Set it back to Internal Speakers, go back to your new movie and try again!  Bada boom!  It worked....  

6 -  Save and share! 
 So you can either go to File/Share and select your favorite web video host, or click the red dot on the top left of the QuickTime movie window which will prompt you to name and choose a local destination for your creation! The output of this process is kinda low-rez for video as it has a low framerate an may "flicker" a bit, but it works very well for a how-to screen capture or to get the gist of a video recording. This is great for making a podcast or a how-to video to share with staff members.  Hope this helps and saves you some bucks!

If you want to get real fancy, this amazing blogpost explains how to have sound background AND narration. I've tried it and it works, but its a teensy bit complex. Check this out if you want to go to the next level!  Major geek cred if you can do it!