Saturday, February 9, 2013

MacWorld|iWorld 2013

The emphasis at this year's MacWorld was definitely on iPhone photography or, iPhoneography. At the end of this post I will list the Apps that were mentioned...there are lots. The best presentation was made by Jonathan Marks, who, on Tuesday, February 5th, presented at Exeter in assembly. Jonathan commented that "it's about making images," keeping a visual journal, and less about the camera and more about your vision, your view of the world around you. On how to process photos, Jonathan commented, "see clearly, compose wildly, shoot respectfully, focus selectively, crop consciously, and process lovingly." 

My feelings on iPhone photography mirror my feelings about eBook readers. Regarding eBooks, the goal is to get people to read. If Nooks, iPads, or Kindles help to get more people to read more, that's a good thing. The same true is for iPhone photography. Here the goal is for people to be more aware of their surroundings, be more creative, and be more expressive. Again, if the iPhone makes this easier, that's a good thing. The iPhone has a very good camera in it and it's always available. Shoot freely!

At the CUE (Computer Using Educators) Apple Educators' Showcase, it was stated that "the future of learning is creating your own textbooks with iBooks Author." Electronic books, ebooks, can bring content to life for students. 

Robert Craven, head of technology for the Fullerton, CA school district stated that "kids are digital from a very young age." He also cited a quote from Paul Houston, "Everyone wants education to be better but nobody wants education to be different." To emphasize his call for radical change, he cited Sir Ken Robinson's TED talk, "Reform (in education) is no use anymore because that is simply improving a broken model." Mr. Craven went on to tell teachers in attendance to encourage students to learn effective communication of knowledge through the use of 21st century tools. 

Ted Lai, Apple Education Development Executive, quoted John Dewey, "If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our students of tomorrow." He emphasized that technology is not a substitute for what we already do and, further, pointed out that education is one of the few fields in which people can say no to technology. He asked those in the audience to imagine going to an eye doctor who didn't "believe in technology" for laser surgery.

Here I will list some of the photography Apps that were highlighted. There are many more and I encourage you to simply google iPhone photography Apps. Don't go crazy, pick a few and master them.

Camera Plus Pro
Slow Shutter
Dynamic Light
Photo FX
Pic Grunger
Scratch Cam
Blur FX
Bleach Bypass
Photo Manager Pro

Visit to Mid Pacific Institute in Honolulu, HI

On Tuesday, January 29, 2013, I visited Mid Pacific Institute, which is a 1:1 iPad school. Like Punahou, Mid Pacific maintains ownership of each iPad, choosing to have each student sign a three-year lease. Since each iPad is covered by AppleCare +, Robert McIntosh (no kidding), head of technology, feels that a two-year lease would make more sense regarding has to do with how Apple records damage reports, whether it is tied to the device or to a particular iTunes account. When a student does damage their iPad they are issued a loaner while theirs is under repair. Robert said that choosing an appropriate case for student iPads was important, especially ones which protect the corners, such as an OtterBox

Robert indicated that there are expectations for use among the faculty since the ipad adoption was a major investment ($1.2 million cost for implementation) for the school. While there was some resistance from teachers about moving from Dell desktops computers to the iPad, Robert believes the switch will allow Mid Pacific to move from a good school to a great school. 

I observed a digital art class in which students were using iAnimate and ArtRage to create designs. Then, I observed a humanities class in which students were discussing the characters in 1984, Julia and Winston. Students tracked the conversation on their iPads, then posted their comments to Tumblr, where they maintain a blog that records class discussion.

I thought the iPad program and use of technology in general at Mid Pacific Institute was very impressive. They have a beautiful facility, the Mike and Sandy Hartley Math/Science/Technology Complex and Jeanette Weinberg Technology Plaza and have given careful thought to the use of educational technology. When the iPad 1:1 program was being considered, school president, Joe C. Rice, commented, "Just do it. Make it work." Gotta like that.

Visit to Punahou School

On Monday, January 28, 2013, I visited the Punahou School in Honolulu, HI. Punahou is a 1:1 MacBook school and is a featured school on the Apple website. Along with laptops, they are using classroom sets of iPads. I observed an anatomy class in which the kids were using the Apps Pancreas and Liver 3D, Anatomy Quiz Pro, and Pocket Heart, part of a group called Pocket Anatomy.

They manage the laptop program by leasing the MacBooks to each student for a period of three years, thereby maintaing ownership and complete control of what is installed. At the end of each school year, the computers are collected, "cleaned," and reissued for summer school, then, again, in the fall. Each student is charged a technology fee of $575 per year for support, hardware, and software updates. 

Visit to Choate Rosemary Hall

On January 15, 2013, a group of Exeter teachers visited Choate Rosemary Hall for an Eight Schools Association Technology Committee meeting. The highlight of the meeting was hearing from Choate teachers about the 1:1 iPad program, which was instituted in September. I have summarized each report below...

Georges Chahwan, who teaches Arabic, described the iPad as "language's new papyrus." He went on to say, "Technology has become the new language in which our students communicate on a daily basis. We, as educators, should embrace this challenge and keep up with the technological advances." He reported that he makes use of the Apps Notability, Socrative, Educreations, and Explain Everything."

Mathematics teacher Will Nowak reported that the iPad is changing his classroom by "engaging students with more stimulating content and enhancing real-world applications with access to real data." He makes use of free graphing calculators, such as Desmos Graphing Calculator, and demonstrated an App called Tap Towers, which simulates the Tower of Hanoi puzzle.

Tom Foster, history teacher, showed examples of the texts he created for his course on The History of the West and 20th Century Social History using iBooks Author. Using iBooks Author allowed him to imbed video and audio along with electronic selections from the text Letters of the Century. He feels that being able to organize all course materials into one source, electronically, has made his courses much more powerful. This was all the more impressive because Tom was admittedly skeptical of the iPad adoption but is now fully on board.

English teacher Katie Levesque credited the iPad for it's aid in "delivering content, fostering collaboration, and creation of material." While the iPad engages kids in different ways, she felt that quiet kids can find their voice with electronic discussion. Students do peer editing using Notability and create presentations with Prezi. While short readings are presented electronically, she gives students the choice of reading novels either electronically or with paper texts. Citation and page reference between electronic and paper versions of texts was not a problem.

Deron Chang, science teacher, said that a faculty trip to Apple in Cupertino, CA changed his opinion of the iPad which, up to that point, he had seen as a glorified notebook. He said the visit to Apple and speaking with Apple Education folks was eye-opening. He now believes that the iPad helps students to get excited and passionate about learning. Moreover, he feels that the iPad allows students to "learn their strengths and weaknesses, and allows them to collaborate, create, and innovate in ways not possible before."