So when my district finally settled on a tablet brand, many thought we went with Samsung, just because of my feelings for Apple. Yes, that definitely played a role, but conveniently, we struggled to get the iPads to consistently connect to our enterprise wireless network. So ta-da…Samsung Galaxy Tabs for all. That pleased me, and it worked out for us, but I continued to have a nagging ‘maybe we should look at Apple’ in the back of my head. That changed. My wife brought home her iPad issued to her from her school. She works in a different school system. She wanted to record some audio, then email it to someone. No problem, right? Unfortunately the free version of the app did not let you email past a size. Again, no problem. We’ll just go into the file system…um…how do you get to the file system? Ok, so not on the device, but when I plug it in…um…no problem, I’ll check online…um… So seriously, Apple? You cannot trust your users enough to get into the file system? Wow. Major epic fail. I go into the file system of Android all the time to back up photos, place documents, etc, etc. Yes, I know you can go through iTunes, but I do not want that hassle. Just give me access to the file system. Look at all these great apps for Android like Wifi Explorer, AirDroid, that let you do it over a webpage. Well, those guilty feelings of mine are gone. I confidently know Android is the right direction for us now.
I spent the past two days at my state’s summer institute. They brought together leaders from school systems to look through the Common Core standards and how to continue implementing them in our schools. We began this process last summer, and this represented a time to reflect on our progress and start next steps. Of course last year they really did not provide a technology strand, but this year they did. Much of what we learned though, dealt with things we are already on board with.
- We know the need to collaborate with teachers and media coordinators. We provide the expertise on tools and ways to integrate technology into the classrooms, but we just need opportunities to do this.
- We know to look for activities for higher level thinking activities. None of this drill-n-kill software…but thing to allow students to evaluate, synthesize, and create. I really like this Bloom chart for whatever flavor of tablet you use (http://www.schrockguide.net/bloomin-apps.html). Schrock does a nice job focusing on iOS, Android, and then just Google Tools. One of my frustrations at this institute was the lovefest on Apple. Did you know, for instance, all this creativity is due to Apple. They single-handedly revolutionize education with their creativity. *Grumble, grumble*
- I do appreciate the focus on technology/collaboration. This institute provided ongoing mentions of the great need for that–working with the lead district people, lead curriculum people, and other teachers. Hopefully they go back to their colleagues and reiterate that need.
We definitely appreciate the opportunities Common Core provided. We are in the process of a full upgrade to wifi in all of our schools. Lots of pd opportunities abound. We just need to make sure we do not lose this opportunity.
So another big announcement out of Google I/O was the release of the 7″ Google Nexus tablet. Pretty impressive for a $199 device. Of course, right after release the pundits began comparing it to the iPad. Blah, blah, blah. That misses the mark. This device will not directly compete with the iPad–the market for it is the cheaper tablet market, the Kindle Fire, nook Tablet, and similar devices. The hardware specs for the Google Nexus will allow most users, especially those in schools, to get what they need out of a device. Heavy integration with Google Apps, Play, etc, will also help this become an interesting device for K-12.
Google recently had their annual developers’ conference, Google I/O, where they released a large number of updates. One of the largest, the Nexus Q devices, promises much in the aspect of social media sharing. So what does that even mean? First, take a look at the video. Ok, so you see this device serves as the conduit between your mobile devices (tablet, Smartphone, etc) and your home speakers (tv, stereo, etc). So what about schools? I can see this in school music classes, events, where the need to share music comes in handy.
The only question is how the recording industry, RIAA, MPAA, etc will feel about this. Also, if used in schools, what types of performance rights will be needed. Hopefully Google will work this out, as it does hold a lot of promise!
And no tears in my school district. No tears because the real work starts now. We use these precious weeks to clean up the mess our teachers and students left behind. Well, that, and get ready for the next year. Busy time–we are getting geared up for our school system’s Race to the Top project–complete refresh of our wireless infrastructure. Then next year we can build upon our tablets and then look toward BYOD!