Clips Interviews on Flipgrid!

You know how I posted about a recent 1st grade project I did at Hillbrook? Well, I wanted to share with you the awesome end result!

To summarize the project:

  1. Students recorded short interviews with a partner using Apple Clips.

  2. They added effects to the clips to make them look cooler.

  3. They drew illustrations about one or two of the questions they asked/answered. Their homeroom teacher (Margaret) laid down some legit ground rules of drawing (has to have at least 7 colors, etc.). They turned out great!

  4. Students added a soundtrack via Clips.

  5. Students had a gallery walk to view each others’ interviews.

Now for step 6:

Students uploaded (mostly independently) their Clips videos to a Flipgrid “grid” that I created beforehand. They did great!

Check them out: https://flipgrid.com/112d6d99.

Overall, a fun project for all :)

Quick Tip: Create Mac OS Mojave Installer Drive

I love learning new things!

Recently, our front desk laptop at Hillbrook was bugging out, shutting itself off in the middle of a process and then showing an “international prohibition sign” (official name). #nobueno

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The first time it happened, Deborah (front desk associate) brought the laptop to me with a real-life frowny face. It completely halted her workflow and it can definitely be a bit scary to see a symbol like this on a computer screen (I have to write notes to myself all the time, since I’m jumping from one thing to the next all day):

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I gave her a loaner laptop and then proceeded to boot up the computer in Recovery Mode, run First Aid in Disk Utility and finally re-install Mojave. It worked…for about two weeks. Then, it happened again! ERG.

This time, re-installing the OS left me looking at a fun message on the screen: “mac OS could not be installed on your computer.” Hmm. I was at a bit of a loss. I love me a good challenge, though! #lifemantra

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I did a little research and discovered that it is pretty straightforward to install a clean OS from a separate startup drive (seems obvious, right?). I had never HAD to do this in my years of experience as a technology specialist, so therefore never actually learned. It’s awesome when you are presented with a healthy challenge, stretch your mind and resources and land on solid solution ground.

Thanks to this SUPER helpful article from Apple Support, I was able to create a clean OS installer using an extra flash drive.

After creating the new install disk, I booted up in the disk (option + power on) and reinstalled the OS via that route. It totally worked!

A few small tips:

  1. Make sure you have an external drive that is AT LEAST 16 GB.

  2. Make sure the drive is formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

This article saved the day…and I am an even BETTER technology specialist for it! #newknowledge #growth

Apple Clips with 1st Grade!

Who knew that working with 1st graders could be so rad?!

This is the second project I have been a part of with that grade level and it has been fun learning more about how this developmental age interacts with themselves and with technology. Let me tell you about a cool mini project we embarked upon:

My friend Margaret (1st grade lead teacher, new to Hillbrook) wanted more ideas for integrating technology in her classroom. Her previous schools did not have very large technology budgets or integration for that matter, so didn’t get many integration opportunities in the past. She needed the first part of the school year to nail down student behavior norms (she has a super tough class this year) and reached out in January about me coming into her classroom with a fun tech-related project. She had no particular expectations, so I had to think of a few ideas that would align with curricular goals for her students*.

*Note: Technology doesn’t ALWAYS have to align with curricular goals, but it is very important to make it RELEVANT to students. This could mean bringing in something academically unrelated to what they are learning, but it should relevant enough that students are able to create a strong connection to it, even on a subconscious level.

The Apple Clips app was (sort of) recently released, and not many teachers are using it at our school, so I decided to introduce students to the app by way of interviewing each other in partners! Since Margaret’s students were learning how to ask questions of another person and listen attentively (CA English Language Arts Content Standards, 1.0 Listening and Speaking Strategies), this would be a great medium with which to practice such skills!

  1. We first gave them an overview of the project via a short video we made in 5 minutes that day before. It was fun creating something quickly with Margaret, who was very enthusiastic about the idea!

  2. It’s important to double-check that the Clips app is available and working on student iPads BEFORE starting the project. We have 1:1 iPads that stay in the classroom for lower school (K-4). As I am also the person in charge of managing and distributing ALL iPad apps, I had pushed the clips app well ahead of time. However, there is a known glitch with several Apple-designed apps, where an Apple I.D. is required for use. UNLESS of course, you know a work-around (which I did). With our jamf Pro database, we can delete the app and reinstall it again via Self Service. Comments are welcome if you would like to know more about how we use jamf Pro for most everything!

  3. Students began by thinking of 2-3 “favorites” questions to ask their partner. They video-recorded a clip of them introducing their partner, followed by 1, 2, 3, however many clips they wanted for each question they asked. They could also add visual titles (forgot the real name) to show the words on the screen as they said them (so awesome).

  4. They then drew illustrations by hand that depicted one of their partner’s favorites (or their own). After taking a photo of the illustration within the Clips app, they moved the image to the appropriate place in the timeline.

  5. After this, they had the option of adding a visual effect to one or more clips!

  6. Our last step (happening next week) will be to add an optional soundtrack, export the video to their camera roll on the iPad and upload to Flipgrid!

I hope this gives you one idea about using Apple Clips with 1st graders! They have really enjoyed using it and have caught on quickly. More posts to come on working with 1st graders as a technology specialist!

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Keeping Your Sanity with eBook Distribution

Those of you that have been in the educational technology world for the past few years have seen MONUMENTAL changes in lots of different categories of technology.  There are many more bots and drones that are compatible with the Tynker app, for example.  Swift Playgrounds has taken off as an interactive base station for learning coding and Google has made it much easier to manage your classroom resources with Classroom (groundbreaking, in my opinion).

There is one thing, however, that has made only INCREMENTAL improvements.  The biggest headache that I have experienced as a "device management profesh" is the existence and necessity of eBook distribution in the school environment.  You may be wondering what exactly I am talking about.  Let me break it down.

When iPads were introduced, schools began spinning their gears around whether or not the iPad (or any mobile device for that matter) are either appropriate or affordable for learning environments.  Hillbrook School (where I have worked for about 4 years) was one of the first schools in the country to jump on the chance of introducing iPads in the classroom.  It was tricky at first, given the fact that virtually no teacher had even touched an iPad themselves before having to create curriculum incorporating this complex tool.  It was cool, though, because over time these same teachers discovered exactly how powerful the iPad could be.  We even re-designed how our classrooms look around the idea of "flexible" tools.  

With all this greatness came more pressure on app developers to create useful tools for both the consumer AND the classroom.  Over time, this has happened and is still happening and gradually improving.  Awesome.  The systems for distributing these apps to students and teachers has ALSO improved dramatically (Thanks, JAMF!).  Awesome.

What's not so awesome, as an ed tech profesh, is that the distribution of licensed digital books has been a huge headache and is not for the weak-hearted.  Without going into too much detail, let me give you an overview of the current process I take every time I need to push an eBook to students:

Systems we use: Active Directory, jamf MDM, Apple School Manager, Apple VPP
Devices: 1:1 iPads grade 1-8  

Workflow:

1. All iPads have been setup at the beginning of the year using an Active Directory login.  This allows a unique "username" to appear in the jamf MDM database (requires linking LDAP info in the jamf settings).
2. Apple School Manager account was setup and Managed Apple I.D's for (almost) all students and faculty/staff were created by uploading .csv files to Apple School Manager with a WHOLE BUNCH of required data.  Check out this extensive manual.
3. Apple Education Support settings were enabled and updated in jamf.  We had to be pretty specific about how these were set, since the Active Directory username needed to match the Managed Apple I.D. (headache).  Example: AD username = ehendricks.  Therefore, jamf needs to know that the AD username is the same as the first part of the Managed Apple I.D. (e.g. ehendricks@appleid.hillbrook.org). 
Settings we use at Hillbrook for importing Users in jamf using Managed Apple I.D's.


4. Purchase eBook licenses in the Apple VPP store.  You will need one license per iPad.
5. Go to JAMF > Settings > Mobile Device > Apple School Manager > Force Sync
2. REQUIRED: Go to JAMF > Users > search for any user > Click Import > Import new users added earlier in ASM
3. Create a new VPP invitation in jamf.  Add User(s) to new VPP Invitation.  Make sure it is set to “automatically register"!
4. Assign the eBook to students in Users > VPP Assignments.  Make sure you have enough licenses!
5. Students will need to then login in the iBooks app using their Managed Apple I.D.
6. Then, they can go to the Purchased section of the iBook app and open the book!

PHEW, see what I mean?!!!!

Yes, that IS a lot of steps, and there are probably many more steps hidden within all of this, depending on your situation, school environment and the MDM that you use to distribute eBooks.

The cool thing is that in order to keep your sanity in this process, you need to remember to be patient.  Large technology companies like Apple and jamf are rooted in the needs of "grounding" technology.  Technology that many categories of users depend on and have specific expectations and needs depending on their industry.  eBook authors ALSO have an industry, which is partially in the digital sphere, and partially in the physical sphere.  It's a little weird, but we have to respect this discrepancy.  Older business models and licensing still need to be dusted off and redesigned, but who will do the dusting?

This is some crazy, convoluted stuff, but let's join hands, breathe and trust that the needs of the world will influence iBook distributors and authors to reassess the ways in which they reach the student masses.

God Bless.

(Also, please email me at ehendricks@hillbrook.org or respond in the Comments section to discuss any specific questions or needs.)