The iPad and Classroom Management

Classroom management has many layers and aspects to it. It includes being organized, keeping students engaged and the ability to deliver meaningful content. Hey, you can also have some fun along the way. So this is where the iPad comes in. You hear all the chatter about the iPad, it’s this, it’s that and truly, it is whatever you want it to be. The iPad is extremely flexible and the apps give a teacher, an assistant, so to speak. The first app that I recommend is Teacher’s Pick. You should always have a way of selecting students, because we all know that squeaky wheel gets oiled and we tend to pick the students who always raise their hands. The Teacher’s Pick is the perfect app for this and students will take notice. In order for your students to see your selection, you can hook your iPad up to an LCD projector, place it under a document camera or simply show them the iPad screen. The app beats using popsicle sticks, especially in the middle school or high school classroom because of the volume of students. Teacher’s Pick allows you to keep track of who has been chosen during the day or even all week. You can reset your picks at any time. A great tool to get everyone involved! Another great app that allows you to take full control of your classroom is the Lan School Lite app. This app comes complete with free software for your main computer, to over see what is happening in real time with the laptops that your students are using in the classroom. The beauty of the Lan School Lite software, is that the app that is installed on the iPad, allows for you to monitor student computers on the go! You can move about your classroom, help students with their projects and continue to monitor your student’s computer screens at the same time. I my opinion, the key to this app is the mobility and you are not stuck in any one place. Students will respect the fact that you are watching and also willing to help. Check these apps out. I know they can benefit your classroom and improve classroom management.

  • The iPod Teacher: Clone Yourself

    There is no doubt about it, school districts across America are increasing class size and this reduces the amount of instructional minutes that each individual student has with their teacher. I think every student deserves some time, if even momentary, to communicate with a teacher one-on-one. As we peer out at our classrooms, it is evident some students require more attention than others because of their academic regression and deservedly so, we give them the time they need. But have you ever wished you could clone yourself, so you could be in more than one place at time in your classroom? That time is now! Use an iPod to deliver valuable and meaningful instruction while you evaluate and help students individually. Additionally, it provides students with a self-paced lesson. The students that get it, move on and the students that require more time can pause and review any portion of the lesson. I found out that our district had 20 iPod Touches ready for classroom check-out. Using an iPod for instruction gives you instant buy-in from students, not to mention your coolness factor goes up a notch or two. So here is what I did:
    1. Acquired iPods 2. Record a screen cast movie to provide students with a content lesson-Here I use Jing to produce my screen casts. You can choose to use any screen cast software. 3. Open iTunes, Go to File>Add to Library>Select your movie file 4. In iTunes, select your movie>Advanced tab>Create iPod Version5. Connect iPod to your computer (If a school iPod is being used, you can set it to manual by clicking on the black icon of the iPod) 6. Drag the iPod version of the screencast lesson that you created into the ipod and your done.

    The lesson is now viewable, you can help individuals and small groups!

    CUE Conference 2010 – How To Videos Posted

    Hello and thank you to all the people that attended “Igniting the Mathematical Mind” session at CUE on Friday (3/5 ) @ 11:30 AM! Jamie Sweet and myself really enjoyed ourselves and you were a great audience! We would really love to hear from you. We have posted how to create many of the games that we covered in our session. If you see something that is not there and would like to know how to create it, please let us know. Also, if you have time, please visit Session Evaluations (Friday @ 11:30 AM)and evaluate our session, Thanks! Click on the CUE 2010 tab above to access the videos. Subscribe to access the latest videos!

    It’s All About The Kids – The Simple Ideas

    It’s all about the kids! Have you ever heard this sentiment before? How many people really mean what they say? It makes for a great moniker, tag-line, or feel good type of statement. However, the reality is that it’s easy to stand behind a declaration that more often than not, is completely supported. Kinda one of those head shake moments, where you get the proverbial “yeah, yeah, I hear ya.” I call shenanigans! In education, in this current climate, it seems that its less and less about the kids and more about fancy filled promises and doughnut hole size delivery. Let see, It’s all about the kids right! Then why on Earth would you overcrowd a classroom where the teacher has less and less time per student. Make sense? In school, what would you say is the single biggest asset that a student can have? Perhaps a teacher? You can have the world’s greatest programs, but without a vessel to transfer and bridge information, what’s the use? Yet, shall I state, “it’s all about the kids,” right? Vibrant teachers who come into the work force to teach the eager beavers of the world are dismissed and perhaps never to return to the teaching workforce. These young teachers come prepared with the latest technology know-how and are ready to unleash their talents and meld their fresh youth, enthusiasm and love for digital connections amongst their students. This would only benefit our youth but instead classrooms are stagnant around the U.S., with very little digital creativity for our digital stalwarts. If we want it to be all about the kids, then we as teachers, at every level, need to exhaustively work to create meaningful lessons that incorporate today’s technology. If we want it to be all about the kids, there needs to be a common denominator and that is the teacher. Teaching is a special service within our society that touches young lives in exponential ways, that most will never get a chance to experience. There are thousands of quality teachers in this great nation of ours, but we need millions! Make it happen, cause it’s all about the kids.

    Teacher of the Year, Technology and Cool Links


    I was recently honored as my school’s teacher of the year. I am very appreciative that my colleagues would distinguish me in this way. A few days later I received a message from the district that I could apply for the district teacher of the year award. Lucky me, more paperwork! Well, I decided to do it. I wanted people to know how I felt about using technology in the classroom and I did. I spoke about the inadequacies in today’s educational landscape and how we need to move forward in our instruction, because the students are up there waiting for us. They are waiting for us to teach them how to podcast, the are waiting for us to teach them how make movies and they are waiting for us teachers to catch up so they can teach us a thing or two. We need to learn to be the experts in any types of technology and often times we will have overwhelming support by the bright-eyed and bushy tailed students in our classrooms around the world. I use to love playing video games as a child. Space Invaders and Centipede were my favorite. Games have come a long way since then, but if I look back at those games and how they grabbed my attention, that is what we need to do all the time: grab their attention and keep it! Video games are nothing more than interactive television. Instead of watching the Simpsons or CSI, you get to control the characters, you get be part of the action and this is exciting! In education, we need to let student be part of the action. We compete with cell phones and text messaging, so wouldn’t it be great to tell students to pull their cell phones out and not to turn them off and put them away. Some may think this is far fetched and that students are just going to use this technology to cheat. Maybe we need to re-evaluate how assessments are being given. At you can try this by using this website as a differentiated way to take quiz or ask a poll question when there isn’t any money in the school budget for individual responders. You might even say that every student does not a cell phone or have a text plan, I say buddy up, “pair share.” There are always problems, some students don’t even come to school with paper and pencil to work with. This will always be a problem, but let’s not make it an excuse. I am driven to, not only highlight the fact that teachers at all levels must join the 21st century, but I am also willing to help you get there. is one of many sites that is a class ‘A’ tool for learning. Here are some others links to sites that I will be making tutorials for in the near future:

    Cue Conference Keynote: Robert Marzano

    The 2009 CUE Conference’s keynote speaker was Robert Marzano. After forty-five minutes, Marzano had jam packed his keynote speech with data and support from his ongoing research for the use of technology and interactive whiteboards in the classroom. He partnered with Promethean Technologies in this study and here are some of the highlights of his findings:

  • The longer that you use an interactive whiteboard, the higher the gains and improvements
  • More specifically, the use of any technology increases when used about 75% of time (80%-90% of use decreases its effectiveness)
  • If the teacher has confidence in using the interactive whiteboard there are further increases in gains
  • He used the term “sweet spot”, referring to a teacher who has at least two years of experience in teaching and using the board 75% of the time which resulted in a 30% gain per student
  • Use formative assessment for the whole group
  • Must keep track of records over time
  • Students should track their own learning
  • Use a rigorous rubric based approach to learning overtime
  • The power of technology is inevitably the bridge that is leading students to acquire content. However, the underlying engine that drives and facilitates technology are teachers. Teachers need to be trained in the technology that they have been given and this includes interactive whiteboards. Every classroom is different, every teacher is different and every student is different, but the commonality is the technology which is the medium that allows all concerned to be successful!

    Grown Up Digital: Insight to teaching technologically

    This a great book that lays out the inadequacies that we have as teachers if we are delivering instruction the old fashion way. I do not think that it is any secret that the students of today learn differently than students of the past. I agree with the book that we cannot continue to deliver an outdated model of instruction when students sit bored in our classrooms. Society is changing daily in many different ways and technology is at the forefront. I have always embraced technology but even I have taken a second look at how I deliver my instruction. Simply asking students to produce PowerPoints and/or Excel charts is just not good enough. If you are still lecturing: STOP! Read the book above and give our students a chance. I am inspired by students everyday and they can actually teach us a thing or two about technology, and this is the point. I was at a conference last year for gifted students and a speaker stated that she has known teachers to actually ask their students to be experts in in a certain content area and teach other students. The presenter was totally against this and stated that this was not the job of the student, it was the job of the teacher. Students need to be able to explore and confirm their knowledge base. It does not have to be through a multiple choice exam, it can actually be observed through interaction among peers in real-life applicable situations: This is how our world actually functions, making decisions and helping others understand. This book has opened my even more of the importance of the use of technolgy and allowing the students to be owners of the content, rather than just a constituent to information that will not have value a week later. The learning should have lasting value. This book is definitely a winner and I encourage anyone in education to read it. Aside form education it allows you to learn more about the net gener, the institutions such as education and the workplace and how society is dealing with kids that grow up with so much to offer. Are we ready?

    The four minute flip chart for ActivStudio 3

    Activstudio 3 is a wonderful piece of software that comes with the purchase of a Promethean Activboard. Some of you may have just received your Promethean board and your not sure where to begin. Sure, you can start writing on the board and even begin to bring in a few shapes or text but you want more, so did I! What I’m about to explain is an easy way to get you and your students started in just minutes.

    1. Open Activstudio 3 Professional
    2. Click on your RESOURCE LIBRARY
    3. Click on the SHARED SHAPES ICON
    4. Expand shared shapes and click on SQUARES AND RECTANGLES
    5. Drag a HORIZONTAL RECTANGLE onto your blank flip chart (do this 3 times)
    6. Expand the rectangles so that they are all of equal size and so that they cover the entire flip chart and are connected
    7. Now, click on the first rectangle, from the color palette click on green and then click on the FILL TOOL icon (the bucket), move it over the first rectangle and click the space bar. The rectangle should have changed to green.
    8. Leave the second rectangle black
    9. Repeat step 7 for the third triangle, but change it to blue
    10. Double click on the first rectangle and click on the icon, OBJECTS TO BACK. Repeat this step for the third rectangle
    11. Double click on the second rectangle and click on the icon, OBJECTS TO FRONT
    12. Let’s add some text! Click on the TEXT TOOL (“T”) and move the cursor over the first rectangle, towards the top portion and click the space bar. An area for you to type and a text palette will open.
    13. On the text palette change the color to blue and type 1.23 + 0.02 = ?
    14. Press the space bar 7 times (or so), change the text color to green and type ? = 1.25
    15. Un-check the BACKGROUND box on the TEXT PALETTE
    16. Close the TEXT PALETTE
  • Note: that when un-checking the background box, at times it converts back. Simply go back and un-check the background box.
  • There you have it! A revealing flip chart template. Move the math question from the left to the right and it will magically disappear and the answer will appear in the blue section. You can use this template to further be creative and add objects, multiple backgrounds and much, much more! Have fun with it. If you have any questions leave a comment or e-mail me. I am glad to help!
  • If you are more of a visual person, click on the tutorials tab for a video enhanced explanation!
  • Cell Phones and PDA’s for Learning?

    There is no doubt about it, as technology evolves, so do the opportunities for teachers to meld fantastic, pioneering technology with great teaching. In a newspaper article written in the Sunday edition of the Orange County Register, one of these opportunities are coming to fruition. We have heard of food on the run, but education on the run? Coastline College in Fountain Valley, California is launching what they hope to be a very successful campaign to allow students to complete classes, not only online, but on their cell phones and PDA’s. In an age where cell phones are carried by young children as low as 10 years of age, maybe younger, cell phones can now be utilized as a bridge for learning, rather than the nuisance that they have become in schools around America. The misuse of phones in the classroom, such as texting or the inadvertent ring to disrupt a lesson have no place in school. However, when used to incorporate and allow students to get excited about content and buy in, I’M ALL FOR IT! We owe it to our students, at any level, to provide them with professional instruction in order to cause learning and understanding of content. As a professional, I look for opportunities for students to learn in an ever advancing technological age. Cells phones and PDA’s may not be the answer for middle school students, not yet anyways, but for high school and college I believe there will be an ever growing progression in the utilization of all media, especially learning on the go. You may even see a student finishing their biology lab assignment at a bus stop near you.

      Click here to read “Studying on the digital run.”
      Click here for Coastline College website

    Photo Booth: How to use it for making movie clips!

    If you have a Mac and it has the Leopard Operating System, then you have Photo Booth. If you do not see it in the lower icon tray, then you can find it in the applications folder from the desktop Macintosh HD icon. Once you find the Photo Booth icon, drag it to your icons tray.


    What is nice about this version of Photo Booth is that it has the capability of inserting a static (still)  image or a dynamic (moving) image behind you as you record yourself in front of the image. It is very easy work with and gives, you the teacher, a great way to demonstrate a lesson or students the ability to create great projects. Creating is at the top of the updated Blooms Taxonomy model, so this is just another way to create, design and develop. Look under the TUTORIALS tab for step by step instructions on how to create a presentation using Photo Booth and its green screen properties.