Friday, October 14, 2016

Be an Advocate: Updating iPads

Across the district teachers are pleased with some of the newest additions to the Waukesha One program to further support teaching and learning.  Whether it is greater functionality and reliability with Casper Focus, new features available in Apple Classroom, increased controls over acceptable apps, or the ability to request apps to be pushed directly to students in Self Service, there have been some significant changes.

To take full advantage of these changes, though, student and staff iPads should be updated to the newest iOS operating system as soon as possible.

Be an Update Advocate

First, make sure you serve as an example and update your staff device.

Next, we ask that staff members encourage students to update their iOS operating system as well. Many students take care of updates on their own. However, mentioning to students that updating is important will encourage even more students to take care of this important process.

While we do not advocate being the first person to download an update of software (for fear of data loss or unexpected bugs), several weeks after a new operating system is released, it is fairly safe and generally advantageous to update. We recommend doing so at this point for any recent releases.

Updating an iPad

There are a few key steps to remember when updating an operating system.

Back Up the Data

1. Make an iCloud backup of your device. Specific directions are available here.
2. Back up all important school work within apps (such as Book Creator, Notability, Explain Everything, etc.) to Google Drive. Sending this work to Google Drive will make it available for re-download after the update if needed.

Check the Charge Level

iPads typically will not update unless they are charged to over 50% or plugged in.

Initiate the Update

1. This will take some time. Set aside at least 20 min. or more where the iPad will not be needed.
2. Tap Settings > General > Software Update.
3. Tap Download and Install.
4. Respond to any on-screen prompts or need for a passcode.

Complete directions are available here.

Push Apps to Your Students: Reviewing the New App Approval Process

A few weeks ago we announced that a new app approval process in the School District of Waukesha. The goal is to make it easier for students to get access to the apps they use in class without an Apple ID.  

Many staff members are already using this process to have apps pushed out to students. However, there are still many questions about the new process, so let's take a moment to review.

Before Requesting an App in Self Service

Just as teachers have always done, staff should check out the quality and safety of the app before submitting it for approval.  There is a helpful guide that can get you started as you explore an app that you would like to see students use in your classroom.

Additionally, we ask that teachers of similar grade levels or subjects within a building come to a consensus on which apps will be available to students. For instance, teachers at each building in Kindergarten and 1st Grade across our elementary schools started this process by calling meetings, discussing which apps would be on their approved list, and then submitting these apps for approval. We ask that you work with your colleagues to do the same before submitting an app request.

Request Apps to be Placed in Self Service

App requests must be entered into the 
SDW Self Service App Request Form available here:

Apps will be reviewed for key elements that include instructional value, terms of use, student privacy and data collection. This process may take some time depending on the volume of requests, so please plan ahead. Not all apps will be approved.  Whether approved or not, the person submitting an app approval to SDW Self Service App Request form will receive email notification of the determination made.

Installing the Apps to Student iPads

Once an app has been approved, students should visit Self Service to download the app. No Apple ID is required. Teachers will need to download the apps from the App Store with the professional Apple ID created when you received your district Mac and iPad. 

As students move through the system, these apps will come and go from their iPads automatically (within a reasonable amount of time). As  a student moves from one building to another, or to a new grade level (as indicated in Infinite Campus), new apps will become available to the student in Self Service while some previously assigned apps may leave the student's iPad.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Apple Teacher: Using the Powerful Tools Already in Your Hands

Rolling out a new app approval process in our district has many educators eager to easily share their favorite apps with their students. It is an exciting shift and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Attending an Apple event yesterday, I was reminded of the power of the tools and apps ALREADY on our district iPads. That stands for both students and teachers!

You can put these tools to work for you and your students today, whether it is:
  • using AirDrop to share files and project templates from any core app with students as they are ready for them, 
  • turning on and teaching ALL students to use the Accessibility features on the iPad to support every students unique abilities, 
  • utilizing free, high quality content from iTunes U to find personalized resources in all subjects, 
  • or putting the powerful suite of Apple Apps (iWork apps, iMovie, GarageBand, and Photos) already on the iPads to better use with students.
Recently Apple announced a new program that is intended to offer educators a leg up on better utilizing the iPad and the Mac within the classroom. It is called Apple Teacher. It is a FREE training and certification program that teaches in depth about the various Apple Apps and features on iPad and Mac, provides insight and ideas for utilizing the tools with your students, and offers a certification test for those interested in being recognized as an Apple Teacher.

Several teachers around the district have already completed their Apple Teacher certifications, but more importantly, are re-discovering how the power of these tools can be put to use in the classroom.

If you are interested in signing up for the Apple Teacher program, visit this link.

Even if you are not interested, it is worth taking a moment to look at Apple Education/Teacher page. Here are just a few articles worthy of your time that might spark some ideas for you.

  • How iBooks Author and iBooks on iPad transformed one school
  • Making things easier to see for some students by inverting colors on the iPad
  • Make data and charts interactive using Numbers on the iPad
  • View every student's screen at once with Apple Classroom
  • Teachers can take free workshops to learn Pages, Numbers, Keynote, etc. at Apple Stores
  • Exploring the heart with an app
  • Making waves with Advanced Physics on the iPad

Consider reviewing some of the resources, but more importantly, pick up your iPad and start exploring app icons that have been sitting in Self Service or on your home screen for some time, but that you have yet to dig into. Maybe that spark of inspiration will strike you!

If you are already an Apple Teacher, let us know in the comments!