To Do

  
 To Do
I am preparing mentally for an onslaught of work in January. Many assume that schools close down in holiday periods (This is our long Summer break  in Australia). For our school and for most others this is a fallacy. Of course it isn’t just me at work. Our Administration department is active, teachers are often industriously preparing for their students and a whole host of maintenance and cleaning occurs. In my case as the year slid to a halt I was purposefully anticipating and preparing for the 2016 school year. Much has already been done – ordering equipment / software etc and arranging support as required to help enable the process (my tech department consists mainly of myself and a couple of solid, external resources). Flowing on from this preparation is my new “to do” list for the January period. Running a technology infused 1:1 environment,  so that it all runs smoothly, does take considerable effort. 

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To Do – January

  • Update IOS and apps on iPad class sets via Configurator – add / remove apps 
  • Add additional iPads to cater for additional students – cases, screen protectors, configuration etc
  • Year 6 replace covers and label as required 
  • Redistribution and labelling of class iPad sets to accommodate differing allocations K – 6 
  • Conduct maintenance / repair / replacement for existing iPad stock – via Apple
  • Provision of technology resources etc for new teachers 
  • Set up additional ancillary student MacBooks – ordered and received
  • Update existing MacBook supply – OS, apps etc
  • Set up Office 365 and migrate Exchange to The Cloud

https://products.office.com/en-au/academic/office-365-education-plan

  • Deploy Office 365 software across various school devices as required
  • Set up new replacement laptops for Smartboards in all classrooms – we will deploy Windows 10 on some of these (trialling functionality and software compatibility)
  • Set up a new Windows 10 PC in the Admin – testing compatibility etc 
  • Set up iPad Pros for use with Special Ed program (experimental in consultation with Special Ed and Apple specialist). 
  • Minecraft set up – looking at potential to integrate Minecraft Edu in learning programs

https://minecraftedu.com/about

  • Maker Space – robotics, drones etc – add EV3 software to all devices
  • Coding – creating a strategy to enable integration – teacher PD / student development
  • Revisit and resolve Clickview integration via Clickview support 
  • iBook Authoring – Strategic overview of our technology integration program (ADS Program)
  • Planning for teacher PD in 2016 – MyPD for new teachers re integration of technology Term 1
  • Update of email accounts and setup of new accounts 
  • Update information for “Stile” accounts (teachers and students) 
  • Servers and network maintenance – software updates etc

Apple – planner

  • Day 1: Year 5 iPads, Year 2 iPads, MacBook update and setup new  
  • Day 2: Year 4 iPads, Year K iPads, MacBook update and Setup new
  • Day 3 Year 3 iPads, Year 1 iPads
  • Year 6 iPads are provisioned under individual school owned accounts

Windows software / hardware planner

  • Prepare new laptops, develop new laptop profiles to be applied including Office update – consideration re Windows 10 
  • Pull in existing Smartboard laptops (Windows), prep for clean and restore as required
  • Warranty repairs as required – Dell
  • Arrangements re Office 365
  • Preschool and ELC laptop (Windows) evaluation and replacement plan

As a teacher who has transitioned from the classroom to enabling technology integration I realise that bringing all of this together cohesively for the start of the school year is crucial. Teachers and students expect “it” all to be working and it must because our learning programs are now so intimately tied to technology. No Pressure!

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Lego EV3 & iPads 

  
There are always challenges with new “stuff” and from my perspective that’s part of the fun. Today we ran a session with two Year 5 classes using Lego EV3 robots that we had recently purchased. This was experimental. We have used Lego Mindstorms before, but this was our first venture using the EV3s and in teaming them with our iPads via Bluetooth. 

The sessions went really well. Preparation for this activity was crucial. We were dealing with a newly acquired app and a new robot. We also needed to put together a series of activities which would entice and challenge the children. It was also important to anticipate different capabilities and provide enough progressively for the children to complete in just under two hours.

Lesson overview:

Introduction:

  • The EV3 Brick – input, output, navigation, display
  • The Robot – physical attributes 
  • The App – lobby, robot educator, programs
  • Geometry and measurement
  • Programming – motors, forward, back, turning, rotations, angles, wait, loop (note: introduced sensors briefly, but not required for this lesson)
  • Bluetooth 

 
  

   

The greatest challenge, it turned out, wasn’t actually to do with programming or in completing tasks, but was actually about enabling the Bluetooth connection. This is where playing before introducing technology is vital. As soon as we started experimenting with Bluetooth on the EV3s we realised that all the robots had the same name and that with multiple robots and multiple children robots needed to be easily identifiable. We named each EV3 brick to avoid confusion. Additionally we noticed that sometimes the EV3 Programming App didn’t pickup the Bluetooth connection even though in settings the Ev3 and the iPad were paired. This was resolved by restarting the app (double click the home button on the iPad and then push away the programming app). Even the pairing process wasn’t simple when adjusting settings on the brick via the buttons. Here I must say that once paired the Bluetooth interaction between the iPad and the EV3 was brilliant – getting rid of clumsy plugging of wires made it easy. 

The short video below shows the students in action. The children worked, cooperatively, collaboratively and purposefully. There was full engagement across the two Year 5 class sessions. The other thing which was great to see was the perseverance of groups to complete tasks even following repeated failure. It was a rich learning experience for us all.