Note that this discussion is peculiar to some of the issues brought about by how Apple has built what was originally an iPhone software distribution system for individual consumers (not enterprise deployment). However, with the changes being made by the Apple MacOS X App store, it may be worth thinking differently about MacOS applications as well.
Another key observation to begin this discussion about software is the notion of Ownership. Although we talk about buying software as though we ‘own’ it, we don’t actually ‘own’ software, we purchase a license for the right to use it. As a property manager for our school system, this has caused us a lot of headaches as our institution has become more accountable for things that we have purchased. The idea of software being a physical asset that can be ’seen’ is becoming less and less common. It is delivered already installed on another physical item of significant cost, may or may not be transferrable, or may delivered by downloading. There is no physical asset to ‘tag’.
I would title this response:
"Making the Case for Personal Apple ID's for the Teacher"
A fellow ADE posted a iPad App Management scenario that was summarized as follows:
- The staff member will create the account with district email address. The staff will be told that if they are to leave the district or move to another position where their iPad is not needed that their Apple ID will be transferred to a new teacher. Staff will be encouraged to download free apps with this ID and when purchased apps are needed, they will put in a request through our district's VPP process (we're creating a Google Form to expedite this process). Therefore, apps that are collected under this account will all be district apps which leads to my next point...
- Apple IDs can be edited/changed using the Apple ID website: https://appleid.apple.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/MyAppleId.woa/ When logged in, you can EDIT your email address and change it to another one.
While this may be a workable solution, the additional issue is that any programs that the teacher purchased with their own $$ or giftcards also would get transferred to the new teacher's account. I think this would impede adoption of the iPad as a personal lifestyle learning tool.
This is a matter of policy, inventory, and professional development policy. Unless there are funding restrictions (stipulations in a grant on how money is to be spent and items tracked), I would like to move schools and school systems that I work with into a new view of software. You are actually purchasing the 'right' to use intellectual property (code) as opposed to owning a physical object. Let's classify it as like we do consumables - unless it exceeds a relatively high price tag, we are giving teachers a somewhat temporal tool to improve the efficacy of their job function.
Apps for iOS:
- are typically very low cost or free (I know some are very expensive)
- fluctuate in price
- dynamically change in their usefulness (alternatives suddenly appear that are low cost or free that are better or more appropriate)
- are typically targeted to a very focused use or product
- may have version changes that make them obsolete unless repurchased or replaced with another app
- may involve in-App purchases that may not transfer cleanly with a changed Apple ID (has anyone experimented with this?)
To equip our teachers and students, we often invest in training that empowers them to be more effective on their job. Training always includes strategies or process tools. They take this training with them where ever they go. In many ways, a small focused-purpose app is a process tool more than a physical piece of hardware. Hardware is more tangible– and physically audit-able..
iOS is such a personal tool by design that we really need to move beyond the MS enterprise deployment model of micromanaging our factory workers. Changes in pedagogy are recommending differentiated, personalized learning. We need to be consistent with our teaching staff and empower them to differentiate their instruction and personalize their learning. Giving teachers a tool like a digital camera to use in their classroom is enhanced when we encourage them to become familiar with that tool by pursuing (ethically appropriate) personal interests / hobbies with that tool. Educational implementation increases with the passion derived from personal learning. Professional use of the iPad will be enhanced as the teacher uses it to buy, read, annotate books, magazines as well as use programs like iMovie to video and edit their daughter's dance rehearsal. That teacher will then have the confidence and the passion to use iMovie in the classroom with their students. They will understand the methods and advantages of eBook reading.
Most teachers will be happy to spend $1 here or there to test a new app for teaching the Periodic Table of the Elements, or Digital Storytelling. They will be even more likely to do so if they know that what they purchase with their own money will be their's to deploy on their own iDevices and to use for personal interests, etc. Furthermore, anything that they purchase will be available to them after they retire or if they move to a new school system.
So this disruptive technology really should cause us to rethink how we stage the software and media purchase for professional use. My argument is that teachers should use their own accounts that they take with them where ever they go. We can't treat software like we treat hardware for accounting definitions. Consider also that we are primarily purchasing a dozen or so general tools for teachers to use- things like the iWork trio, iMovie, Garageband, a Graphic Organizer App, etc. If we purchase bulk codes for equipping our teachers, this amounts to a one-time investment of around $50 per teacher. That investment may last a year, several years or more. It is not a lot of money to provide as a benefit of employment. I think there should be a cost threshold established, and perhaps purchase unique expensive apps such as Proloquo 2Go under a district controlled Apple ID.
So in summary, in an ideal deployment, the individual establishes their own personal Apple ID as the primary one on the device. Most of the district-purchased apps will be associated with the teacher's personal Apple ID. The teacher will be able to populate their iOS device with anything that is ethically appropriate and not used for a profit-making endeavor. They will be responsible for their own updates and backups. The district will provide core Apps through volume discount purchase voucher codes associated with the teacher's personal Apple ID as a non-recurring, expendable item expense. The district will use their own school/district account to install very expensive apps or apps that have been acquired through a grant or funding source that limits personal ownership. These apps will be regularly updated by the district or school tech specialist with the special account password, then device will be logged out of the school/district account and logged back in to the teacher's personal account. I think this method is also ultimately desirable for student issued iOS devices, but that is another topic entirely.
(this is a good blog to read- check it out!)
We lose a bit of perspective when we try and equate iOS devices to laptops and netbooks. iOS devices have taken novel technologies and have opened up one of the first genuinely new ways of interacting with a computer.
After reading various GUI Experts* critiques for years, I have been intrigued with the notion that people were tired of the Desktop/File System/Mouse/Icon ways of interacting with computers. REALLY? So what would this look like? What could be better? The iOS has answered that question for me (sometimes). Maybe not 'better' but at least "good different".
Although iOS doesn't completely change the way everything works (we still have icons and clipboard, etc.), it is a pretty radical departure that makes computing much lighter weight, generally lighter wait, and simpler. Furthermore, accelerometers, gyros, geolocation, multitouch surface, these are integrated and being integrated in ways that are refreshing, novel, and inspiring! Most of us would not have imagined the crazy things that could be done with these technologies if we were limited to a laptop or netbook form factor.
So I believe our students and educators deserve to have access to both experiences and I think that true technology literacy is developed by being aware of the strengths and appropriateness of a variety of tools.
*such as the late Jef Raskin, one of the creators of the original MacOS GUI says "shuttling between a keyboard and a mouse wastes too much time." http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jan2003/tc20030122_7027.htm
More than once I have felt a mixture of disappointment, sympathy and dismay that my news team was equipped with Windows-based technology.
Yeah, I have my preferences and reserved judgements for those who don’t appreciate the Apple-branded product. So I was surprised and keenly curious when I saw the World News Tonight Anchor Diane Sawyer sitting at a modern glass desk with a very clean, austere, lines- no paper clutter, no legal pad, no ugly blockish, cheap ThinkPad, but WHAT?!!! is that an Apple MacBook Air?!!!
In another segment the papers, pencils and legal pad appear, but I can get another glance at that Apple Logo’ed product...
Second look, no, there is a Bluetooth Apple Keyboard and maybe some type of small display? Or is it... some sort of an iPad????!!! Front screen shots confirmed it was an iPad with typical app icons.
Why didn’t I immediately realize it was an iPad? I knew that ABC News was actively promoting its new iPad app. I certainly knew that the iPad app was flashy and has gotten a lot of media attention. But there was a minor detail that other bloggers had not discussed – the device appears to be about the size of an iPad, but it sure looks like it is in it’s landscape orientation, and the famous pome logo was upright!
So is this just case of lens distortion? Is it really vertical? Fascinating question of optics. Maybe part of the illusion is because it appears to be held by a Element Case Joule iPad Stand. A paltry $129 statement of good taste and design.
Another technology conference has come and gone.
It is good to be home after two weeks of travel doing professional development in Minnesota and Iowa; then enjoying the companionship of like-minded ed tech’ers at ISTE 2010 in Denver, Colorado.
I’ve read a few reflections and take-aways from ISTE– one of the first was by a CIO in Illinois: Henry Thiele.
Thiele identified 5 Developing Themes from the conference. His 2nd item in his list: Personal Computing Devices.
“2. We are have some pretty big decisions looming on how we are going to handle an influx of personal mobile computing devices into our society. With the ipad, new iphone, android devices in both phone and tablet forms arriving, and the continued growth and popularity of netbooks, there are a lot more discussions of how we are going to respond to this trend as schools. These conversations center around network infrastructure, policy, instructional strategies, and preparing teachers for this change.”
credit: Henry Thiele
This was also major focus of my thoughts as I had just delivered the first iPad in Education workshop for Apple Professional Development and had participated in ISTE’s Leadership Bootcamp right before the general conference. It is another question that grows out of economics and the mandate placed on adult educators to manage the student’s learning experiences.
- It is difficult (particularly given today’s economic conditions) to pay for every student to have their own laptop.
- More and more students have portable devices that have more computing power than the systems that sent men to the moon.
- If this is what the students already have for learning and communicating devices, doesn’t it make sense to build on existing skills?
Ok, fine! It is hard to argue with the above... but taking the position of the average educator in the classroom (in spite of the fact we expect them to all be extraordinary)–
- If we rely on student/family provided technology, educators will no longer be an agent of leveling educational advantages- we will be amplifying the technology gap.
- We will not have consistent, or even similar technologies to engage the students with in our activities. In a very pluralistic society, how many different types of cell phones would you expect to see in a class of 25 students? How many different menuing systems? Different feature sets? Different service plans, ie: how many students have limited vs. unlimited texting? Can you imagine the average teacher having to navigate these waters? Troubleshoot all these devices?
- Processor power aside, many of these devices are at their core very specialized devices- meant primarily for allowing people to remain connected and informed of and by specific types of content. Even though the iPad’s touch keyboard is very good and nearly the same size as a laptop keyboard, a touch typist like myself cannot be as efficient composing an essay and formatting a term paper. Doing this on an iPod touch is like choosing a toothpick to dig a well with–it is the antithesis of choosing the right tool for the job.
- If we are relying on parent purchased / student owned hardware, not only are there issues with hardware consistencies / equalities, but software required for specialized activities such as concept (mind) mapping, video editing / conversion, etc. become impossible to manage. We have had a taste of this already with the average teachers getting frustrated over versions of software and interchangeability between file formats and installed fonts.
- Not only are these devices owned by individuals (not enterprises), but they are designed for use and management by individuals– so even if the students/parents were to provide “administrative” access to these devices- most of them do not permit or have the tools that enterprises are used to having for management/troubleshooting, etc.
- Finally, there is the reality of malware, theft, and physical damage that occurs to these devices while the students are under our supervision. If they voluntarily bring them to school there is still a limited level of liability– but if they are required or compelled to bring them to school we have just increased the school’s liability considerably.
One might argue that these are real world problems that students will encounter in the workplace and as adults, but even as an educational technology advocate, I think we need to be fair in our expectations of the teachers, administrators as well as what we are asking of our institutions.
The Profiles for Technology Literate Students document that ISTE published has taken us a little closer to the practical implementation of NETS for Students. However, we are still a long way from seeing it put into practice in the average classroom.
Now it is up to the educators on the front lines to assess where their students are in the continuum of learning and articulate what a skilled, literate student should be able to do and explain.Premises:
An important question:
Are most teachers prepared, willing and encouraged
to do that?
- We are ALL technology teachers. Much like last decade’s battle cry: “We are all reading teachers!”– ALL educators need to own this one, but who and what says they will? One of the best blog entries I read this year was by Kim Cofino: We Are All Technology Teachers
- Technology is (by definition) the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes – so it is both a question of which tool is best for the task, and which tool will students be most motivated to use?
- New content knowledge, new technologies, the scope of responsibilities, documentation requirements, increased scrutiny on scholastic improvement – today’s teachers have an overwhelming set of pressures that seem to expand every day. These teachers have many stresses and tensions competing for their attention and work hours. Until we back off on some of these other expectations, and attach real value to technology integration, it will be impossible for all but the exceptional teacher to climb on board.
- Technologies are changing so fast, even the tech savvy enthusiasts find it a challenge to figure out how to use them within a school setting.
- Federal, state, district, school, and department leadership must support and encourage teachers to use newer technologies. If accountability only addresses the MESH (math, english, science, history) standards, and teachers/schools are only ‘graded’ on test scores, it really doesn’t matter how engaging and exciting new technologies are for the majority of the teachers.
So given those premises, do you think that most teachers are prepared, willing and encouraged to assess and prepare technology infused lessons with current 2009-2010 era state of the art technologies?
We see and we brag about isolated lessons and activities, we read the blogs and twitters amongst the high achievers, but the real challenge is to make it the rule and not the exception for K12 student’s educational experience. For the 80% (conservative guestimate) of the teachers that don’t feel compelled or prepared to really integrate what most would consider 21st century technology skills, we need to provide more practical specifics of what should be taught and how to assess it.
For the purposes of example, let’s examine the one part of the profile given for students aged 11-14 from the document on ISTE’s website Profiles for Technology Literate Students:
“Profile for Technology (ICT) Literate Students Grades 6–8 (Ages 11–14)
The following experiences with technology and digital resources are examples of learning activities in which students might engage during Grades 6–8 (ages 11–14):1) Describe and illustrate a content-related concept or process using a model, simulation, or concept-mapping software. (1, 2)”
National Educational Technology Standards for Students © 2007 ISTE. All Rights Reserved.
So what should happen in the seventh grade based on example
#1: Describe and illustrate a content-related concept or process using a model, simulation, or concept-mapping software.
I usually give teachers the benefit of doubt and respect they deserve, so please forgive me if it sounds as though I question the capabilities of my colleagues, my experience is that many of them are at a loss for how to blend an assessment of technology skills and content. Part of the issue is a narrow-minded view of assessment (brought on by standards based, bubble-in-the-scantron assessments). Or maybe it is the ease of using multiple choice and true or false.
But it is also a question of enriching our communication with the student, after all, that is what assessment in education revolve around- communication.
So as we develop rubrics for 21st Century Skills embedded in our content areas, we need to examine how the students best learn and what forms of communication will show their understanding. Our rubrics need to address both evidence of content understanding and skills in learning and communicating that content.
So in the quoted example from NETS, our assessments need to include both an indication of understanding, and an effective use of technology to communicate that understanding. If the students were creating concept maps for instance, the teacher should look for a minimum number of proper terms used, each word connected with an appropriate connecting phrase. Skills would included appropriate distances (proximity) between terms, complexity of branches, cycles and other patterns. The product of the activity would provide both content assessment and skill assessment for using the technology tool. The teacher would have successfully provided an opportunity for the student to master technology as well as curriculum content.
Part of the pushback from teachers for teaching technology skills in the context of their curriculum occurs when they realize how deficient the student’s technology skills are. And this because so few teachers are teaching with and about new technologies.
The teacher that does try to use the new technology find they are teaching more technology than curriculum content, because there is no scaffolding, no consistent previous experience.
In short, we really need to move beyond “How cool is that?!” keynote speeches, we need more explanation of how to assign grades to students who are effectively or not so effectively using the technology. We need leadership that really encourages technology integration by rewarding it. And we need every teacher to teach technology.
That would really move the ball forward!
I am a pretty ‘local’ guy in many respects. Although I love traveling, I live within several miles of where I was born. In spite of job offers, I am teaching (and doing the Tech Director thing) in the same room that I started my teaching career in 27 years ago. Although I never expected to be living where I do, I still live in the first house my wife and I bought almost 25 years ago.
As close as my birthday is to Thanksgiving, it is even more natural to be in the thankful heart mode on December 5th. I was both surprised and humbled by the many happy birthdays from friends and colleagues, more than I ever remember receiving.
There were the regular close friends and family, members of my spiritual family... but then there were many, many that I had not expected. That steely-cold, impersonal, binary world of technology had done it again. Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, Plaxo, iPhones, etc. have not only made my life’s events more accessible, but made it easy to acknowledge from afar – instantly!
So rather than isolating, technology bridged large gaps between years (junior high friends, college roommates), generations (students, former students), intellects and skills (a wide range of education, social position and talents) – broadening my world and the richness of my social experience. I was simply shocked by the variety of people that took time to send me birthday wishes. Once again, technology has amplified my life experience.
I want to keep up to date with my friends, but some of these idiotic ‘games’, ‘apps’, ‘surveys’, ‘profiles’, ‘trivia challenges’, etc. are getting terribly tedious and annoying.
I would rather know that you had a bagel for breakfast, than that you have a ‘Virtual Aquarium’. ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!
Facebook, is there any way to opt out of such idiocy? I don’t want to dump my friends and sometimes they have something worthwhile to day... I don’t want to judge their use of time- every should give their brain a vacation occasionally, but come on!!!
Been marking off the "First I Gottas" before installing Leopard (Mac OS 10):
It has been a struggle to take time out to write anything meaningful in this blog. I have got to get beyond the idea that it has to be revolutionary to be expressed.
- Upgrade memory on my MacBook Pro: 4 GB
- Purchase a Terrabyte Firewire 800 Drive for running Time Machine (see below)
- Clone my harddrive to an external firewire drive.
- Upgrade harddrive in my MacBook Pro: 250 GB
- Keep my old (smaller) MacBook Pro drive in a portable USB drive with my "new laptop" so I can recover any missing serial numbers, etc.
Those of you that paused for more than 3 minutes on the now extinctTechTV will also remember the fascinating breadth of technology coverage that the hosts brought us.Everything from hardware to software, gaming to mission critical apps, computer devices to consumer toys... they brought us the best and discussed the worse. The hosts were very balanced and platform (operating system) agnostic- brutally honest and also given to providing quality solutions to problems. Special guests were brought into the studio and we were given a window into not only the technology, but the unique history of invention, personalities, and corporate politics.
What was really special about the show was the comfortable balance that the hosts struck between providing a resource for the common man and woman and getting really geeky and technical.
Also part of the charm of the show was the banter and interplay of personalities. While each of the hosts were quite knowledgeable, it was clear no one was an expert on everything. So each topic was tossed between the hosts and the guest experts, with fun little barbs and teasing that gave it family-like feel.
But alas, all good things come to an end... and Comcast bought out TechTV in May (2005) and fired the staff, then launched a gaming channel: G4TV
Much of digerati was pretty disgusted with this - from the East Coast (New York Times) to the West Coast (Wired Magazine) the complaints were numerous and loud.
The New York Times' Circuits columnist David Pogue, a frequent visitor to TechTV's The Screen Savers, wrote two columns about the merger -- one lamenting the loss of TechTV as a tech-oriented resource for users of all ages and experience levels, and a follow-up quoting from some of the hundreds of messages he's received through e-mail and at his NYTimes.com forum.
(more from the Wired article quote above here)
This summer, Leo took his schtick to the world of podcasts. Similar to TechTV in format, Leo has assembled some very well connected, widely experienced regulars that include John C. Dvorak and a variety of special guests such as the co-founder of Apple Computer Steve Woziniak, security expert Steve Gibson, and Opera Founder, Jon van Tetzner. Their new endeavor is called this Week in Tech (or TWIT) and it is really an entertaining, enlightening, hour long broadcast. One thing that sets it apart from most other podcasts is the lively discussion between four or five twits all during each episode. Sometimes the format is akin to an interview especially when there is a special guest, but most of the time it is a four or five way discussion that only occasionally turns into a four or five way circus
So just how good is TWIT?
It is really quite excellent- consistently in the top 5 Podcasts on iTunes.... The world's most listened to podcast and winner of the 2005 People's Choice Podcast Award.
Ok, I will have to admit, I don't often find time to listen to podcasts... quite honestly, I prefer to listen to music on my iPods. And music is something that I am more comfortable sharing with people around me when I am in the car or sitting in my livingroom... a podcast is usually more directed towards individual interests and tastes. But this is a podcast worth setting some time aside for.