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Mac Thread, A Macs place in a primary school in Technical; As a bit of a Mac novice, I've been trying to research the viability of using iPads and Macs in ...
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    A Macs place in a primary school

    As a bit of a Mac novice, I've been trying to research the viability of using iPads and Macs in a primary school environment. A few of my schools are looking at moving over to Macs but thought they could just use all of their old software that currently runs on PC's around the school. As it turns out, it looks like next to none of it will run and I've been left with the task of finding software packages that they could use.

    Has anyone got Macs in a Primary and what software is out there designed for KS1 and 2?

    I'm also after some inspirational ways of using iPads in an education environment to justify purchasing some. (Again KS1 and KS2)

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    You could give bootcamp a try for that side of things ... give them a mix of both. Managing iPads already has some good discussions going on and the local BLT project doesn't have a complete answer yet, but you could speak with places like Little Harrowden for their experience.

    If you are looking for 2Simple sort of applications then you could go for PurpleMash (2Simple stuff through an online environment). For office you could use Open Office for Kids ... a bit more friendly for KS1. If you are on twitter I would also look at those using the hashtag #northantsblt and ask them for their suggestions (or come along to one of the BLT development days).

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    Dexi (17th March 2011), talksr (13th June 2011)

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dexi View Post
    I've been left with the task of finding software packages that they could use.
    Which sounds like a good reason to switch to web-based content and applications.

    I'm also after some inspirational ways of using iPads in an education environment to justify purchasing some.
    You can use them instead of an IWB - simply use an iPad as a wireless VNC client for a computer connected to a projector, then you don't need to purchase (or upgrade) an IWB. There are a number of VNC apps available, and several apps that turn your iPad (or iPhone) into a mouse-pad-like controller for your projected display. These work via VNC but simply don't display anything client-side, so should work well over even the crummiest of wireless networks. If you need free IWB software that is licensed to run without having specific hardware present, then Sankore looks like a good choice:

    https://adullact.net/projects/sankore/

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    Dexi (17th March 2011)

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    We are a Mac and PC Junior School, plus a number of ipads. We use stuff like the ilife suite, comic book magiq, i can animate, I can present, Edalive and all the lego robotics stuff. Dont forget it is possible to bootcamp a mac so you can run OSX and Windows on them, so use the legacy windows software plus mac software. Much of the software on mac now has PC equivalents, including the ilife stuff (microsoft live) but often the mac ones are a little easier to use. iPads we find are fantastic for SEN use, can give you a list of the apps we are using with significant success.

    Mac Software to Look at:

    Comic Life Magiq/Comic Life 2 - Fantastic Programs not only for creating comics (great for literacy/cross curricular subjects) but also for creating some really good design work, ie posters, books etc.

    icananimate - the simplest but most feature packed animation program out there

    icanpresent - a new way of presenting information, auto cues, green screening etc...

    ilife - websites/podcasts/music/movies/photos . we mainly use iweb and imovie but can create impressive results with minimal effort, kids in our ict clubs are really enjoying using the movie trailers projects in imovie and putting in there own little videos and text. We also have single licenses for rapidweaver (webdesign on the easy) and pixelmator (photoshop made easy) which if we were looking for slightly more in web design/photo editing we would use on all machines.

    other stuff; microsoft office

    photobooth- cant explain how much the kids love this still...

    edalive - is nice but often there are similar web flash games out there!

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    Dexi (17th March 2011)

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    rbelson's Avatar
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    Hi Dexi

    some schools that we work with are happy to share their experiences to date with iPad and Mac. Let me know if you find this of use.

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    Dexi (17th March 2011)

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    Wow, 4 great responses right there. Thanks goes to all of you.

    Tony, purple mash was the only one I'd really found that had the software that primaries were already used to and it is great. Being online does save deployment issues. I've not come across openoffice for kids which I feel ashamed about, it sounds like a perfect solution... and free. :-)

    Jamesmay, that is a great looking list of software. We'll be testing some of these out ready to show some schools in the near future. Thanks.

    Rbelson, we are certainly up for hearing from some of your schools and how they use their iPads and Macs. Due to a lack of Apple knowledge on my part, it means it's hard to make schools enthusiastic about how they can use Apple products in the classroom. If schools/teachers aren't enthusiastic, then they will be the most expensive dust catchers in the school and it'd be such a waste.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    @dexi - have you had a chat with any of the Mac suppliers who are getting kit into the local schools? Glyn up at KRCS is a good contact or Jo at Solutions Inc (other Apple Solutions Experts are available). I'll also try and dig out the list of schools which had the Apple RTC kit over the last year to see what they did recently.

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    Why are they changing to Macs if they don't have a clear reason too and an understanding of the differences. I'm all for a dual platform school, we have Macs in the library with the standard Mac software. iThis and iThat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesmay View Post
    iPads we find are fantastic for SEN use, can give you a list of the apps we are using with significant success.
    How are they fantastic - the handy form factor, specific bits of software, or are the children (currently) just impressed by the new hardware? Previous tablet computers in school haven't made much impression (there was a school in Kent somewhere that gave all year 7s an RM Tablet PC years ago), I'm interested in why the iPad might actually work this time. If the reasons for its success are more to do with the tablet computer form-factor in general, rather than the iPad specifically, then other tablets exist and might be worth a look.

    Is anyone using iPads or other tablets for handwriting practice - do they work well for that task? In theory it sounds like a good idea - have a computer that can set handwriting exercises on-screen and have the child write on the screen and have the results assesed by the computer, but I'm not sure how well writing with a stylus on a screen works in practice. It's be good to hear from anyone with practical experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    How are they fantastic - the handy form factor, specific bits of software, or are the children (currently) just impressed by the new hardware? Previous tablet computers in school haven't made much impression (there was a school in Kent somewhere that gave all year 7s an RM Tablet PC years ago), I'm interested in why the iPad might actually work this time. If the reasons for its success are more to do with the tablet computer form-factor in general, rather than the iPad specifically, then other tablets exist and might be worth a look.

    Is anyone using iPads or other tablets for handwriting practice - do they work well for that task? In theory it sounds like a good idea - have a computer that can set handwriting exercises on-screen and have the child write on the screen and have the results assesed by the computer, but I'm not sure how well writing with a stylus on a screen works in practice. It's be good to hear from anyone with practical experience.
    I'd say its a combination of the 3, with a bit of UI thrown in too. In the beginning it was "oh wow ipads" and there was excitement that they were using something new and shiny, now they are held in awe because of what apps they are using and the ease of interface. We found it engages pupils in different ways, that before were difficult to engage with. Whilst many of the apps we use prob have a PC or flash game counterpart, being able to use a finger to control has made all the difference, improving motor skills and coordination as well as the ability to pick it up and just use it.

    The strategy we took was to give to the TAs not the teachers, so that they wasn't put into a draw and the teacher holding the knowledge on them. The TAs were working in small groups with the SENs and could identify core problems with their skills. Having the ipad to work 1on1 or in small groups has help re-enforced what the rest of the class are doing as well as meeting the other targets they have.

    The apps we use, but aren't limited to:

    Handwriting - Drawing a letter if you cant actually use a pen to draw it has helped. I know there are low tech ways of doing this but with the wow factor and the visual feedback works well.

    Spellings - Again writing spellings down for some children works, but spelling apps, reading the word out, making it fun has made learning spelling and doing the test interesting.

    Memory Games - If you have poor memory skills how are you going to remember spellings.

    Basic Maths - Number identification and number bonds, an interactive way of demonstrating problems

    Fractions... The list could go on forever, ill post up a more definitive list once i have one of the school configured and not admin ipads in hand.


    I'm not in favour of having everything in the schools run off ipad (yet), but as a game changer for pupils who are hard to engage, its amazing.

    James

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    If the reasons for its success are more to do with the tablet computer form-factor in general, rather than the iPad specifically, then other tablets exist and might be worth a look.
    I think this (hopefully) will be the case.

    I want to support and recommend the best available devices but value for money has its place as well and forking out for some tablets at twice the price of a netbook - its a tricky one.

    Ipad/'droidpad tablets are much more engaging for TA/group work with apps that don't need much keyboard input.


    The Ipads are probably always going to have the best apps even when £200 equivalent 'droidpads become the market leader so its going to end up in a 3 way choice

    1. Win Netbooks - cheap,cheerful and run all existing software (and cloud stuff as well)

    2. Ipads - pricy - some great apps that other platforms don't match up with but existing Win Software (2Simple,StudioCT,Sherston,RMMaths) is out the window so its going to cost even more money to replace these. DOn't know about intergrating into existing file storage network but assuming this is possble.

    3. 'droidpads (when available at £200 and same hardware spec as IPad and proxy works!) - little edu apps yet but no doubt they'll come along shortly but probably won't be able to match the best IPad apps - same access to cloud apps as IPad/Win clients - same loss of access to existing legacy software.


    IMHO unless your a AppleFanSchool with loads of dosh the value for money element says mix/match netbooks/'droidpads for primaries over the next 12 months.
    Last edited by SimpleSi; 18th March 2011 at 09:59 AM.

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    I think if you were going down a route of having many then maybe a android/win pad would be the way forward but on a small deployment basic the ipad will give better value for what apps etc are on offer. I dont think netbooks can be really included in the comparison, because of what the idea of the tablet offers. Its providing an interface that is more direct and personal, rather than using a trackpad and keyboard.

    A good app to check out if you are using ipads ; Pictello - We downloaded this yesterday, think of it as a clicker for the ipad. Story telling with pictures, Text to speach and voice recording. Very cool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    Ipads - pricy - some great apps that other platforms don't match up with but existing Win Software (2Simple,StudioCT,Sherston,RMMaths) is out the window so its going to cost even more money to replace these.
    Assuming you have a decent wireless system, it should be possible to run most of your existing Windows software via an RDP session from the iPad. It's not ideal, the interface probably won't be quite as suitible, but it would make a good-enough solution while you obtain/rewrite the Windows software for the iPad. The same should hold for any tablet device capable of running an RDP (or VNC) session, of course.

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    With the implementation of Mobile computing and VLE's most educational software is being made available for online use. Most educational software is usually flash-based and most licensing is changing to incorporate VLEs as well. I know that the interactive charts (Daydream education?) can now be licensed for VLE use. It costs a little more but more useful IMO.

    The only issue with this direction is that Apple's hardware doesn't support flash yet. It's an interesting stance since if anyone here has used flash on a Mac you will know just how bad it really is. As soon as Adobe release a version that does't require 100% use of a qua-core processor to display a video then I'm sure Mr. Jobs will change his mind.

    Also with the release of Lion/Lion Server comes the Profile Server. This should allow establishments to deploy and manage Apple hardware more easily.

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    it should be possible to run most of your existing Windows software via an RDP session from the iPad.
    I don't think this would be practible - you need some sort of clever gateway to allow the pads to connect to idle machines

    With the implementation of Mobile computing and VLE's most educational software is being made available for online use.
    And needs to be purchased so yet again more cost for software just because you've changed clients/client mode of use.

    I dont think netbooks can be really included in the comparison, because of what the idea of the tablet offers.
    Pads are not netbook/laptops+ they are laptops + and - (Better interaction but worse text entry for instance)

    Netbooks have trackpads, webcams,keyboards,screens,mic,speakers,bluetooth,w i-fi etc . They are primary pupil friendly size

    I use them a lot in classes - they do the job of the previous gen laptops, the batteries last 2-3 times as long which makes them available for far more lessons in the day, the built in webcam lets "everyone" do story telling through stop-go animation and even green screening (although vid is not great at 12fps )

    As well as seeing them used for KS2 work - I see KS1 pupils using them for interactive content such as CBBC games/education city/espresso

    I love netbooks

    But at the moment, it looks like there is the possibility of a major change coming (Like when affordable laptops first hit schools) but its very tricky to predict correctly what's going to happen in IT
    (Someone will be right - but who that someone is is impossible to know )

    Si

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