Apple™, iPad, Technology

I Preordered the iPad Pro and I am Scared

I love the iPad. I find it to be one of the most amazing computing devices of the past two decades. It’s tactile and model experiences are untouched by any of its competition, and while some will gripe at its premium price, I will smile and say its worth it. I have iPad 2’s at my school that are albeit a bit sluggishly running iMovie on iOS 9 yet I would be surprised to hear of a netbook, chromebook, or even a laptop holding up that long (4 years) in an educational environment.

Still, we must be clear that the iPad is NOT a computer replacement for everyone.

Apple boldly said in their March Keynote that the iPad pro is in fact a computer replacement, it is missing a serious demographic, and that is creative professionals. If you are a business person or someone that needs simple programs and multitasking, then the iPad Pro models might work for you. Continue reading

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iPad, Technology, Technology Integration

5 Ways The iPad Revolutionized Education

5WaysTheiPadRevolutionizedEducation

The truth is, that it isn’t just the iPad. Tablet technology has revolutionized education. It has such potential to completely transform student learning, when used in a purposeful and thoughtful manner. Bonus #6 is that it’s mobile and agile unlike its laptop cousins. It is in this respect that where and how we learn is only limited to our WiFi access. You can deep sea dive with an iPad. I can’t imagine doing the same thing with a Chromebook or even a Macbook Pro.

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21st-Century Competencies, Education, iPad, Technology, Uncategorized

Time Machines, Management, & Misuse

Technology is something powerful. The innovative and imaginative experiences that we are able to create today are unlike anything seen in history. Technology by definition gives us the ability to make and modify any object in order to solve a problem, improve an existing solution, or achieve a goal. No one questions the qualitative enhancements of the use of technology, as these results are clear and well documented. Our challenges now are in our ability to achieve these previously inconceivable outcomes in a reasonable period of time. Continue reading

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Apple™, Education, iPad, Technology, Technology Integration

Think Different, More Than Just a Choice of Device

It was 1997 and Apple challenged the world to “Think Different”This cliché is more than meets the eye, speaking more about the decision not go with the status quo device than a challenge for us as innovators and users of technology to use their devices to, think different. This is because 1997 was the same year that Apple almost went bankrupt. Twenty years later, we see Apple is a leading technology company, one who continues to push the limits of how technology can shape our future. Continue reading

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Education, iPad, Technology

Interview with Steve Bambury at iPadEducators.com

We all love to share stories. I recently had the opportunity to share mine with Steve Bambury. Steve is an educator from Dubai who in addition to becoming an Apple Distinguished Educator this year, runs a very active website sharing all things education and all things iPad. To read more of the interview check out Steve Bambury at iPadEducators.com

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Apple™, Education, iPad, Technology, Technology Integration

Rewriting History with Book Creator

One of the challenges of teaching history is that it doesn’t change much. While there may be a discovery here and there, it is rare that any sort of drastic discovery might alter the learning experience of a student in history class. Thanks to various technology innovations like the internet and computing technology, this challenge can also be turned into history. That is if as an educator we are willing to be open to the possibility that we are not the all knowing fountain of knowledge, and that our 20-year old textbook might need an upgrade? But who can afford textbooks?!!?

Worry not! We have a classroom of historical researchers and thinkers and the tools to empower them to create their own history book.

In an 8th-grade history class, we did just that. In collaboration with Ilana Zadok, 8th-grade history teacher, we set out to challenge our students to build their own Revolutionary War publication. We wanted it to be something that is 100% student-produced with the goal that others could learn and in the end benefit from the students work. Our students set out to research various events of the Revolutionary War, focusing on primary sources and first-hand encounters. With this research in hand students because to create a window into the past. Through creative writing, photos, and student-produced films these events began to take life through the lens of the students. With all of this amazing content gathered and produced we were at a loss of where to compile it and share it out.

Book Creator to the Rescue!

bookcreator-icon

After the content was created students imported it into Book Creator and used its features to layout an interactive book full of written, visual, and audial expressions. Each group of students then created an assessment quiz at the end to demonstrate their understanding of the content and to challenge their peers to delve deep into their work. In the end students learned from their peers gaining a deep understanding of a specific Revolutionary event and a general overview of the entire war. With the success of this unit, there was so much more accomplished besides the memorization of battles and soldiers. Students developed important skills in communication, both visually, and verbally. Collaboration, Cooperation, Organization, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving all played a role in this production.

The end result was an 110-page publication that pushed the limits of student learning and technology itself. The Book Creator file was 1GB and due to its size would not export from the iPad. With a little bit of praying and 4 hours of work on my part, I was able to get the file down to 610MB without sacrificing one iota of student work and airdrop it to the students iPads to experience their hard work first hand.

Here are a few screenshots and videos from the publication.

Enjoy.Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 11.50.15 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 11.50.40 AM

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Apple Distinguished Educator, Apple™, Education

Reflections: Apple Distinguished Educator Institute 2015

What makes a great educator? Is it passion? pedagogy? adaptability? Is being forward thinking and a risk taker the yardstick of a quality educator? When I arrived at the Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) Institute in Miami I was told,

You are all here for a purpose, and you all deserve to be here.

This statement has still yet to be digested as I try to piece together amazing, meaningful moments together on my journey as an educator and a lover of technology, and I do love technology. I find technology empowers its users with an uncanny ability to create and explore hidden talents, skills, and ideas that without it would lie dormant, and hidden away.

When I applied to the ADE program this year, I was nervous anxious totally freaked out. I saw amazing educators who are doing amazing things in their classroom with amazing students. Then I saw me, the bearded Chassidic Rabbi trying to “change the world”, and then it hit me, April 22nd, 8:00pm.

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The following are 4 take aways that made this experience powerful in the moment, and priceless in where it will take me.

This Isn’t Just A Conference:

As an avid cliché user, and life long learner, I am always trying to find new things to learn, and new ways to learn them. When I attend conferences I am usually caught up in the hustle and bustle of presenting and finding worthwhile sessions to attend. At the ADE Institute, something was different. During the opening keynote, it was said that

if all we did at the institute, was bring you all together, we are certain that amazing things would happen.

The Institute hosted without questions some amazing presenters. Outside of the unbelievable work that fellow ADEs presented at the showcases, we also heard from the developers of Garageband and iMovie who shared with us not just how to “use” the apps, but how to “think” while using them. Our surprise keynote, Jason Hall of Chicago’s “Slow Roll Bicycle Movement” show us how passion and activism can unite a community, a city, and the world. Still, my biggest take home without question was those impromptu conversations with fellow ADEers whether over an iPad, a Beer, or both. These colleagues and friends will definitely be part of my continue journey as a professional educator.

Learning Is A Journey:

One of the biggest challenges as a learner is to make time to reflect, redo, and reread pieces that make an impact on us. In our educational journeys, many times we are simply pushed forward in an effort to “learn more”. The process of going back to something that seems old, and discovering something new is a tenant of the Jewish faith. Every year, we reread the Torah anew, and every year I discover something completely amazing, something that is as relevant today in 2015 as it was 2,000 years ago. With this outlook I try to impress on my students, and anyone who will listen, how critical review and reflection are. One of the amazing experiences of the Institute was to see so many amazing educators on very unique journeys. Still, no matter how unique we are, there was always something to learn from one another. Some of the best discoveries I had at the Institute were in conversation with a kindergarten teacher and a university professor. In the end we all shared the same focus on not just where we are, but where we are going.

We Are In This Together:

“Let me know how I can help.” This was a mantra at the institute, and everyone was serious about it. It seemed that every time I shared a story, a struggle, a dream, there was someone at the ADE Institute who could help me. It really felt like a great big family of educators and this is something that I know will keep going throughout the year and beyond. It was humbling, inspiring, and outright exciting to interact with so many talented and creative experts who want to share more than just ideas, but their time and effort to help me grow as well as my students.

We are Advocates:

The four pillars of being an Apple Distinguished Educator is that we are Authors, Advisors, Ambassadors, and Advocates. For me, it was the idea of advocacy that hit home. As a Chassidic Orthodox Rabbi, I must admit that I was very nervous about attending the Institute for a number of reasons. The challenges of the Sabbath, access to Kosher food, and some of the cultural differences made me unsure if I would “fit in”. After speaking with Matt Baier on the phone prior to the Institute, these worries simply melted away. Not only did I feel welcomed and supported, I felt integral. I felt that the diverse and unique educators at the Institute is what makes the Apple Distinguished Educator community so great.

The Apple Distinguished Educator Institute was unlike anything I have every experienced. I know that it is the spring board for amazing friendships, collaboration, and a driving force that will make a difference for the teachers and students that I support.

Now the next stage in this journey…

My One Best Thing

Interactive Book titled, “Students Teaching Students Is Totally Awesome”.

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