First off, get online and look at what other folks are discovering. Make it a daily or weekly priority to spend 10 minutes surfing the web for what others are using that might apply to your school context. For a very comprehensive list of where to start your search, begin with NYC DOE’s Apple consultant’s site.
One of her many great recs includes a wiki from a NYS district. Vicki Windman (Clarktown Central School District, NY) has a terrific wiki site for Special Education. She clusters App recommendations by topic (Organization, ELA, ASD, Basic Operations in Math, etc.). She also has attachments at the bottom of the page such as iPad Apps to meet IEP goals that are detailed and well-researched.
The trick is that schools interested in learning how to integrate iPads into their school communitites need to encourage teachers, tech folks, and administrators to spend the time investigating Apps that will meet their students’ and teachers’ needs.
Some schools create Technology Spotlights in their weekly team meetings where 3-5 minutes of each meeting agenda are given over to one or more team members presenting on new educational technologies they are trying in their classrooms. This practice is a perfect way to build a school’s repertoire with iPad Apps given that it always feels like there is never enough time in the day. Make it part of how business is done, and iPad Apps for Special Education will be part of the fabric of the work rather than an add-on.
Due to recent interest and the fact that their names rhymed, I am writing this post to provide updates on two free Web 2.0 Tools used to support professional learning communities in schools.
I have joined and created several Ning networks for education and found it to be a great place to build professional online learning communities. In the last 6 months, I have not been active in those networks but recently visited the site again to check in, and this is what I found.
Ning is becoming a subscription pay service as of July 2011, but Pearson has offered to sponsor small “Mini Ning” communities for education, thereby ensuring that Education Nings can remain free of advertisements. The details can be seen in this blog post: http://education.ning.com/profiles/blogs/pearson-to-provide-ning-mini. The long and the short of it is that for Nings of 150 members or less, it will be free as long as you complete the application form for Pearson: http://go.ning.com/pearsonsponsorship/
Jing is an amazing and free tool for creating screenshots and screencasts. The free version of the software allows you to record short videos (up to five minutes) and narrate using your computer’s built in microphone (or an external if you prefer). After you’re finished recording, Jing will share the screencasts via Facebook, Twitter, Screencast.com, or Flickr AND provide a hyperlink for you to share via email, chat, websites, etc.
CNET has a great review of the software which you can check out here: http://download.cnet.com/Jing/3000-13633_4-10744274.html.
Educational organizations tend to use Jing to provide quick How-To videos for disseminating technical knowledge (e.g., how to fill out a new purchase request or budgeting form) as well as instructional knowledge (e.g., how to create an essential question while curriculum mapping).