Mr. Kamrowski

"Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children." –Sitting Bull


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Coffee and iPads 11-21-17

Coffee and iPads

November 21st, 2017


Good Tuesday morning and welcome to a special edition of Coffee & iPads! Today’s topic is helping parents parent with the iPad. I feel this topic is of special significance and I have made the decision to send it to all staff and not just weekly subscribers. I hope after reading this, you will forgive my intrusion.

Recognizing a Societal Problem

As much as these devices have made parts of our lives more efficient and teaching more effective, we need to recognize the obvious truth: they have caused negative behaviors and can impact the physical well-being of our students and families. Tech addiction and the consequences associated with it is a societal problem that is currently being studied(See my past newsletter on this issue here). This is a problem that would exist whether or not we were a one to one district. By providing iPads to our students, however, we have entered the issue, we must recognize the problem and we have a role to educate and provide our families with tools and resources to manage behaviors at home. Consider the following statistics:
– 92% of teens 13 to 17 report going online daily
– Nearly 3/4 of teens own or have access to a smartphone
– Seventy-one percent of teenagers use Facebook, making it the most popular social media site for the age group.

Statistics found from the Pew Research Center. More information about technology in society can be found in this part of the Pew Research Center site.

Our Devices

The devices issued by the school are managed, controlled and monitored by our IT department. I had a conversation with our Network Manager, Jeremy Schoonover, and this is what he said that parents should know:
The App Store does not exist on any student device in our school district. Rather, the district provides an app repository that requested apps, by teachers and students, will be provided after thorough review and approval.
All web content is filtered at school and home. Students should not be able to access inappropriate material.
Social media is blocked. No Facebook, Twitter, Instagram on school issued devices.
YouTube is allowed through the browser for educational purposes. It is in safe mode for middle school students and below.
– iPads are used because they are not susceptible to viruses.
– iPads are also used because students’ data is not obtainable by third parties.

Personal Devices

While the district has locked down iPads to ensure students’ safety, a majority have personal devices. For parents struggling with students and technology at home, here are some resources:

  • Our school Psychologist, Jenny Vogelsberg and Instructional Technology Coordinator, Allene Horton teamed up to create this handy flyer on how families can set boundaries at home with technology. I also attached it as a PDF to this email. Print this out double sided and distribute it to parents at Parent-Teacher conferences or share it digitally if you like.
  • Encourage parents to find a screening of Screenager and take their child with them to view it (The recommended age is 10 and up) and have a family discussion. The Holmen School District offered a screening last spring. I would like to work toward bringing it to G-E-T in the future. Here is a Google Talk with the creator that may suffice if they do not want to travel too far or commit over an hour to the movie.
  • Screenagers website is chucked full of tips and resources that families could use too. Look at the Tech Tuesday Blog and Resources section on their website.
  • If parents are having issues with Apple devices at home, inform them of restrictions and guided access settings.

Finally, I would encourage all teachers to remind parents that students do not need to use their devices for school work if it is causing problems in the home and that they should communicate with teachers. Activities not involving technology can be substituted with an alternative activity or only done at school.

If you have your own thoughts on this topic and these suggestions, feel free to send them to me.

Upcoming Topics


  • Tools You Don’t Know You Have

Your Feedback


This newsletter is an experiment. It is also flexible to your needs. Please feel free to provide your feedback on the usefulness of the information I have been sending you by replying to any of the newsletter emails.

We have almost reached the end of the trial period for Coffee and iPads. In the next few weeks, subscribers should expect to receive a survey to gauge the effectiveness of this newsletter in meeting teacher and student needs. With your feedback, I will decide the next step in this adventure. Thank you!

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Coffee & iPads 11-14-17

Coffee and iPads

November 14th, 2017


Good Tuesday morning! Situational Awareness: Starbuck’s Holiday Cups were revealed Wednesday November 1st. I apologize for not alerting you earlier.

I also apologize for not informing you about today’s topic earlier in the Coffee and iPads newsletters. The number one complaint I heard from staff and students about the iPads in years past was the lack of a keyboard. Today, I want to talk all about keyboards: real and virtual.

Alt text

Real Keyboards

It’s a shame that our students all received actual keyboards with their iPads and teachers did not. There is so much to learn from having the same technology experiences as our students. Specifically, students should know about keyboard shortcuts. Please share the following with your students. They will love the fact that they can navigate through the iPad with these quick shortcuts:

  • Command + Tab allows you to switch through apps quickly. Every time you press tab you can switch to the next app. By the way, the same shortcuts work on your MacBook. Give it a try.
  • Command + Space bar allows you to do a system wide search on the iPad/MacBook.
  • Command + Shift + H brings you to the home screen on your iPad/MacBook
  • Hold the Command key down on any apple app and a list of keyboard shortcuts specific to that app will appear on your screen. This works for a lot of apps besides Apple ones too. It does not, however, seem to work on your MacBook.
  • Here is a very extensive list of keyboard shortcuts
  • One more thing for the real keyboards. When students are working on a document in Pages or Google Docs or any writing app, they can hold down shift and use the right or left arrow to highlight text rather than trying to do it with your finger. This has been such a game changer for those with stumpy uncoordinated fingers.

Virtual Keyboards

There are times I prefer the virtual keyboard. Specifically for the functionality it can offer when using trackpad mode.

  • When the virtual keyboard pops up, take two fingers and slide them around on the keyboard. It turns into a very effective trackpad.
  • The keyboard in iOS 11 allows you to flick keys down to enter numbers and symbols rather than switching out the keyboard. See Pic.
  • You can go to Settings—>General—>Keyboard and add keyboards for new languages and emojis.
  • The virtual keyboard can place useful functions on the keyboard in specific apps. Numbers, for example, has a very specific keyboard for entering data.
  • Text replacement. You can customize shorthand to be replaced with phrases/statements. For example, if I am giving writing feedback on my students’ writing and keep writing what an appropriate thesis statement includes. To save time, I may want to go to Settings—>General—>Keyboard——>Text Replacement tap on the plus symbol and type in the specific feedback in the Phrase section and create a Shortcut of xthesis. This too can be done on your MacBook.

Teacher Thought Bubble


  • Share keyboard shortcuts with your students. They will love the new effectiveness and they will view you as a tech rockstar.
  • Try the same keyboard shortcuts on your MacBook. You will love the new effectiveness and view me as a tech rockstar.
  • Install the emoji keyboard and use it as virtual stickers.👏
  • Use text replacement to create a feedback comment bank. It will save a ton of time.
  • Try out the trackpad feature on your iPad and remind your students the next time they struggle to get their cursor in the perfect spot on their iPad.

If you have your own thoughts on this topic and these suggestions, feel free to send them to me.

Upcoming Topics


  • Helping Parents Parent with the iPad
  • Tools You Don’t Know You Have

Your Feedback


This newsletter is an experiment. It is also flexible to your needs. Please feel free to provide your feedback on the usefulness of the information I have been sending you by replying to any of the newsletter emails. Are there other topics you would like me to cover? Is something not clear and needs further explaining? I value your feedback and will use it to make this newsletter better for you. Thank you!


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Coffee & iPads 11-7-17

November 7th, 2017


Good Tuesday morning! I don’t know about you, but this daylight savings time thing makes me drink extra strong coffee. Throw the fact that I need to get my grades in by Wednesday morning, and am no where near reaching that deadline, and I’m a bit frantic. For this reason, I am going to share a quick little tool with you and get back to grading my students’ writing and drinking my coffee. Meet assistive touch.
Alt text

Turn Assistive Touch On

  • Go to settings—>General—>Accessibility—>Assistive Touch and toggle it on. A little virtual home button should show up on your screen. This can be moved around to any location on your screen.

What is Assistive Touch?

  • Assistive Touch is meant to help people with physical impairments, or those who do not like the regular gestures of the iPad, navigate the iPad. However, it can be useful for anybody in a variety of ways.
  • Notice, the default options allow you to
    • call up Siri
    • check your notifications
    • access control center
    • control the physical buttons of your device
    • and add custom actions
  • You can create a gesture and save it to assistive touch. To do this tap the custom button and then one of the plus signs. This will bring a blank canvas for you to tap or swipe the gesture you want saved. Go ahead and do the gesture. You can then click save and name the gesture. It will add to your assistive touch options.

Teacher Thought Bubble


  • Assistive touch is a great feature for you to use as a pointer when displaying your iPad on the Apple TV. Move it around the screen to point out important elements of a presentation or show students where to tap on their iPad to complete a certain digital task they are doing.
  • Clearly, use it to quickly access features of your iPad.
  • If you ever have a problem remembering how to take a screen shot or are not very good at double tapping the button; assistive touch is your answer.
  • Think of apps you use that have custom gestures. Program assistive touch to do them to save time while working in those apps.

If you have your own thoughts on this topic and these suggestions, feel free to send them to me.

Upcoming Topics


  • All about the Keyboard, Keyboard, Keyboard
  • Helping Parents Parent with the iPad
  • Tools You Don’t Know You Have

Your Feedback


This newsletter is an experiment. It is also flexible to your needs. Please feel free to provide your feedback on the usefulness of the information I have been sending you by replying to any of the newsletter emails. Are there other topics you would like me to cover? Is something not clear and needs further explaining?I value your feedback and will use it to make this newsletter better for you. Thank you!


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Coffee & iPads 10-31-17

Coffee and iPads

October 31st, 2017


Good morning and happy Halloween! Haven’t quite nailed down that amazing costume idea for the Halloween party tonight? Try this, hold the home button on your iPad and ask Siri “What should I be for Halloween?” If you don’t like the answer, try it a few times and she’ll give you new ideas. Also, ask her “Trick or Treat” and see what happens. Today, I want to look at the powers of Siri; and not just to entertain. There are some real important things that Siri can help you and your students do.

Alt text

Turn Siri On

  • Go to settings—>General—>Accessibility—>Siri and make certain “Always On” is selected. You can also select to type to Siri (This is new to iOS 11).
  • Then go to Siri & Search—>turn on press home for Siri and allow Siri When Locked. I’ll let you decide if you want Siri to respond when you say the command words “Hey Siri.”
  • When these settings are turned on you can access Siri by holding the home button. You can also say “Hey Siri” if you turned this feature on.

What Can Siri Do?

Most I Use

  • Siri can open apps for you. I turn “Hey Siri” on so all I need to do is say “Hey Siri, open…” and then say whatever app I want open and it will open it for me. You can do the same by holding the home button down and then telling Siri what app to open. It, however, seems pointless to me as it no longer is a hands free option.
  • Siri can turn your volume up or down. While listening to music or watching something on your iPad, you can say “Hey Siri, turn the volume up/down.”

Other Things

  • Siri can turn your wifi off and on. Just say the magic words, “Hey Siri, turn my wifi off/on.
  • Siri can do math for you. Try “Hey Siri, what is the square root of 346.”
  • Siri can set an alarm, add a reminder, post to your calendar.
  • Siri can flip a coin, do a web search, change your settings, and be part of a snarky conversation. It is an interesting tool. Look at this article for more interesting things Siri can do.
  • By the way, Siri works amazingly well in a noisy environment. Have students face the wall to do there Siri work and you will have no problem with 20 to 30 students talking to Siri at the same time.

    The Big One

    Perhaps one of the more interesting features is Siri allows the ability to transcribe. In other words, you can speak and Siri will write for you. On your keyboard is an icon of a microphone. Tap it and talk. Simply say the punctuation when you want it placed in the text and Siri does it for you. Watch the video below to help generate some possible uses for this function.

Kaitlin’s Siri Story (1:40)

Teacher Thought Bubble


  • Siri can save you time by allowing you to open apps and adjust settings hands free.
  • Siri can be used in engaging ways with your students. Perhaps you can use it to see who is faster about knowing information on a specific topic; Siri or student—human vs machine.
  • The transcribe feature could be transformative for some students like it was for Kaitlin. Consider having students use it to brainstorm or do a prewriting activity.
  • Use the transcribe feature to make comments on students work. Speaking comments is faster than typing them.

If you have your own thoughts on this topic and these suggestions, feel free to send them to me.

Upcoming Topics


  • More Accessibility
  • All about the Keyboard, Keyboard, Keyboard
  • Helping Parents Parent with the iPad
  • Tools You Don’t Know You Have

Your Feedback


This newsletter is an experiment. It is also flexible to your needs. Please feel free to provide your feedback on the usefulness of the information I have been sending you by replying to any of the newsletter emails. Are there other topics you would like me to cover? Is something not clear and needs further explaining? I value your feedback and will use it to make this newsletter better for you. Thank you!

 

 

 

 


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Coffee & iPads 10-24-17

Coffee and iPads

October 24th, 2017


What a wonderful brisk morning! Grab a cup of coffee and ponder the following question. Did you wake up this morning with a roof over your head, in a heated home, with all your appendages and senses? If yes, you are blessed. Not all are able to make it through life without overcoming major obstacles to achieve daily goals. Some have struggles we cannot imagine. No technology can rid the daily struggles these individuals face. However, technology can ease struggles for some and allow a path to success. The iPad has powerful accessibility features that can make learning accessible to many whom it may not have been before. Today, I want to show you how to make text speak to you on the iPad.

For Those Who Learn by Watching (3 Minutes & 30 Seconds)

Note: These are my first Coffee & iPad videos. Be nice as I did not have a lot of time to make them pretty. By the way, they were made on the iPad.

IMAGE ALT TEXT HEREIMAGE ALT TEXT HERE

For Those Who Learn by Reading


You can check them off as you go. This works best if you have this email open on your computer or you print this off so you can work with your iPad while you read. Estimated Time to Complete: 3:24 (Times may vary from individual to individual)

Speak Screen Instructions

  • Go to Settings—-> General—->Accessibility—->Speech Turn on Speak Screen. Also, turn on Highlight Content. Select what content you want highlighted while the iPad is reading to you (Words, Sentences, Words & Sentences). I like just words so students can see the word being spoken. Select the color you would like when the iPad highlights the word.
  • Open an article on Safari. For a cleaner read, use reader view.
  • With two fingers, swipe down from the top frame of the iPad.. This may take a few tries. If only one finger is registered, your notification screen will slide down. Refrain from cursing or throwing your iPad if you do not achieve success the first time. Let’s remember growth mindset here people! What should appear is a media control panel that allows you to pause, play, skip as well as speed,up or slow down the reading of text. Of course, you should also hear the iPad reading to you. If not, try turning the volume up.

Speak Selection Instructions

  • Go to Settings—-> General—->Accessibility—->Speech. Turn on Speak selection.
  • Go back to Safari and select a piece of text by long pressing the text until it is highlighted. Drag the bars on either side of the highlight until it covers all that you want selected.
  • Lift your finger from the textand you should see a black bar above the text with an option to speak.
  • Tap Speak and it will Speak the text to you. You can pause it at anytime by taping pause. _Note: Back in the Speech settings you can adjust speaking speed and select different voices. I have been told that Alex’s voice is the most realistic. However, I think the British Kate is kind of fun too. _

Teacher Thought Bubble


  • Clearly, teach this to your students so they can opt to have text read to them when they choose.
  • Students with I.E.P.’s can use this feature to have tests read to them without taking them out of the room. They can put ear buds in and nobody needs to know they have an accommodation.
  • Writers can use this feature to have their writing read back to them so they can listen for the flow and fluency of the paper.
  • Early readers could use this feature to help them learn sight words and read a text. -Turn the volume off,leave the highlight words feature on, slow the speed of the reading for early readers to read using a bookmark like visual.

If you have your own thoughts on this topic and these suggestions, feel free to send them to me.

Upcoming Topics


  • More iPad Time Savers
  • More Accessibility
  • All about the Keyboard, Keyboard, Keyboard
  • Helping Parents Parent with the iPad
  • Tools You Don’t Know You Have

Your Feedback


This newsletter is an experiment. It is also flexible to your needs. Please feel free to provide your feedback on the usefulness of the information I have been sending you by replying to any of the newsletter emails. Are there other topics you would like me to cover? Is something not clear and needs further explaining? I value your feedback and will use it to make this newsletter better for you. Thank you!


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Coffee and iPads

October 17th, 2017


Good Tuesday morning and happy birthday to Jill Amoth! My breakfast has been eaten, teeth brushed and coffee brewed. I like to be efficient. I like to save time. Today’s newsletter is focused on tips and tricks to be efficient with Safari on your iPad.

5 Quick Tips for Safari


You can check them off as you go. This works best if you have this email open on your computer or you print this off so you can work with your iPad while you read. Estimated Time to Complete: 1:07 (Times may vary from individual to individual)

All images courtesy of Learning in Hand and 9 to 5 Mac.

Open a webpage on Safari. Scroll down on the page. Tap the clock on the top of your iPad. It brings you to the top automatically.

Open several tabs in Safari on your iPad. Now, long press the open windows icon. You have the option to close one tab, all open tabs, create a new private tab, open split view, etc.

Long press on a link in a webpage. The following are options you have for the link.

Long press on an image to save it to your camera roll or do the following…

Long press the reader view button to automatically turn reader view on for a website or all sites. This cleans an article of all ads and distractions. 

Teacher Thought Bubble


  • Use these tips to save you time.
  • Teach your students these tips to make them more efficient.
  • Use reader view to keep students from the distractions of advertisements.

If you have your own thoughts on this topic and these suggestions, feel free to send them to me.

Upcoming Topics


  • More iPad Time Savers
  • Accessibility
  • All about the Keyboard, Keyboard, Keyboard
  • Helping Parents Parent with the iPad
  • Tools You Don’t Know You Have

Your Feedback


This newsletter is an experiment. It is also flexible to your needs. Please feel free to provide your feedback on the usefulness of the information I have been sending you by replying to any of the newsletter emails. Are there other topics you would like me to cover? Is something not clear and needs further explaining? I value your feedback and will use it to make this newsletter better for you. Thank you!


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Coffee & iPads 10-10-17

October 10th, 2017


Top of the morning to you. The Irish have a saying; “May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far.” This is applicable to our use of technology. Technology is a tool and should only be used when it proves to make education more effective and efficient. We need to be purposeful in how we are using these devices in our classrooms and our lives. Nonetheless, we sometimes go too far with technology, using it all the time for nothing productive. We’ve all witnessed the parent who is too busy reading her email to play with her child or the star struck couple who lovingly stare at their screens during their romantic dinner. In today’s newsletter, we willl look at simple ways to control our technology use rather than our technology controlling us.

Control the iPad; Don’t Let the iPad Control You!

Research has proven that technology can be addictive and software developers use strategies, knowingly or unknowingly, that can develop tech-junkies. A chemical in the area of the brain that causes pleasure, called dopamine, can be triggered through very simple interactions such as causing our device to chime every time we receive a message from someone or show the number of unread emails you have in your inbox. Notifications are ruining our lives (A great article on the subject).

9 Minutes of Video (Well Worth Your Time)


IMAGE ALT TEXT HERE

Video courtesy of PBS Newshour.
A similar piece done by 60 Minutes.

Lets Tame The Beast: Do This in Any Order


You can check them off as you go. This works best if you have this email open on your computer or you print this off so you can work with your iPad while you read. Estimated Time to Complete: 4:17 (Times may vary from individual to individual)
– [ ] Go to Settings—-> Do Not Disturb. Toggle the Do Not Disturb feature so it is on. This silences your device. Decide if you want to set a schedule for this feature to be on or if you should always have it on. I have mine set to always.
– [ ] Go to Settings—> Notifications. Tap on each app and turn off allow notifications. This will stop the pop down banners when a message comes to you and turn off the badge counts that appear on your apps.
– [ ] Swipe up until you have accessed control center (Reference last weeks newsletter if you are not sure how to do this). Tapping the bell will allow you to quickly turn silence on and off. Note, this silences noises made by notifications and does not mute your audio. Tapping the crescent moon will allow you to turn Do Not Disturb off and on quickly.
– [ ] Tap on an app and drag it over another app until a folder is created.Now, drag all your apps into that folder. This forces you to know exactly what app you want to use when go into your iPad. You can pull down on the home screen of the iPad and search for that app rather than browsing through all of your apps. You can also place commonly used apps on the dock (See the newsletter from two weeks ago if you forgot how to do this).
– [ ] Set a time of the day that you check and respond to messages. Stick to it and honor your non technology times.

Teacher Thought Bubble


  • Being role models with our use of technology is just as important as knowing how to effectively use it. Be cognizant of your use and set good examples by putting the device away when you should be focused on students, co-workers, and other humans in general.
  • Talk with students and parents about the powers at work to make us all addicted to our devices. Teach them how they can control the devices and not be controlled by it. There will be more in future newsletters about parents parenting with the iPad.
  • Have technology free days in your classroom.
  • When not using the iPads. require students to have their iPads closed. Confiscate the device if they cannot follow your expectations.
  • Require students to turn on do not disturb and to turn off notifications when in class. There is no need for those features to be on at all with our students’ devices.
  • Using the Apple Classroom App, lock students into an app they are to use for class so they are not easily distracted by other apps.

If you have your own thoughts on this topic and these suggestions, feel free to send them to me.

Upcoming Topics


  • iPad Time Savers
  • Accessibility
  • All about the Keyboard, Keyboard, Keyboard
  • Helping Parents Parent with the iPad
  • Tools You Don’t Know You Have

Your Feedback


This newsletter is an experiment. It is also flexible to your needs. Please feel free to provide your feedback on the usefulness of the information I have been sending you by replying to any of the newsletter emails. Are there other topics you would like me to cover? Is something not clear and needs further explaining? I value your feedback and will use it to make this newsletter better for you. Thank you!