Apple Distinguished Educator Denial

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I had applied to be an ADE this time around and just found out yesterday that I was not chosen. A bummer, to be certain, but not entirely surprising; it is a difficult admission to achieve and I wasn’t entirely confident in my video. With that said, as I made the video, going through old materials, reviewing my own career with technology, I will admit that I felt more confident as the process went along than when I decided to apply.

I write this really for two reasons. One, for the simple act of transparency. I did it. It didn’t work out. Here it is. Two, a bit more tricky. Here is Apple’s email:

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Perhaps I’m being a bit sensitive here, but, as a humanities teacher and believer, I find the primacy of ‘Everyone Can Code’ in the opportunities-to-engage-with-Apple suggestions a bit disconcerting. I understand too that the code movement is not entirely a STEM phenomenon and that the humanities in many ways have been at the vanguard of technology expansion and exploration. I’m also not saying that I wasn’t chosen because of my humanities interest and teaching.

With all of that said, however, assuming that there are plenty of humanities teachers who applied and were denied, it does seem a touch tone-deaf to lead with something so antithetical to their training and day-to-day work (however much Apple may want us to expand our horizons), especially in this era of STEM-dominance and humanities-survival (or lack thereof).

Am I bitter? I’m not sure that’s quite the right word, but I will reluctantly admit that I am on that spectrum. I guess I’m just concerned that everyone has forgotten how many STEM advancements were made with the simple yet powerful training that the humanities provide (and, lest we forget, science and math and their offshoots are part of the humanities) and, as we move farther and farther away from that training, I wonder what we will lose as we gain other things.

Sed de hoc satis. On to the video. I’ve embedded it below. I thought it was a bit rushed (I was hoping they’d hit the pause button a few times) and I suspect it focused a bit too much on me and not enough on my students and the impact of (Apple) technology on them. That’s my utterly anecdotal assessment.

ADE Video from Ed DeHoratius on Vimeo.

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Mirroring and Recording an iDevice on a Mac

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Saw this piece from iphoneinformer.com and was actually just wondering that. I had seen a Snapchat from the Boston Breakers (soccer team) that I thought would be interesting to post to my coaching blog, so I thought that would be a good way to try it out. So here’s the process (basics from iphoneinformer; screenshots and annotations from me):

  1. Plug in your iOS device to your Mac.
  2. Open Quicktime.
  3. From the File menu choose New Movie Recording.
  4. Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 7.29.02 AM
  5. When I first tried this, I mistakenly chose New Screen Recording (because it seemed intuitive) but that does not work. So it is New Movie Recording (and be prepared for that wonderful moment when the Facetime camera turns on and there you are).
  6. From the menu next to the record button, change the input to your device, which, if plugged in, will appear there.
  7. Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 7.32.13 AM
  8. One thing to note is that I did not change the audio input (bottom arrow above) and so did not record the sound with the video. This was not enough to make me redo it; I didn’t really care about the sound, but it is worth noting that the audio input needs to be changed to capture any sound from the phone (and the iphoneinformer piece did not mention this).

Obviously this function can be used for recording instructions or how-tos, even game-casts, but a useful thing to know / have in the toolbox for when you need it.

Here’s the video that I recorded (again, without the sound):

Untitled from Ed DeHoratius on Vimeo.

Experimenting with AppleTV

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We had talked about it for weeks (months?) but I finally got the AppleTV installed last week. There were concerns (and there still are) about network issues (I officially am not yet allowed to possess the remote because of its access to Settings; they give me a lot more technical credit than I deserve…). And it’s in the conference room rather than a classroom proper, largely because of how it affects non-AppleTV connectivity to the projector. Thankfully, of course, my Classical Lit class meets in the conference room, which is why it was installed there.

In any case, I’ve not had a chance to do much with it (remember when I said they wouldn’t let me have the remote?) but the connectivity alone makes it worthwhile. Just sitting opposite the screen and with one click being able to project my computer makes life a lot more efficient and flexible. It’d be nice of course if the students were on the same network and we could project their computers as easily but, well, baby steps.

MB is pushing for AppleTVs for next year for the whole department and I am all for it. From what I’ve seen thus far (admittedly little), they make life a whole lot easier and more efficient, and that’s a good first step (even one of our techno-phobic, i.e. projects hardly ever, colleagues seemed intrigued).

Outfitting an iPad Pro

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Last spring, I was able to pilot the (big) iPad Pro and loved it. The keyboard had a great feel and the size made it practically laptop like. But the key word there is practically. It wasn’t laptop enough to be a laptop and wasn’t iPad enough (largely because of the size) to be an iPad. But it was hard to argue with the functionality of the keyboard and the Apple Pen, whose feel was by far more lifelike (pen-like) than any stylus I had used.

This fall then I wrote two grants, one to the Classical Association of the Atlantic States and the other to the Classical Association of New England, for an iPad Pro, this time the small one, and accessories for it. After maybe six months I think I can offer some sound advice on how to accessorize your iPad Pro. Or at least how I accessorized mine and why it works for me.

My Situation – I use the iPad Pro to…

  • …bring to class
  • …connect to my computer via WiFi
  • …control my computer (via the Doceri app)
  • …annotate the computer while mobile

What that means is I need portability, reliability, and efficiency. (And I get it: don’t we all want that, but if you’re sitting at a desk with a machine all day, you can, say, sacrifice some efficiency for something else.)

The Keyboard

The biggest, and most obvious, choice was the keyboard. I spent a lot of time looking into keyboards and still wasn’t certain when I made my final decision. Ultimately I went with, and rightly so, the Apple Smart Keyboard, but here’s how that process went and the factors that influenced me.

In addition to the Apple Smart Keyboard, I looked at the Logitech CREATE and two keyboards from Zagg: the Rugged Book and the Slim Book. The two Zagg keyboards are similar: both connect via bluetooth, both include integrated clamshell cases, both have professed long-life batteries (two years of use without a charge, according to Zagg). The Logitech has those features (minus the battery life) but includes a holder for the pen which, for me, was the fatal flaw of the Apple Smart Keyboard, that I had to carry the pen: not uncommon to Apple, beautiful in the design category but less than beautiful in the secondary function category, the pen had a detachable cap about the size of a Tic Tac and no flat sides, which means that it rolls freely on a tabletop. Because of my need for portability, the pen factor was a big one. And I was almost ready to pull the trigger on one of the Zagg keyboards (probably the Rugged Book, just because I would be mobile with the iPad so much) but…

The Smart Connector

The innovation of the iPad Pro is of course the smart connector and, in the end, I went with it and I was right. The smart connector makes everything easy (more on that below). With a little research (also more on that below), I realized there were workarounds for the pen factors but not for the smart connector. So, in the end, the smart connector was the selling point of the Apple Smart Connector. (And I had used a Zagg keyboard with my iPad 2 and realized the relative clunkiness of inserting and removing the iPad.)

Making the smart connector the driver then dictated cases as well. I ended up buying (read: overpaying for) the Apple silicone back because it left exposed the smart connector. (I realize of course that it is not the only one but I wanted as seamless a fit as I could get and so sprung for Apple’s.) I also bought the smart cover, somewhat hesitantly because I wasn’t sure why, in effect, I would need two covers (the keyboard being the first). But the smart connector made the two cases both viable and helpful. For every day use, pull the keyboard off and use the smart cover. When I need increased functionality, it’s an easy switch to the keyboard. This was my first introduction to how essential the smart connector is. (And the keyboard is small enough, unlike the others I considered, that it’s easy to carry it with the iPad even when I’m not using it.)

Charging

I also endorsed the smart connector by buying Logitech’s BASE Charging Stand. Again, I wasn’t convinced I would love it, but it seemed too convenient to pass up. If it didn’t have the smart connector, it might have been more trouble than it’s worth but, again, the smart connector makes it: the case pulls off and the iPad snaps right in to charge, while remaining upright and visible. As with the keyboard and the smart cover, there is a seamless transition between use and charging.

Managing the Pen

By going with the Smart Keyboard, and eschewing the Logitech keyboard with the pen holder, I needed some pen accessories, which, and I shouldn’t have been surprised by this, were available in abundance. I bought two cases for the pen: a simple case from MoKu and Amazon for $8 with room for accessories.

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And an Insignia sling holder that goes over the smart case and/or keyboard.

I thought I would use the sling holder more, but the case is my everyday carrier because I can bring the pen and the adapter to class easily. On a field trip, however, when I’m not bringing the adapter, the sling is perfect. I went to the Harvard Art Museum with a class and was going to use the pen to annotate some digital handouts. The sling was the perfect way to transport the pen on the road.

And finally, the Insignia cap holder. So simple but so necessary.

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Conclusion

So that’s about it. I’m happy with all of my purchases because they enable me to use the iPad Pro exactly how I want to; they enhance the experience rather than inhibiting the experience. Your experience might be different, and so you should make decisions based on your situation, but this is mine and what led me to make the choices I made. Hope it was helpful.

Lego and Structuring Design

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Saw this article on medium.com and was pleasantly surprised by it. Did a good job framing some thoughts about implementing such an approach in the classroom, with potential for our school-within-a-school. I particularly liked the before, during, and after diagram.

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Innovation Summit 2016: Friday Keynote – A Culture Shift in Education

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Jaime Casap, Education Evangelist, Google

  • there is no end point in education; it is continuous
  • grades are an end point; a B sends a message
  • why are we teaching our kids that collaboration is cheating?
  • flip it around: what if he went to his CEO and handed in a project, saying that he did it all by himself
  • we live in a team-based world; we live in a world where collaboration is the norm
  • how do we teach our kids to change their minds?
  • leadership = building consensus, influencing, leading

Apple Teacher Program Update

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I wrote about learning about the Apple Teacher program here and it was on my list to get back to. So I had some time at my son’s swim meet this afternoon, and I was burned out on grading, and I needed something mindless to do, so I figured I’d try out some of the Apple Teacher Program Badge-Quizzes (if you remember, badges are what you earn on your way to becoming an Apple Teacher).

There are eight quizzes for Mac and eight for iPad and you can become ‘certified’ in both. The quizzes are each 5 questions long and you need to answer 4 of the 5 questions correctly to pass.

The badge-categories are Mac / iPad, Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iMovie, Garage Band, Productivity, and Creativity. Pass all eight in either category and you are a Certified Apple Teacher (note that this is very different from being an Apple Distinguished Educator, which is a much more elaborate and difficult process).

Going into this, I was assuming that the process would be akin to becoming a Google Certified Educator, which I completed I think two years ago (but I also think has since lapsed, as it does expire). I was thus surprised by how few questions were on each quiz and, to some extent, how easy they were (much easier overall than the Google assessments). That’s not to say that you didn’t have to know your (Apple) stuff, but you didn’t have to know it inside and out. The combination of the low number of questions and the way the questions were written (many questions included contextual clues that helped with the answers and some of the questions were either the same for both Mac and iPad or covered the same material in different ways) made it a pretty easy process. I was a ‘certified’ Apple (Mac) Teacher within maybe a half hour.

My wife of course was hoping this would mean some massive pay raise or bonus but, alas, no such luck. You get a downloadable signature (along with a 15 page document on when, where, and how you can and can’t use that signature) and that’s about it.

But if you’re looking for some affirmation at the extent of your Apple knowledge and have some (but not a ton) of time on your hands, check out the Apple Teacher Program and enjoy (in limited ways) your new signature (visible at upper right).

 

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