Wrapping-up Our Trial

It’s hard to believe, but we’re already halfway through our iPad Trial. We’ll have two events next week to begin to wrap-up the process:


Grade 7 Teachers meeting in the Loft at 4:05pm. Please find the agenda here.


7A & 7B will return their iPads during P8 in the Loft. If you teach 7A & 7B at that time, please come to the Loft to help with crowd control. We’ll have a few quick technical things to do to erase and restore the iPads and then we’ll have a short reflective conversation. 7C will return their iPads in Humanities as they have an assessment that period.

Thank you for all you’ve done to make the trial a success, for welcoming us into your classrooms this week, and for sharing your stories here on the iPads blog! Looking forward to hearing about more highlights on Monday!

Requesting an App

Based on the teacher suggestions at our last meeting, we have completed the “big 10” list of apps!

We have also compiled a list of all the apps you requested (if there were apps that do the same thing, we selected the one that was most flexible), and all of these will be available to all grade 7 students when the iPad trial starts on Thursday May 8th.

iPad Trial Apps

Here is the list of all apps that all grade 7 students will have access to. All apps will be available in a special apps catalog which students will set up on Thursday (the service is called AirWatch). AirWatch is only being used to manage student apps at this time.

Selecting the Right Apps

As you are exploring with your iPad, you’ll probably find tons of apps that you would like to use with your students. Here are a few things to think about before you request those apps:


  • Cost – just because it’s free, doesn’t mean it’s best. Also, if they have “in app” purchases, sometimes that makes the full app more costly than it seems. Note: the school can not buy “in app” features, so if there’s something you need, it’s better to buy the “pro” version or choose one that doesn’t have “in app” purchases to enhance the app.

  • Accessibility – it needs to be available in the Japan store (all of our volume licensing will be for the Japan store)

  • Sharing features – ideally the ability to share to existing services is best (Google Drive, YouTube, etc) rather than sharing up to a specific website that students need to sign up for (eg: Fotobabble)

  • Size of the app – this is an important consideration given that students will have 16GB devices, if an app is so large (we found one that is 2GB!) it will take up too much space

  • Volume Licensing Cost – consider if the app is reduced in price using VPP (some apps are not discounted at all)

Once you’ve determined that this app meets all the above requirements, please feel free to request the appfollowing the procedure here. Please note, this can take up to one week before the app will be available in our YIS iTunes store.

Requesting Additional Apps

If you would like students to have access to any apps (even free apps) that are not on this list, we will follow this process:

  1. Check the list to make sure we don’t already have the app
  2. Complete this survey
  3. Request will be reviewed by the IT Department
  4. If approved, app will be added to the AirWatch app catalog

This process will take about one week, so please make sure to allow enough time.

Note: it’s important that all apps that students are asked to use are in the AirWatch app catalog – even if they are free. This helps us manage all apps, as well as present a consistent approach with all students.

Community Focus Group Highlights

On Friday, 14 March, we held our first Community Focus Group meeting for our iPad Trial. We had 6 parents, 6 students and 6 teachers involved in the focus group. The students and parents were a mix of grade 6 and 7 parents, as those are the families that will be involved in the trial.  We spent three hours together and had a fantastic conversation, with tons of great input from all stakeholders. If you’re interested in seeing the minutes of the meeting you can read through them here. Here are the highlights:

We are all learning from each other

One of the biggest themes to come out of our conversation was that because iPads, particularly in this kind of educational context, are new to all of us here at YIS, we will all be learning from each other. This means that we can be open to not knowing all the answers, that different members of our community will have different levels of experience, and that we all have something to share and something to learn. This is a great opportunity for us to define what iPads can do for our community, and to focus on our specific needs.

An opportunity for creativity and differentiation

Students, parents and teachers were all excited about the opportunities that we have for allowing students to demonstrate their learning in many different ways, particularly the option of selecting which tool works best for them (from paper and pencil, to their laptop, to their iPad, or whatever else will work best). The availability of so many different types of apps to help students learn in different ways, as well as the ease of creating and using media on the iPad were also highlights. Here are a few examples:

  • using Siri for voice to text input
  • recording lessons for later revision
  • having access to (a more portable than our laptops) video camera and recording device
  • being able to handwrite equations and then having access to them digitally
  • combining the two devices allows us to use Skype on the iPad to video chat, and the laptop for text input when working on collaborative projects from home
  • reading texts and consuming media is more natural on the iPad (particularly on transportation)
  • use of Coach’s Eye and other recording apps to improve physical performance (in PE and Drama, for example)
  • streamline notifications by connecting calendars and managing to-do lists
  • there are many more ways to show what you’ve learned, and students have an opportunity to select those tools for themselves

Building responsibility

Over the past three years of the CLC, students have learned a lot about being responsible with a laptop – bringing it to school charged, making good choices during lessons, managing distractions, and working towards finding a good balance between online time and offline time. Having multiple devices will help students make those connections to the use of mobile devices as well. Learning how to manage both devices is a great chance to become more responsible, taking care of different types of devices, so that both can be used effectively. A few key thoughts:

  • using the iPad can be helpful for those who are easily distracted because you can only use one app at a time
  • there are lots of apps to help manage distraction, like the Pomodoro app that can be used on your iPad to help manage distractions on the laptop
  • portability of both devices helps when traveling too and from school
  • the iPad is less conspicuous on the train than a laptop so students can study (or play) on their way back and forth to school
  • often a laptop screen can be a barrier to conversation, the iPad is a more natural tool to document conversations without adding that screen-barrier

Efficiency, ease of use, and consistency

One of the key highlights of our CLC is that all students and teachers have access to the same learning device. This means if a laptop is damaged or something is not working properly, we have all the support needed here at school to ensure that students don’t loose learning time (loaner computers, chargers that can be checked out, etc). As we’re beginning to take advantage of the mobile devices that students have, ensuring that everyone has access to the same tools will help continue this consistent learning environment with mobile devices as well. Some examples:

  • students are often asked to take pictures or video and many use their own personal iPhones (but not everyone has one), this would ensure that all students have access to the same tool
  • certain features (like Siri) can allow students who communicate better through speaking to work more efficiently
  • all students will be “gifted” apps that are needed for each class, this ensures that students will have access to everything they need (the repair process will be the same as for the laptops)

Revisiting our CLC Vision

Throughout our conversation we kept coming back to our CLC Vision statement (which was also developed through a Community Focus Group of parents, students and teachers):

Our CLC leverages advanced technologies and progressive teaching approaches to enhance student learning, promote collaboration and facilitate the creation and sharing of knowledge locally and globally.

Attitudes and Behaviors: Our community will be characterized by inquisitive, discerning, open-minded, and self-directed learners who use technology in a balanced and responsible manner.

Learning Environment: Ubiquitous access to technology tools and resources will enhance our learning environment, expanding horizons beyond the physical classroom. This will empower YIS learners to access information, collaborate, and exchange ideas within the YIS community and around the world.

Actions and Decisions: Our actions and decisions will demonstrate responsible digital citizenship, reflect our school values and create a positive online presence.

Educational Experiences: Educational experiences will be authentic, imaginative, and provide for different learning paces and styles. Learners will be encouraged to become independent and enterprising in order to meet the challenges of a constantly changing world.

Community: Our CLC will provide a sense of identity and belonging that will enrich our overall school community and connect us with others around the globe.

Framing our student bootcamp and learning conversations around this vision statement will help remind us of the goals for our Connected Learning Community. We had a number of ideas that will help guide this planning process, so that by the end of the trial, we would like:

  • to have a sense of appreciation for the opportunities these tools provide
  • to know from awareness and experience when to put the technology down
  • to value multiple forms of communication (including face to face)
  • to feel adaptable and able to transition between different devices (to be prepared for continued technological advancements)
  • to feel empowered to express learning in different ways
  • to be creative in learning, teaching and sharing
  • to feel confident in making good choices – both with tools that demonstrate learning, the amount of what we share online, and the time we spend online
  • to be open to the opportunities that these devices provide, and their learning potential
  • to have more opportunities to connect with a wider (global) audience

Making it happen

In order to work towards a successful outcome of our trial, we brainstormed a number of focus areas. This will help guide us in our planning for the student bootcamp, as well as provide a structure for the feedback process. Here are some key highlights:

  • communication about what we are doing and why is essential – to all stakeholders – this also means that students have a responsibility to share their learning experiences with parents
  • balance, safety, responsibility need to be part of the conversations with students, items like location services and notifications are two key features to be discussed
  • consideration for privacy, both of the user and those that can be photographed and recorded is important to understand
  • providing opportunities for feedback from all stakeholders throughout the process is critical
  • creating a supportive, open environment where both students, parents and teachers have an opportunity to learn from each other should be an overarching goal
  • building trust among stakeholders for the use of devices will help remind us that we are working towards a common goal
  • an open-minded approach from all stakeholders will help us take advantage of all the opportunities this trial will provide

Overall, our Community Focus Group found this time together so beneficial, that we have decided to meet again after the trial is over to reflect on the process. Even if you are not part of the Focus Group, all stakeholders involved in the trial will be asked to share their feedback through (at least) a survey, based on the key themes this group has identified.


iPad PD Wrap-up Meeting: 17 March 2014

Meeting Agenda: 17 March 2014

We’ve had lots of great opportunities for learning since we received the iPads in January, including your regular team meetings, as well as the half-day PD with Kim or Clint. Hopefully everyone has learned something new that can be helpful during our trial in May! At today’s meeting (agenda here) we will each share a highlight from our learning (in small groups) so that everyone can get a peek into the different experiences of each team.

Sharing our Learning

One of the goals of the trial is for us to share our learning with each other, as well as a wider audience. As we begin to wrap-up the planning and professional development stage of the trial (in preparation for the iPads to be given to students in May), please have a look at the documentation ideas so that each team can share their ideas.

Student Bootcamp

We’re in the initial stages of planning for our student bootcamp in early May/late April. If you’d like to be part of the team, please let Kim or Clint know, or add your name to this document. After Friday’s Community Focus Group, we have tons of great ideas to share!

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Davide Taviani

Documenting our journey with iPads

Trialling an initiative like a 2:1 environment requires a huge team effort. It is important that we are able to learn from others in our team as well as to share our learning with the other teams that have been created. To help with this, and to make sure we are creating a bank of knowledge for the future, we’d like to ask each team for the following:

  • Regular meetings – As part of our learning, each team should be meeting at regular intervals to discuss what they have discovered/learned as well as to share questions that they still have. Please be sure to invite Kim and Clint to these meetings so that (hopefully) one of them can attend. We would also like to ask that each team document their learning/thinking from each meeting. You can use any format that you like so long as it is shareable. If you like, you can use this template.
  • Summary blog post – By the end of the trial, it would be great if each team could write at least one blog post on this blog that documents their journey as a team. Each person should have been made an author to make this easier.  This post could be an overview of what you learned as a team over the course of the trial and the impact that you feel the iPads have had on learning in your classroom. It could also be way to share any apps or resources that you found during this trial. Of course, if you would like to write more than one post you are more than welcome to!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask Kim or Clint in the hallways or to send one of them an email!

cc licensed image by elise.y

Feb – March Timeline

We’re now moving into the next stage of our pilot! Before we leave for spring break, we want to make sure that everyone on the team has had the opportunity to meet in small groups, as well as a specific 1/2 day PD for those teams. So, here’s what we need to (and when) to make sure that happens:

In the next two weeks (before 28 Feb)

Each small team should have at least one meeting.

Please make sure to add your time, date and location on this document so Clint and/or Kim can drop by to see how you’re going.

During your small group meeting (before 28 Feb)

Please suggest a day and time for your half day PD training as a team in March. You may also want to suggest topics and ideas that you’d like to focus on during that half day PD. Clint and/or Kim will be there to support you as needed.

Please add your requested time and date to this document so we can arrange cover & a place to meet.

Also in the next two weeks (before 28 Feb)

We will begin the three projects associated with this trial (community focus groups; bootcamp planning; action research) and would love to have as many teachers involved as possible.

If you are interested in participating, please add your name to this document (more details about the projects are on the document too).

In the first few weeks of March (before spring break)

We will have one more whole-group meeting on Monday, 17 March. At this meeting, each team will share what they’ve learned with the other teams (in a small group rotation, not a whole-group presentation).

Ongoing 1

All teachers involved in the trial have been added as authors to this blog. Please feel free to add posts anytime you have something to share – it can be something quick (like an app you tried that worked) or something longer (like a description of what you did in class), or even just a picture of something useful.

The idea is that we’d like to record as much of our learning in this central place as we can.  As you add new posts, please put them in the category that best represents the focus of your post so that others can find your posts in the menu above.

Ongoing 2

All teachers involved in the trial are welcome to share web resources using this Diigo group. This is an easy way to collect links from lots of people and keep them organized. You’ll see all new links that have been added in the sidebar of this blog.

Ongoing 3

If you still haven’t received the case you’d like for your iPad, please complete this short survey for Genki and then drop by the IT Office to pick up a new case!

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Pedro Vezini

Meeting 2: Agenda & Updates

Meeting 2: 27 January 2014 at 4:10pm in the Loft

Please find the meeting agenda here.

Using the iPad with a projector

We’ll be starting off the meeting with some highlights about what people have learned this week (using AirServer to demo how to display your iPad on the projector), please feel free to share something!

PD Planning

One of the main topics for this meeting will be determining small groups (of 4 – 5 people) for further professional development. Similar to the PGP process earlier this year, if you have an idea of who you’d like to work with, please feel free to have a chat with them before the meeting. All groups will be sharing their learning with others throughout the process, and this will be your team for feedback and reflection in a smaller group setting (as well as your team for the 1/2 day PD).

In addition to this structured PD, please feel free to stop by the drop in room, or book an appointment with Kim or Clint to talk iPads!

Feedback Requests

If you haven’t yet shared your initial reactions from our first meeting, please complete the Compass Points Reflection survey (anonymous).

To help us better customize professional learning throughout the trial, please complete the iPad Feedback survey.

Please let Genki know which type of case you prefer for your iPad using this survey.

Image cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Douglas Porter

Greetings from the tech side of the tech team!


Welcome to the iPad trial from Stephen, Genki, Aaron and Yui. We’re really excited to be a part of this trial and look forward to see how the iPad will positively influence you and your students’ learning. As with all technology, it’s not about the device; it’s about the doors it opens for you and your students.

The iPad mini is a complementary device. It’s a bit of a step into the unknown from both educational and management perspectives in many regards. Together, we will be learning on the job and there will be ups and downs in our implementation and use.

A New Device

We don’t have a user agreement for iPad in the same way as we have a form for your laptops. We know that you will do everything that you can to stop your iPad from being damaged or lost. Any input into what should be included in a hardware acceptance form for students would be really appreciated, including ideas about liability.

Management of the iPad, especially management of the apps, could lead us down many different avenues. Some management models will offer the flexibility in distribution of apps and financial accountability that we will need, whereas other paths will have problems, whether technically or operationally.

You & Your Experience

Your opinion and experience using the iPad is important to us! So please drop by for a chat with any of us with your feedback, suggestions and, of course, questions. We will be doing everything possible to provide a model that gives you the academic freedom that is necessary, but at the same time being financially responsible and cognisant of the fact that the amount of IT support staffing needs to remain static.

Resetting your iPad and your iTunes Account

Please try to come to the help desk some time in the next week to reset your iPad to the default setting so that it will be just like new with no apps. You can then link your iPad to your iTunes account. You don’t have an iTunes account? Never fear, we are here. We’ll help you set one up. I’ll see Chiyoka to organise getting the 2000 yen into your February pay.

iPad Cases

Genki is sending out a survey about iPad cases. Remember it’s not about how pretty it is. We’ve offered you 2 cases. My advice, swap them amongst yourselves and spend some time with each one. Don’t worry, you’ll get the one you want in the end. Why do this? First off, it’s good for you to have an opinion about the case the students may end up with. Your input on that front is very important. You might also surprise yourself and find you like a case you might not have otherwise considered. Need help putting the protective film on the screen of your iPad? Come to the help desk so we can do it for you. We will do almost anything for chocolate.