General



Tablet / Smart phone technology go hand in hand with the Internet and the World Wide Web (WWW) and youtube.  If you have not established a domain then you need to do that.  I have been very pleased with 1and1 when I established my domain several years ago.  The main reason was to control over my lessons.  Before I established my site, I had to rely on the technology department in my district.  After I had to recreate my site for the 3rd time and then was told that I would no longer be able to edit my own work, I had had enough.  Now, I use my own laptop to create my lessons at home, upload them using my own hotspot.  
By having your own domain you are able to:

Creating a web page is very easy these days, the editors allow you to do things now that would have required hours of painful work in the past.  I use a little free editor called NVU, they have a little tutorial as well.  

This may sound like a commercial but I am for anything that allows time saving when it comes to grading or taking care of housekeeping business.  Enter the company Quia.  Quia is a company out of California, which is tailored for educators on the cutting edge of technology.  You can create weekly schedules, assign students their own name and password allowing them to take tests.  You have control over the time, date and how long students are allowed to take a given test or quiz.

I highly recommend checking them out.  The company will give teachers 30 days to use their product to see if you like it.  If you do find it helpful, it will cost you or the district $45 a year.  Hands down, it will be the best $45 money you or the district can spend as it will pay for itself in the first month.

RESPONSE SYSTEMS:
I know some teachers who really enjoy using clickers in the class room.  Unfortunately, they are expensive.  There is an online tool that does the same thing that you can use with any device that will connect to the internet.  It is called Socrative.  Socrative, is a student response system (free) that will have the students engaged.  They can use a tablet, smart phone, laptop and you will be able to see their response immediately.  It’s a pretty cool program and it will send you the totals in an email to you.  What I like about the program is that:

Socrative is web based so that laptop, desktop, tablet, smart phone is compatible  with either

The teachers using the program beleave in it and that’s the best endorsement you can have as far as I’m concerned.
Check it out.

Use of QR codes.

I am a firm believer in using these little stamps because they are so flexible.  Students can take a ‘picture’ of the QR and have the information associated with that QR to use at school or anywhere.  
There are several sites to go to in order to prepare a QR.  The site I like most is Google Shortner.

You will have to establish an account before you are allowed to make a QR.  What I particularly like is the fact it will make a shortened qr for you.  By making a shorter QR, qr readers have less of a problem reading it quickly.  Google Shortner also keeps track of the QR hits, that way you are able to tell if / when students are accessing the information.  Most of the time it will be web page locations or video strips.
For teachers that are not familiar with these little guys I’ve put together  a lesson that will get you up to speed on them.  It will give you some background and show you how easy it is to create them.  So what do I use my QR for?  Glad you asked..
1.    Curriculum – my school requires a published curriculum each semester.  I have the hand outs in my classroom for open house, on the bottom of each page, there is the QR for parents (read anyone) to scan.
2.    Pacing Guide—I prepare my pacing guide and publish on my web site, and of course, it has a QR since the QR does not change, if I need to update the pacing guide, I can do it anytime with parents can visit the guide and see the latest copy immediately.
3.    Weekly Schedules-  I update the weekly schedule for my classes on Friday.  Since I use Quia, it is uploaded on their servers, I’ve QR the class schedule so that students when students come in if they have the QR on their tablets, they can look at the updated schedule for the immediately.  If they don’t have the QR, then they can scan it from the bulletin board.  So it is just a matter of creating it once and it’s good for the class.
4.    Assignments / as assignments are established, I post them on my assignment page.  I have a big monthly calendar hanging up so student know if they have missed a day, the assignments as well as the due dates are listed.  No excuse on not knowing what is expected, and when it is to be turned in.
5.     Back up lab.  If I have hardware items laid out, next to the item, example: a old hard drive, I will have a QR taped to it, so students will scan the QR, then go to the site (usually on youtube) watch the material, then write a summary about the item.  Not only do they have a chance to see and feel the device, they can see the video showing it in action.
6.    Tests or quizzes.  On a calendar place a QR that matches the quiz or test. Part of your curriculum sheet should have a schedule to indicate that if students know when they are not going to be in class, they can take the test or quiz during the time frame you establish.  Since almost all your examinations are web based, all you need is on QR pointing to that test, regardless of how many times you change it.

Now that you have an idea, I’m sure that  you will be able to come up with additional uses.

CLASSROOM  TECHNOLOGY CONFIGURATION:
Lets discuss the number of tablets a teacher has to work with.  Not every teacher is going to be lucky enough to have all students issued a machine for their use.  However, if you have:
Full Set:
Students can work in groups & individually, have them broken down into technology groups.  They should be given time work together to learn the apps you or your school authorizes them to use.    

Assign a certain number to be in the:
By having them become specialized, you are building to their strengths.  Giving them approx 10 minutes a day, or as little as 3 times a week, builds upon team work as they show each other tricks or shortcuts that the class will benefit from.  This does not mean they work to the exclusion to the other area, but are your and student ‘go to’ team, when there are questions.
Students work on your individual assignments as you would normally.
Half Set / smart phones.
Since out of 15 students with smart phones, chances are none of them will be the same. That’s why it is important that there be a common language for the ipod, windows, android phones to talk to each other.  You can break them down into groups just like full set above, just make sure that students are a mix between tablets/laptops and smart phones.
Limited number Tablets / laptops some smart phones.
What normally happens, to the classroom teacher is limited number of tablets.  You will have to establish either a station or selection.  Where students can rotate to the tablets / laptops as you observe.
Station:
Station is limited by the number of machines that you control.  Students are rotated to the machines as you see fit.  They can take their tests, quizzes or other limited assignments, while you lecture.  Remember the technology is simply a tool to help you get your learning concepts into the minds of our students. 
Selection:
A certain number of students are assigned one tablet, they rotate that machine between them as they work in a group, or move from one person to another as required, such as taking exams or looking up information.  Do make sure that one student is responsible for overseeing the machine so that it is picked up and returned daily to your charging area.