Chromebooks for Education

Google has partnered with Samsung and Acer to offer a new type of laptop. What makes this device unique is that its operating system is Google Chrome and it has no additional software. It will be available June 15th through Amazon and Best Buy in the U.S. with other global release dates following after.

Google highlights several advantages such as:

  • 8 second startup time
  • 8 hours battery time
  • Built-in wireless and 3G
  • Automatic Updates
  • Built in security

What makes this device interesting is that there is no operating system or software needed. Software is added via the Chrome Web Store in the form of web apps and all of your settings (bookmarks/apps/preferences) are saved to the cloud. You can log into Chrome on any computer and access everything.

Official Google Chromebook Page

Amazon Chromebook Page

Fast Company Article

Interactive Books on the iPad

Al Gore has authored a sequel to An Inconvenient Truth called Our Choice. The book is available in print format and as an app. The app has been published by Push Pop Press, a new publishing company that challenging the traditional book format. Mixed media, interactive graphics and upgradeable content are some of the features that are available. Here is what Push Pop Press has to say about their approach.

Push Pop Press is a new digital publishing platform that’s redefining the way we publish and experience books. Using Push Pop Press authors can weave together text, images, audio, video and interactive graphics into immersive multi-touch interactive books, without dealing with the complexities and costs normally involved in software development. Push Pop Press is currently in private beta being used to build more amazing titles.

                                                                                       – Push Pop Press

iPads in the Classroom

iPads offer an alternative to tablets and laptops for schools considering a 1-to-1 approach. On an individual basis, the device holds great potential as a resource and tool for students and teachers but deployment on a school-wide level will require a slightly different approach than a traditional 1-to-1 program. The list below represents a summary of resources for ipads in education that can help with planning and implementation.

Here are some starting points for planning discussions.

1) Recognizing the paradigm shift – iPads and similar mobile devices  are fundamentally different in terms of the interface and app based software. Using the touch interface will challenge the current paradigm of using a mouse and keyboard for word processing, photo editing or even more complex tasks. Because the apps installed are linked to an iTunes account, schools will need to rethink how they deploy software and manage users or abandon traditional network models.

“The perception change will be so deep that it will kill Mac OS X, Windows and Linux as we know them today. At one point during this decade, you will no longer have a billion folders and file icons floating in a virtual desktop. There will be no more baffling setup screens. No more shortcuts to work around limitations and old conventions. These frustrating barriers—built during decades of evolution—are what make normal people hate computers. These barriers have now been obliterated, first by the iPhone and now by the iPad. Everyone will be using computers similar to the iPad.” (Source: Gizmodo)

2) Key Questions – Sam Gliksman’s post “Preparing your school for an iPad implementation” includes a great list of planning considerations such as:

  • Who will manage purchases with Apple’s volume purchasing plan? The VPP grants around a 50% discount on volume app purchases and is legally required if you plan on synchronizing and distributing apps to sets of iPads.
  • How will apps be purchased and distributed? Will you purchase, manage and synchronize to one central account or different accounts?
  • Where will students store and organize their own content? If they cannot take the iPad with them, are you using cloud based storage that will give them content access outside of class? If you’re sharing iPads, you may want to set up a unique email address on each iPad that can be used by students to email and move files.
  • Have you allocated sufficient ongoing time for staff professional development? It’s vital that that faculty have regular sessions where they can learn and exchange experiences with each other.


International School of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Warren Apel’s blog posts on the use of iPads

Cedars School of Excellence, Greenock, Scotland

Frasier Speirs’ blog posts about the 1-to1 iPad program

International School of Prague, Czech Republic

Pilot with Pre-K, Grade 1 and Grade 2

Yokohama International School, Japan

Pilot with Kindergarten and Grade 1

Saint Andrew’s School, Savannah, USA

1-to-1 program for Grades 3-12 with students taking the device home

Trinity College Melbourne, Australia

University pilot, launched in August 2010 with roughly 50 students and 20 staff exploring the use of technology in the classroom.


List of ipad Initiatives

iPad Educators ning

iPads for Education Project Victoria

Education Apps by curriculum area or topic

Policy & Planning

LINK – iPad program policy GFW  School

LINK – iPad 1-1 Planning doc

LINK – Implementation questions


iPad is the future

The end of the desktop era

iPads for students with disabilities

Managing your information overload

Howard Rheingold on Building an information dashboard. (Parts 2 & 3 here)


Finding sites/people that matter

Here are some strategies for locating information that is relevant for you:

  • Begin with people or sources that you know and look for links that they follow.
  • Use Google Alerts to track links, these alerts can be setup to arrive as an email or an RSS
  • Alltop and blogged are directories arranged by categories. Click on the images to go to the education directory for each site.
  • Twellow is the yellow pages for Twitter. The link will take you to the education directory.

Taking it all in

It is most likely that most sources that you would like to follow will be available in three formats:

  • For Email newsletters, I would recommend setting up some Outlook Rules. In this way, newsletters can be automatically redirected to a specific folder.
  • Most blogs and news sites will have an RSS feed, usually indicated by this symbol. RSS feeds can be followed using services such as Netvibes or iGoogle.
  • If you are using Twitter, I recommend Tweetdeck as a great tool to aggregate and filter who you follow. It is accessible on computers and mobile devices.
  • Sharing the your links

    Once you are successfully set up, you will want to start bookmarking and sharing links with colleagues.

    Social Bookmarking is a great way to save important links and share them with others. I recommend using Diigo to collect and share links.


Information Overload

Information overload can refer to the challenges faced with processing increasing amounts of data in research or communication. Social networks and email are common areas where it can be difficult to keep up with the amount of incoming information.

In this presentation (see video above) by Clay Shirky, he explores the concept and argues that dealing with information overload is a matter of rethinking how we filter information. The way we filtered information in the past decade or the past century cannot be applied to the continuing increase in information that many people need to deal or interact with on a daily basis.

Cory Doctorow offers an alternative approach in this article, “I’ve concluded that the real secret to beating information overload isn’t better filters: it’s cultivating a “probabilistic” frame of mind.” While not as drastic as declaring email bankruptcy, Doctorow recommends not worrying about checking up on everything all the time. That important article, tweet or message that you may miss, will still make its way back to you if it truly is that important.

If prefer the filter approach, a Google or Lifehacker search for email tips will probably turn up some potential ideas.

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