Common Craft – Explanations made simple

Just a very quick post to share a useful little website I came across this afternoon called Common Craft.
Common Craft is a great website that houses simple and clear explanations about many complicated tech areas.
You can browse through their video library categories and find a large number of video explanations on subjects such as podcasting, twitter, augmented reality etc. This site would be great if you were presenting info to colleagues or students who have very little prior knowledge on a particular subject.

The animations are simple and I believe this promotes greater understanding for the viewers as they do not distract the viewer from the explanation.
Oh and before I forget, this site is 100% iPad friendly as the online videos are not flash based.

You can access the transcript of each video along with a quick summary on what the video explains in a quick bullet point format. Great for teachers who don’t have time to sit and watch each and every video while planning.

Common Craft offer memberships for people who want to download their online clips or embed them onto their blogs, websites etc.  You don’t have to be a member to browse and view their online clips, that part of the website is free and ready for use.

Give it a quick look when you get a chance, you might even learn a thing or two 😉


Starting points for use of an iPad in the Classroom

There are lots of great resources out there for teachers who are embarking on introducing iPads into their classrooms. It can be a little overwhelming as you may not know where to start. This is a great little resource shared by  Tom Barrett so you don’t need to worry about coming up with innovative ways to use iPads in your classroom right away.

Apple Configurator and Volume Purchasing Program

ImageI have recently been involved in registering my school to the Apple Volume Purchasing Program. The process was quick and very straight forward. Once I entered my relevant details and submitted the online form, an Apple representative looked through the application and our school was successfully registered 3 days later. The next step was to create a completely new Apple ID that would be used by the Program Coordinator at my school (me) solely for the Volume Purchasing Program.

For those who might be new to the VPP, I’ll give a very brief and simple outline of what it is and how it works.

The Volume Purchasing Program is an Apple program that allows educational institutions to purchase apps for IOS devices on behalf of it’s students, teachers, administrators etc. The apps can be purchased at a 50% discount if purchased in volumes greater that 20. This makes the whole process very appealing to educational institutions. Once the Program Coordinator purchases an app, specialised individual codes are created by Apple.
Apple also run free online seminars relating to the Volume Purchasing Program – They are held every Tuedays until December 19 2012. Be sure to convert the time to you appropriate timezone. Register here

There are a few ways of distributing the redeem codes to each individual user. Here a few examples.

Example 1.
Self Managed – This is the method I am taking up at my school as I believe it promotes a culture where the user has a greater responsibility, ownership and more involvement in the process. My school is entering a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) model so this is another factor for choosing this option. It may be a slower option for larger educational institutions but it works for our school.

Each redeem code, for each separate app is recorded, collated and then distributed to each individual user. A new Apple ID is set up the user at an information evening before the codes are handed out. The users then redeem the apps via the App Store on their own.

Example 2.
Apple Configurator – A free piece of software create by Apple to assist in managing IOS devices. Much better solution for larger deployments.

Apple Configurator allows you to prepare IOS devices for distribution, supervise and configure individual or large numbers of devices and assign devices to individual users. Apple configurator can be used to install apps by distributing the redemption codes created in the Volume Purchasing Program.

Example 3.
Casper Suite – A feature packed piece of IOS management software that is designed to simplify Inventory, Configuration, Security Management and App Distribution.

This piece of software is appealing to our school as it allows tech staff many options especially relating to security management. Casper Suite allows staff to check that all students have the required apps, use content appropriate apps, have access to the school wifi, send our security patches, clear pass codes etc. The pricing for Casper Suite includes a two day on-site visit with a JAMF Software Field Service Manager to install the software and provide guidance and training.

The following Links were taken from – Check out his blog when you get a chance.