ADE Institute 2013

So before I begin, I acknowledge that it has been a very long time since my last blog post. Kinda sounds like a confession doesn’t it 😉

I need to make more of an effort to keep posting despite how hectic and busy school life gets.

So where do I start? I have returned from one of the most energising and inspiring weeks of my professional life as an educator; having spent a week with some of the most amazing and talented people has had an amazing effect on me.

Before I go into some of the details of the Institute, a lot of friends, family and colleagues have asked me “What is an ADE?” or “What do you have to do?” I think the best way to explain is in this video.

The Institute was brilliant. The workshops, quality of the presentations and the amount of learning that occurred was nothing short of incredible. The one thing that struck me was how open and genuine everybody was. You could walk around the amazing resort and start a conversation with a stranger and within minutes you would hear a story about their experience that would blow your mind. This happened to me on numerous occasions.

I was lucky enough to meet some colleagues who I have been following on twitter or reading their blogs and form a face to face relationship with them. It was great to be able to discuss ideas and future projects with like minded educators – the nerd talk was pretty sensational. One night on my way to the pool, I walked past two Canadian guys talking about video compression rates 😉

While attending the workshops was incredible, the whole experience really went into another gear during the evenings. There were so many opportunities to network and mingle with an unlimited supply of highly skilled professionals, granted, many of these opportunities took place either by or in the pool.

For me personally, there were simply too many stand out moments for me to list or discuss here. However, I will mention one thing that I saw that applied to me. It is a powerful little video called “How To Lead Innovation: The 3 Carriage Train” and was created by Ray Nashar (straight As and no Es) who I had the pleasure of meeting. Ray created an iTunes U course called “How To Lead Innovation: The 3 Carriage Train” and I throughly recommend that you have a look at it. For me, this video has come at the right time as I look at position of where my school is at the moment and where I want it to be. Do yourself a favour and watch the video

I’m feeling inspired and reinvigorated by the new people that I have added to my PLN and I’m happy to say that I have a few new projects on the horizon that I’m excited about. I’ll leave the details of the projects to another time.

SAMPS Multi Touch Book for iPad

Just before I end this post, I’ve created a new Multi Touch Book exclusively for iPad. The Book has been designed for my school, specifically for the parents as a condensed version of our school website  with access to all of the necessary forms and notices while utilising the features of iBooks. The Multi Touch Book is on our website or can be downloaded directly by clicking here


Latest Apple Announcement – iBooks 2, iBook Author and iTunes U app

It’s no secret that Apple have been keen to strike up publishing deals with major textbook companies for the last couple of years now.

Unleashing the power of the iPad on the digital publishing world was always on the cards for Steve Jobs, the News Stand app was the first delivery tool for selling digital magazine subscriptions. As we know, Apple always have a more than a few aces up their sleeves and selling magazines is only the beginning.

Apple held a keynote presentation in New York a few days ago to unveil three new apps that will transform the way students and teachers will utilise textbooks.

The first app is iBooks 2 is a free update for the original iBooks. This update has totally beefed up the original versions features to include a really elegant and simple way to organise and study your notes. The interface looks and feels the same but it’s only when you start to play around with the features that you notice the extraordinary differences between the new and old versions. The beauty of this app is not what it can do but more so the promise of what’s to come. This app has been completely primed to allow for the influx of beautiful, high def, interactive textbooks that publishers are working on right now to offer students.

And it doesn’t stop there. You are now able to make your own ePubs with Apple’s next great app for mac, iBook Author.

iBook Author has the power to completely revolutionalise the way digital publications are made and how they are distributed.  This app is a free download for mac and can be downloaded via the mac app store. The interface is similar to Pages or iWeb, in that you are able to simply import digital content and move and place it to any position on the page, allowing for complete freedom and control of the look and feel of your book. It comes pre loaded with 6 beautiful designed templates that you can totally customise to create your own document. You can import video with a simple drag and drop but the files must be m4v files to suit the ePub standards. I can wait to create and share these documents with my students, more importantly, I can wait to see what they come up with using this awesome technology. I’ll keep you posted.

Finally, the last app that Apple unveiled was the iTunes U free app for iPad and iPhone. This app has been a long time coming and, in my opinion, is totally worth the wait. For years, iTunes U was a completely untapped resources for lots of teachers, particularly K-12 teachers. The content is amazing and produced to a very high quality by some of the leading universities all over the world. It allows students to download resources such as study notes, handouts, reading lists and even download podcast of entire lectures that have been recorded and uploaded by the universities. Previously, you needed to access all of these resources through iTunes on your mac, but not anymore. The new app gives you complete access to all of these resources at the tip of your fingers. It also allows you to subscribe to the RSS feeds, enabling you to auto download new content as soon as it is published. No more can students use the old “I lost the handout” excuse ;-). But this isn’t the best part about the new app. With the new app comes a whole world of new possibilities. Universities are currently offering student with entire online courses for free via the new iTunes U app. Students are able to subscribe to the courses, download the required content and work through the course work. It also allows for simple communication between students and teachers through the “posts” feature. When you open the app, it looks and feels very much like iBooks. The courses are positioned in the a mahogany bookcase and open up like a book binder. The amount of complete online courses are set to increase in the very near future as more and more universities and schools are writing material to share on the iTunes U app. Apple have also announced that the iTunes U store will be open for K-12 schools very soon, allowing teachers to share content with their students using this amazing app. Stay tuned for more details about that.