Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Keeping An Eye On Your Kid

Recently, my son took a week long trip to Florida with his Orchestra classmates as part of a program arranged by his Orchestra Directors.  While my wife and I have often chosen to chaperone such events, this time we sat it out and gave our son some space.

That doesn't mean we weren't able to keep an "eye" on him.  We were able to follow his journey by using technology enabled on his smart phone.  You see, he recently bought a smart phone, an iPhone.  We had him enable Find My iPhone on the iPhone.  Doing so allowed us to log in to iCloud.com and trace his steps using the web based app Find My iPhone.

This app will look for a wireless signal from his phone and show the location of the device on a map. You can see an example of a map showing his location below.

Several asked if our son knew we were "spying" on him. Yes, he was aware were watching his progress. Not spying, but staying involved with the trip from a distance.  We are quite familiar with the Disney Parks and it was fun to "see" where he was and be able to talk or text with him about the particular ride or attraction he was going to ride.  The first time we "saw" where he was in a park, we texted him and asked if he was on a boat.  He responded with a yes as he was on a riverboat in the Magic Kingdom.  The Find My iPhone app had him smack dab in the middle of a lake.  Wow!

While this was a nice way to keep in touch with him and follow his journey, the Find My iPhone feature has some other nice benefits.  If you take a look at the the bottom of the image above, you can actually do three things to the phone once you have found the phone's signal.

Play Sound
Let's say you have misplaced your iPhone or iPad or iPod Touch, you can choose Play Sound to have the device play a signal to help you locate it.

Lost Mode
If you have lost your device, you can enable a lock code on the device that a user must enter to be able to use it.  You can also send a message to the device stating that it has been lost and if found, please call a posted number.

Erase iPhone (iPad, iPod Touch)
In the worst case scenario, you can remotely erase all the content from the device. I hope you never have to hit this button!

Enable Find My iPhone
Enabling Find My iPhone on your device is easy.  Simply go to Settings / iCloud and scroll down to Find My iPhone. Tap to switch to On.  That's it! You can now track your iPhone online.

Tracking Your iPhone
To track your phone online, simply go to the website: www.icloud.com. When prompted, enter your Apple ID and Password.

Then, click on Find My iPhone.

In the upper left corner of the screen, click on Devices to see a list of devices registered to that Apple ID.  The software does the rest.  When you see a green dot next to a device, it indicates that the device has been found.

Click on the device to see a map of its location.

I encourage you to enable this feature on all of your devices.  The benefits can be quite satisfying.

Dave Tchozewski
Director of Information Technology
Jenison Public Schools

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Note from Dave: I could not have said this any better than the email sent to me by Jenna Wiley.

After the Garageband session on the Professional Discovery day, I felt musically inspired and wrote and recorded a song about "La Familia" in Spanish. Brooke Harvey, took it a step further and put the song with lyrics and pictures into a Keynote presentation. Just wanted to share about how the PD day sessions helped us create this for our kiddos to learn the Spanish family words.

Enjoy...and learn about Familia :)

also, I googled how to compress the file to send via email- feeling like a tech rockstar!

Jenna Wiley and Spanish specials team

Monday, November 12, 2012

European Exploration Using QR Codes

QR codes are everywhere these days! I even noticed one on my pizza box this weekend. An abbreviation for QUICK RESPONSE, QR codes allow the user to quickly access information by simply scanning them on their computers, iPads, or phones. Familiarity with their uses and access is a life skill with numerous classroom possibilities!

Last week, Pinewood's room 28 became a sunken ship full of artifacts like gold, silver, compasses and flags.  Students “swam” around the classroom to collect an artifact and then brought it back to their desk. Working with a partner and a lap-top computer, kids scanned the QR code found on their artifact and accessed information about how that particular artifact was important in European Exploration.  

The kids had a great time combining technology and social studies.  At the end of the lesson, several students said they never knew what those black and white 'splottchy' things were until now.  They were excited to see that those codes can hold important information!


I used the app 'Qrafter' on the ipad to create the QR codes and the kids used the website:  http:// miniqr.com/reader.php to read the codes.

Michelle U’Ren
5th Grade
Pinewood Elementary

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Bauerwood 5th Grade And the Election

Mrs. Berens' 5th Graders at Bauerwood Elementary share their election song!  How sweet it is.  Great job kids.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Definition of Multiplication

Mrs. Ryan's Third Grade Class at Bursley Elementary gets creative and teaches us the meaning of multiplication.  Well done kids!

This video is being entered into a contest at NextVista.org.
Kids, just so you know, when this was posted, there were only 86 pageviews.  How many now!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Technology Professional Discovery Day

The November 1, 2012 Jenison Public Schools Professional Discovery Day schedule is set.

This day is loaded with 22 different sessions covering a variety of topics including: Google Apps, Pages, Keynote, Weebly, iMovie, screencasting, iPad use, web 2.0 tools, Skype, Google Drive, document cameras, Twitter, and concept boards.

Jenison Public Schools staff members will be sharing their tips and tricks enabling teachers to positively impact student learning.  Excitement levels among staff have been running high as they work to integrate their newly updated classroom technology.  This day of "Discovery" is the second we have had this school year to provide the necessary support and training.

Visit this site to view the full schedule

Monday, September 24, 2012

Limiting Student App Access on Your iPad

I know in a recent meeting, our staff talked about using the iPad with kids and there was concern about them being able to access contacts, email, etc...  In the new iOS 6 that was just released by Apple last week, there is a great new feature called "Guided Access" that solves these problems.  

Using Guided Access, you are able to open an app and then make it so that kids cannot log out of that app or be where they are not supposed to be.  The example they use is so that kids can be locked into an assessment and not be able to look up the answers in Safari.  

I thought this might be useful when kids are using the classroom iPad or when leaving it for a sub.  Below you will find links for backing-up your iPad and also for setting up Guided Access.

Hope it's helpful!  I plan to try it soon with my iPad!

Follow this Apple link to learn how to back-up your iPad.  Once you have your device backed-up, you can then download the new iOS 6.  

Follow this link for a step-by-step illustration for setting up Guided Access in your iPhone, iPod, or iPad.

Post provided by Amy Hage

Elementary Teacher
Bursley Elementary

Great Free Apps

Great free apps!

Best Sand Timer-- this can be used to help create more effective transitions. We use it after writing when the student need to clean up their writing. They get one minute to organize and be back at our meeting area.  We choose a good example student who can choose the alarm sound for the next day. This is a great motivator for many students. Just a helpful hint, if you are using the document camera right before you use any app, you can put the iPad under the document camera and skip a few extra steps mirroring your iPad.

Curiosity School-- a great science app. We use it whole group, but older students could do it in smaller groups. It shows an experiment, how to set it up, and the basic scientific principles. They are short and ask students questions at the end.  FYI: this is a large app and will take a while to download.

Too Noisy-- exactly what it sounds like.  It measures the noise and changes a happy face to sad as the noise increases. It works great when you are working in one area of the classroom with a group of students while another group of students is working in another area. It will remind them (and you if you mirror) when the group is getting too noisy.

Reviews provided by Sabrina Kind
Elementary Teacher

Monday, September 10, 2012

Miss Allerding's Students Tap In To The Mobile Lab

Last week, I decided to "jump in" and try out our new mobile computer labs.  At first, I thought I was a little crazy to be trying this the first week of school, let alone on the first day, but, what can I say?  What an AMAZING experience it was!  It was wonderful to look out into the classroom and see 30 students with laptops on their desks.  Each student was hanging onto EVERY word I was saying, anxious to show me that they were responsible and ready to use this great technology. 

During Tuesday's lesson, I used a Keynote presentation to teach my students about using the MacBooks appropriately.  This included learning the rules for using the laptops in the classroom, identifying the parts of the MacBook (trackpad, screen, ports, etc.), and playing a game of "Simon Says" to test their knowledge!  We also turned the computers on to practice using the trackpad and begin identifying parts of the desktop and dock.  

By Friday, my students were once again itching to use the MacBooks, and they were excited to see that "Mobile Lab" was included on our daily schedule.  Friday's lesson involved making a Wordle for the students to use on a classroom project called an "Open-Mind Portrait."  Earlier in the week, the students were asked to draw a portrait of themselves and then cut out their "heads."  Their task, then, on Friday was to make a Wordle with words representing them to glue on the backside of their "heads," thus, showing what was important to them.  If you haven't had the opportunity to make a Wordle yet, you might try putting it on your list of tech. things to check out! (www.wordle.net)  A Wordle is basically a "word cloud" made out of any text you wish to include in it.  You can edit your Wordle with different colors, fonts, and layouts. 

What a great opportunity this was to teach students about using the new mobile labs, to give them opportunities to practice their own computer skills, and to build our classroom community!  I hope you all have a chance to check out the mobile labs in your building soon!  

Posted by Julie Allerding
3rd Grade Teacher
Sandy Hill Elementary

Sunday, September 9, 2012

JPS Tech Day a Success

JPS teachers and administrators returned for the 2012-2013 school year with three days of professional development spanning August 28-30.  The second day was dedicated to technology training and was a grand success.  The event was organized by high school principal Dr. Brandon Graham and Director of Information Technology Dave Tchozewski.

The kick-off for the day was provided by Dave Tchozewski as he shared a picture history of the tech journey traveled this summer.  You can see a few of those pictures below.


Our Keynote Speaker was Andy Losik, Hamilton Public School Technology Teacher.  Andy is the 2009 Michigan Technology Using Educator and is also an Apple Distinguished Educator.  He challenged our staff to tap into the power of the technology to create great student work.  You can follow Andy on Twitter at @mrlosik.

Over 50 technology focused sessions were offered, each being presented by a fellow JPS staff member.  Session topics included using iPads for presentations, using iMovie to create tutorials, learning how to use a document camera, creating websites, creating and sharing epubs, sharing of educational websites and iPad apps, and much more.  You can check out the full list of sessions at this link.

Early feedback from staff members indicate that this type of professional development was beneficial and appreciated.  Most of the sessions were hands-on and allowed for an attendee to leave with knowledge and skills to incorporate the information into their own classroom.

Monday, September 3, 2012

JPS Classroom Technology

Over the summer, Jenison technology staff, working with Moss Communications, installed and/or updated classroom technology throughout the district.  With close to 240 classrooms, this was no small project.  Most of the classrooms will be fully functional when students return on September 4.  While some tweaking will most likely be needed, the majority of classrooms will provide a new type of learning environment for students.

The typical classroom will have an new teacher computer (iMac), a document camera (The Hovercam T3), a digital projector (Epson 96W), and integrated sound system (Lightspeed 855), an Apple TV, and an iPad.

The iPad and Apple TV pairing will allow teachers to make use of the district wide wireless internet access that was installed in December 2011.  By using the Apple TV, teachers will be able to wirelessly send audio and video from their iPad to the projector.  And, because it is wireless, teachers will be able to move throughout their classroom using the iPad and even handing it off to students for them to show the class what they are viewing on the iPad.

The state-of-the-art integrated sound system allows teachers to clearly communicate throughout the classroom using a lightweight microphone that they wear hanging from a lanyard. The teacher computer, iPad, and VCR/DVD players will also transmit their audio through the system.

Great technology enhanced lessons are ahead for JPS students!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Technology Day Schedule Available Online

Follow the links below for a complete schedule of the sessions for our upcoming Technology Day.


Enhance your experience using our interactive schedule at http://jpstech2012.sched.org
Explore Events & Speakers
This year's schedule will allow you to explore the detailed agenda using multiple visual formats and filters, create a personalized itinerary and discover other attendees, speakers, & exhibitors.
One Click To Start
Create a private account to keep your plans to yourself.
Your Schedule On The Go
Print out your plans to keep them handy or get the most up to date data by using your mobile device or subscribing to the schedule and synchronizing with Microsoft Outlook or Google Calendar.
And There's Even More…
Get started today by visiting http://jpstech2012.sched.org and maximize your event experience!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Monkey Drum Makes Music on The iPad

Students in Kindergarten music class at Sandy Hill used the Monkey Drum app to create a class composition. In Monkey Drum, you drag your fingers across the screen to create different rhythmic patterns.


First, each student had the opportunity to create their own rhythm. The whole class loved listening to the different rhythms that each student came up with!


After each student created their own rhythm, we combined them to make a class composition! It was great to watch the monkey play our class composition at the end of the day!

Holly Florian
Elementary Music Teacher

Sunday, August 12, 2012

American Government Cross-Age Learning Using iPads

Fifth grade Bauerwood students from my Social Studies class just finished studying American Government. My daughter, Tori, is in Mr. Schuiteman’s High School Government class, and as I was talking to her about the things she was learning, I started to think of a way we could let the two classes interact and learn from each other. It didn’t take too long to realize the idea could become reality by using the new iPads and FaceTime!

So, Matt and I worked out the details (which was a snap) and set up a time to “meet.”

My fifth graders brainstormed a list of questions to ask the High School students. Some asked questions about information we learned while others wanted to know if the High School students could answer their questions. Other kiddos asked questions they were wondering about. I emailed the list of questions to Matt, and he chose the questions his class could answer within a reasonable amount of time. He emailed me the final list and we were ready to roll.

The great part about this experience was my kiddos asked some really deep questions and knew some things that the high schoolers didn’t know. Thus, they felt very important. The high school kiddos got a chance to review for their upcoming exam by answering questions. Many laughs were shared! It was an awesome experience that only took about 15 minutes and two “taps” on the iPad.

Here’s how it works:

•Decide what your activity will involve and find a partner.
•Go to the FaceTime app on your iPad and add the “partner” as a contact. They will accept you as a contact once they receive the “invite.”
•Choose a date and time to connect.
•Organize your learning event and prepare your class.
•When the time arrives, go to Face Time and “dial” your partner by tapping on his/her name.
•The other partner answers the call and you are connected!
•Let your students pass the iPad around or hold it up for all to see.
*Next, year this should reflect onto the screen via Apple TV.
•Take lots of pictures!

Meagen Russ
Bauerwood 5th Grade Teacher

Sunday, May 20, 2012

iPad Helps Students Learn about Loggerhead Turtles

The fourth graders at Sandy Hill are studying Loggerhead Turtles during science class. We will be tracking their migration patterns and nesting habits.

To obtain some background knowledge on these creatures we set up 4 stations to go through to complete an information scavenger hunt!

At station 1 students highlighted information found in their science journals. Each color represented a different idea about Loggerheads.

At station 2 students read a non-fiction book about Loggerhead turtles with their group.

Station 3 consisted of students gathering around the teacher's computer to check out a National Geographic website page on the turtles.

Finally, at station 4, the students hovered around an iPad and watched a 7 minute clip from Discovery Education about the nesting habits of Loggerheads.

The class was so excited when they found out they were being trusted to use the iPad! Even just the freedom to pause the video or rewind to take notes was thrilling to them! They handled it incredibly well and were engaged the entire time! What a fun science lesson was had by all!

Kendra King
Sandy Hill Elementary

Monday, May 14, 2012

iPads Make an Impact in 5th Grade Math

My fifth grade math group has been using iPads to practice math facts. We specifically use Math Monsters and Math Balloons to practice multiplication facts. The kids are motivated and eager to practice their math facts using the iPads. After 8 minutes of practice we do a one minute test and graph our facts correct. We have seen a good bump in our progress from practicing with the iPads. Our next assignment will be for the students to learn how to make a 'Show Me'. They will use this app to record their mathematical thinking while solving a problem.

Thank you Jenison community members for making this motivating technology a reality in our school!

Rané Garcia, Principal and 5th grade Math Teacher, Bursley Elementary

Prezi Viewer is Engaging

One of my favorite apps is Prezi Viewer. You can create your own prezi to use, or search the many that are available on their website. I found another early elementary teacher that created Prezi's for all of the short vowel word families. I can save a copy to my Prezi account and use them for free! You can search their library and maybe find some that would fit your curriculum. Once a Prezi is added to your account from your computer, you can use Prezi Viewer to share it with your class via your projector. Staff members could even work together (grade level team or department) to create and share Prezi's for various lessons or content areas. It is so engaging and really keeps kids attention!

Amy Hage
1st Grade Teacher

Great iPad Resources for Education

This post is about resources. Check out the links below.  Thank you to Rich VanderKlok for sharing.

Follow this link for 8 Great Free Web Resources Focused on Using the iPad in Education
Follow this link for 15 Favorite iPad Apps As Selected By Teachers
Follow this link for Five Fun Free iPad Apps for Elementary School Teachers And Students
Follow this link for Using The iPad As A Digital Whiteboard (+4 Cool Free Apps To Try It Out)
Follow this link for 8 Great TED Talks About The Future Of Education And Teaching
Follow this link for Apple TV In The Classroom – The New Smart Board
Follow this link for EmergingEdTech’s 2012 Free Education Technology Resources eBook

Friday, May 4, 2012

Songify and iPad Make Beautiful Music Together

The first week of having an iPad in music is going really well!  5th graders used the app "Songify" to create a song about the five basic elements of music, rhythm, melody, harmony, expression, and form.  They were entranced by how quickly we produced our chart topper!

In third grade, we worked on identifying notes in the treble clef easily.  Students were able to move a note to any place on the treble clef. Then they identified the line or space on which it landed. When practice is fun, it seems students are able to better retain and recall basic information.

Using our music iPad, we'll create, play, and sing in new ways.

Thank you Jenison community for enhancing and enriching our schools!

Grant Carmichael
Elementary Music Teacher

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bursley Elementary Sum Fun Math Uses iPads

Bursley Elementary started using iPads with their after school "Sum Fun Math" group this week.  It was so much fun to use the iPads to practice math skills and see the students so motivated and engaged.  

We have been doing this after school group since the beginning of March and I have never seen these struggling students so motivated to do math.  

Not only that, but they were sharing iPads, which required teamwork and helping each other.  One student even commented, "Look, we have to work together.  Just like when we work as a team in writing."  

Also heard today, "This is way cooler than my mom's Nook."  

The best part is the speed at which these students recalled their facts. We saw dramatic improvement in recall facts within 10 minutes. 

Thanks, Jenison Community, for helping us to get technology into the hands of our students.

Keriann Poquette
Bursley Elementary School

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

First iPad Training a Success

Forty-eight teachers from Jenison Public Schools were the first to receive staff issued iPads.  These individuals attended a volunteer two-hour distribution and training on Monday, April 30.  Staff members are receiving these devices as part of a successful bond in February of 2011.  After significant research and planning, the district chose to provide staff members with iPads to enhance teaching and learning.

JPS staff members during iPad training

JPS Director of Information Technology Dave Tchozewski was assisted by Technology Assistants Barb Kadzban and Laurie Edgcombe, Technology & AV Support staff Melody VanStrien, and Technology Integration Specialist John Otto in providing a successful training.

Dave Tchozewski, Director of Technology, leads iPad training for staff

Staff members worked to complete an initial setup of the iPad and configure their email and calendars settings.  They were also exposed to a number of Tips & Tricks for becoming better and more efficient users of the iPad.  Finally, a number of suggested apps were demonstrated and discussed on how they could impact student learning.

Resources for the iPad rollout can be found at http://goo.gl/jsiHH.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

JPS Teachers Receive iPads

Over the next few weeks, JPS classroom teachers will be receiving an iPad 2.  They will have this device throughout the summer to be able to become familiar with using the device before returning to school next fall.  It is imperative that the teachers be knowledgable and comfortable with the iPad before attempting to integrate it into their daily lessons.
By mid-October, we anticipate having all of our classrooms updated with a new iMac computer, a document camera, a digital projector, a full classroom integrated sound system, and an Apple TV configuration.

The classroom system integrates nicely with the iPad 2 allowing for the iPad content to be mirrored via the Apple TV to the projector.  Since the iPad works on our wireless network, we are essentially providing each classroom with a portable interactive whiteboard for students and teachers.

Undoubtedly, significant learning will be taking place among the teachers using the iPad.  The teachers will be asked to provide their thoughts, suggestions, and uses of the iPad in this blog.  The primary purpose of providing iPads for our teachers is to impact student learning in a positive way.  I will be asking the teachers to provide samples of the things that do just that; impact student learning in a positive way.

Early Adopters iPad Training

On Monday, April 30, fifty-one teachers within JPS will be attending the first of several iPad Distribution and Training sessions.  Teachers are required to attend the two-hour session.  These individuals are volunteering to attend the after school training in order to be the first to get their iPad.

The first training is targeting these teachers as "early adopters" as we move forward with our technology plan.  They will be setting up their iPad, fresh out of the box, configuring their Google email, and learning how to add their Google calendar(s).  Additionally, they will be learning how to find, purchase, and download apps onto their iPad.  We will also be covering basic iPad skills and learning some tips and tricks.