Updates from January, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Andrew T Schwab 6:53 pm on January 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply  


    In the continuing saga of my iPad mini v. Nexus 7 use, I’ve come up against another issue. Standby time. I’m using both devices daily now. The Nexus 7 is my breakfast table news reader. I spend about 25 minutes in the morning on Flipboard reading the headlines before I set it down for the day. I’m using the iPad mini at night for watching Video (most recently the Ray Mears Bushcraft series on YouTube) which I do for about an hour. I then put it in my backpack where it usually spends the day at work.




    What I’ve found is that in these use cases, the Nexus 7 runs out of juice within two days, even with minimal use, while the iPad mini can go for three to four days without requiring a charge. In fact I constantly find myself picking up the Nexus 7 in the morning and getting the 13% battery notice or on a few occasions, find that it has turned itself off and when I power it on, it immediately shuts down again. I’ve yet to have that experience with the iPad mini. Even when I get down to 20% and then 10% I can still make it through a video before plugging it in for the night.

    A few weeks ago I took the kids skiing in wireless no man’s land and left the iPad on the dresser with around 60% battery. When we came home after being away for 3 days, it still had over 50% left. The Nexus 7, which was half charged as well, was completely dead. I’m also seeing the same thing with my kid’s iPad, she’s using it for 20-30 minutes daily and we’re only having to charge it maybe once a week.

    Standby time is one of those things I’m really starting to appreciate in daily use of these tablets and Apple seems to be doing it better than anyone else at the moment.

    • Tim Lauer (@timlauer) 7:31 pm on January 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I have had the same experience. The battery life of the Nexus7 is terrible in this respect. I can pick up an iPad that was unsued over a week or two (winter break) and it has a 50 % charge…

  • Andrew T Schwab 8:00 pm on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    ELA And The Common Core – Notes From Today’s #clstech13 Keynote 

    Today was day one of the California League of Schools (CLS) K-12 Common Core, English Learners & Technology Conference in Monterey, CA. This is my second year (maybe third, it’s late ok?) attending as a presenter and unlike other EdTech conferences, the focus here is not as “tech heavy” as others. Today’s Keynote by Dr. Kate Kinsella is a perfect example. None of the strategies or topics presented required technology to implement. However that did not stop my mind from going into overdrive thinking about all the ways technology could be integrated into teaching Academic Language which was the main topic of the keynote.

    I am not an English Teacher. I don’t even play one on TV, so I found the keynote presentation about Common Core and English Language Arts fascinating. I hadn’t given much thought to all that goes into teaching kids English fluency. The closest experience I’ve had has been watching Kid1 spend every waking moment with a book glued to her face since she was old enough to read (and I don’t remember when/how that happened exactly) and hearing Kid2, now just over two, start using complete sentences and emulating her big sister’s fascination with books. So my understanding of ELA instruction is mighty thin.

    I’ve known the Common Core was coming for some time and realized early on that it harbored big changes to what classroom instruction should/would look like (that’s why I pushed so hard for modern teacher tech and 1:1 student computing at Le Grand UHSD) but this morning I came away with a clearer picture of just how big the hurdle for ELA (and all teachers actually) is about to become. Here are some of my notes from the session:

    • Students are going to be required to read more informational text, with a much higher level of Academic vocabulary than found in the old standards and much more challenging that what is currently tested under CST.
    • Students are going to have to learn to write differently in the form of academic summary vs. what they “liked” about a text.
    • “The New Basic” will be Far Below Basic (FBB) under Common Core, implying that students that score Basic on the current CST tests will struggle under the new Common Core Assessments and score lower than they do now.
    • Implementing Common Core successfully does not mean doing what we’ve been doing only better but looking at changing what we’re doing altogether.
    • When planning lessons, it is no longer enough to ask students what they think about or for their ideas on the objectives. Students must be able to answer and provide justification, evidence and conclusions and explain why they answered they way that they did.
    • Group Work is overdone and poorly executed. Group work and Partner work can be effective when used with structured procedures, scaffolding and repetition.
    • High Utility Vocabulary will be important to student’s academic success.

    I was impressed with how Dr. Kinsella modeled her instructional methodologies throughout the session with active audience participation. She repeatedly stressed the teaching of Career (and College) appropriate communication. Basically these are the soft skills that Employers and Universities complain students graduating high school don’t have.

    A random thought that popped into my head at one point was, “It sounds like she wants to make kids act and sound like little academics!” And I suppose she does. I’m curious to know what Sir Ken Robinson’s take on this approach would be, since the Common Core and ELA instruction tailored around information text and strict Academic Language would seem to further drive out Creativity and Play from our classrooms. But then again, Dr. Kinsella did seem to think Kindergarten teachers posed a particular challenge and I’m quite fond of the idea that all school should look more like Kindergarten.

    We were provided an excellent 58 page handout (yes, 58 pages!) that I will be sharing with my Ed Services department when I get into the DO on Monday. While technology was mostly absent, save the Keynote and Video presentations used, it was an informative and thought provoking opening. Common Core is coming and things are going to change. That much is certain. Those that have recognized this and have already started adapting are poised to provide their student’s a distinct advantage in preparedness for what awaits them beyond school. For the rest, it could get ugly.

    What do you think? Is Information Text and Academic Vocabulary the way forward for preparing kids for the unknown?


    PS. Tomorrow at 2:30 I present:

    Small School Big Tech – The 1:1 Challenge

    iPads, Netbooks, Chromebooks, MacBooks, Tablets, Apps, Wifi, Cloud, Google Apps. What’s a school to do? How do we scale from 60 to 600 to 6000 devices? We’ll talk about strategies for leveraging free and open source resources to minimize infrastructure costs and maximize classroom technology from a district perspective.  Where are we spending our limited technology dollars? Build a five year tech budget with a ten year vision. Have a plan! What’s the future of edtech look like, what’s important to be investing in now? We’ll discuss key areas to focus on for building a 21st Century technology footprint for today and tomorrow. 

    I should probably start working on the slide deck…

    • Gini 8:21 pm on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Andrew, I’ve been to Kate’s trainings and find her strategies powerful, although not much different from Marzano’s. These ways of teaching academic vocabulary are all based on the same research. While trying to prepare my students for college and career, vocabulary is a priority. English is not their primary language and words that most students might be able to decipher through context clues stop my students in their tracks.

      Of course as an English teacher I believe the more one knows about language the more one knows about the world and all that is in it. Using technology to help students unlock the world of language, first or second, is crucial.

      It is my desire to use the technologies at hand, those that students are beginning to take for granted, to engage them in learning that is challenging and sometimes a bit intimidating so that when they’ve completed the projects they have a sense of satisfaction and confidence in spite of language or poverty.

      • Andrew Schwab 11:50 pm on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I gathered she was popular from the intro. Thanks for the English Teacher perspective. I’ve read about teaching Academic english before. In fact we pushed that with teachers one year. Tried to get everyone on the same sheet of music with using “High Utility Vocabulary” but change is hard and it didn’t really stick. It made sense to me at the time. I do wish the session had had some references to technology though, at least so I could have gotten a bearing on where tech should play a role. I got the impression that it didn’t necessarily have to which I think may have given some reluctant tech adopters a false sense of complacency. The last video clip she showed was of a teacher (this was the “good” instructional example) using an old overhead and transparencies.

        I always wondered why California abandoned dual language immersion. Seems like we end up with kids that don’t master either their home language or English under our current system and parents that want to give their kids a leg up in the global economy have to provide second language school out of their own pockets.

  • Andrew T Schwab 6:56 pm on January 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    My New Nemesis, The iPad mini 

    I don’t think the iPad mini likes me very much. This is an update regarding the picture quality of the iPad mini when used as a doc cam. Upon further research, it turns out the rear camera on the mini should be just as good as the iPad (3rd & 4th Gens) so I have no idea why I was getting such pixelated images when zooming compared to my old iPad (3rd Gen) during my doc cam testing. I decided to run the test again. Here is a picture of the setup:


    iPad Doc Cam


    And the results:

    iPad 3rd Gen Full Zoom

    iPad 3rd Gen


    iPad mini Full Zoom (From same height, with same lighting and pointed at the same document)

    iPad (3rd Gen)

    You can see the iPad mini image is much more pixelated. This is not a function of the picture upload or it being encoded for the web. This is how the two pictures look on the iPads. You’ll notice how crisp the camera icons are in the iPad mini screen shot above.

    So what am I doing wrong here? Shouldn’t the iPad mini have better picture quality than my old iPad 3? I’m staying away from the mini for teachers mainly because of this issue. Now I’m a little concerned given that they should all have the exact same cameras. Anyone care to test this with a 4th Gen iPad?

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