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  • Andrew T Schwab 10:44 am on September 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 1:1 iPads, 21st century learning, anotherschwab, apps, edchat, , , rebooted, VPP   

    Time For An App Stipend For Teachers 

    I just spent $6.99 for the FluencyFinder app for my iPad. It was an impulse buy, granted but after having read about it in a blog post, it looked like an app I should be familiar with. But then, I do admit to a compulsive app buying habit dating back to my first iPad when not even 5 minutes after finishing the setup I had paid $19.95 of my own cash and was crashing the wifi network downloading the Elements app (remember when that was like THE app for ipad?).

    Since then, I’ve avoided the VPP process like the plague, preferring to pay my own way through app exploration and experimentation (much to my wife’s displeasure at the monthly iTunes bills). Over the years I’ve built up quite a library of Apps on my personal iTunes account, 99.5% of which I never use. When I started using a Nexus 7, I once again went down the personal app route, buying apps associated with my personal gmail account.

    I chose this route in the beginning because there were very few alternatives at the time. Now as I’m handing out iPads to teachers en mass and making them create “district” iTunes accounts with their work email addresses so that they can redeem district purchased apps to a district account, I’m reminded of why I’ve stuck with just buying my own apps even in the face of VPP.

    It’s just easier. There is no app request form, no two week wait for approval, no logging in on my iPad to install personal apps and logging out and back in with my work account to install district apps. It’s easier, which means when I see an app I think might be useful or that looks interesting, I buy it, try it and then I know. And what’s more, an app that I find doesn’t work for me, may fit into someone else’s work flow beautifully.

    That’s why App discovery and evaluation to me is a perfect example of 21st Century Skills in action. The search for an app, the critical assessment of an app, the practical integration of an app into instruction and hopefully, the sharing out of that process through social media to pay it forward for the common good. To impede that process by trying to control it seems very 19th century to me. So I’ve been thinking what we should be doing is giving every educator the opportunity (and expectation) to explore, experiment, fail, succeed and share with Apps. The best way to do this is to eliminate the red tape and give everyone an App Budget with permission to play. I propose just one requirement; that they share their app discovery with their peers throughout the year.

    What do you think? Do you know of any districts that have taken this approach? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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    • Shelly Moses 11:04 am on September 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I agree with you Andrew. How are teachers or students to know which apps will support their learning, thinking, or collaboration if there is no process for trial. My school gave us $50 to use on iTunes when the first five of us were issued iPads but nothing since then. Our high schoolers each receive a $50 iTunes card when they are issued their iPad so they can purchase apps and eBooks. If the focus remains on the end goal of learning then that app used for the process shouldn’t matter.

    • Derrick Brown 12:43 pm on September 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I agree . I wrote a grant for iPads and included a $1000 gift card for apps. Got some iPads but card denied. I will seek donations for a card to buy apps for teachers .

  • Andrew T Schwab 7:12 am on April 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: apps, , , , gmail   

    Restorify 

    After my glowing review of Backupify last week, I’m ashamed to admit that I forgot the golden rule of backups, if you can’t restore, then you haven’t successfully backed up anything. In checking some of the services besides twitter in my Backupify cloud backup account yesterday, I noticed that while I’ve been receiving nice emails about successful Gmail backups, when I went to restore my email (one at a time) all I got were empty .eml files. (Don’t get me started on that format either, seriously I need an email client to read restored gmail email?). This appears to be a problem with the backupify gmail service, which is still in beta after all.  But beta or not, I don’t think it should be cheerfully telling me that my email is backed up if I can’t restore it at all.

    Now, formats aside, my Hotmail backup actually works. And yes, I have a hotmail account, have since before there was dirt and I am kind of partial to it. It was my first web based email and I still remember having to use pine at University too, so there.

    The twitter backup is still awesome, although threaded conversations would be nice.  Google Docs works as advertised, although again the format is all in Microsoft Office docs. It looks like they simply do an export as Office documents to their cloud. While I would prefer a zip archive option, this will work as protection against the accidental delete. My blogger backup currently says “Application Error” when I try and look at the Archive. I guess if anything happens to my Andrew T. Schwab blog I’m SOL.  But hey, its free and still in Beta so I really shouldn’t complain.

    Oh, and Backupify does work with Google Apps, I have it backing up one of my Standard Apps Gmail accounts.  So I’m an idiot, what else is new?  Now, where’d I put that iPad?

     
    • Rob 9:30 am on April 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Andrew,
      We can’t replicate this error, and haven’t had a single user complain about anything similar, so you might want to send us an email with some more information so we can look into it.

      We’ve seen a weird bug with some versions of IE 7 where it downloads empty zip files that really have data, so you may want to include your browser info.

      • anotherschwab 1:37 pm on April 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Well, the .eml files open fine in mail on my Mac OS X Leopard 10.6.3. Something must be wrong with Outlook Express on my Windows XP machine. They open with no subject and sender unspecified. Of course I don’t use Outlook express, or Outlook being that we’ve moved everything to Google Apps, so restoring could be interesting.

        Again, thanks for the response. I’m looking into how we might use Backupify with our students and staff to back up their Google Apps Docs. since there really is no way to do a traditional backup for their cloud stuff.

    • Rob 10:23 am on April 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      You also might want to try blogger again. Your backups are there. I think it was some other problem.

      • anotherschwab 1:29 pm on April 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        The Blogger service is indeed now working. I can access the account settings and backup archives whereas I could not yesterday from two different machines. It is comforting to know that my unimportant blog entries are being backed up in the cloud and I can now see them in all their backupify glory. Thanks for the follow up.

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