Friday, May 15, 2009
Have been working on the iPod cart most of of the week so I wanted to send out an update on a few things I've learned along the way.
I met with my technology manager earlier this week so we could figure out how to get everything set up correctly. Being the first in our county to have an ipod cart, I think we were both excited about playing with something new! We had talked with Val Brown, the technology specialist at Culbreth Middle School in Chapel Hill NC and received a few pointers. We knew from talking with her that we needed to get an email address for the cart, a paypal account and an itunes account. We're keeping the account information secure between a few individuals at our school so anyone that wants to buy an app will have to get it approved first through one of us-probably me. We had a cash back card from the NEC Star Student program that we're using to provide money for buying apps. It worked out really well because Apple doesn't have anything set up for purchasing power with schools. We don't have any way of doing a purchase order through itunes or setting up a paypal account through the school, so for us we felt this was the best way to handle buying the apps.
With all of the accounts set up, we were ready to start registering the ipods. We knew we would have to do it one at a time and we held our breath as we did #6 because we both felt like we had heard you could only have 5 ipods per computer. We learned that is just not true! The ipod cart comes with two drawers that hold 20 ipods per drawer. Each drawer has its own cable to sync the units, so 20 ipods can be synched at one time (once you go through the initial setup process). It is so important to have your accounts set up before you get started because the itunes account is what is needed to register your ipod.
After we set up 6, he left me to do the rest, but I couldn't help but to go download a bunch of apps! I went and found a ton of freebie educational apps and put them on the computer. It was really neat to plug them all in (and hear the sound of them linking) and watch them sync. In the end, that wasn't the best idea. I learned the hard way that once you have all those apps on there, the set up process takes a little longer. Once you register the ipods, you have to wait for all of the apps to load. In retrospect I realize that I could have turned off automatic synching, but it really wasn't that big of a deal as one ipod can by performing the sync while you're registering others.
I got through about 20 of them and my principal came knocking at my door. She was all excited because there was a class of students that was available to test the ipods and she wanted to see what they thought. I gave her a few and sent her on her way and then thought, wait a minute-why does she get to have all the fun? So, I went to the class to see what was going on. When I got there, the kids had already gotten together and were using the apps that I had just installed. By the end of the period, they had made a list of all of the apps and shared their opinions of each. They found the formulas app with all types of math formulas to be pretty fantastic while the iBrush app, used to teach you how to brush your teeth, was not so great! (That one was more for me to try-it is neat...once).
Now, we're looking for an engraver. I made the mistake of forgetting to get them engraved when we purchased. We want the school name to be on there somewhere in case one gets lots or stolen. Once we get the engraving done, we'll be ready to send them out for more testing!