Google Hangouts

We recently enabled Google Hangouts on our GAFE domain.  Staff are super-excited about the implications – virtual field trips, including a homebound classmate, talking to “live” experts, the list will definitely go on.


I found this helpful article from Google+ Guru, Martin Shervington:

http://www.martinshervington.com/google-hangouts-the-ultimate-guide/

Complete with screenshots and coupled with our district’s KB article, our teachers will be well equipped to broadcast on their own.


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Guided Access Goodness!

Thank goodness for iOS 6!

Clicking the logo below will provide a comprehensive overview of all features Apple has to offer with its most recent update.

ios6


For my special education teachers currently test driving iPads in their classrooms, my favorite update by far is Guided Access 

What is Guided Access you ask?  Basically, guided access allows iPad users control of the “lock to app” feature (which was only controlled via the Apple Configurator up until now) right on the device!

What this means for teachers and parents of young children – Yes, you can only allow your students/children access one app, that doesn’t close with a click of the “home” button.


I have to give props to creators of this content, as it is one of the best explanations of Guided Access I’ve seen:  from iMore

guided_access

image credit:  http://www.imore.com/how-enable-guided-access-iphone-and-ipad#enable-guidedaccess


Final Step:  Set up a 4-digit passcode to toggle Guided Access on and off with your app of choice, and you’re golden….

Mobile Device Management

Mobile Device Management or MDM, for short, has been an absolute lifesaver for at-a-glance configuration and troubleshooting devices in my school district.


My post Let’s Talk About Restrictions, although only a year ago, seems a bit archaic to configure multiple iPads even in a building – troubleshooting requiring sitting with the device in question, adjusting settings to one device at a time.  Not conducive to a school district with 5,000 students and 7 buildings.  I needed something more efficient to view all of our devices across the district, and to possibly deploy apps.

I was fortunate enough to go to San Diego, CA to attend the ISTE conference last June (2012).  MDM solutions, among other things, were on the top of my list to learn more about….

Enter Meraki.

meraki

I was lucky enough to have a short demo of Meraki while at their booth at the exhibitor hall.

An all-internet based MDM solution?  Tell me more…..  I can configure and track multiple platforms of devices (iOS, PC, Android)?  I’m listening… What?  Meraki is FREE?  That nugget itself made it well worth the trip from PA to CA 🙂

Lessons learned:

  • You will have to touch each iPad at some point – no. matter. what.
  • Having a cloud-based option to view the “activities” of your devices – simply rocks.
  • The Apple Configurator is needed to “Supervise” devices – which is optional (allows the iPad to disable other settings; including thorn-in-side iMessage)

If you need an MDM comparison, this site offers a comprehensive vendor list and product features:
MDM Product Matrix