Blogger, Friday, Google, iOS9, Pixie, Starbucks

Friday Reflections

Ahhhhh – we made it to Friday! Hip, hip hooray! I had fun showing second graders the basics of using Pixie this week – they explored the different backgrounds and practiced adding/resizing/rotating images as well as experimenting with the paint tools. It seemed like our 40 minute lesson was over before it started; we were having such a great time learning!

I spent much of my week working on iPads for Title 1 teachers. We have 40 new iPads in our building and I’m responsible for the setup and cloning of each. This may not seem like a big deal (after all, when you purchase one for personal use you simply turn the device on and walk through the steps on the screen, right?) Unfortunately, setting up an iDevice for school use is a bit more cumbersome as you have to manually create Gmail accounts, iTunes accounts, as well as manually download/organize each app then adjust settings to match district specifications. We also have to sync the device with our online management system before we can back up and clone. Only then can we sync and continue the process again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Each step in this process takes TIME. Lots of time, actually. It’s a methodical process that sometimes goes awry when little glitches happen here and there (i.e. iTunes needs to be updated, parental locks need to be unlocked, you get called out to assist a teacher then forget where you left off in the process, etc.) Then, when you finally find your groove, the inevitable happens…
Apple releases a new update.
While some of you may be cheering from the rooftops about this latest and greatest update, my task just became more cumbersome because it takes FOREVER to download updates on an iPad, especially over a wifi hotspot that may or may not have consistent cell coverage. 
It. Just. Takes. Time.
I describe these tasks not in a negative light, but rather a realistic view of my job requirements this time of year. I do my best to put teacher requests first, to meet the instructional needs of students, but it becomes a delicate balancing act sometimes when those instructional needs can’t be met because the devices aren’t ready for use.
In the midst of updating iPads, I continue to collaborate in classroom lessons, attend grade level meetings, and provide professional development as requested. This afternoon the elementary ITRTs gathered to learn more about Blogger, Google’s blogging platform. As many of you know, our previous blogging platform of choice, Kidblog, is now a paid-for-use site, so we’ve been discussing various options for teachers and students so that they can both continue digital writing in and out of the classroom. 
All in all, it was a great week, celebrated with my favorite Starbucks drink – a Salted Caramel Mocha from Starbucks. Ahhhhhh… so nice!
I’m looking forward to new adventures next week and maybe, just maybe, the iOS updates will move a wee bit faster so we can get these devices into student hands soon. Until then, I’ll keep plugging away (pun intended!) and hope for the best!

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