iOS 11 Release – Check before you update

Do not disturb in iOS 11

Apple will release iOS 11 tomorrow, September 19. Before you update, make sure that you check the readiness of your device. iOS 11 is a major update, with new features as well as security updates. New features include:

  • Files app to manage your files on your iOS device
  • Dock available in apps, with quick access to recent apps
  • Better multitasking on iPad
  • Drag and Drop on iPad
  • Inline drawing and searchable handwriting in Notes
  • Document scanner built-in to Notes
  • Inline drawing in Mail
  • New filters built into Camera
  • Customize the Control Center
  • Driving mode so that you are not disturbed while you drive
  • Lane guidance and speed limit built into Maps
  • Quick type keyboard for typing with one hand
  • Automatically set up iOS device from another iOS device by proximity

Check your hardware

iOS 11 is compatible with iOS 5S and newer iPhones, iPad mini 2 and newer iPads, 6th generation iPod and iPod touch. However, be aware that new operating systems can slow down older devices. Just because you can update your device doesn’t mean you should. If you have an older device that you depend on for frequent use, I suggest waiting for later updates of iOS 11, and checking reviews of how it works with your device before you update to iOS 11.

Check you apps

ios 11 app compatibility imageMany developers have updated their apps to work with the new operating system, but some apps (especially free ones) may not work with your device. If you have any of those apps installed, find a replacement for the ones that you use. If there are any apps on the list that are critical for you, you may want to wait for an app update before updating to iOS 11.

To check which apps many not work after you update your device,

  1. Open Settings
  2. General — About
  3. Applications

Check your space

If you’re getting storage almost full messages on your device, it’s a good idea to clean the storage. If you need help, see this article from Macworld.

Other consideration

Before you update, make sure that you know your Apple ID and password. If you have it saved on the device and don’t haven’t it memorized, make sure to write it down temporarily. Also, make sure that your device is backed up to iCloud* (or your computer). If you depend on your iOS device, I think it’s a good idea to invest in iCloud. I pay CDN$1.29 a month for 50GB of iCloud storage.

*Note that iCloud doesn’t back up your apps. It makes note of what apps you have installed on your device so that you can restore them later from the App Store, but it won’t allow you to restore any apps that are no longer available in the App Store. It also doesn’t back up data from the Health app.

If you have a question or need some help, post on my Facebook page or email me at

Using IT Integration Walls in the Classroom

IT Integration Walls

An IT Integration wall is a great way to support student use of technology for learning in the classroom. You can take many different approaches to creating the wall. One approach is to create a poster of Just Right resources for your grade/students. Here’s an example from a Grade 2 classroom.

IT integration poster

Just Right Resources

In elementary school, we use the concept of “Just Right” apps and websites to help children understand that some websites are appropriate for children, while others are not. Students use bookmarks and QR codes to get to websites appropriate for use in the classroom.

This Grade 2 teacher included instructions of how to use Dropbox, as well as QR codes to resources for the current unit. The space can be as big, or as small as you want it to be. Involve students in the creation process, especially at older grades. If you or your technology coordinator has created instructions for using technology resources, incorporate these resources into the integration wall.

Managing the Wall

Implement the wall at the beginning of the school year, so that students get in the habit of solving problems themselves, and with the help of their peers. Have sections of the wall that will be useful throughout the year, as well as more dynamic sections that change with the unit or term.  Here are some ideas of how to involve students:

  • Have students submit a few websites that can be added to the wall.
  • Model the process for deciding if a site or app is Just Right, and involve students in the decision.
  • Invite students to create instructions for common tasks, to post on the wall.
  • Provide space and opportunity for student to identify their expertise and offer assistance to peers.
  • Track how often different resources are used on the wall, to know what to leave and what to replace. It could be a student’s job to analyze the use of resources.

Using Video in the Classroom

I watched this video from Common Sense Media about improving the use of video in the classroom. Notice that it’s part of a playlist, and you may want to watch some of the other videos as well.

I decided to put the tips from the video into practice.

Watching the Video

The first time I watched the video, I rarely paused, because I wanted a holistic impression of the value of the video to me and my colleagues. I had the essential question in mind: How will this video inspire teachers to use video more effectively in the classroom? The second time I watched the video, I paused it to create this blog post. Whenever I paused the video, the questions that I asked myself were “How is this tip relevant to elementary school” and “What can I share about this tip with colleagues?”.

Review of the Tips

I like the idea of the video that the goal of using a video in class is for comprehension AND critical thinking. This resonates with me as I have been pondering similar ideas recently in listening to podcasts, and my thoughts motivated me to resurrect my personal blog. The video could be a valuable tool for teachers in helping them reframe their questioning when students are watching videos. The tips in the video are practical, and easy to implement so teachers can put them into use right away.

The tips work with each other, because if students are taking notes or backchanneling while watching a video, they will certainly need multiple views to comprehend and think critically about a video’s contents. I know that I struggle with listening/watching and processing, and writing at the same time, so multiple views would be crucial for accessing all the content.

Applying the Tips in the Elementary Classroom

With elementary students, I would pause the video at some natural break points for the students to engage in the backchannel, and reply to each other’s posts as well as record their own thoughts. Otherwise, I think that the cognitive load would be too much. I would also have all student watch the video together the first time or two, with a debrief or conversation about the video, before students move to watching the video on the own, for their particular goal. Students can also apply the strategies when they are watching videos individually, but it’s important to model the strategies to students and have them practice it with guidance, before applying it on their own.

Often, students watch videos for research, when they are trying to answer particular questions. Critical thinking may not be relevant for fact based questions (thin questions), but will definitely come into play with more complex questions (thick questions).

More information:

  • Getting the most out of video Cheat sheet from Common Sense Media
  • Mind/Shift Teachers’ Guide to Using Videos
  • Think critically about video Common Sense Media page

IT Integration Walls

An IT Integration wall is a great way to support student use of technology for learning in the classroom. There are many different approaches that you can take. One approach is to create a poster of Just Right resources for your grade/students. Here’s an example from a grade 2 classroom.

Example of an IT Integration Wall

Example of an IT Integration Wall

The teachers included instructions of how to use Dropbox, as well as QR codes to resources appropriate for this unit. This space can be aa big, or as small as you want it to be, and you can involve student “experts” in creating it, especially at older grades. I’m also creating tutorials for some classes/grades, and those types of resources can be incorporated into the space.

If you’re looking for resources to create QR codes, here are some resources.

Cloud Storage Using Google Drive

ISP assigns Google Apps accounts to children from Grade 3. This automatically provides each child with a storage space in Google Drive. We could use Google classroom, but we’ve continued our legacy processes. Here’s how we set up storage:

  • Each student creates a class folder with subfolders for each subject
  • The class folder is shared with the classroom teacher with edit privileges
  • Folders for single subject/specialist teachers are shared with them with edit privileges
  • Each teacher creates a Class Students 2015-2016 folder and adds each student’s folder to it
  • The teacher creates a folder to share work with students (read only by students)
  • The teacher creates a folder where students can share items with each other or with the teacher

Naming conventions are very important when using Google Drive. They enable users to search and find files more efficiently. We use the naming convention of Class Firstname Description e.g. 4P Damianne Math. When there are 2 or more students with the same first name, we append the first initial of the last name e.g. 4P DamianneP Math. Get in the habit yourself and get students in the habit of naming files and folders accurately when they create them, and putting them in the correct folder from the start.

If you do this in Google Classroom, and find the process to be more streamlined with a similar setup, please let me a comment.