Off to a Great Start

by Aaron Hovel

The iPad initiative has gotten off to a great start. Already students are able learn in ways that weren’t possible before.  In the first few weeks, students have been learning how to use and organize their iPads for learning.  In Mr. Lynch’s history classes, students are taking class and homework notes on their iPads, and supplementing the notes with images, maps, and editorial cartoons from the Internet. Students then draw on the maps and annotate the images to extend their grasp of the issues. In Mrs. Devries’s class, 6th grade students are learning active reading skills.  As Mrs. Devries models active reading, students can take a picture of what good active reading looks like to use as a rubric for future assignments.  In math class, students are doing their daily homework on the iPad and turning it in digitally.  This increases instructional time by eliminating the time taken to handout and collect assignments and  “There are no lost Papers”  says Mrs. Waters.

IMG_0109newThe iPad is also a great tool for training the ear in music.  In Mr. Desjardins’s music class, students are learning the chord progression for Pachelbel’s Canon using Garage Band.  Students work in groups listening to Pachelbel Canon then, using Garage Band, they match the chords they can play to what they hear in Pachelbel Canon. By the end of class each group has figured out the order of the chords for the piece.

In Mr. Waters’s Current Events elective class, students are using an App called Flipboard to curate their own magazines of current events. Mr. Waters has also created his own Virtual Magazine of relevant current events.  As Mr. Waters adds articles to his magazine, students have immediate access to them too, which has led to fascinating conversations.

In Mrs. Morris’s Green Scholar Elective students are creating digital books on a “Green” topic of choice like shark finning, water pollution, or endangered species .  These books can then be shared with other students at Pike as well as students around the world.

Audio and Video in the Modern Language eBook brings the learning alive allowing students more practice listening to and speaking the language.  Students are also learning to practice their pronunciation of words with the translator app Say Hi. Say Hi allows students to say words in French and see them translated into English.  The app does not translate the words correctly unless they are pronounced correctly.

While the iPad have made a big impact on learning and teaching it has also improved our green efforts.  Reams of paper have been saved since much of the work is done digitally.  Also, cubbies and notebooks are more tidy with less loose paper, and backpacks are lighter too.  I look forward to sharing great stories like these throughout the school year.

AirServer Tips

Airplay seems to work most of the time, but there are times when it doesn’t. Here are some tips to help if you find it isn’t working.

3 Helpful AirServer Tips
(Detailed directions can be found below)

  • Turn Airserver off when you are not using it. This will help Airserver work better for those who are using it.
  • Try Rebroadcasting Services from the Airserver menu item.
  • Always have a backup plan. The iPad video adapter (white dongle) can be used when AirPlay isn’t working. When your received your iPad, you also received an iPad video adapter (white dongle).

Directions for tips above

1. To turn AirServer off, click on the AirServer menu item and choose Quit AirServer.
The menu item will disappear.   To start Airserver when you need it again, go to the applications folder and double click the AirServer app.  The Menu item will appear again.

Recommendation:  Put the AirServer application on the dock for easy future start up.

2.  To rebroadcast the services – Click on the AirServer Menu item and choose “Rebroadcast Services”.  Wait 10 seconds and try to connect again.
3. iPad video adapter (white dongle) – You received an iPad video adapter when we you received your iPad.  One side should be connected to the black video cable coming from the wall.  The other side should be connected to your iPad.  This is a wired connection and does not rely on wireless.  This will be more reliable than AirPlay and AirServer but you will be need to be connected to the cable.


Side Note – If your receive an AirServer update notice, do not update AirServer at this time.  

Why do we have iPads?

by Aaron Hovel

First off, WOW!!!! That is how I feel about the first couple of weeks with iPads in the Upper School.  Yes there have been bumps, and of course we are going to continue to learn along the way, but I am amazed at how the US faculty have stepped up to the challenge.  The sheer number of new things that faculty have had to incorporate into their teaching repertoire is incredible.  That effort has made the start of the school year smooth for students and parents have noticed too.  Many parents commented at the Upper School BTSN about how impressed they were with the use, instruction, and organization of the iPad program.  Nice work!!! and Thank You!!!!

Now on to the regularly scheduled program.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have read many newspaper articles and received questions from family, parents, and colleagues all concerned that technology was going to reduce the face to face time with students and teachers.  That instead of direct student to student and teacher to student conversations students would be staring at their screens.  I agree that this could happen.  There can be a tendency to try to replace all past classroom procedures, lessons, and processes with the analog activity on the iPad.  After all, parents just purchased expensive devices for their children.  If we don’t use them, it will be a waste, right?   The thing is, if all that we accomplish is to create a direct analog of everything we use to do, on the iPad, we will have failed miserably. The old saying still goes.  “Use technology to do things that otherwise couldn’t be done without it.” That is why it is important to have clear goals around the use of the iPad. The 1to1 committee set the follow goals for the initiative.

  • Curation – develop skills that will help evaluate and organize vast amounts of information, so it can be retrieved later.

  • Creation – design and share information for global communities.

  • Collaboration – build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally.

  • Communication – facilitate creative expression of knowledge and understanding through a variety of media.

As US faculty develop or rework curriculum to include the iPad, they will be focusing their efforts on activities, lessons, and projects that focus on curation, creation, collaboration, and communication.  When we focus on these goals, the iPad becomes a powerful internet connected creation device not a tool that must be used in all aspects of the classroom that takes away valuable student teacher interaction.

The first couple weeks of school have been focused on curation.  Setting up folders in Google Drive and Nobility so that students can organize and share work with teachers, creating bookmarks so that students can quickly access their schedule and homework sites, and learning to use “Remember the Milk” to record their homework.  More on curation in a future posts.  As the year continues, we will stay focused on the goals set by the 1to1 committee and continue to have conversations and face to face time with our colleagues and students.

Thoughts?  Join the coversation. Add a comment to this blog so all can benefit or swing by the tech office and tell me what you think.

School Calendar on the iPad

Students can subscribe to the school calendar feed as well as their class schedule feed in the Calendar app on the iPad. See directions below.

School Calendar Feed – this includes the day schedule

Do the following on the iPad:

  • Copy  the following url –
  • Open the Settings App
  • Click on Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  • Click on Add Account
  • Click on Other
  • Click on Add Subscribed Calendar
  • Paste the url above into the the Server window and click next
  • Under Description you can give the calendar any name or leave the default.  Make no other changes and click save.
  • Open the Calendar App
  • Click Calendars in the top left of the screen
  • Scroll to the bottom to see the school calendar listed
  • The calendar events will be the color of the dot next to the name
Class Schedule
Do the following on the iPad:
  • Log in to the student portal in Veracross. Students received their passwords during the first week of school
  • Click on the Calendar link at the top
  • Click on the orange Subscribe link
  • Click on the Subscribe link that corresponds to All Classes
  • Click on Subscribe in the pop-up window
  • Click on View Events in the next pop-up window
  • Click Calendars in the top left of the screen
  • Scroll to the bottom to see the school calendar listed
  • The calendar events will be the color of the dot next to the name
How to delete one of these calendars 
On the iPad:
  • Open the settings app
  • Click on Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  • Click on Subscribed Calendars under Accounts
  • Click on the Calendar name you would like to delete
  • Click on the red Delete Account button at the bottom

iPad Apps and Parental Restrictions

by Aaron Hovel

I have received the following question over the last few weeks about Puffin and Chrome: “Puffin and Chrome have an age rating of 17+. How can I restrict Apps to those with an age rating of 12+ and under, and still install Puffin and Chrome?”

The short answer is that, this is not possible.  For a longer answer as to how you can still maintain control of app installation on your child’s iPad and increase the age restriction to 17+, read below.


  • All apps available in the app store have an age rating. Before installing an app on your child’s iPad you can view the information provided in the pop-up window to see the age rating.
  • One of the parental restrictions that can be set on the iPad is called “Apps” and is found under the Allowed Content section of the restriction settings. (Settings app>General>Restrictions)
  • The app restriction can be set to 4+ through 17+.
In order to allow Puffin and Chrome, the app restriction setting needs to be set to 17+.  Doing this will allow the installation of any app rated 17+ or under.  You have two options in order to restrict apps once this restriction has been set to 17+:
  1. Do not give your child the Apple ID password.  If you have already given your child the password, you can change it here.
  2. Set the Installing Apps restriction to Off.
One other point of note, the iPad restrictions do not in any way limit or filter what can be viewed in a web browser like Safari, Chrome or Puffin. I have tested this by setting very strict restrictions. Making these restrictions did not stop me from getting to explicit websites. These restrictions stop purchases from being made and stop rated content like movies, music, apps and TV shows from being played on the iPad  in the Videos or iTunes app.
Pike filters the web activity while students are at Pike. Students cannot get to explicit websites when connected to the Pike network. To filter the web activity at home, a service like can be used.

Import the Day Schedule and Pike Calendar into Google Calendar


Not sure whether it is day 7 or day 2?  Want to know what is going on at Pike?  You can kill two birds with one stone.

  1. Click here to go to the Pike School Calendar on the Pike website.
  2. Click on the this icon Screen_Shot_2013-09-10_at_2.58.21_PM
  3. Choose “iCall Feed”
  4. Click “ICAL” next to “All Public Calendars on this Page” and choose “Add to Google Calendars” See Below
  5. Login to Google Calendar with your email and password.
  6. Choose “Yes, add this calendar” in the “Do you want to add this calendar?” box.

Firefox Flash Plugin Issue

If you are using Firefox, you are probably seeing the picture below on many of your websites.   Read on for two options for fixing this.


Option 1:

When you see the above message, or a video is not playing, look up at the address bar.

Next to the address bar you will see a red icon like this. image_(1)

Click on the red icon. See Picture Below:

Then choose Always activate plugins for this site.
You will have to do this for each site once.  So, as you visit new sites remember to look for the red icon.

Option 2:

Use Chrome as your browser.  This browser doesn’t seem to have the same issue.

Welcome Back!


The fall of 2013 is finally almost here, and all students in grades six through nine will arrive at Pike School in 2 weeks with their own iPad to use in the classroom, to collaborate with other students and teachers, conduct research, and complete homework assignments. We are all very excited about the impact that this change will have on the Upper School this year.  This space will be used as a place to share technology news and helpful information with the Pike Community.

To close out I will share an interesting post that I read recently via the EdTechTeacher newsletter on the Edutopia website entitled iPads: From Pedagogical Crutch to Education Innovation by Beth Holland.

Welcome back everyone!