Geocaching combines problem solving, collaboration, and appreciation for the outdoorsSeveral years ago I attended a Discovery Education Teacher Institute in San Francisco, and was pulled into the adventurous world of geocaching. It was there, near the windy shores of the San Francisco Bay, that I experienced my first techy treasure hunt. After giving a speedy lesson how to use a GPS device, facilitators helped split attendees into groups of three as we locked in a given set of coordinates to begin our search for a series of “caches,” or containers with coupons for free swag hidden inside. It was a terrific bonding experience for the group and friendships were quickly formed.
Geocaching is a location-based technology treasure hunting activity that combines the great outdoors with technology and learning. With a GPS device in hand, one can look for hidden containers anywhere on earth--anywhere! Like a homing pigeon, the device zeroes in on a hidden cache and the hunt is on—often through terrain and landscapes that otherwise go unnoticed. Most containers include a logbook of those who have found it in the past, and as a result, connect a community of geocachers.
As my school’s Instructional Technology Coach, I’m constantly in search of new and inventive ways to incorporate technology both inside and outside the classroom. And as I soon learned, geocaching is not only a unique way to integrate your standards, it also teaches responsibility and caring for the environment, as geocachers are expected to adhere to the movement’s creed of “Cache In Trash Out.”
Moving into fields and forests and making learning different and more enjoyable, geocaching creates unforgettable experiences for students that go well beyond the four walls of the classroom. Of course, there are a few hurdles to jump before diving in, but with a bit of planning teachers can be on their way to creating a fun activity for their students. First and foremost, a GPS device is needed, along with a solid lesson plan, and a safe place to hide the cache.
Geocaching no longer requires expensive equipment, making it much more accessible to beginners. For students, an expensive and elaborate GPS device isn’t necessary. GPS enabled smartphones offer the most economic option for geocaching, as many students already own the equipment, and need only purchase a geocaching app to participate.
For younger students, or those without smartphones, look for a device that is user friendly for inputting waypoints, accessible—and most importantly—durable. Expect to pay around sixty dollars per unit. I use the Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator with my students—though it is a bit more expensive than the Geomate Jr. Geocaching GPS.
Most geocaching is done in groups, so regardless of the device used, a successful geocaching lesson only requires a few devices. I have seven devices, which works out beautifully with a class of 25-30 students. For financial support, don’t forget to use the school’s PTO/PTA grants, fund raisers and Donors Choose (of course, purchasing a device will be a tax write-off!).
Here are a few of the smartphone apps I use with my students:
Geocaching ($9.99). The official geocaching app from Geocaching.com (the Mothership of geochaching), this is the most expensive app on the market as well as the highest quality. Users will get access to the locations of registered caches and clues, and the app even offers the ability to submit your finds. This app is very easy to use and perfect for beginners and pros.
Geocaching Intro (Free). This is the free version of the GroundSpeak geocaching app, the company that runs the Geocaching.com website. This is the app that I recommend to my students. While limited, this app reveals three geocaches near your current location per day; provides the necessary coordinates, hints, and descriptions; and delivers the directions to the hidden cache. I love the vibrating-chirping alert that warns you when you’re getting close to the cache site—a feature not included on the more expensive sister geocaching app.
Once equipped with devices, it’s time to engage the students in a meaningful lesson that will challenge their map-reading skills while affording them opportunities to work collaboratively and solve a problem.
There are several activities I have done with my students, from upper elementary to high school. To start, all students were taught how the device worked and learned how to input data as well as retrieve and set their own waypoints. Our fifth grade students became such experts that the principal asked them to lead the staff in professional development. From there, our principal hid staff handbooks all around the campus and had the teachers use the coordinates (and help of their fifth-grade buddies) to locate their handbook.
Activities can range from solving riddles to searching for hidden rubber ducks to embarking on geometry scavenger hunts. For a beginner lesson, hide caches near a specific tree, bush, or flower. Once students have located the cache, have them take a picture and identify the species of flora. (Placing a leaf from the tree or plant in the container would also work). You could also place a toy animal, picture, tooth, claw or hair sample inside the cache container and have students identify the object. Once all caches have been found, have them create a photo/identification booklet.
If you want students to develop curiosity about geography, math, science, and the world around them, then give geocaching a try. It’s a great activity for ESL and special needs students, allowing them the opportunity to work collaboratively and solve problems while incorporating the characteristics of an active and engaged learning environment.
For more, check out GoingApeForApps – Geocaching with Mobile Devices, which includes more lesson plans and ideas for getting started. Happy hunting!
Hello from Orlando!
I'm here to present at this amazing conference with a good friend, Suzy! This really is a favorite conference of mine. I've had the good fortune to attend twice before and feel lucky to be a presenter.
We left from Dulles on Saturday, January 17. It was a chilly, winter day. Our trip was uneventful and short and I couldn't wait to get to sunny warm Florida. I guess I should mention that I took two bags and one carry on. I mention this because as we speak, it could be questionable as to how I'm going to take back my treasures...but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Suzy and I are presenting on Geocaching with students. Geocaching is an activity where you use a hand-held GPS device to find hidden cache. Since we arrived a couple of days before the conference we decided to geocache around the outskirts of Orlando and have something to share with our audience. We set out to a fabulous park that we came across when we were lost. Lost? Oh yeah...
I do like this state, don't get me wrong, in fact, it's my birthplace. However, I do have a few bones to pick with my birth state, let's start with tolls.
Good law makers of Florida, I implore you to rethink how to notify your tourists. Suzy and I got a rental car, and I just have to say, Hertz was no better. They (Hertz) should have told us about their tolls and failed to. For this, I am very disappointed with them, and yes, they received a phone call. Back to the tolls...
After picking up the car we attempted to leave the airport, I say attempted because we were running around like a mouse in a maze. We ended up in some lane where they were busting out the mirrors and searching cars. Did I mention that our clown car (yes, it was that small) smelled like it was on fire? So picture a clown car, on fire, in a lane getting ready to be searched. Suzy and I got to laughing so hard that the serious searcher actually busted a smile. We explained we were sort of lost in this maze they call an airport and we thought our engine was on fire. He let us go out an exit where we decided that the car may not or may be on fire. Later down the road, we concluded that our clown car must have just had an oil change and we were smelling the oil burning up on the engine.
We headed off to our place and got there in one piece, no fire, no problems. It wasn't until the next day when we wanted to go Geocaching and visit Suzy's Aunt, that we got on the turnpike and all hell broke loose. There are NO SIGNS that indicate you are about to enter a highway that has COINS ONLY FOR THEIR TOLLS!
We arrived at our first toll so we gleefully drove up into the change lane only to learn that it really does mean exact change...as in COINS, which we did not have. Suzy even got out to ask the guy behind for change and just the luck, he was in the same boat! (are you listening Florida?) We had no choice but to blow the light, which we did and all the horns went off.
Next Booth: Ditto, blew through
3rd Booth: Live human, who got an ear full! Yay we paid!
I thought for sure we'd see one of those Amber alerts on the lookout for a white clown car, emitting smoke from the engine with two females trying to avoid tolls.
Thelma and Louis are alive and well and traveling with bread dressed as people.
We finally made it to Aunt Freddie's without getting arrested. She lives outside of Tampa in a retirement community (55 and older). I'm telling you right now, I've never seen so many pimped out Golf Carts in my life! They let these little cars on the main roads, with some really old folks driving!
We had a blast with this awesome 80 year old lady. In fact, it was her 80th birthday! She drove us to a local strawberry farm where we met her son (Suzy's cousin) and had a delightful lunch and enjoyed the view of the strawberry fields. Fresh strawberries in January, who knew?
After a lovely afternoon with Freddie, we headed back home, and by home, I mean our cute condo. It should only have been an hour and a half away, but when I plugged in our address, it decided to go to some other town in Florida and not Kissimmee. The trusting person that I am, just kept driving....and driving....and driving...until Suzy said, "This doesn't look familiar." and I'm like, "Yeah, it's all good".
The next thing you know, we pulled into a community with the same address and yet, it was not our cute condo. We actually had traveled way north of where we should have been.
Four hours later we arrived at our condo. Note to self: There are many alike addresses in Florida. I'm just glad we didn't end up in Miami.
Here's a recap of our adventures to date:
Flea Market - Renningers - where I'd expect to see Laura Spencer grabbing couples for the show, "Flea Market Flip" (which I love). We came across what looked like an outdoor morgue but alas, it was not, it was only folks covering their tables for the next day.
Bo with Strawberries
We went geocaching in a really neat park, James A. VanFleet Trail, which was over 30 miles long. There were caches hidden about every two tenths of a mile, some closer. We found eleven caches (11) and a few other things.
Harvey Fender Citrus Nursery - YUMMMM
Recap & Conference
It's been two weeks since we've been back from Australia and it's time to reflect and recap the highlights and share some additional photos.
I went to Aussie to present at their ACEC Conference, which is Australia's technology conference. Sessions offered up everything from using Twitter in the class (which they do, and it is NOT blocked) to appraising math apps and so much in between. Some sessions were only thirty minutes some forty-five, and there were still other that ran an hour and a half. There was a day of workshops and field trips, the food was catered and delicious. The Aussies know how to put on a conference Everyone, and I do mean everyone, showed their appreciation and gratitude with a loud applause at the conclusion of each session. I attended a lot of interesting sessions on how iPads were used in the classroom because my presentation was also on using iPads in the classroom. I showed the Aussies how we roll with the iPads and use them to create all sorts of meaningful and creative products. The presentation went off without a hitch and the audience was terrific. I had a nice crowd and received some good feedback.
I have to add a bit of trivia here as it really speaks to their hospitality and how they run a conference. All of my presentations, prior to this, had been in the United States from Washington State to Pennsylvania. To present, one must agree to a list of terms, which usually include fees. It's odd that we pay so much to attend these conferences yet the presenters also have to pay a registration fee - full price, most of the time. In addition to the registration fee, we (the presenter)) also must supply our own laptop, projector, that is unless you want to rent theirs for a nominal fee of $200, provide our own audio speakers, and sometimes table. The Aussies not only provided all of the above for free, but they also loaded my presentation (which included videos) onto the laptop I'd be using and tested it prior to my presentation! Everything was set up and free! It made my traveling light.
I have to extend a huge thanks to the folks that ran the conference, they did a remarkable job running the program and offering up great food, keynote speakers and insightful sessions.
The conference took up a few of my days but I had four days of play (2 weekends). We also had some afternoons to galavant and that's just what we did. My students helped plan my trip with a project they did last spring called, "Aussie Bound". They had to create an itinerary of my entire trip, from flight prices, hotels, restaurants to rental cars and places of interests. They had fun, and I had fun looking at their projects. They definitely had fun things for Richard and I to do and see. I gave them some of my bucket list items and managed to pull them off....
Here are some of their 'MUST SEE" things Richard and I did. Students, this is for you!
Whoa! The World's Largest Rocking Horse!
Burger King is not allowed in Australia due to another restaurant called 'Burger King' long before our American franchise hit their shores. The original has a copyright on the name so no other restaurant is allowed with that name. What did Burger King do? Rename themselves just for the Aussies! Clever Americans.
Kangaroo Island is located just a short distance from the shores of South Australia. It is one of the world’s unique nature destinations, with crystal clear waters, amazing landscapes and wildlife galore! I was fortunate to take a SeaLink Tour to KI (as the locals call it) on Saturday, October 4th. It was one of the last awesome adventures we had while in South Australia. I'm not going to lie, it was pricey, at $250 each, but it was more than worth every penny. The fee included the ferry trip to and from the shores of Cape Jarvis, a wonderfully delicious lunch (more like a dinner!), and tour across the entire Island.
KI is Australia's third largest island at 96 miles long by 34 miles wide, and over 330 miles of coastline and if you want to see the island for all it's worth, then it's worth it to take a tour.
On the ferry ride over we were treated to a Humpback whale lying on its side waving, as if to say, "Hey, have a great time!" We sat with a wonderful couple, Phil and Di, who were from Tasmania. Di is a special education teacher and it was so much fun talking shop with her. Though they had a different bus tour, it was fun sharing stories for our 25 minute trek across to the island.
There were so many interesting facts about the island that it was hard to remember all of them, but here are some fun tidbits of information...
We were so lucky to see all of the above! Our bus driver, Robert, was a fountain of information and I learned so much from his stories. He is a native of the island and shared his own personal experiences of island life. It was a fun-filled day of wildlife, beautiful ocean views (by the way, this is the Southern Ocean) and landscape dotted with sheep, which by the way, number over a million!
Our only disappointment was not to seeing the little Penneshaw penguin that resides on the island, but caught sight of a baby penguin on the mainland - (at least that's what I think I saw and I'm sticking to it!). They are nocturnal and hard to spot during the day. Their numbers have declined over the past years and it's due mainly to the New Zealand Fur seal. While standing on the shores of the Southern Ocean, we were told that we were a mere 2,000 miles from the South Pole. When put into perspective, that's close! It was kind of neat knowing that we were that close! Of course, this also meant that the water is cold year around.
We had a picture perfect day. When it was time to board the ferry, there were our new friends, Phil and Di. We had different tours but it was clear, we all had the most memorable experience. I wish we had more time to spend on the island, but since we didn't, I'm glad we had the time we did. My favorite memory had to have been the Sea Lions. They were so much fun to watch, and I've never been that close to so many sea lions. Kangaroo Island lived up to all my expectations and then some! We made new friends, got up close with sea lions, nearly ran over a kangaroo crossing the road (thanks to Robert's quick response, he made it across the road!), came close to an echidna, and even witnessed some kangaroos mating! I'd say it was a day well spent!
Aussie School Visitations
I was lucky enough to be a part of a school tour while on my visit to Adelaide and the ACEC conference. The trip from our B&B in Hahndorf to the Adelaide Conference Center is a story in itself.
We decided that getting an international phone package would be too expensive so we settled on a couple of toss-away phones that only work inside Adelaide. The only hope of getting in and around town fall to the job of the GPS system in our rental car, which had been doing a great job up to this point.
I had to meet the tour at 9:15 a.m. so we left our place around 7:45, leaving plenty of time to register for the conference and meet the group. We had entered the city limits and that's when the GPS decided to stop working. The screen went blank and nothing we did seemed to fix it. We had take a dry run the day before so we thought we knew the general location, but when you are in the thick of their 'rush' hour and driving on unfamiliar roads, not to mention the one way streets and poor Richard, who is driving on the right side of the car...well, it went south fast.
We were in the city by 8ish, leaving plenty of time to catch the group and bus, but that time soon got eaten up with wrong turns, frustration, stopping to ask folks, and eventually by 9:40 we arrived...I was excited to see a group of teachers waiting for the bus but also embarrassed that the American was holding up the bus. I was wrong, this was a group going on a school tour, just not my tour, that ship had sailed minutes before we got there.
I went inside and sheepishly told them what had happened and they were so gracious and did what they could to insure my state of mind...which wasn't good. I told them that Richard could drive me to the school but we needed a map with directions since our GPS petered out. They printed out Google Map directions and let us know that Hertz was just down the street to exchange our busted unit. We decided to go to the school first, and while I was there, Richard would head back to Hertz. Well, that didn't work out. The Google Map wasn't any better than navigating around the city ourselves. We ended up at Hertz, traded in the broke for new and we made it to the first school at 11:50, and the first visit was from 10-12. I walked in the room, the leader of the groups, Greg, jumped up, greeted me with a hug and a spot of tea. I had just enough time to see the building, and get their re-cap on their philosophy.
St. John's Grammar School is a private, co-educational Anglican school for preschool to year 12. The campus is beautiful and they have a modern new Design & Technology and Information Technology Center, that I didn't get to see. Most of the private schools have a one:one iPad initiative but the caveat is, parents are required to buy the devices along with a laptop. iPads are used for just about everything from writing, and reading to using apps to solve problems. The Campus is currently using Office 365 but the program is still too new to make any fast judgments on whether it's better than what they were using. Tuition at this school ranges from Elementary - $7,000 yearly, Middle School - $11,000 and HS - $13,000 per year.
When I was roaming the grounds of the Cleland Wildlife Reserve, I struck up a conversation with some moms out there with their children. Both moms had their kids enrolled in private school. I asked why and they said the public schools just weren't up to par compared to what they used to be. There is a fierce debate over private and public schooling. According to these moms, public schools have become a places of academic failure. They said the tuition was worth it. By the way, tuition to private schools is far less than their college tuition (which will set you back about Three-thousand per year) - and the state government is trying to get that changed to be comparable to the U.S. State College tuitions - which isn't going over too well.
Parents are required to purchase everything from school uniforms to iPads and laptops along with textbooks. I'm not sure what that leaves for the tuition!
From the beautiful campus of St. Johns, we moved along to the Australian Science and Mathematics School (ASMS) where they embrace the diversity of learning, encourage self directed learning and place great importance on collaborative learning.
The Australian Science & Mathematics School is a public school for senior secondary students, (Jr. and Sr. year) When you walk in, one of the first things you notice about the school is the open space. Gone are the walls and there are really no hallway. Instead there are learning pods.
Their focus is on science and mathematics but managed to hit the other requirements, (History, Language Arts) through their innovative interdisciplinary curriculum. The concept is all cross curricular with the students’ learning through the new sciences - nanotechnology, biotechnology, communication systems and sustainable futures. There is NO TEST to get into this school but relies on an application process much like our local Thomas Jefferson in Fairfax, Virginia. It's not really a magnet school however each application is assessed against the following selection criteria.
They are an Inquiry Based Learning school where the teacher is the facilitator and the students direct their own learning. If they run into problems, the teacher is there to assist or better still, other students have jumped ahead and created their own Youtube 'Kahn Academy' type video for their fellow students.
They are a Google Education School which helps with the collaborative piece but oddly, no chrome books or mobile devices were in sight. In fact, one of their teachers leading our lecture said, "iPads are detrimental to our school". YIKES! Really? Why? Apparently they don't play a role in their philosophy. Their students want meat and potatoes, as in real computers, not silly little iPads. One teacher suggested that perhaps they didn't quite know how to use it to its full potential? The principal then interjected that if a student wanted to use one, they wouldn't disallow it. In fact, students could use any device they wanted to, but we got the impression that laptops were the preferred choice.
If a student did bring their own device to school, they logged on to their network, not a guest network, in fact, they don't have a guest network. At this school, teachers create "School Facebook" accounts for their students and parents. This allows students to engage with teachers in a social atmosphere while it teaches the students proper Netiquette. In addition, Twitter is also open. They shared a lesson where students participated in a mock UN Earth Summit. Each class was divided into teams and each team had to have their own UN members. Teams were assigned a Twitter account and each team had to field comments and questions based on the commentary from the panel discussion.
What a brilliant way to show students the power of social media!
A school like this works and it's what we'd all like to have a little piece of. However the dividing factor between the U.S and our friends Down Under is testing. We are so focused on data and this school is focused on student innovation and creativity. It's not Utopia, (though they only enroll 300+ students) but it would be nice to see this school as the norm and not the exception.
The day started off on a downer, but ended up with new friends and a visit to two different yet successful schools.
Next time, I'll talk more about the Aussie teachers and my conference sessions.
Cleland Wildlife Park
Cleland Wildlife Park is one of the most friendly, trusting, caring, clean, awesome park/zoo I have ever experienced. They are widely known for their koalas, but Cleland is also home to over 130 species of native South Australian animals, many that are endangered, like the Tasmanian Devil.
What separates Cleland from other animals parks is the rare opportunity for the visitors to get up close and personal with the animals. By up close, I mean, you and the animals are one with each other. There are some animals behind fences, like the Dingo, Tasmanian Devil, Wombat and a few other smaller and endangered species, but the animals that we've come to know and love about Australia, like the Kangaroo, are all around the park just waiting for a scratch on the belly or a handful of food (that they sell upon arrival).
Kangaroos and Wallabies welcomed a friendly touch and snack from all visitors and didn't seemed phased by the many kids running around. Oh, did I mention that this is their Spring Break? The park was crawling with families and this is a good opportunity to say that I was pleasantly surprised at the display of restraint and manners from kids of all ages. They weren't chasing or terrorizing the animals or screaming or even taunting them. These kids were respecting the animals! Having volunteered at the National Zoo for years, I can honestly say, that the word respect doesn't come to mind when dealing with children at our National Zoo, or many of the American zoo's and parks.
The park puts a lot of trust in the visitors and from what I saw, I can see why.
Along with kangaroos, visitors are also afforded the chance to get close with a koala.
Getting a chance to see a koala was in itself a great opportunity, but to pet one??? That was the icing on the cake! If you've never touched a koala you are in for a surprise. Their fur is so dense and thick, much like you'd expect on the back of a sheep. Their eyes are itty bitty and that nose!!! Put them all together and you've got an animal that is quite unique. Koalas are all over, in fact in some places of the U.S. we have signs that warn us of deer crossing, or even duck crossing. Along the highways here, they are warned about koala crossing. Roger, our host of the B&B we are staying, said he hoped our first siting of a koala wasn't going to be on the road...as in .....road kill.
In addition to the four legged critters, there are also a variety of birds. Most are free to come and go while others are located in an aviary which gives you a chance to finally see some of the birds that I've been wanting to see appear at our feeders here at the Amble B&B. I wouldn't expect a duck to waddle up, but you never know, ducks seem to be everywhere around here!
Getting to the park was a bit hair raising for me. I'm still trying to get used to the car being driven on the left side of the road. Richard, my husband, has been great about taking the wheel and doing a pretty good job, (yes, there have been some 'oops' moments, but he's getting this whole thing down). As for me? Well, driving to the park is up a 'Hill' aka, smallish mountain. The roads are quite narrow and windy. I, of course am sitting on the left side with the mountain side thinking that we are going to scrape the sides. It looks like we are driving so close to the left side, but in reality, we aren't as close as I think we are. It really unnerves me. Coming down it appears we will plummet to our death right over the edge, because again, it's that whole left side hugging the edge thing. I don't like it, not one little bit. I digress, the park is in the mountains with a natural setting and each animal has a habitat that resembles their own. It's not free, but then, many things in life are not free and they do have to feed these guys. The fee is $22 per adult but well worth it, where else will you be able to see the likes of an endangered Tasmanian Devil, Dingo ,Echidna, nursing Kangaroos or Wombat?
It was a memorable day!
Hello from Adelaide! I'm here to present at the 26th Australian Computers in Education Conference (ACEC). I've never been here but have always dreamed of a day that I'd get to be one with the kangaroos, and as you can see by the picture, I can check this off my bucket list!
The trip from Washington DC is not a walk in the park. Without boring you about details, here are the highlights:
DC to LAX, about six hours. Pretty uneventful, left around 6:30 pm so much of the trip we were just ahead of the sunset though by the time we were over LA, it was dark. I have never been to Southern California and here about the traffic and I have to say, I was still surprised when I saw from the air, every highway in my view had cars bumper to bumper and this was at 11pm ! I wish I had more time to go through the airport, but no sooner had we landed we were off to catch the Qantas flight to Aussie. From what little I did see of the LAX, it was like going to an upscale shopping center! I've never seen so many wonderful stores in one place! Loved it, so I guess it was a good thing that we didn't have time to stay and shop.
The Qantas plane was huge, an Airbus 380. It was a double decker bus with wings. That being said, my space was small and cramped. I had a window seat and felt squished! My husband in the center and a super fellow, George, was on the aisle. George made the trip interesting because he was from Melbourne and was a delight to talk to. He is an artist by trade and travels around the world restoring paintings. We spent a lot of time talking and soon the lights were out and we were supposed to sleep, but I couldn't. I had just come down with a cold so my nose was stuffy and I was feeling pretty lousy. Eventually (17 hours later), we got to Melbourne where we barely caught the connecting flight to Adelaide. It had been thirty hours since we left Manassas and we were ready to toss in the towel and head to our room. Between all the time changes (even from Melbourne to Adelaide) we had no clue what time it was, we just knew we were hungry, tired and excited to finally be on Aussie soil.
We left D.C. on Thursday at 6:30 pm and arrived in our room, Amble at Hahndorf, on Saturday around noon. I was in bed by 7:30 pm that night and slept until 6 am on Sunday morning, which is today. Our host, and owner of Amble, Roger, spent the day giving us a personalized tour of the hills of Adelaide. We visited many beautiful wineries, beaches, and just drove the country side. One of the wineries included a sanctuary for kangaroos. It was there that I got to feed some of their long tailed - hopping residents.
Things I've learned about Australia since my arrival.
Stay tuned for more pictures and fun.
Smudges, Smears and Skeeve, Oh My!
When I started using the iPads, I quickly discovered how dirty they could get between class uses. The smudges from the student’s grimy hands, the unknown chunks, (okay, I think we DO know what these chunks are) and the usual wear of the day left the iPads…well…skeevy. The surface of the iPads were a cesspool of germs just waiting to incubate inside a warm body. I wanted to clean them, and I mean really clean them! I didn't want to just use a cloth to wipe the surface, after all, I felt like that just spread the germs over the entire surface! So what exactly is the surface comprised of?
The iPad surface, (as well as most mobile devices), has a thin glass screen that is coated with a polymer that cuts down on grimy residue. This coating is a plastic that prevents our skin oil from sticking to the iPad. The finished surface is referred to as "oleophobic”, which literally means, “afraid of oil” or “lacking affinity for oils”. There are do’s and don’ts to keeping this surface clean and keeping the coating from disintegrating, which it will if you aren't careful. About this oleophobic coating on our iPads; our brand new, out of the box iPads were covered with prints, smudges and chunks right out of the starting gate so apparently, they aren't as fingerprint proof as they'd like to think. I would like them to see our iPads after one class usage. I digress…..
To clean iPad, unplug all cables and turn off iPad (press and hold the Sleep/Wake button, and then slide the onscreen slider). If your iPads aren't that bad, you could get away with using a soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth to clean the surface. Please avoid getting any moisture in openings, in other words, don't use a sponge! You also NEVER use window cleaners, household cleaners, aerosol sprays, solvents, alcohol, ammonia, or abrasives to clean your iPad or iPhone or any mobile device! I know you will be tempted if your iPads look anything like mine, but trust me, do this and your screen will soon lose the coating and leave your touchscreen without any protective coating and that will lead to an eventual loss of sensitivity on your screen. Also keep in mind that rubbing the screen with an abrasive material will not only scratch your screen, but will accelerate the wearing away that special coating. What is considered abrasive? Paper towels! Yes, you heard me right, paper towels are made from wood fibers, and no matter how soft you think they are, they will put micro-scratches your screen. Eventually the coating will diminish over time with normal usage, (I’ve heard around 4-5 years) which means that your iPad will be harder to clean and will become less responsive to your touch – time to replace the device!
When I really want to clean my screen and not just rub away the smears, I use The Original Beeswax. This product cleans the iPads by removing the dirt and grime, leaves no waxy build up and does not strip away the oleophobic coating. DO NOT USE MICRO CLOTH with Original Beeswax. I use a soft cloth like an old washcloth and keep a few in the classroom. I not only use this with my own devices, but I also use it to clean the computer monitors. It’s a bit pricey, but worth every penny! I’ve not found it in any stores so for that reason, I purchase mine at Annie’s Good Old Days Store where she sells it for $9.95 a can which beats $16.90 on the Beeswax Polish.com.
Remember, to keep your devices clean, don't use abrasive material or any cleaning fluids on your surface. If you do want a nice clean, polished surface, Beexwax (not Pledge) will do a nice job.
I will be posting new app discoveries, reviews and anything else that will help you and your students enjoy using mobile devices.