When selecting apps my rule is “less is more”…In my experience it is better to have a few carefully selected apps that you can use in multiple ways than an app for every topic.
For many teachers at the start of a semester or the beginning of a new school year you will be deciding which apps you will be using in your teaching. Selecting the right apps can be a challenge when there are so many applications on the app store. Always keep your educational objective clearly in focus, it is easy to be seduced by bright colours and cute animations. Think carefully about what the student will do… will this app allow the students to create, engage in higher order thinking and connect in new ways? There is some value in apps that allow students to consolidate their skills in an engaging manner. Apps that support the teaching and can be used across the curriculum are good value per use as opposed to apps that will be used once or twice in a specific area.
A colleague Jan Clarke from AISWA has shared an extensive list of apps that she has complied. Classroom apps Thanks for sharing all your hard work Jan. I look forward to hearing from you about the apps you find most useful in your teaching.
I have been exploring different ways of making learning more mobiIe. We want to take learning to exciting authentic places in the real world. The gopro video cameras capture high resultion video footage of high speed activities. I recently presented at the fabulous Createworld Conference in Brisbane. At this conference the focus is on sharing how you are using technology to stimulate creativity. A interesting use of mobile technologies was an inspirational performance by Beau entitled “Sliver surfer”. Beau set up a simulation with a silver tarp and a surfboard on wheels. The surfboard was fitted with a “Gopro” and a small projector connected to an iPhone. On the iPhone were video Images of waves which were projected on to a silver tarp. The tarp was used to form the tube of a wave. The “surfer” then surfed through the tube on the surf board with wheels.
The Gopro captured the experience of the surfing simulation. The video could be uploaded to an iPad for on the spot editing in iMovie and shared on Vimeo. This raises the possibility of capturing high quality video of simulation and authentic experiences an exciting combination of science, technology and visual arts.
One of the ways to create interactive online experiences is to use a learning management system (LMS). This is much easier than you think and is a great way to use mobile learning devices in daily classroom practice. These systems now incorporate social networking so students can create and share their learning as part of professional learning networks. There are a range of these, today I am discussing two free LMS systems designed for classroom use. Edmodo and Schoology. I am seeing excellent use of these systems in classrooms. Teachers can post tasks and assessments online in the password protected space they have created for their students. They can give parents access to sections of the site so parents can view the work. Students can access this work anywhere, anytime on a web enabled device. There are apps for Android and IOS devices like iphones and iPads. Students can post their responses to their teacher and work collaboratively with their peers. The facility to set up groups is very useful. The student work is all safely stored online, no need for complex server configurations.
The yr 1 students at Rossmoyne Primary are very busy working on their learning challenge “Taste my world.” This class has students from thirteen different cultural backgrounds and they are exploring tastes and flavours from around the world. I am looking forward to working with them and their teachers next week. Watch this space for exciting updates.
I am enjoying my visit to a new school in Perth.This school has embraced the use of technology to transform teaching and learning from day one. The design of the school encourages collaborative learning with glass walled classrooms and communal learning spaces. The timetable has been designed to allow space and time for students to engage in deep learning. Students have longer blocks of time to work on cross curricular projects exploring “Big Ideas” using an inquiry based approach.
Mobile touch tablets are used as the base technology. This was introduced to the community through information sessions with parents and students. This school has recommended that schools work with parents to set up individual iTunes accounts managed by the parents. Students agree to a digital use policy.
Posters and e-pubs were used to distribute information on policy and use within the school. The school created resources to guide parents, and these resources contain everything parents need to know about using the device at school and at home.
The school gave instructions on how students need to set up the device to promote learning. Specific instructions were given to students on how to set their up the pages on each screen and a number of essential apps were recommended. These were arranged in folders according to learning areas and function.
Digital learning spaces have been created using Edmodo, a free online learning space which presents in format like Facebook, but is specifically designed for teaching and learning. This is safe and is password protected. The teacher has control over what is posted. All students in the class can share resources and post their work.
Students use the devices to create visual collections to display their learning in a visual way. Skype and FaceTime are used to link the class to community experts and to students in other classes. This way of learning uses technology to transform traditional learning experiences, extending the learning beyond the four walls of the classroom.
Add your own images to create personalised puppets
Miss D and her class the Superstars have been taking a journey back in time this term to celebrate the 75th anniversary of their school.
“The students worked in small groups using the Puppet Pals app on the iPads kindly lent to us by Dr Jenny Lane from Edith Cowan University. Our class has been lucky enough to take part in the TPACK Project, which is researching the integration of iPads into classrooms to help teachers successfully integrate this technology in the future.
Our class has loved using the iPads, movies made with the Puppet Pals app show how our class has been reflecting on their learning in History this term and having lots of fun at the same time.”
Create your own animated puppet show
Puppet Pals can be used for digital storytelling. Students develop a storyboard, create scripts with dialogue, design their puppets and select backdrops for the story.
This is a great tool for learning a second language because students have to narrate their story. The stories shared recorded and shared
For the Explore ECU Program today we welcomed the year 10 & 11 Clontarf Girls to spend a day experiencing University life with us on campus. We are going to be using technology in a fun way in to support learning.
Clontarf was one of the schools in Perth that the Queen visited when she was in Australia see the pictures on their website. Clontarf is a unique sporting academy with a specialist curriculum to develop the leadership skills of Aboriginal girls.
We had lots of fun – watch this space …
Clontarf girls become movie producers at ECU
I was very fortunate to work with this delightful group of enthusiastic fun loving students. For many of the group it was the first time they experienced using an iPad. There was much laughter and excitement as they became movie directors for the day. We discussed creative ways of using mobile learning tools like phones and tablet computers for learning.
We are celebrating NAIDOC Week at our university. NAIDOC Week celebrations are held in Australia in July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by all Australians. At Edith Cowan University we participated in a range of activities and to support our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. This committee was once responsible for organising national activities during NAIDOC Week and its acronym has since become the name of the week itself.
Published by the same company as The Elements, The Solar System for iPad is a stunning eBook exploration of space, astronomy, and exploration.
Complete with interactive scenes, 3D objects, videos, animations, scientific data, and stunning NASA imagery, the Solar System app takes readers on a grand tour of the solar system and our cosmic backyard.
While it justly deserves its stellar reputation as an amazing iPad app, be warned – it is a near 850MB download!
Solar Walk is a stunning 3D Solar System model for iPhone / iPad (and now Mac), from the makers of Star Walk. It enables users to explore (fly though) a scale model of the solar system, exploring the planets, moons, satellites, etc.
The app also includes in-depth information and short educational videos about each planet, and can be viewed with 3D glasses – on the iPad or 3DTV. For more details, we highly recommend reading the official User Guide, available here.
The Google Earth app lets you hold the world in the palm of your hand – on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. It enables you to explore global satellite imagery, tours, and photo overlays on your iOS device.
There is a large education community built around the Google Earth application, and it has many classroom applications. It is so much more than a mapping application – as revealed in the links at the bottom of this post.
The World Factbook is a highly recommended iPod / iPhone / iPad app for social studies and geography teachers (primary and secondary).
It includes extensive information on 250+ countries around the world, including maps, flags, geography, demography, government, and so much more. This app is a fantastic resource for student research, and is available entirely offline – NO WiFi required!
For: Teachers, Students (Upper Primary – Secondary)
The eScience Magazine is a new, free quarterly iPad magazine published by the Adelaide University. Written by researchers, it is a fantastic resource for secondary science teachers – exploring the “10 Big Questions in Science”.
The magazine includes feature articles from researchers, touch-interactive content, teaching resources, and links to useful science resources and information.
It is also available as an online magazine – read the April 2012 issue here.
Wunderlist HD s a free ‘To-Do List” which synchronises your tasks / lists across all your devices – iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and your web browser. It is a great personal organisation tool. Requires a free user account.
For more information about how it works, please visit the official site.
For: Teachers, Students (Upper Primary – Secondary), Administrators
Conferis an assessment and reporting app which enables teachers to organise and track notes and observations of individuals, and small groups of students. It is available for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
At its heart, Confer is a classroom note-taking app – with powerful features to sort and search notes by ‘tag’, ‘strength’, ‘teaching point’, or ‘next step’.
Assessment indicators, and class lists (etc) can be imported into the app (a significant time-saving), and records of student observations can be exported via email / spreadsheet / Word documents. There are plans to include a “photo import” option in future releases, which will benefit early childhood teachers.
Despite its expense and somewhat complicated initial set-up, Confer has enormous potential to become a valuable, time-saving app for K-12 teachers. We would; however, recommend trialing the free Lite Version and exploring the comprehensive user’s guide prior to purchase.