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.
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 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.
iPads are essentially designed for individual use, yet in classrooms we often need to show and share the learning processes.
Traditionally we use interactive whiteboards where a computer is linked via a cable to a large touch screen attached to the classroom wall. This allows the computer technology with digital content to be projected and shared. This can create a didactic situation where the teacher has to be in a position close to the front of the classroom to operate the Interactive whiteboard, and not circulating in the classroom engaging with the students and monitoring their work.
Apple TV is a small device costing approximately $100 that allows the teacher and the students to connect their iPad, iPhone or iPod touch wirelessly to a TV screen or a data projector to show their screen and share their work with the class.
A truly stunning iPad app,Star Walk provides an augmented reality view of the night sky above. Point your iPad camera at the sky, and it will match (and identify) the constellations and star formations above. You can search for visible planets, track satellites overhead, and explore what the night sky would look like in the past and present.
This app provides an incredible, immersive stargazing experience – with no Internet connection required! You can even display the star maps on your HD TV via a VGA adapter.
For more information, please read the official User Guide.
For: Teachers, Students (Middle Primary – Secondary)
Cost: $5.49 for iPad version (Download Link). There is a separate version for iPhone.
Requires WiFi?: Not for general use.
Any science / astronomical study of the night sky.
Check the students’ understanding before, during and after a lesson.
Pinnion is an online polling and an audience response app. There are versions for iPads, iPhones and Andriod devices. You can create surveys and quizzes, and share a link via email or Twitter. There is even a WordPress plug-in for your blog.
Allow all students to respond to questions and see how others have responded
Quiz students on a topic then present an argument, or explanation then repoll them see if their understanding of the topic shifts or develops
Enable all students,even the shy ones, who do not usually respond to questions in class to demonstrate their learning, comprehension skills, and understanding of topics across a wide range of learning areas.
Explain Everything This is the screen casting app that I am using with the TIPS research project schools. It provides a way for students to create and produce their own resources and share their learning.
Many teachers use this app to deliver instructional content to students. You can capture your lesson with diagrams, demonstrations typed or drawn and annotated pictures. This is easily shared with students to view as many times as they need at home or at school.
Integration with Cloud Services = More Choice
* Note: Google Drive integration is coming in imminent release of EE v2.0 in late Jan 2013)
Suitable for primary to secondary classes, Explain Everything is integrated with Evernote, Dropbox, and Google Drive; making it very easy to import materials (e.g. pictures, slides, documents) from your computer or the internet (including your web browser!).
Explain Everything is the only screen-casting app which allows users to choose where they export and share their work. Screencast movies, and EE project files, can be emailed, or saved to the iPad Camera Roll, Evernote, and Dropbox. This allows users to collaboratively edit project files, and choose a service to host their video online (e.g. YouTube).
With advanced editing options, including the abilities to create multiple slides, feature live websites, and use visual aids (eg. arrows, laser pointer), Explain Everything remains the most versatilescreen-casting app in the Apple Store, and comes highly recommended by iPad educators around the world.
Video Export Management Solution
In response to common complaints about the length of time required to render EE project files to movie formats, Explain Everything recently released the Explain Everything Compressor for Mac OS X (10.7 / 10.8 only). This paid app ($14.99) enables users to render EE videos on their computer – saving a considerable amount of time. (Click here for an alternative non-Mac solution – via EdTechTeacher).
Educreations is an incredible FREE interactive whiteboard tool available as an iPad app and online web tool. Once you create a (free) account, it is easy to add images, draw pictures, and write on the whiteboard slides as you explain your ideas.
When you’re happy with your video, you can watch it on the iPad, or upload to the Educreations website. You can share your videos publicly or privately, via email, Facebook, Twitter, or the Educreations Tutorial Gallery (under development). Public screencasts can be embedded into blogs, websites, etc.
Educreations is a more advanced app than ShowMe, and it was specifically designed with educators in mind (see the video tutorial below). Like ShowMe, teachers recommend the use of teacher / class accounts to save and share student videos (tip via blog post by @nate_kremer)
Make the pages come alive by using augmented reality.
Augmented reality combines computer graphics and images of natural objects to make a 3D image or simulation. This is used in advertisements and texts indicated by a large A icon.
To use this app in class, the students can create their own video footage to link to an icon. This is good for learning journeys to showcase project work.
It can also be used outside in treasure hunts and discovery trails, where icons are posted around the school. When students scan the icons using the Aurasma App or the iPad the Auras they have created will spring into life giving the audio and video commentary.
History: Maps of the World is a free iPod & iPad app for Social Studies, History, and Geography teachers, compiling maps from different eras throughout history. Viewers can explore maps by theme, historical events, and geography.
The digitized maps are easy to navigate using touch gestures, and can be zoomed in to show fine detail. While the app is a large download, the maps are available for offline viewing.
For: Teachers, Upper Primary and Secondary Students
The Science 360 app brings a world of science news, information, images, and videos to the iPad. Featuring a unique 360 degree view, users can find content through touch gestures, or via keyword search using the keyboard.
The app makes it easy to save and share favourite images and videos, and offers an option to download full-resolution images for offline use. It is recommended for casual browsing, rather than for specific research.
This app is very data intensive, and requires a strong WiFi internet connection to be useful.
Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis is presented as the future of digital textbooks, and is a truly innovative, visually stunning text. Written by Al Gore, Our Choice is the sequel to An Inconvenient Truth, and is a rich multimedia exploration of the science of climate change and climate action.
Using a ground-breaking touch interface*, this app is highly recommended for secondary science students, and anyone interested in taking action on climate change.
*Please note: This app downloads multimedia & chapter content in the background when opened for the first time, and it is recommended you wait for the lengthy (1GB+) download to complete before trying to interact with it.