Tips 2012 Professional Learning #20:Which app is right for you?

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.

Tips 2012 Professional Learning #16:Creating and sharing learning online

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.


This video link guides you through how to set up a site in Schoology. Schoology has advanced features to set up test and assessments with self marking features.


The Edmodo help site with very useful tips on everything you need to get this up and running in your classroom.

This post gives more details on how to use Edmodo in education

This post on edmodo gives lots of links to schools and blog sites with practical examples of edmodo in action
This video shows how a 5th grade student uses Edmodo

Please post a comment and share how you are using these tools in your teaching and learning

Edmodo touch app also available for android devices

Tips 2012 iPad App Guide: #60: Google Earth

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.

For: Teachers, Students (Grades 4-12)

Cost: Free (Download)

Requires WiFi?: Yes, this is a very WiFi intensive app.

Educational Applications

  • Support student inquiry in geography, social studies, history
  • Enhance student presentations – creating audio-visual Google Earth tours for projects
  • Virtually visit sites of historic / geographic significance
  • Add photos / videos / voicethreads about your local community to share with other Google Earth users worldwide
  • Use in conjunction with Google Sketchup to design and build your own virtual city (as a Google Earth overlay)
  • Take your students on a virtual “Lit Trip”, exploring places mentioned in a story
  • Solve maths problems using the Google Earth measuring tools

Further Reading & Exploration

Tips2012: Teachers’ Voices #3: Phil`s i-Story

Using iPads to teach English as a second language

Phil Rice is a teacher of adult ESL learners in the state of Delaware, USA. He has taught English Composition and multiple levels of ESL classes. He enjoys using technology to teach and help students to teach themselves. Phil is an avid user of iPads in his ESL classes, and he has shared some of the activities he uses in his teaching
Show me

Show Me

 Phil sent in this i-Story in response to a posting we did on using the Show Me screen casting app to read that post Tips2012 App Guide: Show Me. The Show Me app was also used for ESL teaching  in Schools in India as mentioned in Jude`s i-Story.
With ShowMe, teachers can…

1) Create an online lesson for an in-class topic. Record the main ideas of your lesson and give students a link or post your creation to an online social media site.

2) Have students create a narrated visual presentation on a topic using your/their iPad and show it in class as opposed to a “stand in front of the class” type presentation.

3) Create a Vocab Map using Skitch / DoodleBuddy and ShowMe together. Pick a picture that is related to a topic you are teaching and annotate it with Skitch showing the vocabulary for the picture. Then, upload the photo and use it on ShowMe to narrate and pronounce the vocab.

4) Download the presentation and upload it to YouTube so students have instant access to your ShowMes!

These are just a few uses for ShowMe. I use it all the time, and I’m sure that you will too once you get used to it.

Thanks Phil for sharing your i-Story.

You can visit Phil`s blog, ESL Commando, to find more ideas for using ICT in ESL classes.

Tips2012: iPad App Guide #39: iTunes U

The iTunes U app gives teachers and students access to 500 000+ educational resources, including videos, course materials, and podcasts. Originally created to share content from top universities and colleges, such as Harvard, Cambridge, and Stanford, iTunes U was recently opened up to K-12 schools and educators.

This app allows teachers to integrate iTunes U learning materials into their subject areas, and even create their own learning area courses – including podcasts, quizzes, lessons, etc, and share them with the world.

We highly recommend teachers explore the possibilities of this free app, and discover what teaching materials are available for their learning areas, and year levels. There is currently a great deal of material suitable for secondary classes, and a growing body of materials for primary year levels.

For: Teachers, Students (K-12)

Cost: Free (Download Link)

Requires WiFi?: Yes.

Educational Applications

  • Find video tutorials, podcasts, and learning materials for all learning areas, particularly in secondary subjects (maths, science, foreign languages)
  • Access professional development resources for teachers

Please share your ideas for integrating  iTunes U content into your classroom in the comments below!

Further Reading

Tips2012:iPad App Guide #37: Pinnion

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.

For: Teachers, Students (Primary to Secondary)

Cost: free for launch

Requires WiFi?: Yes

Management Tip
How to use Pinnion

Educational Applications

  • Develop quizzes and surveys
  • 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.

Recommended Reading

Please help us to build these resources for teachers by supporting the research. Click on the link to complete a short survey and enter the draw to win an I-tunes voucher.

Tips2012:iPad App Guide #33: ShowMe

Screen-casting is capturing what is on the screen of your iPad and adding a narration or music sound track. You can capture a drawing showing how the picture develops. This works well in teaching mathematics where the teacher can demonstrate the calculation as if they are working on an interactive whiteboard. The whole process gets recorded and can then be shared and replayed.

Show Me is a simple screen-casting app suitable for early childhood through to early secondary students. It provides a whiteboard, pens, eraser, and support for importing images.This app is extremely user-friendly; simply “Tap to record, and start talking”.

Completed screencasts are uploaded to the ShowMe website, where they can be shared (for free) with a unique weblink, and embedded into class blogs or webpages. The ShowMe website features a community collection of screencasts for all learning areas, which teachers can use in their classes for free.

More advanced screen-casting apps include Educreations, Screen Chomp, and Explain Everything.

For: Students (Early Childhood, Primary, Secondary)

Cost: Free (Download Link)

Requires WiFi?: Yes, to upload finished products. It is not possible to save completed work to the iPad.

Management Tip

To use this app in class, teachers recommend creating a shared class / teacher ShowMe account, and establishing a standard naming convention (using students’ names) to identify student work. (Tip via EdTechTeacher Tip & @nate_kremer)

Educational Applications

  • Create a repository of video lessons for your class / school wiki / website
  • Explain mathematical thinking, written work
  • Present an argument, or explanation of a topic (literacy)
  • Enable students to demonstrate their learning, comprehension skills, and understanding of topics across a wide range of learning areas.
  • Click here for more ideas

Further Reading

Have you taken part in our survey? Click here and enter the draw to win a $ 50 iTunes voucher!

Your Tips: What is your best maths app?

Your views are important to this research. Help us in the Tips research project to support teachers as they use iPads in education.

This week, our focus is on maths.

How do you use iPads to support teaching and learning in maths classes? Please leave us a comment sharing details of the maths apps you use, and a short descriptor of how you use them in your classroom.

Give us some guidelines about which grade levels will find the app or activity most useful.

Dr. Jenny Lane

Tips2012 iPad App Guide #17: Numbers

Numbers for iPad is the Apple mobile version of Excel spreadsheet, enabling users to create and edit spreadsheets and data-entry forms (similar to Google Forms) on the iPad. This app will be useful for teachers and students, particularly in business and economics; but is probably best used for editing existing spreadsheets.

Files can be exported (via email) to Numbers for Mac, Microsoft Excel, or PDF; but can only be removed from the iPad via iTunes or WebDAV. SendToDropbox is useful too (via @samgliksman).

For: Teachers, Secondary Students, Administrators

Cost: $10.49AUD (Download Link)

Requires WiFi?:

Educational Applications

  • Business, Economics class
  • Financial Records
  • Data Entry Forms (eg. Attendence, surveys)


Numbers for iPad (Alternative Tutorial)
Creating Forms in Numbers on the iPad – Video

Tips2012 iPad App Guide #16: Popplet

Popplet is a hugely popular mind-mapping tool which enables teachers and students to visually represent and organise information using text, hyperlinks, images, and sticky notes (popples). Available as a web application (beta, via subscription) and iPad app, Popplet is remarkably simple to use, and is suitable for all ages.

Popplet requires a free account (we’d suggest creating class / group accounts for students), and completed ‘popplets’ can be saved as JPG or PDF files, embedded into web pages, or shared via Twitter, Facebook, and Email. Printed popplets make great classroom displays.

If using as a web app, teachers may be interested in the Popplet Education Licensing scheme.

For: Teachers, Students (Early Childhood through to Secondary)

Cost:  Popplet Lite is free, but we highly recommend the full featured Popplet app, which is available for $5.49AUD (Download Link). The full app allows users to sync Popplets across devices and the web. 

Requires WiFi: No, but required to obtain images from online sources.

Educational Applications

  • Create curriculum plans, mind maps, shared bulletin boards, scrapbooks, photo galleries,
  • Remember, organise and comprehend new information
  • Map concepts and create timelines
  • Use to assist note-taking and planning for writing
  • Enable real-time student collaboration via shared ‘popples’ – on iPads / iPad and web.
  • Use Popplet as a presentation tool (Click here for details)
  • Click here for more creative ideas 

Recommended Reading