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.
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.
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.
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.
GoodReader is a good file management app. You can use it to save, organise, and read PDF files, MS Office & Apple iWork documents, Pages, Keynote, Numbers), images, webpages, audio, and video → all in one application on your iPad. You can then project these files on your IWB using the VGA connect kit (approx $30).
GoodReader can handle files in excess of 1GB, and allows users to easily transfer files via USB (here’s how), internal school WiFi networks, Internet, or email. It seamlessly integrates with Google Docs, Dropbox, Box.net, and WebDAV servers, and comes with built-in security options.
While setting up WiFi and school server connections can be a little technical, this app is highly recommended for iPad classrooms! It is a fantastic app for reducing paper-use in schools and classrooms – just make sure you read the User Manual first!
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).
Today high in the Japanese Alps, my partner had a skiing injury. The medical insurance wanted copies of airline tickets, passports, receipts and contracts sent through immediately. Fortunately I have a portable document scanner on my iPad. Making it my most useful app of the day!
This is a really useful tool in the classroom, office or when you are traveling. There are a number of scanning applications. Some use OCR optical character recognition, that turn the text or image into digital characters. You can edit these, adjust shades and contrasts to create the text or image that you need. These images can be saved as pdf’s or jpg’s and can be used creatively to create artworks.
My current favorites are Doc Scan HD and Perfect OCR. Doc Scan Hd claims to be able to scan curled or folded documents. You can scan diagrams on the white board,receipts and business cards and pictures from your photo collection. What I like is that you can edit and annotate the scanned images. This is very useful as a teaching tool.
You can save the image as a PDF and email it or place it in ibooks, drop box, evernote or google docs and send the link to share it with a colleague or your students. The free version of Doc Scan Hd allows you to scan a three page document for longer documents upgrade to the paid pro version for $4.49
Perfect OCR works well with high quality script recognition for text in different languages and typefaces.I would like to hear your comments on how you are using these scanning apps in your teaching.
Edmodo is a private social networking site where teachers, students, and parents can connect, engage and learn; taking learning beyond the classroom walls.
Edmodo has advanced privacy settings built in, making it a very safe, secure, (and free) platform for schools. Its’ visual similarity to Facebook makes it extremely user-friendly for teachers and students of all ages; and isn’t blocked in most school systems.
Flipboard creates interactive digital magazines on your iPad based on your selection of social media feeds – from news websites, Twitter, Google Reader, blogs, Flickr, Facebook, Instagram, and blogs. It brings reading to life, and it’s FREE!
Flipboard is useful for teachers interested in connecting, sharing, and learning with other teachers around the world (via their Personal Learning Networks); and has interesting applications in the (secondary) classrooms.
Link to classroom Twitter / Facebook accounts to share links, pictures, and photos with students and their parents. Check the permissions of your school and district before using social networks with the students.
Subscribe to newspapers around the world
Explore texts & online media written in foreign languages