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.
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
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.
The use of apps in mobile devices is somewhat different to the use of software programs on a computer.
Applications commonly known as apps are small executable files which are downloaded onto your mobile device. There are apps written for Apple devices which you download from the iTunes App Store. There are apps written for other mobile devices which run on an Android operating system. There a a large number of free apps for educational purposes.
What is a good App?
This is a frequently asked question and rightly so, as purchasing apps in volume can be a costly exercise. The choice of an app is very specific and needs to be carefully linked to the pedagogy (PK) (teaching) and the content (CK). When pedagogy, content and the technology are considered we are working in the zone advocated in the TPACK model.
There are a few criteria that you need to consider:
1. Why do you need to use an app-when selecting apps for educational contexts you need to be very clear on the intended function and the learning outcomes.
2.Links to the curriculum- we need to be clear how the app supports the learning outcomes as stated in the curriculum or the students IEP.
3.Purpose and function- the app needs to have a function that will enhance learning is the app replicating an existing activity or is the app transforming the way students learn and express their learning
4. Deep learning/ skill re-inforcement- does the app promote deep learning or is it for re-inforcement. We want a balance between apps that allow practice and re-inforcement and apps that encourage creativity and higher order thinking.
5. Transfer- is the learning transferable to other settings
6. Workflow- how easy is it to export the contents of this app
7.Tracking progress-can you keep a record of a students’ progress while using the app
8. Wifi- do you need access to a wifi network to use this app- many classrooms do not have enough wifi bandwidth for all students to be working online at the same time
We value your comments please let us know how you select apps.
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.
The Brushes app is a beautiful professional painting app for the iPad. With realistic colours, hues, saturation, and colour-mixing, and advanced editing options, this app is ideal for art teachers and students.
Brushes even records your brush strokes while painting, saving your actions as a file which you can download off the web, and view in Brushes Viewer, a free application for Mac OS X.
The highly-awarded Drawing Pad app is a fun early-childhood art app for the iPad, where you can create drawings using realistic crayons, paint brushes, pencils, pens, and more. You can purchase colouring-in books via in-app purchase, and save drawings to the Photo Roll, or send via email, etc.
TeacherKit, formerly known as TeacherPal is a simple, free iPhone/iPad app for recording student attendance, behaviour, and grades across multiple grades.
Teachers can simply set up student profiles, including photos and relevant personal information (e.g. allergies, parent contact details), and import/export student assessment data (in Excel .csv format) via Dropbox.
With over 500 000+ downloads, and ranked in Apple’s Top 10 Educational Apps, TeacherPal is well worth experimenting with before purchasing paid alternatives.
Shakespeare in Bits brings Shakespeare to life on your iPhone, iTouch, and iPad through animated, narrated re-enactments of The Bard’s most popular plays.
Highly recommended by secondary English teachers, the app includes full study notes, plot summaries, character notes, and language explanations, helping students better understand and appreciate the plays.
The app itself is free; however, teachers will need to download the plays via in-app purchase at a cost of $15.99 AUD each. (There is a volume licensing option for the USA)
For: Secondary English teachers and students.
Cost: Plays available via in-app purchase (see above). Download Link
Requires WiFi?: Yes, but only for initial download of the plays
QuickGraph is simply the best graphing calculator app for the iPhone and iPad. Using a simple visual & touch interface, this app makes it easy to enter, edit, and visualise 2D and 3D algebraic equations and inequalities (optional) in all standard coordinate systems. Graphs can be copied, emailed, and saved to the iPad photo library.
Please click here for a complete technical description of QuickGraph’s capabilities. Some optional features, including the ability to project visualisations on your interactive whiteboard, are available via a $1.99 in-app purchase.
For: Secondary Teachers and Students
Cost: Free (Download Link), some advanced features available via in-app purchase
Livebinders is a web application which makes it easy for teachers to curate and organise their favourite online education resources (and uploaded PDF / Word documents) in virtual 3 ringed binders, which can then be shared on virtual ‘shelves’ – accessible for free – anywhere, anytime.
The Livebinders iPad app enables users to view and edit their livebinders on their iPads using their Safari web browser. And as an added benefit, the Livebinders website hosts a public library of shared binders covering a wide range of learning areas and topics. These collections are an ideal resource for busy teachers.
iPads open up exciting opportunities for teachers and students to self-publish and share their own books with authentic audiences. While iBooks Author (Mac) & Creative Book Builder (iPad) are good options, the most intuitive and professional app we’ve found to date remains Book Creator for iPad.
This app makes it easy for teachers, and students (Grade 1 and older) to create and publish their own storybooks, projects, textbooks, cookbooks, etc using their own photos, text, audio (included recorded speech), and video. The recent update to V 2.4 allows users to include hyperlinks, and combine books / chapters to create collaborative texts. (Requires iOS6).
Finished books can be saved to Dropbox, iBooks, and Evernote, or sent to your computer as an ePub or high quality PDF file. They can be imported back into the app for further collaborative editing, or submitted to the Apple iBooks Store, where they can be shared with the world.
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.
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).