Tips 2012 Professional Learning #19: Gopro cameras and mobile learning

The simulation surfboard with wheels

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.

Tips2013: Teachers’ Voices #4:Miss D & the Superstars

Add your own images to create personalised puppets

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.”

Tamara Doig




Create your own animated puppet show

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

Tips 2012 iPad App Guide #62: Solar System

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!

For: Teachers, Students (Primary – Secondary)

Cost: $14.99 AUD (Download)

Requires WiFi?: Not for general use

Tips 2012 iPad App Guide #61: Solar Walk

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.

Highly recommended by educators worldwide.

For: Teachers, Students (Primary and Secondary)

Cost: $2.99 AUD (Download)

Requires WiFi?: Not for general use

Educational Applications

  • Any studies relating to Astronomy / Science / Space

Further Reading

Tips 2012 iPad App Guide #59: World FactBook for iPad

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)

Cost: $1.99 (Download)

Requires WiFi?: No.

Tips 2012 Professional Learning #9: Apple TV+ iPad = IWB

Project and share the learning on a big screen

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.

Tips 2012 Professional Learning #14: What is a good App?

What is an application (App)

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.

There are thousands of Apps

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.

TPACK Mishra and Koehler (2009)


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.

Tips2012 iPad App Guide #44: SOSH

Sōsh is an iPhone app (works on iTouch & iPad) designed to help teenagers and young adults with special needs, particularly Asperger’s Syndrome, develop their social skills.

It focuses on five essential abilities for social skills development: Relate, Relax, Reason, Regulate, and Recognize. These “5R’s” serve as a road map for individuals who want to be social, but may have faced obstacles in the past; and also serve as a guide for parents, teachers, and therapists hoping to encourage and assist individuals with their social goals.

You start by answering a questionnaire to determine which tools within the app are going to be most useful. You can download the free Lite Version to explore the app with a free 7 day trial, and the full version costs around $40.

For more information, please visit

For: Students with Special Needs

Requires WiFi?: No

Cost: Free 7 Day Trial (Download)version, Full Version: $41.99 AUD (Download)

Tips2012: i-Kids make a difference:#1:Jude`s i-Story


Jude the “Living Statue”:  A boy who makes a difference…. 


This inspiring i-Story started with some emails in response to the TIPS2012 blog. Jude and his mum Tania asked questions about using iPads in schools in India and how to cope in settings with no WiFi network.

I directed them to the resources on the blog, and a while later received this email…

Dear Jenny, …

Thank you all so much for supporting Jude “The Living Statue” in raising money for an iPad for an Indian school. He raised a total £220 – which is quite amazing and inspiring, especially as it was all his own idea to do this.

The iPad caused huge amount of excitement and the children kept looking at their fingers  when they were drawing/writing on the iPad, as they couldn’t understand why there wasn’t ink on them!  

Here are some photos of Jude showing the kids at the school how an iPad works.

Jude showing the children in India how to use the iPad

We spent hours at a rather nice hotel in the local town, using their free wifi to download some educational apps.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, and Australian Dr Jenny Lane of iPad project in schools, we found some fantastic apps that can be used without wifi.  Especially good were the animations and puppet shows with self recorded narration, which are great for story telling, imagination and those not confident in speaking English – plus they are lots of fun.

Thank you all again for your support…

Tania & Jude

Tania, Jude`s mother comments “I am amazed he had so much courage to stand on Ledbury Road, which is quite a busy street in Notting Hill.  I am very proud of him and very happy for you to include on your blog – which was so helpful for us.”

Living Statutes

“Living Statues” are people who dress up like a statue and stand motionless on the street, usually on a pedestal.  They are usually painted from head to toe – white, bronze or gold, etc. and will only move, or shake your hand etc when you give them some money.
Jude (Millais) is the great-great-great grandson of the painter John Everett Millais (


Tips 2012 iPad App Guide #42: QuickGraph

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

Requires WiFi?: No 

Educational Applications

  • Secondary mathematics – algebra, graphing, calculus

Further Reading

Tips2012 iPad App Guide #40: Book Creator

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.

For: Students (Primary to Secondary), Teachers

Cost:  $5.49 AU (Download Link)

Requires WiFi?: No

Educational Applications

  • Student content creation – storybooks, cookbooks, instruction manuals, etc
  • Literacy – Writing
  • Cross-curricular projects / presentations

Further Reading

Tips2012:iPad App Guide #34: Doodlecast for Kids

DoodleCast for Kids is an iPhone/iPad drawing app specifically designed for preschool children aged 3-6. The app provides visual (pictures and word bubbles), and audio prompts to support their drawings, and also allows them to create drawings from scratch.

Children can use the different coloured markers to draw, and their voice is automatically recorded once they touch the screen. Their narrated drawings are recorded as videos (up to 3 minutes long) within the app, and these can be easily exported to the iPad camera roll by tapping “Save”.

For: Preschool, and Early Childhood

Cost: $1.99 AUD (Download Link)

Requires WiFi?: No.

Educational Applications

  • Drawing / art
  • Storytelling
  • Encourage imagination and creativity

 Further Reading

Please contribute to our iPad research by completing a short survey, and entering our draw to win an ITunes voucher!

Tips2012 iPad App Guide #32: Skitch

Skitch makes it easy to draw, capture and annotate screenshots on the iPad – taken from your iPad camera, web pages, photo roll, or Google Map. Skitch makes it easy to explain something, give instructions, or communicate ideas using images. (See Skitch for iPad)

Skitch is integrated with Evernote, and saved images can also be shared via AirPlay, email, twitter, or saved directly to the iPad photo roll. There is a Mac desktop apllication too.

For: Teachers, Students (Middle Primary – Secondary)

Cost: Free (Download Link)

Requires WiFi: No.

Educational Applications

  • Annotate instructions, maps, screenshots for blog posts, classroom displays
  • Document and explain learning experiences e.g. Science experiments.

Further Reading

Tips2012:iPad App Guide #29: HD

The HD app brings a trusted (ad-free) dictionary and thesaurus, containing nearly 2 million words, definitions, synonyms, and antonymns, to the iPad. This invaluable reference resource is available offline, with some additional features, such as voice-to-text search and audio pronunciation, available with a Wi-Fi connection.

This paid version of the app is ad-free, and is highly recommended for educational use. There are separate versions for iTouch and iPhone.

For: Administrators. Teachers, Students, Students with Special Needs

Cost: $4.99 (Download Link).

Requires WiFi: Only for additional features.

  • Support students in literacy activities, particularly for finding the spelling and meaning of words
  • Learn the pronunciation of words – valuable for special needs students

Tips2012:iPad App Guide #28 – History: Maps of the World

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

Cost: Free (Download Link)

Requires WiFi?: No

Further Reading