Tips 2013 Professional Learning #24:Using iPads for Professional Growth

We are working on the TIPS-2 Project. In this project we are using iPads and iPhones and iPod Touches as tools for teacher reflection and to document teachers professional growth. This is a very exciting project and we have some amazing teachers and school principals as part of the research team. There was lots of discussion on how we reflect on the Australian Teacher Standards (@AITSL) and share our practice at our  recent team meeting. We were joined by Samoa a fellow ADE from Korea who shared her experiences in developing a “flipped classroom”.

TIPS-2 Research Team

TIPS-2 Research Team @ECU with Dr Jenny Lane

I am looking forward to working with this great team to explore these exciting possibilities. If you are using iPads, iPhones or iPod touches in professional learning for teachers please post a comment we would be interesting in sharing ideas with you.

Tips 2012 Professional Learning #23:iPads as a productive tool

Investigate, Communicate, Create: Using an iPad as a productive tool in the classroom. Presenter: Dr Jenny Lane

We have a great group of over 250 teachers attending our session tonight. I do apologise to all those teachers who were disappointed because they did not manage to secure a seat to this presentation. I will be repeating this session next term. Thanks to all the teachers for attending this session and a special thank you to those who volunteered to share the amazing productive work happening in their classes and in their schools.

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 #57: Prezi Viewer for iPad

Are you sick of boring PowerPoint presentations? Why not try Prezi, the zooming multi-modal presentation tool?

Prezi Viewer for iPad enables users to view and present your prezis anywhere, anytime … You can touch navigate, revise, and download your presentations for offline viewing.

Note: To use Prezi, teachers and students will need to create an account – the EDU Enjoy license is free, providing you sign up with an .edu email address (video).

For: Teachers, Students, Administrators

Cost: Free (Download)

Requires WiFi?: Yes, to download presentations for offline viewing.



Educational Applications

  • Enhance presentation delivery – in class, at staff meetings, for student presentations
  • Provide a fun, creative way to explore visual content & written material, and demonstrate learning
  • For more great ideas, check out the collaborative brainstorming documents below!

Further Reading

Tips 2012 iPad App Guide #52: Sound Recorder Pro

Sound Recorder Pro is an easy-to-use voice-recorder for the iPad, useful for recording just about anything – meetings, memos, voice emails, reminders, …

It enables users to easily categorise and colour-code recordings, and will soon enable users to download recordings via their computer web browser. (It currently only supports email export).

You might also want to test the free alternatives – QuickVoice Recorder, iTalk Recorder, and Smart Recorder Lite, which we will review at a later date .

For: Teachers, Students, Administrators, Students with Diverse Needs

Cost: $0.99 (Download Link)

Requires WiFi?: Not for recording, but required to export files.

Educational Applications

  • Oral history interviews
  • Create short audio explanations of learning concepts (good for students with diverse learning needs)
  • Create audio content for presentations
  • Record responses to student assignments (anecdotal assessment)
  • Voice memos, records of meetings
  • Creating podcasts (in conjunction with the iPrompt teleprompter app) via @nathan_stevens


Tips 2012 iPad App Guide #49: Australian Curriculum – Mobile Edition

The Australian Curriculum: Mobile Edition is an iPhone (iPad compatible) app which brings the new F-10 English, History, Science, and Mathematics Australian curriculum documents to your iOS device.

For the latest details on the rollout of the Australian Curriculum, please visit:

For: Australian Teachers

Cost: Free (Download Link)

Requires WiFi?: Not for general use, but requires WiFi to include the very latest content.

Tips2012 Professional Learning #6: Catholic Education

Sharing the learning from TIPS Research Project

I am looking forward to sharing the progress of the Tpack iPad Project in Schools with the management team at Catholic Education in Perth tomorrow.  I will be sharing some of the research findings regarding the needs of teachers for professional learning.

  • The role of ICT in the National Curriculum
  • The importance of the development of Professional Learning Networks.
  • The use of Social Networks as a professional learning tool.
  • The theoretical background framing the TIPS  research project
  • TPACK and the SAMR Model
  • How to plan using the Integrated Challenge Framework.
  • How to support teachers as they introduce iPad technologies in their classrooms.

Tips2012: Teachers’ Voices #2: Doug’s i-Story

A frequently asked question is “How do I transfer items created on my iPad to other devices?” This leads to the issue of workflows and document management on an iPad.

In this i-Story, Doug Lauder shares his thoughts on how to share content created on iPads. Doug works in education supporting teachers as they use technology.

He will be presenting on document sharing and workflows on iPads at the M-Learning in Education@ECU Twilight events on the 5th & 6th June at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia. These events are free for teachers and pre-service teachers. If you would like to join us use the booking link below:

Booking Form for the M-Learning in Education@ECU Twilight Events


iPad and sharing content in the classroom.

The most noteworthy aspect of the iPad is its’ simplicity. When providing Professional Development to teaching staff I normally ask that they forget everything they have learnt before about operating computers. I also ask that they leave behind any preconceptions of how the device works at the door. Don’t over complicate, just tap to get going.

But this is not easy, especially after many years of learning why file structure is important, how a “Home” folder works, and why “housekeeping” is not confined to just your house.

It is this file handling that is missing from the iPad, and it seems that it is Apple who are standing firm here, and for good reason. After all why do you need a music folder when you have iTunes? Pictures and video can be organised very well in the Camera Roll. Word processing now starts and finishes with Pages. But of course, there are times when we need to leave the Apple walled garden, for example; to collect, mark and return two dozen essays, animations or videos.

Email in the classroom
There are many apps which allow for content creation, notably iMovie and Garageband but also Sonic Pics, Comic Life and Photoshop Touch. How can I gather all of this media for assessment? Email is the quick solution, but this method is of no use if the iPad is a shared iPad with no email account assigned to the Mail app. As the recipient of 15-25 emails with attachments, the process is not practical either. Below I will illustrate a workflow which will work for a class set of iPads or a student personal iPad:

1. The Share Icon – to Camera Roll
This little icon is the key and there is one share destination which appears more than most and that is the Camera Roll. If we can export media to the local Camera Roll it is easy to get that to a conventional folder.

2. Dropbox
Dropbox currently have more than 50 million users, they are the cloud storage experts. App developers acknowledge this, and many are happy to allow direct export to the Dropbox app (if installed) from within their app (eg, Explain Everything). If the export to Dropbox isn’t an option from the Share icon simply choose Camera Roll (sometimes called Photo Roll).

3. Upload from Camera Roll to Dropbox
Dropbox allows you to upload content from your Camera Roll to a Dropbox folder of your choice. A good place for students to upload their work may be to a folder which is shared with the teachers personal account. That way the teacher can asses the work from iPhone, PC or Mac at his/her own leisure.

Unfortunately all students who drop final projects into a shared folder can view the contents of that folder too. (and as yet it is not possible to create write only permissions to Dropbox folders). This isn’t a problem if you are using a shared class set of iPads in any case. But if each student has their own iPad, I would recommend that they open their own Dropbox account. That way you will be able to keep private folders with each student, if privacy is a must.

It may sound like I am on commission from Dropbox! But at this intermediate stage (between Lion – Mountain Lion and the expansion of iCloud) I don’t see a plausible workflow which replaces the file structure Dropbox allows us. Looking closely at iPhoto (for iPad) reveals a sharing option called Beam. Could this become standard for iPad communication in the future?

The workflow diagram above illustrates my favourite apps and how I transfer files around. I’m sure that I may have overlooked some “share paths” but I hope that it helps.
Doug Loader

Tips2012 iPad App Guide #43: DocumentsToGo

DocumentsToGo is one of several file management apps which enable users to view, edit, and create Microsoft Office 2007-2010 documents, (PDFs, and iWork files) on their iPad.

DocumentsToGo comes in two formats – DocumentsToGo and DocumentsToGo Premium, with the Premium version enabling users to edit PowerPoint files, and work with online files stored in Google Docs, Dropbox,, iDisk, etc. Both versions work with iTunes and the new DocumentsToGo desktop application to keep your files in sync with your home / work computer.

This app works as advertised, but is really only useful for teachers and students who need to edit Microsoft Office documents on their iPads. Everyday users will be better off using the Apple iWork Pages and Keynote apps.

For: Teachers, Administrators, Students (Upper Primary to Secondary)

Cost: Documents To Go ($10.45AUD)    Docs To Go Premium ($17.99AUD)

Requires Wifi?: Yes, to sync files with your home computer / cloud services


  • When searching for this app in iTunes, take care to choose the app for your iOS device. It is easy to confuse the separate versions for iPhone and iPad.
  • iPad users considering purchasing the Premium version may prefer Office2 HD fo iPad, which offers almost identical features for the cheaper price of $8.49AUD.
  • While the company claims that this app will preserve the original document formatting, user reviews indicate that this is still a work in progress!

Further Reading

Tips2012: Teachers’ Voices #1: Richard’s iStory

An exciting new feature on the TPACK iPad Project is “Teachers’ Voices”, featuring teachers` stories and experiences with iPads in education.

Teachers` VoicesPlease send me your stories we can all learn from your experiences. If you would like to share your story and be featured on this blog, please email: Jenny Lane (, and include “Tips2012: Teachers’ Voices” in the title.

Please indicate if I have permission to include your name, and the name of your school. If you would prefer to be anonymous, let me know. Your story will become part of the data collected in the research collection and will inform our work with teachers.

An iStory from Richard  (@rhp123)

We are a small, independent primary school in NSW. Our school has been pursuing the idea of  achieving 1:1 for several years. Our stance has been around the idea of making technology accessible to students and teachers as required. Our motivation for doing this was an evolving one, but at the core was the idea that Technology could enhance learning and create new learning opportunities.

In the dim past we had a computer room. Which consisted of fourteen Apple machines networked and connected precariously to a 28K modem. It was the late nineties and Apple was floundering so we transitioned to PC and escaped from the confines of a computer room moving into a network which threaded it’s way through the school. Small groups of PCs scattered conveniently in shared spaces. Over time the mobile banks of laptops (Windows based) have evolved into our main technological delivery system along with interactive Smartboard equipped classrooms. In 2010 we achieved 1:1 with our Year 6 classes and in 2011 we added 1:2 committed resources to our Year 5 students.

Reading and discussions with various educators had drawn us toward the idea of tablets. I had an Android phone so our first investigation was into Android tablets, which we trialled and tested. The iPad also seemed to be getting rave reviews and many educational institutions were adopting them in the US (not that that was really a compelling reason).

The iPad was by far the best device we tried.

  • It offered a wealth of apps for education (which catered for various needs)
  • A number of State Education Departments /sectors had committed to trials e.g. Victorian Dept of Education
  • A large number of schools internationally were adopting iPads e.g. (New York Times article)
  • iPads were robust and well supported (this was particularly compelling in our small school setting as we don’t have substantial technical support services)
  • iPads had no boot time issues (this had always been an annoyance with laptops) and their battery life meant they could be used continuously all day without charging
  • iPads were easy to navigate and were slick in operation
  • They offered versatility for both students and teachers
  • iPads were competitive in price (especially against our traditional laptop delivery system)

So we committed to the idea of the iPad as a technological vehicle to help drive change and improve the learning opportunities of our students. This involved changing from a Windows environment to an Apple environment. It involved exploring management issues. It involved investigating iTunes and trialling apps. It involved the idea of moving into the cloud and away from traditional networks. It involved raising funds to achieve implementation. It involved upgrading aspects of our network. It involved extensive discussion, collaboration and research.

We launched our iPad initiative with 45 iPads which we distributed both for staff and students. A key part of our launch was to engage staff and familiarize them with the iPads. One of the greatest challenges faced is to involve teachers in change. Especially change which isn’t in the traditional repertoire.

Providing many teachers with iPads certainly moved the swing of the pendulum towards technology. The other positive about iPads from the teacher perspective was that it wasn’t too alien as many teachers were already using iPhones. At any rate teachers found the operating system easy to use and in no way daunting. This provided impetuous to our effort. We had been unable to equip all teachers with individual iPads and they all wanted them.

Students were equally eager and familiar with the iPads as many had iPod Touch, iPhones, or iPads already. They are also the most desired device in the “Must Have” category at the moment.

Our initial roll out was primitive because we didn’t commit to a management system as we were waiting to see what iOS 5 had to offer. A single profile was created and this proved to be satisfactory for our trial. Our lack of a management system created problems in terms of updating our operating system. We had to update all 45 individually. It also meant that we couldn’t manage individual devices or individualize devices to any extent.

We realized fairly early that iPads particularly for older students (upper primary) and for teachers needed to be set up as individual devices. We have now invested in a management system “Casper” which provides a reasonable degree of control at a reasonable cost.

The engagement of students and of teachers with the iPads and the possibilities that the iPad offers for the integration of technology into programs across the school provided a compelling argument for the expansion of the iPad initiative. As already observed we recognized that the needs of some students and their use of iPads would be different.

Our next faze (which is currently underway) will see the implementation of a 1:1 iPad roll out for Year 5 & 6 students. This will enable individualization of iPads for this group and this will particularly enable the integration of devices with “The Cloud”. Services such as Dropbox, Otixo, Evernote, Google Docs, and email require individualization and need to be set up for each student in order to be really effective on the iPad. We will also accommodate all full time teaching staff and provide a versatile supply for various other student user groups from Preschool to Year 4.

One of the negatives of the iPads has been that there isn’t volume licensing available to schools in Australia yet. This means that under the current Apple Licensing Agreement each device needs to purchase its own apps. We will provide the essential Apple apps to our students Pages, Keynote, Numbers, GarageBand and iMovie. The cost of these alone per device is around $40.00AUD.

We consider that if we are investing in an Apple product we should provide an understanding of the Apple platform to our students as we have done with Microsoft. Clearly we are grateful that many excellent apps are free or relatively cheap.

iPads are great, but they are just a new tool in our technological arsenal. We remain committed to providing access to a robust Windows network of laptops and peripherals for use across the school. To this end we are considering options around our mobile Windows devices. We have a good supply of Dell Netbooks which we have been using for the last two years, however new possibilities in terms of hardware are appearing. One of the great appeals of the iPad is its portability and interactivity. We are taking a look at some Windows based tablets.

I must stress that our school isn’t fixated on technology. We are fixated on our students. We are evaluating our learning environments, exploring best practice and implementing change where we perceive benefit. iPads are just an element in our journey towards achieving “success” for our students.

 Thanks to Richard Prowse for sharing his inspiring i-Story.

Tips2012:iPad App Guide #30: Instapaper

Instapaper is a must-have iPad app which enables users to bookmark and save web articles, blog posts, tweets, other app content, news, etc for offline viewing later; in class, on the train, … literally anywhere.

Installed as a Safari bookmarklet, Instapaper is simple to use, and allows users to easily sync articles across their mobile devices and web browsers (on their home computers) via their Instapaper account (requires an email address). You can also share articles to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Evernote.

For: Teachers, Students (Primary, Secondary), Administrators

Cost: $5.49 (Download Link)

Requires WiFi: No for reading , yes for bookmarking and syncing

Educational Applications

  • Professional reading
  • Store research articles for easy access
  • Present web articles in a clean, easy-to-read format for focused reading.

Feeling lucky, click on this link and help in this research by completing a short survey you could be the winner of an I- tunes voucher.

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 #24: iBooks

The iBooks iPad app is so much more than a glossy bookcase. It is a place where you can share ePub e-books, PDF files, and student (and teacher) created resources; enabling users to curate & create a library of digital reading material on their iPad.

For: Teachers, Students, Administrators

Cost: Free

Requires WiFi?: No for reading. Yes for uploading and sharing content

Educational Applications

  • Share student work (in PDF or ePub format) with parents and classmates as digital portfolios or yearbooks
  • Use the Book Creator app, or iBooks Author (Mac), to create collaborative class books and teaching resources
  • Store levelled readers (e.g. for use in reading centres
  • Use the built-in highlighter and sticknotes to practice reading comprehension skills
  • Share digital textbooks (requires iTunes 10.5.3 or later)

Teacher Tips: How do I add material to iBooks?

To add PDF and ePub materials to iBooks on your iPad, you can import files via iTunes, import from Dropbox or GoodReader, or save files directly from Safari. It is possible to save and share students’ work in ePub format from other applications, such as Pages for Mac.

You can purchase quality eBooks from the Apple iBooks Store, or find free eBooks on Google, which may be a better option for educators.

Teachers may also like the dotePUB browser bookmarklet (available for Safari), which enables users to save ANY website as an ePub file, which can be added to iBooks via iTunes. (Tip via iPads@Burley).

Recommended Reading

Tips2012 Have iPad trolleys can travel!!

I have just unpacked the long awaited IQ Traveller Light trolley cases. These are perfect for our iPad rollout of 70 iPads for my new module “Teaching and learning with touch technologies” at the university. Each case takes 16 iPads and all accessories.

The cases have foam padding with slots for each iPad, and a hard shell to protect the iPads from knocks. You can charge and sync all the iPads in the case at the same time. Each case has two wheels and a long handle for easy travelling. These cases will be great for schools that have shared sets of iPads that need to move easily between classes. You can padlock the case to keep the contents secure. We have set up an online booking system so staff can book the equipment they need for their classes.

Tips2012 iPad App Guide #15: Penultimate

Penultimate is a powerful note-taking app for the iPad, enabling users to create an infinite number of beautiful electronic notebooks using different paper formats.

You can hand-write notes with your finger or stylus (recommended), use different coloured pens, and import photos (from your camera / camera roll). Coming with advanced editing options, this app is ideal for sketching pictures & brainstorming ideas.

Better yet, you can back-up or share your Penultimate notebooks via Dropbox, Evernote, or Email; and project your work on an IWB using an iPad VGA connection cable.

For: Teachers, (Older) Students, Administrators

Cost: $2.99. Some paper formats require an in-app purchase

Download: iTunes Link

Requires WiFi?: No

Educational applications

  • Notetaking
  • Story writing
  • Working out maths problems
  • Record observations in science
  • Storyboarding / scripting movies (using storyboard template)
  • Write music (paid template)

Further Reading