Tips 2013 Professional Learning#29Talking QR Codes

Talking QR codes

We are always looking for ways to encourage our  students to tell their stories or express their learning. A “talking” QR code is a fun activity to engage students young and old. This activity can be used for digital storytelling and to promote literacy as well as mathematical understanding. Use talking QR codes to encourage students to create authentic stories and share them with their peers and their families. Students in early childhood settings can tell the story about their artwork or  read a story they have written. Students who are at  pre-reading and prewriting stages can record themselves “reading”  the print written by their teacher. Older students can add a narrative to a project or make their thinking visible by explaining the process they followed to solve a maths problem. Talking QR codes can be used for learning a language or to describe a science experiment. I am sure you can`t wait to get started, the best part is that it is so easy the students can do it themselves. I have selected a very quick free way to do this in your classroom. It works with a computer or any mobile tablet or smart phone.

How to create a talking QR code

You start by creating a recording and linking to it with a quick response code or QR code.

Scan this QR code and hear how to create an audio file

Scan this QR code and hear how to create an audio file

  • You need to record an audio file and store it online which can be accessed via a QR code.
  • To do this activity  you will need access to wifi
  • Go to this site http://vocaroo.com
  • Vocaroo is  easy to use.
  • It starts recording immediately you just have to press stop when you are done.
  • You can listen to your recording and redo it if needed.
  • It gives you a range of options for sharing the recording- select Qr code on the bottom right hand corner
  • You can read the QR code with any QR code application these are free for mobile devices-
  • If you are not sure go to my  previous post No # 28 which describes how to scan QR codes

Sharing options- click on the bottom right to create a QR code

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.

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 #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

(Reference)

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 (j.lane@ecu.edu.au), 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 http://ipad.ipadsforeducation.vic.edu.au/
  • A large number of schools internationally were adopting iPads e.g. http://ow.ly/1KTzfO (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.

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.

Thanks,
Jenny
Dr. Jenny Lane

Tips2012 iPad apps to help modify behaviour

In my many years of teaching in schools, and in Teacher Education at University, the biggest challenge faced by many teachers is moderating the behaviour of students in their classes. There are a range of strategies that can be used, but keeping a clear record of the behaviours is a good starting point.

The specialist app, Behaviour Lens ($32),  for teachers and therapists was recommended by my colleague Priscilla, who is is a Consultant – Intensive Support Needs. Designed by school psychologists, it records timed intervals of behaviours and generates professional standard reports.

Another useful (free app), called Autism Apps gives a comprehensive overview of apps that can be used to modify behaviour, support social interactions and promote communication with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder & Down Syndrome.

If you are working with students with behaviour and communication difficulties please share the apps that you find useful in the comments below!

Tips2012: Using iPads to support students with diverse learning needs

iPads are an excellent way to provide individualized learning materials and re-inforcement for students with a wide range of learning abilities.

Differentiating Instruction

  • The iPads provide a way for teachers to provide each learner with activities suited to their learning needs.Teachers can use Dropbox to send documents and links to individual students’ folders, which contain their individualized learning materials.
  • They can also be used to provide extension activities for students who need higher-order thinking challenges. These can take the form of webquests, quizzes and polling (Socrative), treasure hunts with QR Codes (QRafter), and geocaching.
Scaffolding Learning
  • iPads can be used to scaffold learning for students who need additional support. The screen-casting apps (ShowMe, Explain Everything, Educreations) and video creation apps (iMovie, Reel Director, Camera) allow teachers and students to produce screencasts and short instructional videos to provide “just in time” support for students.
  • The use of instructional video for learning provides support that is emotionally neutral, and can be viewed repeatedly until the student feels the concepts have been clearly demonstrated and understood.
Sensory Learning
  • The use of the iPad touch surface reinforces learning using the sense of touch, which is a very powerful way of learning for many students (Toddler SandboxSkitch)
  • The audio feedback included in many apps is another way to support learning. Many eBooks and iBooks include an audio track which reads the print while highlighting the words. This multi-sensory mode uses the senses to provide stimulus and feedback for the learner.
Supporting Learning
  • Students who need support taking notes will find “AudioNote” useful. AudioNote will record the speaker while the student types notes, creating an audio recording of the lesson to review learning.

Supporting Communication

  • There are a wide selection of apps, eg. SOSH, to support students who have difficulty communicating. The Special Needs links in the TIPS 2012 sidebar contain lots of excellent examples of apps designed to support learners with diverse needs.
Do you have a favourite app for supporting students with diverse learning needs? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below! 

Tips2012 iPad App Guide #11: Pages

Pages is a feature-rich word processing app for iPad. Users can select from a range of pre-formatted templates, or create a document from scratch. Best used with an external keyboard, Pages is quick and easy to use, and is ideal for typing up notes, creating new documents, etc.

It offers options to export documents (via email) in Pages format (for Mac), Microsoft Word, or PDF, ensuring that they can be read on different platforms. A recent (2013) update finally enables users to open Pages documents in other apps, including Dropbox.  

For: Teachers, Students, Administrators

Cost: $10.49 AUD (Download Link)

Requires Wifi?: No

Educational Applications

  • A useful replacement for Microsoft Word – which negates the need to leave class to go to the computer lab.
  • Word processing applications (handouts, notes)
  • Useful templates for posters, letters, etc.
  • Create ePubs, or eBooks – to share on the iPad

Further Reading