Tips 2013 Professional Learning #30 Share your story

21st Century Schools

  • Share your story


      Personal stories are powerful, both for the storyteller and for the listener. The learning involved in composing  a story has many aspects, for example focussing the message, thinking of the audience, communicating clearly and creativity. I have found a compelling way for students and teachers to create animated videos which are a great way to share stories. The application Adobe Voice allows you or your students to create a multi-modal presentation with no tricky editing. You can add your own recorded voice, images, animations and a sound track. This a free app


    My Research — Adobe Voice

Tips 2013 Professional Learning #26:Create and curate interactive content using iTunesU

Screen Shot 2013-10-10 at 5.53.10 PM I frequently get asked by teachers,how do I create learning experiences for my students to use the features on the iPads?

I set out to  explore how teachers who don`t have web editing skills can do this in an easy way. I saw a lot of high end complex and expensive options that would not be of interest to busy teachers. Then I found some teachers  using using free software you can download on the web.

I was impressed at the amazing interactive resources teachers are developing for their classes using iTunesU and ibooks author.

These tools allow teachers to create their own interactive digital content that students can access on an iPad or a laptop. The iTunesU site also contains a wide range of material that teachers and students can access and customise. The great thing is it is all free. Lots of the content is created and shared by teachers. This teachers-2-teacher sharing of resources is a very positive and productive movement in education that benefits everyone.

A very exciting development is that I saw the students  creating their own ibooks and sharing them with their peers and their parents. Students can work together outside the classroom and collaborate on joint projects extending their learning. These ibooks can be included in iTunesU courses allowing shared ownership of the learning materials. When students are  looking for reliable content, making connection between sources they are engaging in higher order thinking and I have noticed how excited they get about learning.

You can get the free iTunesU app for the iPad Link

To start creating your own courses you need to set up an Apple ID. Then go to this site

Courses are created on a computer (MAC) and then loaded to the iTunesU site. Once in iTunesU courses can be shared with students privately by sending them a link or open access  freely available courses can be downloaded from the site. You can open all the courses on an iPad, iPhone or an iPod touch. Here are  guidelines on how to start building a course   Creating your course

There are a series of short webcasts that show you how it all works in the classroom

To explore the courses go to iTunesU and search the catalogue by topic, curriculum area or grade most are freely available for you do download.

Australian teachers have been busy creating courses aligned to the new Australian Curriculum to view these course search iTunesU for Australian Curriculum.


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.

Tips 2012 Professional Learning #17:Getting started with iPads?

One of the most frequently asked questions that I receive is “how do I get started using iPads in my classroom?”.
The next question I get asked is “I know the basics but what is the next step? How do I integrate this technology into my teaching to make a difference in learning outcomes?”<


In response to these questions I have prepared two preconference workshops that I will be offering at the ACEC conference in Perth on the 2 October. The morning workshop “Getting started with iPads” gives an overview of how to set up and begin using iPads effectively in classrooms.


In the afternoon workshop we will look at ways of “Integrating iPads into the curriculum”. We will discuss and create resources that teachers can use in their teaching. The designing of workflows to import and export materials from mobile devices will be one of the topics we will explore.

These workshops are also open to those who cannot attend the full conference. You can book on the conference website.


Thanks to all who attended the workshops we had two amazing groups of enthusiastic educators. Many thanks to the fabulous teachers Louise, Kym and Anna and Jamie and the crew from Winthrop who helped me facilitate the groups as the enrolments to these workshops kept increasing.


The spirit of sharing and collaboration made these workshops  a very worthwhile learning experience for  all. I am sharing the workshop resources through an edmodo site. To access the resources set up a personal edmodo account. This is free. Search for the group titled Jenny lane and join it. The code for the group is mom1q0. ( last letter is the digit 0). Please contribute by adding your comments thoughts and ideas.


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 #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: #60: Google Earth

The Google Earth app lets you hold the world in the palm of your hand – on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. It enables you to explore global satellite imagery, tours, and photo overlays on your iOS device.

There is a large education community built around the Google Earth application, and it has many classroom applications. It is so much more than a mapping application – as revealed in the links at the bottom of this post.

For: Teachers, Students (Grades 4-12)

Cost: Free (Download)

Requires WiFi?: Yes, this is a very WiFi intensive app.

Educational Applications

  • Support student inquiry in geography, social studies, history
  • Enhance student presentations – creating audio-visual Google Earth tours for projects
  • Virtually visit sites of historic / geographic significance
  • Add photos / videos / voicethreads about your local community to share with other Google Earth users worldwide
  • Use in conjunction with Google Sketchup to design and build your own virtual city (as a Google Earth overlay)
  • Take your students on a virtual “Lit Trip”, exploring places mentioned in a story
  • Solve maths problems using the Google Earth measuring tools

Further Reading & Exploration

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 iPad App Guide #58: SlideShark for iPad

SlideShark is a multi-award winning app for viewing and sharing PowerPoint Presentations on the iPad – complete with original animations, fonts, colours, and pictures. The app does not currently allow viewing of embedded videos or hyperlinks; however, these features are coming later this year.

SlideShark works by having users upload the PowerPoint file to their free online account, and then use the SlideShark app to download and view on their iPad, or project it using the a VGA connector. The single user account (100MB limit) is free, with more space available via paid subscription.

We recommend this app for anyone needing to share PowerPoint presentations on their iPads. Other presentation alternatives include Keynote and Prezi Viewer.

For: Teachers, Students, Administrators.

Cost: Free (Download)

Requires WiFi?: Yes, to download presentation files.

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 #56: Australian Teacher Magazine

This is a great free app which enables users to download and read the iPhone / iPad version of the Australian Teacher Magazine, via a FREE subscription.

Highly recommended for K-12 educators.

For: Teachers, ICT Integrators, Administrators

Cost: Free (Download)

Requires WiFi: Yes, for download of publication only. (Average 80-90MB download)

Tips 2012 iPad App Guide #53: Confer

Confer is 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.

For: Teachers (K-12)

Cost: Lite Version – Free (Download) , Full Version – $15.99AUD (Download)

Requires WiFi?: Not for ordinary use, but required for data export.

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 #51: Star Walk

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.

Educational Applications

  • Any science / astronomical study of the night sky.