When I think about introducing a class to something new, I recall the lesson learned in my first year of teaching when I handed out geoboards for the first time. After reflecting, I came to the realization that I need a plan in place for handing out and collecting the resources; to have a procedure for getting students' attention; to discuss the appropriate use; and, to give them time to explore and play in the beginning so I could expect their attention after they got their curiosity fed.
Those lessons learned apply to iPad management as well. Here's a post that explores those tips, and below is a checklist to help.
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There are many apps for the iPad; however, I recommend mastering a few ways to integrate iPads to support learning at higher levels of Bloom's Taxonomy when starting off, and not focusing as much on finding different apps.
Some of the apps/sites below require creating accounts, which typically collects the user's full name, email and password. Therefore, children under age 13 are restricted from creating those accounts according to the COPPA laws. This does not mean those sites are harmful to the students, it just means they cannot give out their personal information for their own protection. Therefore, it's recommended to read the Terms of Agreements (especially since they may change from the time I've posted this), and to create a teacher/class account to log into from the devices.
When taking students to different websites, it's time consuming to type in the URL, and frustrating when it's mistyped. The easiest and quickest way to go to a website is through a QR (Quick Response) code, which is a type of barcode.
This can take students to a site for them to read, watch a video, listen to audio/music, collaborate or connect with others, comment on blogs, create, research, annotate, interact, ... Of course, the teacher still needs to set expectations for what to do with the content of the site. See examples below:
Recommended sites and apps for QR codes:
- Kaywa QR Code Generator: You can type in a short message or the URL for students to scan. It will take them directly to the website.
- i-nigma QR Code, Data Matrix and 1D barcode reader: I love this QR reader because it consistently works for me. I credit Tony Vincent for introducing this app to me during an AJUSD training we had with him.
- Vicki Davis shares seven ways to use QR codes in the classroom in her fabulous post, "QR Code Classroom Implementation Guide."
- Jackie Gerstain shares a great example of using QR codes with the literature story "Zoom." The lesson focuses on problem solving, communication, perspective, and sequencing.
- Bonnie Barrett uses QR codes to take students to her recorded spelling tests. This is beneficial with a combo class and multiple spelling lists.
- Creating audio files to play back to students. Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano shares how to record audio files on a Mac and with an iPad app. Richard Byrne also posts about using QR codes to play a short audio clip.
- Tony Vincent shares more fantastic ideas on his Learning in Hand blog.
Allowing students to create visuals and annotations has an important role in learning. Doodle Buddy is a simple app for painting, drawing, stamping, and annotating on a clean slate or a picture (including a screen shot).
As an example, here's a graphic I made with Doodle Buddy to help me synthesize and focus a professional development on formative assessments:
close reading process, which supports the Common Core.
Students can use their photos, especially those annotated in Doodle Buddy, and add narration to them. There are several apps that allow this. Here are a few simple ones to use:
- Fotobabble app or desktop site is currently free. It makes narrating and editing a single photo easy. Note: It's recommended that teachers of students under the age 13 create a class account.
- Sonic Pics app is currently priced at $2.99. It's great for digital storytelling and putting presentations together. (Note: the Sonic Pics Lite is not currently offered on iTunes.)
Interactive whiteboard with narration
The apps listed in this section are fabulous for teachers and students to narrate concepts through video. What's being written/shown on the whiteboard plus the narration are recorded as a video and uploaded online.
This is fabulous for students to share their thinking, their reflection, their understanding at deeper and higher levels.
- The ShowMe app or desktop account is easy to use. Click here to see how teachers and students are using it. Note: Teachers of students under the age 13 should create a class account. Please read the Terms of Service.
- Educreations is similar to ShowMe because it too functions as an interactive whiteboard and is easy to use. However, Educreations allows you to add pages to the presentation and different types of paper, but it does not have an erasor (it uses "undo" instead). It is an iPad app that can also be accessed from your browser.
For beginners, I recommend picking one of the two, instead of trying to learn both. I also recommend creating an account to log into from the device. By doing so, all videos created by students will be saved to that account, allowing the teacher to view from his/her browser.
Sticky Notes are a fabulous way for students to collaborate in real time. There are endless possibilities for this, such as sharing claims and evidence, exit or entrance cards, etc.
- Corkboard.me is a website that is easy to use with the iPad as well as a desktop computer. In order to collaborate on the same corkboard, a QR Code can be created for quick navigation.
- LinoIt is another website and app that is easy to use. In order to use the app, an account must be created to log into. Therefore, I recommend the teacher create a class account and log into the iPads with that account if students are younger than 13.
- WallWisher/Padlet's recent update makes it easy to use with an iPad. It is a website that can be used with or without an account created. WallWisher/Padlet's Terms of Service discusses use of services by students under the age of 13. I credit Kathy Schrock for sharing this update.
Animoto Lite is an app and runs on a desktop computer. It allows students to create unlimited 30 second videos of up to 12 photos. I can see this as an excellent way to share photos of science experiments, geometry/math in the real world, photos of projects, etc. Note: Students must be 13 to create an account, therefore it's recommended that teachers create education or class accounts.
Creating with audio (and some visual)
- Puppet Pals 1 and Puppet Pals 2 are puppet shows with a few settings and characters to choose from, and records the narrations and movement of the characters. Students can use the puppets to share what they've learned. This can be exported and saved in the Photo Album.
- There are a series of talking animals such as Talking Gina the Giraffe, Talking Tom the Cat, Talking Pierre the Parrot, etc. While the animals can be played with, they also record what they hear, and will say it in their own voices and personalities. If students have a task of recording something such as key vocabulary used in context, the main idea or theme of the story, or how they solved the problem, then they are moving up Bloom's Taxonomy in thinking. Their videos can be saved in the Photo Album. Note: Settings can be adjusted for the animals for mild violence, longer listening time, and user recorded videos. (Geared more towards primary/elementary).
- Audioboo records three minute narrations. When published, others can record audio responses. This can be used as an app and on a browser. Click here to see how Em used it on her blog. Note: Students must be 13 to sign up for this app, therefore a teacher account for classrooms with students under 13 is recommended.
- Toontastic is a cartoon storyboard for recording a drama or narrative. This as a great app to apply creativity, speaking and listening, with narrative elements. Joan Young has students use this app to build social emotional skills.
The apps in this post are not content specific; however, they allow students to connect to their learning through higher level thinking on Bloom's Taxonomy.
- What are some ways you would use the apps listed in your classroom?
- What easy apps or sites would you add to this list for teachers just starting to integrate the iPads in the classroom?
- What questions do you have about integrating iPads in your classroom?
- How else does this post connect with you?