iPads are becoming an important part of education resources, whether as a learning tool for pupils or a teaching aid. The devices are being used in many subjects, often creating opportunities that were previously not possible.
ADE 2013 I would like to begin this month's blog post by mentioning the Apple Distinguished Educator conference in Cork, Ireland that I was fortunate enough to have attended last week. Apple provided presentations and workshops by some of the best in the business. This included Bill Frakes (www.billfrakes.com) who gave an insight into his career as Sport Illustrated's photographer. Nancy Duarte who discussed about the role of story within presentations and the brilliant Lennon Bus (www.lennonbus.org) mobile film/recording studio which I will suggest to many schools as a great resource for pupils to showcase their creativity.
However, as well as the great content, it was meeting other ADEs that proved most useful to me. As Apple's Maxx Judd said, if we had not put any workshops on it would still have been as successful just by inviting you all here. Education is wide and it was great to hear successes from teachers in all parts of education. I would particularly like to thank my PLN team for making last week so special. I look forward to collaborating with them over the next few months. The wordle above are words delegates used to define learning.
Developing Apps Last summer I co-founded a company with the objective of creating software for Primary and Secondary Schools using iPads. The aim is to provide teachers, parents and pupils with the tools to create their own educational content rather than be reliant on the content of others. This month sees the programming of the app, iLearn2, and the website. We are getting ready for an Autumn launch on iOS and the website coming very soon. In the meantime, please follow @ilearn2uk on twitter for updates.
I hope everyone who was on half-term last week had a relaxing break. I thought I would focus this month's blog post on an issue that faces every school using iPads: How to effectively gather the videos/documents that pupils are creating.
This is the one question I am always asked. With pupils using iPads to do everything from creating films, composing music and writing interactive ebooks, it is now no longer possible to always print off pupil work and staple it to a display board. With rumours that Apple will be announcing AirDrop for iPad next week at the WWDC conference, I thought it was a good time to round up the workflow solutions currently on offer for the iPad.
The Cloud If the iPads are all connected to one Apple ID then you can use iCloud to access pupil work. This only really works with Pages, Numbers and Keynote. When pupils create a document then with iCloud turned on, it will push the document to all the other iPads connected to that Apple ID. This works to limited degree. I like the fact that you can access the documents from the web using iCloud.com but the whole thing is designed for the personal user and it restricted by storage size etc for education use.
Personally I feel that services like DropBox and Box are also designed for the personal user and I am slightly concerned about putting photos/videos of children on there because their terms and conditions are not designed for education. At school we use DropBox to send resources to pupils, like maps for geography and old photos for history. Google Drive also is popular in secondary education.
iTunes When the iPad is plugged into iTunes, you can send documents from many apps, including GarageBand, Book Creator etc to iTunes using the sharing option. This works ok if you have a charge box that plugs all the iPads into the computer simultaneously but is quite time consuming compared to some of the other wireless options.
WebDav This works by setting up a Mac as a Server by using Mountain Lion Server. You then put the server settings into each iPad and it allows pupils to save their iWork documents to a folder on the mac server. It also works with Explain everything app. I like this method but it is limited to the iWork apps so all photos/video will have to be out into apps like Pages and Keynote. There is also the Kanex MeDrive which I reviewed in a previous blog post.
Showbie and Edmodo We began using Showbie in school in March and it works well. Teachers create an assignment name and and pupils use the Showbie app to drop documents/videos/photos etc to that assignment. Teachers can then use the app to view the file and give feedback to pupils. What I like about this is that firstly it works with the camera roll, iwork apps and apps such as Book Creator and Comic Life but it also works online too so pupils can add files from their computers at home to access at school or visa versa. Edmodo is similar but has a few more features designed for Secondary schools, such as quizzes.
QR Codes More and more apps are enabling the user to upload the file to the web, such as My Story which is an ebook creator app that creates a web link for each book. QR codes can then be made with that link attached. These can be placed in newsletters and on displays so that parents can view pupil work on their smartphones.
So there you go, there are many options for sending files from iPad to another, such as InstaShare. The key is that there is no one size fits all. It very much depends on the size of the school, iPad deployment and policies. Have a good term and look out for an update to my book in late June and iPad training mornings in early July. www.ipadteachers.co.uk
This is my first post as an Apple Disinguished Educator and is mirrored both in my blog and my first ADE journal. Being accepted to the ADE Class of 2013 was a honour and I am delighted to be part of the community. The ADE conference in Cork in July is going to be my first and I cannot wait to meet fellow educators.
It has now been nearly 2 years since I began using the iPad as a teaching aid and learning tool and over 12 months since I began providing iPad training for Primary Schools. The reason I began iPad training was that when my school were investigating the possibility of iPads in our school, we spoke to salesmen and I searched online but it would have been good to have spoken to a teacher, hence beginning my blog and website.
In September of last year I reduced my teaching to 4 days a week and used Fridays to continue the training. I have been surprised with the demand for training from schools and proves how many teachers are seeing the potential of iPads in the classroom. This month I have reduced my teaching still further to one day a week in order to support more schools and provide more training days across the UK. However, it has been important for me to continue to teach regularly. The training side of things does not make sense to me unless I am using the technology regularly in school. There has been so many occasions when I have found a resource or app that I thought would work in school but until I have used it with pupils then I do not feel I can share it with colleagues. Also, I have sat in a number of training sessions over my teaching career presented my people who have either finished teaching years ago or have never been a teacher. I do not want that to be my role and I am advising very much from the teacher's perspective, opposed to the consultant.
So this month has been both an exciting one (ADE success, planning training days and supporting schools) but also quite sad as I relinquished my role as form tutor to my Year 6 class but assured them that I would be continuing to teach them ICT next term. I have been ICT co-ordinator since 2007 and because my school is an indepedent school which uses subject specialists, I have taught ICT to all of the Key Stage 1 & 2 pupils. Next term my timetable will change so that I teach all of the ICT on one day. This has many advantages but it means I can concentrate on moving the technology forward but also support class teachers with using technology effectively in other subject areas. This first month the focus at school will be continue to test iPad workflow resources such as Showbie. I am also introducing Movie Making with Year 5 and 6 as well as the school's first iPad band. On the training front, I am booked up with in-school training around the UK but also have lots of training events planned through May, June and July. Please visit my website www.ipadteachers.co.uk for more information about these days.
I would like to thank lots of people who support me, both in school and with training and if they are reading this, they know who they are. Thank you!
One of the questions I am asked most is how do we as teachers quickly access pupils documents off the iPads? There are a few options for this but they mostly involve Cloud based services such as iCloud or DropBox or online environments such as Edmodo. What is the Kanex MeDrive?Basically the MeDrive is a little box that plugs into your wireless router. You can then plug a USB memory stick into it and access the content of that drive from an iOS device, PC or Mac wirelessly. On the iPad, you download the free app which allows you to browse that USB stick and download/upload content off/onto it. The app also appears in Pages, Numbers and Keynote App as an 'Open with another app' so documents can be saved directly to the USB stick. The Drive works with a number of file types, includes images, video and documents. The advantage over services such as DropBox is that its local (within school/classroom/home only) so data protection and security is less of an issue. Does it work?Yes, I was able to plug the MeDrive into my router at home, plug the attached USB lead into a USB charger to charge/power and insert a small USB stick. I opened the MeDrive app on my iPad and saw the MeDrive under devices. When I tapped on the MeDrive I saw the USB with all the files on it. I then opened the Pages app and moved one of my documents from my iPad to the USB stick with no problems. Will it work in Schools?I think so but there are a number of factors that will affect its success. Firstly, the device requires power so a plug will need to be close to the router. Also, many routers in schools are not easily accessible so plugging in a USB stick may not be as straitforward as it sounds. Finally, when saving files from apps such as Pages, the file goes into the download folder of the MeDrive and then needs to be moved from there onto the USB stick using the app. For younger pupils this may be a little technical but with a bit of training it should be possible. What I would like to see is the ability to save files directly from Pages to the USB stick without the download section in between. I am going to take this into school next week to try there but it looks promising. More details can be found at http://www.kanexlive.com/medrive
Update (March 2013) We tried the MeDrive at school but unfortunately it not work with all the iPads consistently. This obviously depends very much on your network configurations but we are looking at other options now. Next stop is www.showbie.com
I have been using Book Creator for a while now in my teaching. Pupils have created illustrated books and added video to record science experiments. This term Year 5 and 6 pupils have been using Book Creator in Design and Technology. The pupils have researched, designed and are now constructing their Animal Shelters. At each stage they have documented their progress in Book Creator, adding photos. It provides an excellent way of assessing work and for pupils to evaluate their own skills and development. At the end of the topic, pupils will not only have an animal shelter but also evidence of their journey.
A Guide to the iPad in Primary Education is breakdown of how the iPad can be used successfully as both a learning tool for pupils and a teaching aid. With so many Primary Schools now equipping their teachers and student with iPads, more and more apps and resources are becoming available. This guide presents apps and techniques that have been used successfully in the Primary classroom. The book is divided into subject areas for quick reference, including Literacy, Numeracy, Science and Early Years Foundation Stage. Highlights over 100 apps and techniques that will enhance lessons. Includes links to apps and equipment mentioned. Chapters cover the following: - Using the iPad as an Interactive Whiteboard and Pupil Response Device. - Managing iPads and Restricting Pupil Access - Numeracy (Number, Fractions/Decimals, Shape & Space, Money & Time) - Literacy (Creativity, Spelling, Reading, Poetry) - Science - Early Years Foundation Stage - Art and Design - History and Geography - Music - ICT The book will be regularly improved as a free update. For information about Adam and his work, please visit www.ipadteachers.co.uk Available on the iBook Store for £2.49 Click post title for further information.
"On the iPad, the ‘Print’ option doesn’t have a PDF export option. This is where the Universal app Web to PDF comes in handy. Upon launching, you are presented with a Web browser to go to the page you need a PDF of. Browse to a Web page and choose the button at the bottom right of the screen, “Create PDF”. The resulting PDF is a great way to read a Web page later when offline too!"
I working week for me involves a mix of iPad Consultancy, app design and teaching. I teach at a Preparatory School in Wolverhampton, called Tettenhall College. The school provides education for 2-18 year olds and I teach predominantly in Key Stage 2 but also teach ICT to Key Stage 1 pupils. In the last 6 months I have collaborated with a new company called Gazoob.
Gazoob have introduced a range of educational content and the most exciting of this is the Biff, Chip and Kipper Interactive Book Apps. Most Primary schools in the country use the Oxford Reading Tree books to help pupils learn to read from an early age. At Tettenhall College, we have been lucky enough to use the Biff, Chip and Kipper Interactive Books this week. There are 6 iPad apps, each containing 8 books. The apps in essence re-create the books word for word and with the original illustrations. However, there are some nice interactive features, including 'read to me' which will read the stories to children and highlight the text as they read along. Each word can be touched to have it read aloud and some of the illustrations includes sound effects. Perhaps the greatest appeal to teachers will be the interactive activities that appear at the end of the books. This will help guided reading and group discussion. The app is designed not to replace the books but enhance the scheme, appeal to reluctant readers and to be used at home by parents with their children.
We are lucky at Tettenhall College that we have been able to form a partnership with Gazoob and use our technology with this new way of teaching reading skills.
Biff, Chip and Kipper will be released on the iPad in October. Visit www.gazoob.com for more information.
The start of term has quickly come around and it has certainly been a busy one. I have been in 6 schools already and there is certainly a great deal of enthusiasm about using the iPad to support learning.
I blogged a few months ago about choosing the best apps for use in the classroom and finding ones that allow for wide use across the whole curriculum rather than closed content apps that have one specific purpose. In July I attended the ADE conference with Apple and there was lots of discussion about the SAMR model (pictured) which is a theory highlighting how technology can be used in education. It starts at the bottom with Substitution (my example of which would be a simple eBook with no interactive features or an app with a moveable clock face) and moves up to Redefinition. Redefinition is the goal for technology in education; to be able to create new tasks that are not possible without the use of technology. I have been discussing this with teachers on my training and thinking about it in terms of my own teaching.
When planning lessons and training I have been keeping in mind the SAMR model. What has struck me instantly in both cases is how streamlined everything becomes. The school iPads have been reduced to apps which cover just over one page with apps like Book Creator, Explain Everything and iMovie forming the core. Pupils creating a book that includes video, voice-overs and images is not possible without technology and the iPad has proved to be a master at this type of activity. It may be worth considering the SAMR model next time you are looking for education apps on the app store.
In line with the streamlined approach to using the iPad in Primary Education, my book: A Guide to the iPad in Primary Education has recently been updated to include less apps and more activity ideas. The September update will include over 40 minutes of video tutorials and will be updated for free every month from here on in. It is available for £3.99 on the iBook Store and the update will be available shortly. Please follow this link.
This term I have been using the iPads in school to develop the pupil's speaking and listening skills. Here are a few things we have done.
Gruffalo If you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed a few weeks ago that I shared a video of the animation Year 3 have produced. We focussed on the Gruffalo story and they retold it using the Puppet Pals app. The children chose a character from the story, drew it and on a separate piece of paper, drew the background for it. They then added the characters and backgrounds to the Puppet Pal's library before scripting out their scenes with other children. You can see a few examples at these links here. https://www.box.com/s/b5ercugrc8z5uuwbilm4 https://www.box.com/s/qll9bm05xqdjx61xor9l
We exported the videos to iMovie and even added the Gruffalo soundtrack. However, there is no wifi in Year 3 so I had to film the iPads in order to share. We are now using QR codes in school and I uploaded the videos above to the box cloud app (www.box.com) where you can share a link. I attached the link to a QR Code Creator app and we then put these QR codes in our weekly newsletter for parents to view the videos on their devices. With children creating so much video and audio on the iPads, QR codes are being used more and more to share pupil work.
Advertising Years 5 and 6 have been creating journeys through time using iMovie, Garageband and the Green Screen Studio FX app to impart historical information in an entertaining way. However, amongst that we worked on their advertising skills. We used the Titan Player app to download adverts from youtube to the iPad's camera roll where we put them into iMovie, removed the sound and the pupils added the voiceovers. They also created products in Foldify app, took a screen grab and added that into iMovie to advertise. The last step was to create some background music in Garageband.
Using iPads in education is still new and teachers and schools are still coming to terms with implementing the devices, both from the technical level and for teaching and learning. Virtually every school I visit and training day I run, I am asked the same 3 questions:
Do we have to purchase the app for each iPad? The answer, yes using volume licensing or separate Apple IDs. Where do you find the best apps? Is there an app for...? (Usually a specific objective such as prime factors for Year 6)
The last 2 questions actually create another question: What makes a good App? The world has gone a little app crazy, they are all over the TV, adverts and now education. The common belief of schools is to litter iPads with hundreds of apps. In my opinion, that can detract from the good apps and from the other resources in the classroom. In the last 12 months, I have gone from having approximately 200 apps on my iPad to about 80. I did this by asking another question: (sorry, lots of questions in this post) Does the app do anything different to the other resources we have, whether that is on the existing computers or using physical tools like dice etc?
If the answer to this question is No then the app does not make the most of the iPad and schools are wasting their money buying the iPads to use these apps alone. An example of this came from someone who emailed me asking about apps for measuring angles and protractor skills. My answer, a protractor.
However, if the answer is YES then is usually means that the app is enhancing lessons. The iPad can make things easier for teachers because pupils can lead themselves through the technology rather than being led by the hand. But this is only one advantage. Pupils like using iPads and they are often more engaged when doing so. However, teachers are confined with the content of many apps and they do not always suit the specific objectives of a lesson. There is no point using the device just because the pupils like it and the school has spent a lot of money on them.
App developers are now creating apps that empower the teacher and learner to create their own content. The ever-present apps such as Book Creator and Explain Everything started this but now apps such as Tiny Tap, which allows teachers to create activities using photos, have continued this trend.
There is also the debate of App v Web-App but that's for another time...
The App market is quite saturated with Maths apps, particularly ones where pupils are just tapping on the right answer in an activity which is just a digital version of a worksheet with colour and sound. For me, the most useful feature of the iPad is the fact it has a camera which can be accessed from many apps.
This week I have been working with Year 5 pupils who have been learning about different types of angles. Once they understood the different types, they displayed their knowledge by finding angles in the classroom, taking a photo and importing into an apps such as Educreations or Explain Everything where it can be labelled and annotated. Simple idea I know but a good use of the iPad's features. Can anyone spot the mistake?
This week I have been using the foldify app for the first time with my pupils. Basically, the app allows pupils to design various 3D nets using brushes and objects. The key aspect is that pupils can see their net in its 3D form in real time by rotating it. Once the net is designed, it can be shared using email or uploaded to the foldify website and printed so that that the shape can be made physically. Year 3 pupils have been using it to create Cereal boxes and drinks carton linked to their packaging topic. Year 6 have also been using it to investigate nets and 3D shapes. More info can be found at www.foldifyapp.com
New to MathBoard 2.0 (currently iOS Only) is the inclusion of Math Activities. These activities include Find the Sign, Equality/Inequality, and Match Math (a memory game). Each activity is based upon the current settings level, so the difficulty will vary based on the student’s knowledge.
So here I am typing this blog post on my new Apple iPad Mini. I had to a wait about a month for mine as I think that iPads should always be Cellular as it is a mobile device. Having used the iPad 3rd Generation for personal/business use and the iPad 2 with my pupils, how does the iPad Mini compare? Purely from a personal point of view, I find the iPad a better user experience than the bigger iPad. The reason being form factor. The weight, size and overall iPad is just easier to use. For example, when using the bigger iPad in bed, I would always have to keep my knees up to take the weight of the iPad. This is not the case with the iPad Mini, which I can hold for a longer period of time. I also find typing easier because I can either type in landscape mode or when moving around, using my thumbs in portrait.
Retina Display Much has been made of the lack of Retina display on the Mini but for me it is not too much of an issue. Yes, the display is not quite as good but the portability and size of the Mini make up for it. A retina display iPad Mini will probably hit stores next year or the year after but until then I am happy.
Education Will these Minis sell well to schools? I work in a Primary school and train a lot of Primary school teachers on how to use the iPad effectively. Schools will instantly see the price tag and think that they will save £130 per iPad. However, younger pupils will find the iPad Mini's screen a little too small I feel, particularly those in Key Stage 1 and Early Years. I do not feel they have the accuracy and control to manage a tablet of this size. The light weight iPad Mini will end up being swept off desks by pupils trying to tap apps a little too firmly. Key Stage 2 may find the size better but I do believe that the bigger iPad is still the right size for Primary aged pupils. The Mini, I feel, will certainly do well with older pupils, particularly University Students, who are on a lesser budget but want a complete iPad for textbooks and web reference. The portability also means that things like outdoor activities are easier to manage and it will certainly take up less space/weight in those backpacks. However, the real market is with adults and particularly teachers. I spend a lot of time standing in front of pupils and teachers, demoing apps and the iPad Mini is just so much easier to do that. Unlike the bigger iPad, you can hold it comfortably in one hand and put it to your waist whilst talking. Also, the Lightning connector has a reassuring click to it which keeps the VGA adaptor to the projector in at all times. Unlike the 30 pin adaptor which would fall out at the slightest movement and was always embarrassing when the screen went black. I know this is the case for many teachers, consultants and people in business.
Only time will tell on how schools and the general public embrace the smaller iPad and whether it will eat into the bigger iPad's sales but my 3rd Generation iPad is currently on ebay. We will see.
Math Party was one of the first Maths apps I downloaded on the iPad and I have used it ever since. Pupils love it because it's competitive and teachers love it because of it's depth. The basic idea is multiplayer on one iPad where the objective is to put the moving numbers in size order faster than your opponent. There are four levels of difficulty including numbers to 10 through to sums.
The latest update adds multiplication only questions, putting letters in alphabetical order and Roman numerals. This really makes the app effective across both Maths and Literacy from Early Years through to adults. A great app, check it out.
iOS 6 adds a much-needed feature—the ability to use Upload, Select File, or Choose File buttons and links found on websites for submitting files. Previously, when browsing websites that have a button for uploading files, nothing would happen when you tapped it on iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. Now with iOS 6, tapping that button on webpages brings up your Media Library where you can select an image or video to upload.
Because of this simple addition to the operating system, you can change your profile photo on social networks, upload photos to a blog, insert a photo on a Linoit canvas, and submit videos to websites from iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch without having to install an app.
This is a big deal for schools using iPads. Email has been a primary way for teachers to collect student work (which often might be an image or a video). Email can be challenging to set up in school environments, especially on shared devices. Furthermore, email has file size limits—most notably you cannot email videos longer than 50 seconds using iOS's Email app.
So being able to simply navigate to a website or course management system and upload is handy. I love that there's no need for a separate app, which is the way many sites have dealt with the limitation. For instance, the only reason to use the Edmodo iPad app (aside from it remembering your login) is to upload photos and video. And it has been a multi-step process to add media to an Edmodo post from a device's photo library. With iOS 6, you can simply upload directly to a post on Edmodo by tapping the File link. It's so great that the File link now works, even though it feels like it should have worked like this from the beginning. A handy way to collect student work is with Drop It To Me. It's a free service that gives you a URL where others can upload files directly into your Dropbox account. Students do not need a Dropbox account, only the teacher receiving the files needs one. Before signing up for Drop It To Me, you to sign up for a Dropbox account. Drop It To Me works well for collecting videos from Apple devices. Drop It To Me has a file size limit of 75 MB, which should be large enough to accept a video that's six minutes in length. Students can simply go to a teacher's Drop It To Me page, input the page's password, and select a file to upload. The video then shows up in the teacher's Dropbox. However, because you cannot change the name of an image in your Photo Library, photos submitted through Drop It To Me overwrite each other because they have the same file name.
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