Category Archives: iPad

Appcessible – If they don’t know how to use it, they will find out!

I am someone who enjoys finding out how to do things. May be a a trait of a typical man. Throw away the instruction manual and find out yourself. I think this is something that the older generation are not particularly good at. When showing older members of my family how to do things on computers they seem amazed at how much I can do on a computer and all of this without even a GCSE in ICT but with a lot of experience in trying things out and not worrying about making mistakes.

This is one thing that the students have done very well since the introduction of the iPads at PCSA and maybe something that could be developed to involve the students teaching the teachers. Without sounding too old, students today have an excellent desire and ability to find out how to use iPads, apps or ICT.  This maybe down to the way in which apps and iPads have been developed although the ability of the students and young people to pick up iPads and other mobile devices and find out how to use them very quickly.

I have been surprised at how little guidance students require when using some apps such as PuppetPals, Comic Life and Sock Puppets. Students have been able to experiment and show their creative ability where making mistakes is part of the learning process. Producing work using the iPads provides a safe learning environment where mistakes can be corrected by simply pressing Undo or starting again.

Apple have developed a very accessible operating system on the iPad which has now been incorporated in the new OS Lion for the Mac and this shows Apples commitment to provide an accessible device for all. The video below shows how accessible the iPad is and also highlights the need of iPads in education. This child would be pretty bored with a paper version of Jack and the beanstalk and maybe an interactive copy would enrich the learning environment.

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iPad Creative – iPad Creative Blog – 5 ways to start creating wonderful content with your new iPad

iPad Creative – iPad Creative Blog – 5 ways to start creating wonderful content with your new iPad.

Using ComicLife app to produce revision comics

A lesson today saw Year 11 GCSE students use the iPads as part of their revision for their forthcoming exams. Students worked in pairs to produce a revision comic using Comic Life. Students decided to use a range of different sources such as the internet, text books and their work books for information. The students had 20 minutes to produce their comic, following this they were considered experts in their chosen subject area.

Once the comics were completed one member of the pair visited other groups to learn something new from their peers, whilst the other member of the pair used the comic to teach other students within the class. Students were engaged and showed excellent team work and peer teaching skills whilst producing an outstanding revision resource that can be easily shared via email, twitter and also Facebook.

Some examples can be seen below.

The start of the future? Using iPads in the classroom.

Today saw the first lesson where I had planned to use all 9 of the iPads to enhance the learning and had planned to allow the students to be creative when demonstrating their scientific knowledge.

The students were starting a new Assignment and were asked to work in pairs or threes when using the iPads. This allowed for collaboration and continuos feedback from their peers. Students were engaged in the task from the start and enjoyed working collaboratively, where discussions with their partner were always focused on learning. Initially some students were a little dubious about using the iPad as they didn’t know how to use it. However, after a few minutes of demos from myself and their peers they had gained the confidence to give it a go and try different things.

Using Dropbox, I shared the assignment brief with all devices along with some key websites and vital information such as the success and assessment criteria. Students needed to use the internet to research all about maintaining a constant environment within the body to produce a leaflet using Comic life to hand out to runners at this years Race for life. Some QR codes were also positioned around the room which were linked to websites and useful information. This allowed curious students to discover the potential of QR codes, all of whom found them ‘amazing’ and one student commented ‘thats well cool,sir’.

Other members of the class chose to combine their comic with a document produced on Pages where they felt they had more freedom with different fonts and layout.

Some students seemed to be slightly distracted with the cameras and were very amazed by the fact that they could take pictures. Those students where quickly advised that this was not part of the success criteria and were reminded of the expectations. I feel that the pupils felt that they were privileged to use the iPads and treated them with a lot of care and a usually lively class was very quite as the students were engrossed in the iPads.

All work, once completed was then emailed to a faculty account that had been set up as dropbox does not support the ability to upload documents other than pictures and videos. Dropbox doesn’t allow you to email the files to be stored which would be a perfect way to share the work with other users and their devices, although this may be developed in the future. Overall, I feel this lesson was a good introduction into the use of iPads within education.

The power of a faculty twitter account – @PCSAScience

I previously enjoyed the odd tweet here and there but over the past 6 months have really turned into the tweeter or twit that I am today. I have built an excellent network and try to provide tweets that will help my followers as much as the people that I follow help me. After realising the power of twitter as an outstanding tool in education, I decided to start a faculty twitter account for all of the staff to use. Therefore, @PCSAScience was formed.

Initially I was surprised to discover that not many of the students use twitter and only a small handful of students are avid tweeters. After plugging the faculty twitter account with my classes the followers have slowly grown. The number of followers is just shy of 100 consisting of Students, parents, other teachers and interested educational tweeters. I hope that more students and staff will join in with the twitter action and also parents of the students to show a genuine interest in their child’s learning to develop a learning conversation over the dinner table.

I have used twitter to share websites with classes that maybe useful to develop their understanding of certain topics. Some pupils have also enjoyed relevant news stories that I have shared with particular classes to contextualise their learning. When using twitter during lessons I have used twitter to check progress of individuals and form an electronic network within the lesson. This also provides real time feedback to myself as well as other students. Some web tools such www.goanimate.com and http://popplet.com/ have the option to share the students work direct from the application to twitter and this provides an excellent opportunity for collaboration and peer assessment. Some iPad and iPhone application also have this function and with iOS5 this provides endless possibilities to share content from iPhone and iPad. Some apps on the iPad and iPhone also offer the option to share the creations on twitter such as PuppetPals, iCanAnimate and ComicLife.

#tags have been used so that followers can quickly identify relevant tweets and form an easy online revision resource that can be accessed in school, at break, at home and on the move. I hope that twitter will help students to learn and also provide an insight into lessons at Priory Community School for parents and also educational tweeters and is an excellent way of sharing best practise.

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Just Dance 3 – Autodance app

Just a little bit of fun for the classroom. With the idea that all pupils need to have a laugh every now and then and also to show that the Teacher does have a personality and a fun side.

Using the app Just Dance 3 Autodance that is available for iPhone and Android. It is also available to download on the iPad as an iPhone app. You can film pupils undertaking work or practical activities or your faculty teaching. The app then does all the hard work putting it together to a choice of three songs. Easy free idea to put together a short video to document the students lesson or an excellent tutor time activity to build confidence and develop team work and creativity.

Just Dance 3 Autodance – app

http://just-dance-thegame.ubi.com/just-dance-3/en-gb/autodance/index.aspx

 

Smart Phones – In the pocket or the palm?

There has been a lot of debate to whether Head Teachers should ban smart phones. According to the Guardian the view of the NAHT is that schools should continue to ban smart phones because they hold “potential for mischief and distraction”. My view on this quite bold statement will be discussed during this blog post and I am sure that this blog will be the first of many issue around this topic.

I strongly feel that the view of smart phones having the  “potential for mischief and distraction” is one made by someone who does not fully understand the potential that these devices that are currently lying ‘dormant’ in the students pockets and could have massive impact on teaching and learning. A manageable acceptable use policy would need to be in place and if these students did not use there mobile devices in the correct manner then they would lose the right to use them. A large element of trust must be placed in the hands of the students to use their devices appropriately.

We must remember that in the current economic climate schools may not have money to spend on new technology and with funds being cut to develop technology, using the pupils smart phones or mobile devices will bridge the technology gap without significant investment from the school. The devices that are now in the pockets of students is an excellent opportunity to engage students in learning in a way that can develop their own independent learning skills and also “capture the vast amount of informal learning going on outside the classroom”. The opportunities available to students to access the internet and also applications that are available on smart phones and mobile devices are endless.

I strongly feel that Smart Phones and Mobile devices should be encouraged in the classroom these will provide an engaging up to date way of learning. From first hand experience I have used smart phones and mobile devices such as PSPs, Nintendo DS and iPads to allow less able students to access key information from the internet to aid in their learning. This has really engaged these pupils in learning and increased their enjoyment within the lessons.

I am lucky enough to work within a school that provides the opportunity for students to bring their own device into school to access free WiFi that is available to all students all over the school campus. I wish to develop this opportunity with the students and would love to see the full potential that Smart Phones and mobile devices can offer in education both within the classroom and on the all over the school campus. It is no longer, ‘put your phones away!’ but ‘put your phone to good use!’

So reviewing the big question from the start… Smart phones definitely belong in the palm of the students to aid learning and provide an up to date learning environment which will engage all students.

apps

I am a firm believer in that having an iPad or any Apple product is to do things differently and not carry out the same task just on a different device. For example I wouldn’t use an iPad to write up a piece of work in the classroom when a computer room was available. I totally agree with the advertising slogan ‘Think different’ dreamt up by Apple in 1997. If they thought differently in 1997 and made Apple what it is today then we can definitely think differently today, imagine the potential of your students now if you encouraging them to think differently.

As previously mentioned in my first blog I strongly feel that iPads and iPhones should be used creatively in classrooms to develop creativity and provide opportunities for all students to learn in a way that is relevant to them.

Applications available from the app store provide an excellent resources that is accessible and relatively cheap. It provides an easy way to personalise your device and your learning.

On the blog I wish to share some excellent apps and hopefully provide a new way of thinking towards some of the apps that aren’t directly linked to education. I find that using subject specific apps do not provide a creative way of learning although they do enrich the learning journey.

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