Friday, May 25, 2012

ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard (Maths)

The free 'ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard' app would have to be one of the most useful apps in the classroom for both teachers and students.

When I am demonstrating it to teachers I get them to show me a maths strategy they are teaching their students at the moment.

They record their voices talking through the strategy and draw it on ShowMe's Whiteboard.
The final 'ShowMe' can be uploaded to where you can then get the 'embed' code to embed into your wiki, blog or site for students to revisit.

Once the strategy is taught to the students they can then be set similar problems to solve.
They can record their voices explaining how they solved the problems as they write the solution. These can then be shown to the rest of the group or to the teacher. These could be assessment examples that students can add to e-Portfolios.

Have a look at this example from Russell Street School in Palmerston North

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Demo Lesson with Inspiration (Reading)

Yesterday I demonstrated an iPad opportunity with a group of children at Hingaia Peninsula School. They had read the book 'Squid Monster ' by Jill Eggleton
One of the key features of the story was all the emotions the characters were feeling in the book.
The follow up activity was to find other synonyms for the emotions which we did by using the following apps
iPad Apps
  • Inspiration Maps (Free or half price at the moment NZ $9.99) for iPads only
  • Dictionary (Free for iPod Touch and Free for iPad)
Laptop Apps (wireless mirroring to a laptop connected to a projector)
  • Reflection (Mac only NZ$14.99 single user or $49.99 for 5 licenses) this was the one I used but PC users could use the one below
  • Airserver (Mac & PC $14.99 for 5 licenses)
We talked about the different emotions that the characters felt in the story and looked at the highlighted words in the book. Using the mirroring  software I was able to introduce the 'Inspiration' app
  • Find the Inspiration app on the Writing page or Press the Home button once and once again to get to the Search Window, start typing Inspiration tap on the app to open it

  1. Tap on the Templates window
  2. Tap on New Diagram
  3. Type the name of the first character we are looking at
Find the Dictionary app by going to the Page it is on or by pressing the Home button to get to the Search Screen as seen below. Start typing Dictionary and then tap on the app when it appears

Type in the word to be found in this example it is 'anxious'.

At this point there was a lot of discussion about the word 'anxious' and what it meant in the context of the story. The students looked carefully at the Synonyms and talked about which of the words there would be correct to use in the context of the story.
Once they had chosen a word I showed them how to get back quickly to Inspiration to add the new synonym.
Double tap the Home button and tap on Inspiration.
Add the word to the new symbol.
Then click on the arrow to get a new symbol.
Add more symbols, remembering to tap on the first symbol (Tomas) to start the new word synonym find.
All of the students caught onto the moving between apps very quickly. 
When I saw one particular student had become very proficient quickly then I showed her how she could organise her information by colour and shape. She is now the 'Inspiration Expert' in the class. She will be able to share her knowledge by teaching other students.

 In 15 minutes these students were able to
  • find apps using a search function
  • flip between two apps
  • find Dictionary meanings and synonyms in the time it took them to type the word
  • add information to an Inspiration mindmap and organise it
  • how to save their diagram
  • discuss the words and the meanings they were finding and through that discourse make informed choices
Other ideas that came from the teachers observing were that the students could use the note feature for further activities.

They were using an iPad each, and their book Squid Monster. They could have used a paper Thesaurus or Dictionary, but the speed it took them to the information they needed I think they would rather use the iPad.
To begin with this has been about the apps, but students and teachers alike need to know how the apps work before they can make good use of them. Already teachers are thinking about how they can use Inspiration in their reading in a variety of ways.
 At this stage Inspiration is not compatible with the desktop version. These diagrams are saved as pictures and can be emailed or sent to Dropbox.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Management of Apps

Students and teachers can waste a lot of time looking for Apps. They need to be categorised and organised into folders.

Set up 'curriculum' pages.

These could be set up into strand, stages and/or Number Knowledge and Number Strategies.

Students should be directed to the folders that are related to the teaching and learning intention of that day.

Literacy needs to split up into at least Reading and Writing. Depending on how many apps you have you  may split it even further to have a Spelling and Grammar page. In this example I like to have a separate folder that offers many different ways to publish.

In this example the books have been divided up into Junior and Senior Books. You may want to consider reading ages as folder names.
I have separated the 'interactive' books such as Mushroom Age or The Mystery of the Crystal Porter as they have less reading and more interactive tasks in them.
I have divided up the music apps into the different categories of
  • Wind
  • Percussion
  • Strings
  • Singing
  • Piano
There are so many wonderful art apps available. I have separated the drawing ones from the apps that do special effects.

The other curriculum apps like Social Sciences and Science can be divided up between pages as well.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

iPads, iPods & Devices in the classroom

Schools have bought iPads or iPods and given them to teachers.
Schools have bought iPads for their administration teams.
Parents are buying them for their children.
We are hearing that iPads are great to use and...
'there is an app for that!'

I believe that these devices are the way of the future in education BUT they are not a quick fix. Teachers need to understand them and how to use them.