“Best use” strategies with new apps

Posted: September 11, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

A short post from me this time, and I start with a confession:
I have not used Prezi as I feel I ought to have done. Never being a PowerPoint aficionado, I thought that I would rectify the deficit – but now looking back, I see that time and application has been lacking.
And so I am proposing building a bank of teaching ideas and strategies with (in particular, new iPad) apps.

At present, it feels a bit too much like Christmas, and I am a six year old. I’m looking at posts on Twitter that promote “the 5 best apps for the classroom” or “50 Edtech tools” and I’m eagerly reading about them, often downloading them and using them – briefly. Then, unless I persevere (and going back to the Christmas analogy), I tend to become entranced by the next present in the pile. I’ll give the instructions a cursory glance at best and some of these items deserve a little more attention. A good case in point was the ShowMe app – I had a quick look, dreamed about it for a little while, and have not got ‘back’ to it since.

So, working on a few premises; that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, that education is still about content, content, content before technology, that the way it operates in the classroom and the way a class ‘operates’ (and is taught) cannot be replaced with a gimmick or something only half utilised, I am looking to make amends. No death-by-powerpoint by reducing a resource to its most mundane level.

And so, the idea is that I will road test a number of apps in the (predominantly) English class room. I’m thinking that spending about half a term (five weeks) would be about right, starting after our September school holidays (Australia). From this I hope to:

  • Review those apps that are most useful to teachers, those for students and those that work for both
  • Compare those that are similar to other apps out there (and perhaps, where an app falls short in the classroom)
  • Collate any other information that is out there that you can offer.
  • And after all this, I hope to Create a series of lesson ideas and strategies that help utilise an app to the fullest extent.

Currently, I’m not sure where to start – suggestions gratefully accepted, as will be re-tweets to a wider audience and pointers to places where it may have already been covered. Only relatively new to blogging, so am not looking to unnecessarily reinvent the wheel!

I’ll look to provide a later blog per app, with any and all appropriate information and resources collated. Hopefully it’ll stretch beyond the English classroom to broader teaching and learning use.

Looking forward to hearing from you in the meantime…

  1. @rolfek says:

    Hey Clive,

    iPads are becoming closer in functionality to a laptop which is exciting. There are still limitations but there are also some features that make them quite powerful including the fact that you can record and edit video simply and also utilise the touch interface bringing about a different interaction. Apps really make things amazing though!

    There are many great starting points!
    – Document edits: documents can be edited like you would on a computer. Apps like Pages are becoming more powerful and the new feature of pages that you can open in another app brings about the possibility of submitting work directly, into an assignment in your “canvas” LMS. Editing documents collaboratively can also be very powerful and this is possible properly now within the google drive app. (Login required)
    – Movie Creation apps are great for realising scripts, creating news bulletins etc. iMovie is a great base for these but there are a number of other apps that do it well and have specific features.Apps like “explain everything” are superb for narrating and annotating over slides or photos and save as a video file onto the camera roll. Animation apps that utilise stopframe animation can also be great for creating interesting movies of a different form.
    – Creating eBooks (.epub files) is highly achievable now as well. A lot of the online “web2” options for this are still flash based but apps like “Creative Book Builder” or “Book Creator” are pretty amazing in their simplicity and power (and they can be worked to get a whole lot more as well!)
    – Creating audio recordings using GarageBand or similar to overlay tracks and add appropriate music and sound affects.
    – Stimulus material apps like StoryStart, AnIdeaFree or DramaticPlus can get a writing exercise started very quickly.
    – English Text apps. There are a number of text specific apps that are amazing. They bring a lot of features that a static book cannot.

    Well that should be a good start!!!
    Have fun and good luck!!

    • cgparkin says:

      Thanks Rolfe, for having a look at the site and, even more so, for the level of detail with your comment! Certainly something further for me to muse over. At present I am looking at doing my first ‘Explain Everything’ presentation to provide the background for an extended drama game called ROBOT. I’ll let you know when I post it. Cheers, Clive

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