I wrote earlier about the coolness of iPads since I had decided to use them to fill in the gap while we were waiting for the laptop rollout. Students reviewed the experience and basically their comments were like these:
How do iPads help you learn French :
1. They help my French by giving me access to the internet so I can look up stuff. The translators are useful if you need to find out how to say something. It was also really fun and something different compared with just writing in our books then speaking to the class. It was also good to hear ourselves to pick up on mistakes we had made.
2. The iPads are exciting and you focus more on the French because you want to use the iPads. I found I finished work quicker and it was right. I learn better when I can touch, feel, play with things so I enjoy using the iPads because I learn faster and understand .
3. They are fun to use which makes us more enthusiastic to learn. I love all the different things you could do on the apps.
4. The recording on the iPads help us with our pronunciation because we practise the conversaton over and over again. It was different. Everyone’s conversations were different and creative so it was more interesting and easier to pay attention.
The translators are something I have to teach them not to use since there are better and more reliable apps for learners on the iPad, but all in all students have summed up well the value of iPads in class.
Couldn’t resist and this French advert has made me revise my position on the paperless world. I now need scientists to get to work and solve this problem so we can dispense with paper – entirely. The ad is very clever and has honed in superbly on the paperless world brigade. The ad has been doing the rounds of social media and I have put it here because it is a gem and I don’t want you to miss it!
In spite of offering embed – you can either click on the vimeo link in the middle of the screen or this hyperlink to the video:
Doesn’t matter whether you call it back up or syncing. What matters is you do it NOW. Keep all your devices backed up. Doesn’t matter whether you choose to sync and back up to a computer or to the cloud or external drive or flash drive, make sure your critical information is backed up. Make sure you have a current back up of your computer. Make sure you back up your email contacts, your phone contacts and important files. We don’t always do it because we get busy. Build it into your routines as you do with any other important task. Put it in your calendar and do it.
At the end of March last year I blogged about my Professional Network and was surprised with how complex it was now since I had branched out into being a connected teacher. I am lucky to have so much valuable input both inline, online and offline!! I had been thinking about how this had changed so I looked at that presentation again. As I reviewed my online professional network I became aware of how much that had changed in a year. My blogs constantly force me to think about what I am doing professionally. To keep blogging, though, I have to have input and that often comes from my online connections, either because I want to share or because I want to follow something up. My Facebook feed now has a number of pages which keep me on the ball professionally. This is also the role Tweet Deck fills. TweetDeck runs my Twitter feed but as TweetDeck you can customise it to run one or more hashtags so you can get up to date information, participate in discussions or simply look for trends and ideas. The TweetDeck timeline also has random input from people other than those I follow. Initially I did not like that change but now feel that it sometimes offers a new look at things from other perspectives and does so out of the blue, so there is a fun aspect to it. Pinterest has also become very quickly one of the corner stones of my online professional development. I can share and gather resources, I can look up theory and practice. It is a rich resource. SlideShare is a community I have long valued since it has improved my presentation skills, allows me to connect with other tertiary educated people, has a wealth of knowledge to access and provides some good challenges and encouragement. I ought to be able to include LinkedIn but I am finding it difficult to get traction. One of the reasons is you need to have email addresses to connect so if I don’t know them I cannot send out the emails and I am not paying for Inboxing on a site which has, as yet, to prove its worth in my life. Other communities I belong to are easier to connect with and develop in a strong way. In this last year I have also made good use of my iPad apps. There are a number which bring me good information or help me to think things out. The iPad has a solid place in my professional life. It makes it very easy to engage with what I want to engage with or it brings me material to consider which I might not otherwise see. This is often courtesy of TeacherCast or FlipBoard. It is quite remarkable how quickly online communities and resources have contributed to my knowledge and development .If it can change this much in a year I am certainly looking forward to the next level of learning.
If you use the search box top right in the menu bar on Scoop.it! you are brought to web pages which display yet more links to current information and uses of IT. There is a great link for teachers who use Macbook Pros and iPads and another really good one for iPads in education. Those two search links will give you an idea of the sorts of things which will come up on a search on Scoop.it! Sites like this are invaluable resources for teachers since they hone in on the essentials and get the information out in an organised fashion. You are not trawling through pages of search engine results trying to find useful materials, information and resources for theory and practice in the classroom.
I have a Promethean Board but there is no way I can use it like Paul Kercal. This man is using his time and talent to show us that our classroom technology rocks! We can all aspire to be this energetic, enthusiastic, skilled and dedicated. He works cross platform so that he is automatically showing the world and his students that diversity is classroom strength. He can teach fluidly as he is using technology but he also allows himself to engage with it so that he and his talents can provide vigour and depth to education and learning. He is talented, that is certain. He is also someone who learns how to use his tools properly and to good effect. He doesn’t skate across the surface of learning. Skill , talent , iteration and then the willingness to take his knowledge and apply it on another device and in another arena. I told you he was good. His YouTube videos are such an inspiration for using technology in a classroom and making it shine.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a serious student of art , whether you want to find out about art, whether you just like to know about art and artists, then Daily Art is the app which will bring some joy to your life. It’s free. It brings you an art piece a day, explains about it, puts it in context for you and then gives you links to other online resources to follow it up if you wish. it is well thought out and well designed. It demonstrates have i-devices can be used to enhance your life as well as your knowledge. Not everyone can get to the gallery. Not everyone can make that exhibition. It doesn’t replace those experiences but it does a good job of sharing the world of art with people.
I saw someone use this app on their iPad over Christmas. It looked really good. Vintage cam is very easy to use and I found it easier than the generic iPad camera app. It instantly made better pictures for some reason. There is the free version so you can try it out with most of the effects and then the paid version for 99 cents where you get 4 more effects and no ads. The ads are not intrusive. It’s just a nice camera app which works on Apple devices and obviously an alternative to Instagram because you can share your images if you want to. Do I need Instagram? No. Do I need Vintage Cam – why yes, I really like the image effects and it has made my iPad more useful as a camera.
Now we have had the Ipads for a while and have been working through some of the issues then using the end of the year to review the apps is proving to be very popular with students in the last week of the year. You can see the review sheet I created and students like it because it was simple. Some students enjoyed testing as many apps as they could but others wanted to look at one or two and go into them more deeply because they had time. It was generating conversations about which apps were good and why and how we could use them in French. There were productivity apps which we had not had time to look at so this was our chance. Students take this kind of reviewing seriously. They also suggested some good apps or could argue why I should get the paid version .
Two apps for your classroom or yourself. One free , one paid. Nasa has a visualisation explorer so that you can get space based information directly to you iPad. This is 2012 and Nasa does a lot to help deliver its deliveries into the real world and allow people to learn about space. The second app is Geo Walk which is a 3D walk around the world with activities so you can experience some of the things and places in the real world on your iPad. It costs $2.99. It runs in English, Spanish and Russian.
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Classroom technology and educating for the 21st Century