History apps

Titanic There are some really good histoy apps around for iOS. Some of them may well have Android versions if you check. HistoryApps has a number of freed educational history apps which seem to be for younger children or those young at heart. TechRadar recommends apps for an older age group but most of them seem to be paid apps. There are two free ones , though, which are well endorsed: National Geographic’s Titanic and Streetmuseum’s Londinium. Timeline Eons is another really good free app for history. eLearningIndustry has free apps for teaching American history.

Retention rates for app categories

education apps

Image: BusinessofApps

I’ll just let you bask in the glory of this. Just let it sink in and have its impact.

“Surprisingly, educational apps scored second highest across both operating systems and eCommerce ranked third.”

It’s not surprising. Inspite of occasional negative press, educators have worked hard on finding the right apps for students. Parents have worked on sorting out the good apps from the not so desirable. Teachers and parents have worked together to find and support the best apps for learning. Schools have spent hours putting in the infrastructure and expertise to get mobile and technology learning going. Teachers have spent hours working out how to use mobile apps and encourage their use  in and out of class. That education apps has come second to gaming is a glorious moment at the end of 2015. The last 3 years have been intense trying to match apps and classrooms, apps and flipped learning, apps and personalised learning. It’s not a surprise. It’s a fantastic reward for a lot of hard work on Twitter, blogs and webinars by educators and developers. It has been a global collaboration where tools and mobile learning has been shared and fostered. When I first started this blog the site analytics rated education as low and that I should consider other things to get traffic and a higher profile. I said then we needed to raise the impact of education on the internet because it should not be considered as low ranking.

It’s good we can now have data from places like Adjust via Business of Apps.Teh information on this website is really useful.  It means we can look at what we are doing as educators and get feedback. it is important we hold a firm, strong place on the internet because it is where much of our material and resources are shared. We need to know that we can hold a solid place in the world rankings of internet things. Should we aim to come first in 2016? What would we need to do to do that?

Be Curious

Curious

Learn something!

Learn something! Curious is a site designed for anywhere any time learning and you can bring your own device. It has an iPad/iPhone app where you can access the free learning videos or make in app purchases if you wish. The site will only get better as people learn about it, learn from it and contribute to it. It states clearly in its terms of reference that it is a site which supports education and it also takes some pride in presenting competent materials which are organised into logical learning groups. The videos range in length and you can deliberately pick the short ones of about 5 minutes if you wish. Others are around 20 minutes so it is a site which enables you to capitalise on those dead times in a week where you might be forced into waiting so that you can use the time happily to learn. There is also the Curious 52 learning challenge which they ran last year and would hopefully repeat this year. It is a site which supports anyone who wants to learn.

My iPad is having a spaz attack!

iPads in the classroom

iPads in the classroom

Well, that was fun. Friday double lesson is 2 hours of 31 year 8s and 31 iPads. We were week 1 , Term 4 and it was iPads behaving badly. Did I want to bring back the books and pens? No way ,but it was an interesting test of my skills to keep 31 students and their iPads on track no matter what. Unless things go wrong , you have no idea what you are capable of. I am capable of producing a lot of wires, talk and trouble shooting while I simultaneously keep my lesson going. To think I had given up multitasking. In crisis management mode you have to multitask and run the calm universe in parallel to the chaotic one. We were working. We were supposed to be creating a photo montage which we were labelling in French to load up onto the LMS . I had created the task that morning but the task showed Saturday’s date and one student spotted that. Well spotted and then it was on…

“Mrs. Woods, my iPad apps are jumping shut. Look! “ He appeared at my desk to demonstrate the offending iPad behaviour. “So, what do you think the problem is?” I asked. “My iPad is having a spaz attack.”

“Okay , so shut it down and start again and we’ll see. “ He did that but it was still misbehaving. It had 142 games apps updates to install and 15 other apps updates. He had numerous apps open. We closed those, cleared the cache and I got him to download a different document reader and all was fine for 5 minutes. “My iPad is flat.” I plugged in the charger and he sat on the other side of my desk.

My iPad has an exhausted stream. Look!” came the voice of another student. “Oh, now the battery has run out.” He borrowed my spare iPad and got on with the work. ” I can’t upload my file. Look, I’ll show you. “ This was another student. So we connected the iPad to my laptop, transferred the file and I logged into his LMS profile and he uploaded it in 2 seconds. That done, another student had exactly the same problem. Repeat process. In the meantime there was a student moaning and groaning because his iPad was so slow. “Close all your open applications, shut it down and start again.” Smiles this time. I thought that might have been it but this just kept going on all lesson and I had to keep swapping leads, connections, getting them to shut down and restart their iPads or use my laptop to transfer files and access things they couldn’t. The one student with a laptop couldn’t get on the Net so he had to see the technicians. Technology behaving badly. First week of term and it can only get better. It was a funny lesson , though. Year 8s will just adapt very quickly to any given situation and so you can manage these sorts of technology – based classroom chaos lessons quite well…if you just breathe deeply, smile lots and stay zen.

Are you tech savvy?

tech savvy Are you tech savvy? Does it matter? Is a child better than you? Is that true? You can try the test here. I got it form an article about 6 year olds being more competent technologically than adults. It is a British study which is being reported on and the article is worth a read because it discusses digital trends in the young and how they use technology. As a teacher that kind of information is invaluable. I knew my Year 8s were trying to get on SnapChat in lesson time. I only had to have them at my desk looking at their iPad work when a little message came up. I then had to show them how to log out of SnapChat so it would not disturb their attention during lesson time. Has not been an issue since. The test itself is very vague and general and I would have expected to score above average on it. Digital awareness and understanding are umbrellas for so many skills and capabilities these days. People do tend to group around certain aspects of technology according to their age. The backbone of Twitter is mainly older people. Pinterest is largely driven by women. Will your lessons collapse because you don’t know about SnapChat or Instagram? No, they won’t, but you might fall foul of the negatives of technology if you don’t have some awareness of what software is popular with the young and how they are using it. The research seems to promote the notion you are more digitally competent if you can use cognitive interaction really well. YouTube, Spotify, Chatting, knowing apps are all consumer activities. Knowing where these things might fit in to something else you are doing is good. Knowing you can use them might help you make a more productive use of your devices. In a classroom we should always be aiming for explicit interaction. One of the first things I noticed when I had year 8s this year with their iPads was that they knew a lot of apps, were using the iPads as toys, thought if they had an iPad it was more important than anything or anyone around them, thought the iPad would run the lesson, they could use their iPad to annoy and undermine others, they loved their iPads. The journey began. We know now that the iPads can be put away and down when someone is speaking. We know we can crowd source help and information  impressively across a class using our iPads. We know our knowledge of apps can help us get a really good list of resources to work on an assignment. We know there are other apps like QR code readers, voice synthesisers, word reference, audio editors, image editors , animators, sites for uploading work, LMS messaging which can enhance our knowledge and skills. My year 8s now understand it is a team effort. A child has a way of doing things but an adult has life experience and a brain which has developed fully. Add that to performance standards, teaching experience, life experience, teaching guidelines, curriculum guidelines and technology is used far better. It is a team effort based on knowledge sharing.

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