Thursday, March 19, 2015

iPads as a Teacher Tool


So, you’ve got a brand new iPad...or maybe it’s not brand new, but you’re not sure how you could use it in your classroom. Your iPad can be a transformative tool in your classroom: it can free you from your whiteboard, free you from your laptop during lessons, take pictures of student work and project them instantly and then allow you or a student to annotate the work from anywhere in the room.

iPads a great mobile devices for monitoring notes - not only can you create handwritten notes, but you can add pictures, annotate on the pictures, and quickly send the file to cloud storage such as Evernote, Dropbox, or an email account. The recording features allow you to capture video or audio in your classroom directly, or even create a tutorial video to share with students who are absent. Your iPad combined with a video you’ve created is a great tool to put in front of a group of students that might need to hear a lesson again for reinforcement.

If you don’t have an interactive whiteboard (IWB), there are free apps allow IWB-like functionality from anywhere in the room. The camera on current generation iPads is high quality, so your iPad is a powerful document camera/visualizer.

Have some students who could benefit from technology like Talk to Text? There are great free options for iPad apps that will allow a student to talk into the iPad - and then the app creates the digital text. Students can then edit as needed and share with their teacher.

We like to think of the iPad as the Swiss Army Knife™ of teacher tech tools.

Because the iPad is by far the most popular tablet device, your app choices are almost unlimited. Many educational apps are free, or at least have a free version that you can try to see if it is a useful addition to your teacher toolbox. That said, the large array of app choices can also be a bit overwhelming. Below, we’ve collected some apps that we have seen teachers using with great results in their classrooms.

Is there an app you love that isn’t listed? Share its name and how you use it to transform your classroom in the comments below!

Apps We Love

Allows you to control your computer and all applications on your computer from anywhere in the room - has a wide range of annotation tools, so you or your students can be “writing” on your whiteboard from across the room. Doceri also allows you to take pictures of student work and project that work...gone are the days of a student having to “surrender” their work to place under the visualizer.

Super simple, reliable way to transfer photos and videos wirelessly from your iPad (or iPhone) to any computer with an internet connection.

from the creators: “Educreations is a unique interactive whiteboard and screencasting tool that's simple, powerful, and fun to use. Annotate, animate, and narrate nearly any type of content as you explain any concept. Teachers can create short instructional videos and share them instantly with students, or even ask students to show what they know by creating their own video. Especially helpful for classrooms without an interactive whiteboard.”

from the creators: “Noteshelf lets you take notes, annotate PDFs, sketch ideas, sign contracts, fill forms, print documents and more right on your iPad. Syncs with Evernote and works with all popular cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Box.”

from the creators: “Evernote is the modern workspace that helps you be your most productive self. You’re on the path to something big — Evernote is where you do the work to achieve it.

- Write notes of all types, from short lists to lengthy research, and access them on any device.
- Collect web articles, handwritten notes, and photos to keep all the details in one place.
- Find your work quickly with Evernote’s powerful search.
- Present your work as it takes shape for better collaboration in meetings.”

from the creators: “Dropbox lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Access any file you save to your Dropbox from all your computers, iPhone, iPad, and the web. With Dropbox you’ll always have your important memories and work with you.”

from the creators: “Get started with Google Drive for free and have all your files within reach from any smartphone, tablet, or computer. All your files in Drive – like your videos, photos, and documents – are backed up safely so you can’t lose them. Easily invite others to view, edit, or leave comments on any of your files or folders.”

A fully customizable gradebook - it won't replace infinite campus, but because of its ability to be customized, makes a great monitoring notes tool

from the creators: Join over 50,000 teachers, who say "Say goodbye to your coffee can with popsicle sticks and say hello to Stick Pick!" Pick a student at random with just a tap, swipe, or a shake -- but that’s just the beginning. Stick Pick suggests question starters for learners at different levels and also records how well students respond during classroom discussions.

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This is a professional blog associated with the Ed Tech Department of Aurora Public Schools. Comments and suggestions are welcomed and appreciated, but please keep in mind that this can be used in classrooms and viewed by anyone.