Saturday, September 29, 2012

Finding Good Apps

Sometimes a few reminders of places to go and blogs to check out is a good thing!  And since the update, the app store has taken on a little different look.
One of my favorite places to look is CHARTS in the app store.

You can search the lists by categories.  Remember to check out more than just EDUCATION.  Try BUSINESS, PRODUCTIVITY, PHOTO & VIDEO..... many apps can be adapted to fit into lessons! 

I also like that it breaks the apps down by ranking in both a paid and free column.  

Of course there is also the FEATURED section in the app store as well (see below) which also will break apps down by categories and display them a little differently.  

Changes with the new update inside the SAFARI browser added in the iCloud tabs in which you can access your same tabs by signing into your iCloud on other devices and the update added a new layout for the action button (do something button as I call it!). 

You can use the "Add to Home Screen" option to mark some favorite blogs to follow to watch for good reviews on new apps. To practice, add our blog to your home screen or some other great resources that we have on our App Resource Tab at the top of the blog! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Guided Access - Keeping Students in an App

With the new iOS6 update there were lots of new features but by far one feature has been asked for numerous times by teachers and it's finally here.....Guided Access.
You are now able to lock an app so that students are only able to access that one app.
Here is a quick how to video:  

The uses for this is numerous in an educational setting.
This is not just for management for behavior, we've all had the squirrels that love to do everything they are asked not to, but also for easier use for young students or students with limited motor skills who may click out of apps.

Video was made with screenr (online screencasting software) and reflection app on the computer.  
You can also access the how to video HERE.  

iOS6 Update is out.

It's been out since last Wednesday, so this is your friendly reminder!
For most people this update can be done "wirelessly", meaning you do not need to plug into a computer to update.  I do caution - depending on your wireless strength, it may take 45 mins to 4 hours (I'm hearing various reports!) - so I suggest plugging your iPad into power and doing the install before you leave the office or go to bed at night!

To find the update go to:
          Software Update
It will then walk you through the steps.

There are many new features with this update - each depending on the device you have.  This update is for the iPad2 and the New iPad, newer generations of the iPod Touch, and the later iPhones.
Here is the Apple page on the new update showing some of the new features.
Since there are many, we will be posting on a few that we feel are the most beneficial to the classroom.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Google Docs on the iPad? Updated Google Drive is here!

Google Document collaboration with the iPad is something we've all been waiting for and with the recent update to the Google Drive app, it's just made sharing and collaborating with Google Docs on an iPad much easier.  Though I am still waiting for Google Spreadsheet and Presentation to be editable, for now this update will certainly do for use in the classroom!

Before this update, docs could be done through the Google App or by accessing it through the browser.  Any of us who had been using it know it wasn't very slick, pretty glitchy, and for students it was a little bit overwhelming.  
Through the Google Drive app, things are now a lot more user friendly! 

Here's the new layout:

Start a new document, create a new file, add a picture, or upload from the photo album on the iPad (another way to share videos and photos between your iPad and computer without emailing!) :

Add collaborators by choosing the folder or file and clicking the small + button (circled in red):

Or click the "do something/action" button in the right hand corner to show all your available actions with that folder or file including share (add collaborators), rename, move in (move to folder), and remove:

When you open a file you default to a "view" version of the document:

In the "Edit" version of the document you have basic font options, alignment, bulleting, as well as being able to see current viewers as you would with Google Docs on through the browser.  You are able to watch real time collaboration with other viewers as they type or work on the document.

My wish list for future updates to the app:
  • Ability to add comments.  This is a current disadvantage for teachers who use this for editing comments and peer editing. 
  • Chat capability in the sidebar.  Disadvantage or advantage depending on the students! 
  • Ability to edit Presentations and Spreadsheets.  I hope this comes soon, though you can view both in this current version of the app.  
For basic collaborative writing or for student document management this app makes the iPad more viable for Google Docs with your writing instruction!  

Photos for this post were done using the snipping tool in Windows 7 along with the reflection app for the computer.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Classroom Management with ClassDojo and the iPad

ClassDojo is an online tracking system for positive and negative behavior, that if you haven't had a chance to explore, you should really take the time.  I mentioning it now because the website has a nice, easy to use app for the iPad and iPhone.

ClassDojo App by Class Twist Inc  - Free with no ads!

Don't assume this is a primary site - it has potential through upper grades as well!  (I used the site with 6th grade math - they still like reward systems!)
What is ClassDojo? (as described from the site)

ClassDojo is a classroom tool that helps teachers improve behavior in their classrooms quickly and easily. It also captures and generates data on behavior that teachers can share with parents and administrators.  Better learning behaviors, smoother lessons and hassle-free data - and its free!

  • Log in and Sign up at the ClassDojo website.
  • Follow the guided tour and add your classes. 
  • In "Edit Class" manage students and add behaviors that fit the needs of the class. 
  • Under "Report Cards" set up to send emails to parents, view whole class behavior and points or by individual student.  

Sign in to the account on the iPad and record as you move about the room.  The information syncs between website and app making it easy to access the data that you have collected.   Project the class up on the screen (students love the avatars!) and discuss behavior at the end of the class period or have students nominate students for positive behaviors that they noticed during class that may have gone unnoticed by the teacher.    

More advanced and interactive use allows the students and parents to use their own code to log in and view their points.  

Between the website and the app - the data collection aspect is easy and valuable and worth the few minutes to get it set up! 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pinnacle Studio - Movie Creation App for the iPad


Pinnacle Studio by Corel Inc. is an iPad app that rivals the power of  iMovie.  Create clips, add images, titles, transitions, clip video, voice record, etc.... if you have an iPad 2 or even better the high resolution 3 - this is a must download!

Here is a simple little demo video on YouTube.

One iPad in the Classroom

We met with 20 teachers from around the region. All had varying levels of iPad experience.  Our goal was to tackle how to incorporate this tool into the classroom....when there is only one!

Here's a run down of ideas we brainstormed, apps we explored and/or activities we did:

*used SKITCH to introduce ourselves to the group. Fun photos were made using photo booth!
*talked about basic settings, making sure to have Find my iPad turned on and using FIND MY IPHONE, *using reminders to make a student list so students know who to pass the iPad to next...

*we used reflection on the computer to project creations, discussed how to use reflection to monitor the use of the iPad while it is out being used by students, and talked about pros and cons of reflection.

*after discussing ideas for using the iPad with the students the task was to use EDUCREATIONS or SHOW ME to create a screencast of one way they feel that they would use their iPad with their students.  We then did a pair-share of our creations.

*teacher use of one iPad in the classroom brought us to the topic of remotely controlling the computer with the iPad and we demonstrated SPLASHTOP 2, discussed linking your computer and the iPad with a google account, and showed how to control activinspire flipcharts from around the room.

*teacher use included also an explore time of eportfolio collections for students and two apps:  EVERNOTE and THREERING and collecting and posting assignments with EDMODO.

*more professional development use of the iPad included a discussion of using rss readers, blogs, and other apps.  A few of the apps we discussed were FLIPBOARD and ZITE for content consumption.

As I was updating this post on my iPad during the training using the simple little BLOGGER app (I also took and added the pictures with my iPad inside the app) I realized why quite a few of the participants walked away saying they were very "brain full" after it was over!  We covered a lot of apps!