After attending a workshop in Atlanta last summer, I learned about lots of web 2.0 tools and iPad apps with applications for the classroom. As the presenter warned, it was really overwhelming, and she advised to start off slow. Pick one thing that will make a difference in your classroom and start there.
I ended up picking up blogging, and used Kidblog last year to start a classroom blog. We used it mostly for writing and reading; however, we also used it for social studies, math and science reflections.
We didn’t use iPad apps that much, although many students brought their own iPads, and we used them for web research. We did use two apps quite a bit.
Pic Collage: This is a relatively simple tool, but we found lots of uses for it. The kids figured out how to use it independently and quickly. It works on iPhones and iPods as well. For example, students created posters to represent reflections on reading or to identify character traits, etc. They were then able to share them quickly and easily on their blogs. It was simply an electronic way of making a poster, but they could use the iPad camera to take photos or search for photos to use on the web if they wanted to along with text. Since it was on the iPad, they loved it and were highly motivated.
Educreations: Again, students were able to figure out how to use this very quickly and independently. I like this one personally better than Showme because they can create multiple separate slides then go back and record voice over all of them. They created slideshows to teach and demonstrate strategies to improve oral reading fluency. They also created slideshows on different topics for morning meeting such as, “How to Solve Disagreements,” etc. I used it to create slideshows for students to be able to review social studies vocabulary.
These were the two apps we used last year. I’m constantly perusing lists of great apps for education, and I know we didn’t even scratch the surface last year. I would love to hear from other teachers about the apps they’ve successfully used in their classroom and what they used them for. I’ve often found that an app sounds great, but then it may be difficult to use or the real features need to be paid for, or there’s some glitch in sharing that makes it hard to use, etc, etc. I know there are great ideas out there, but what are the apps you actually use?
What are your favorites?
If you’re so inclined, please leave a comment with the name of the app you use and how you use it. Your time and feedback is greatly appreciated.