This fall we will be supporting teachers who bring their own devices by ‘gifting’ apps to them. We haven’t ironed out all the details, but I’m excited to support what many staff are already doing. We are deploying some ipads and wanted a way to support teachers who are either already using their mobiles, ipads or other smart devices in the classroom or who would like to start. We are going to start by surveying the staff to find out which apps they would like to purchase to use with students.
Although we hope that there will be a connection between the requested apps and our School Improvement focus on critical and creative thinking, we are pretty open to supporting any reasonable request that comes our way. We will purchase the apps as gifts for the staff members so that they can download them to their own devices. I have been playing around with some apps on both my ipad and my iphone and here are some that have my interest at the moment:
Snapseed: I love playing around with the many photography apps I have installed, including hipstamatic, swankolab, camera+, and several others. What I really like about Snapseed is that it is really easy and intuitive to use. I can definitely see students having a hoot with this and producing some very cool products. You can read the Wired review of snapseed for some more information. The iTunes cost is $5.00.
360 Pano: This app is very easy to use and will allow you to build a 360 panoramic photo in no time at all. I imagine asking students to capture their places of learning using this app and then sharing on our school blog, and I am sure that there are many other interesting ways students can showcase their creativity with this app. Cost in iTunes is $1.99
Popplet Lite: Popplet is a mind-mapping application that allows you to brainstorm ideas, represent them visually and build upon them. I can see individual students and groups using this app to generate and organize ideas for writing, podcasting, and creating other media content. This app is free in iTunes.
Explain Everything: This is a screencasting app recently mentioned on the Langwitches blog, where you can read a review. I can see students using this to create and record presentations and for teachers to record content for students to view at home. The cost on iTunes is $2.99.
Prompterous: This application turns your ipad into a teleprompter – perfect for students recording a podcast, or for a teacher creating a webcast or screencast of instructional content. Perfect for use while recording mini lessons for students to view at home. The iTunes cost is $1.99
iRecorder Pro: This is a very simple to use recorder that also allows wi-fi transfer or recorded content to your computer. Students have used this to record poems and I can see it being very useful for recording primary students reading for fluency. The cost on iTunes is $2.99.
iMovie: iMovie is an application many of our staff and students are already using. This app allows them to record, edit and publish movies. Cost on iTunes for iMovie is $4.99.
Dragon Dictation: This is a voice recognition application that is very easy to use and, in my experience, has a great accuracy rate. It can be used by students to record their thoughts and ideas and is especially useful for students who have difficulty writing things down. Teachers can also use it to record feedback on student work. It converts it all to text, which can then be emailed. Free on iTunes.
Splashtop (Remote and Whiteboard): Splashtop Remote allows you or your students to access content on a desktop via a wi-fi connection. Great for presentations. Splashtop Whiteboard is fairly new addition and it turns your ipad into a mini whiteboard, as demonstrated here. iTunes cost for Remote is $4.99 and for Whiteboard is $9.99.
Skyview Explorer: I just love this app. We had so much fun with it over the summer, exploring the night skies up at our cottage. I imagine that this would be a great app to support the Grade 6 science curriculum strand on understanding earth and space systems. Also, it is just great fun. Cost on iTunes is $1.99.
So, for less than $40.00 you have a little collection of apps that will encourage students (and staff) to create and share incredible content, as well as having fun learning about our universe. The list is by no means exhaustive – just the tip of the iceberg. What apps are you using in the classroom?