Saturday, November 19, 2011

The 5 must have apps for a class set of iP@ds

In the next few days, I will be rolling out a class set of iPads. Below are 5 apps that will be essential to making this pilot work.

Dropbox

Dropbox is going to be key in having a class set of iPads. I had all of my students set up Dropbox accounts using their school email addresses at the very start of the school year. I created a shared folder that all students have access to. I placed all important documents in there for students to access. It allowed me to make only 180 paper copies all year and half of those were permission slips to use the iPads. Students will be able to access all documents I place in the shared folder on the iPad by logging into to Dropbox. When students create new documents or take pictures, they will be able save them in their Dropbox account. I also created shared folders with individual students that will allow them to submit assignments directly to me. I can check them and drop them back without others seeing the graded work. In a shared environment, the app allows for easy logging in and logging out. Another great aspect is that students will be able to access all of their information from a computer or on their own devices. Dropbox allows access to documents from anywhere there is Internet access. It's perfect for my iPad pilot. Without Dropbox, I'm not sure I would had pushed for the class set.

Evernote

As students do research for various projects and essays, Evernote will be a great tool for them to store websites they want for later. Also, it will be a great place for students to take notes in class. They can easily categorize information and notes in different notebooks and freely share those notes with other students. Evernote allows for web access as well and that will enable students to access their information from home or their personal mobile devices. Like Dropbox, Evernote allows students to access their information from anywhere. Information needs to be easily shared in this collaborative endeavor and Evernote is a great tool that allows this happen effortlessly.

Although a separate app, I will add Evernote Peek here as well. It's a wonderful add-on for students who are looking to study their facts and vocabulary words.

Twitter

My students will be engaged in the back channel on a regular basis. They will be using #MrPAmLit for their tweets and I can't wait to see what the stream looks like with all of my students using Twitter. Not all of my students have an account and they will not be required to get one, but I do know I have students that cannot access Twitter from their phones and they are excited to use the iPads to tweet. The students will be able to add their account and will need to delete their accounts at the end of each class. That will take some getting used to, but it will not be a large obstacle in using Twitter in class.

Prezi Viewer

I have banned Power Points in my classroom and have encouraged students to use other presentation tools. Prezi Viewer will allow students to create Prezis at home and view them on the iPad. Even better, students will be able to present their Prezi using the Apple TV connection I set up in my classroom. No longer will students have to log into my teacher station, email the presentation to me or bring a flash drive that may not be compatible with the school desktop. Prezi Viewer will allow all students to present quickly and easily.

Google

It might seem simple, but it is a must have. If I want students to quickly search for information, I will need them to use their Google App. I had students create Google accounts using their school email at the start of the year, so this app will allow students full access to their Google Apps. This was a nice bonus to having students create Blogger accounts. Whether my students are doing research for a project or working on a Google Doc, this Google App will give my kids access to information and tools that will allow them to be engaged in their work.

These are just 5 of the apps I intend to have my students actively using in class. Stay tuned for more details as I pilot this class set of iPads in my American Literature and Composition classes.

- @TheNerdyTeacher