Monday, August 27, 2012

Using My iPad in the Classroom This Year (Redux) #edchat

Two years ago today, I wrote a post about how I was going to use my iPad in the classroom. It was simply titled "Using My iPad in the Classroom This Year". To my surprise, it is my most visited post of all time with over 37,000 page views. That is about 20,000 more than my second most read post. I thought it would be fun to do an updated post having used the iPad in my class for two years. Now that I have a class set of iPads, the number of apps that I use or will be using has changed and I thought I would share that with everyone.

Safari - FREE

This is still a go to app. My students are always encouraged to look up things on the internet when they have questions or need to do research. It is fast and simple to use. There are very few problems I have encountered with using Safari and will continue to use it happily.

Evernote - FREE (or Premium Account)

This should not come to much of surprise for those that read my blog on a regular basis. I've had decided to embark on an Epic Evernote Experiment that will use Evernote in many different ways with many different pieces of hardware. I will be sharing all of the reading material for the entire school year on Evernote as well as having students use it to take notes in class and create e-portfolios. I will be using it for all of my lesson planning and storing of different bits of information I think I will need later using the web clipper tool. This app will allow me to move away from the word od space eating filing cabinets and allow me to focus more time on instruction and innovation and not copy making. I upgraded to the premium account because of the added benefits of sharing, editing and space and I couldn't be happier. 

PS Touch - $9.99

I'm not much of an artist or a big whiz with Photoshop, but I have used this app multiple times on the go to create and or edit photos for presentations. It is easy to use and provides an tutorial on how to use all of the different aspects of the app. I would love to see all of the amazing things a real photo-editing pro could do with this app. I cannot afford to put this app on all of the student iPads, but I do let students use it when they really want to get their hands dirty with some photo-editing magic. If you love to tinker with photos, then this is the app for you. 

Blogger - Free (iPhone/iTouch Only)

This app is only available as an iPhone/iTouch app, but it works just fine on the iPad. Students will be using their blogs to respond to different visual prompts throughout the year and this is a great app to do that. It's free and easy to use. Students can log in and work on their post or just copy and past it over from their Evernote account. I really want them to create an iPad specific app, but I also want Google to create a Google Drive editing app, but that doesn't seem like it is going to happen any time. Anyway, Blogger is a nice addition to the iPad and I use for some of my posts when I'm on the go. 

I will be working this new app and web-based program into my classroom this year. The apps are free, but there are different levels of subscriptions you can purchase to use the service. It allows the teachers to have guide students in lessons while they follow along on their device. My class is a class of iPads, but it could work for BYOD where students have iDevices and Android devices. It looks like a great way to have students follow along in class, participate in the polls and questions on the tablet and increase engagement in lessons. I think Nearpod is going to be a really cool addition to my classroom. 

Skype - FREE

Skype is a wonderful app if you want your students to communicate with students across the country or one county over. Many students have their own Skype accounts and use it to chat with their friends. As a teacher, I have use Skype to bring experts in to speak to my teachers and administrators as well as connecting my classes to other students. It is a wonderful tool to use in class and one that more teachers need to consider looking at including in their lesson plans. 

iMovie - $4.99

I really encourage my students to make videos because they can be fun and educational. This is a great app that students have loved to use in class. I love that it can allow the user to quickly upload to YouTube when the video is completed. It does take some time to get used to the editing features, but it is worth it when the students create some fun and different projects. The iPads allow the student to be mobile and record in different locations, so iMovie allows them the freedom to edit where they are comfortable. For the video minded students, iMovie is a must for the classroom. 

Twitter - FREE

I use Twitter on a regular basis in both my professional life (@TheNerdyTeacher) and my school life with students (@MrProvenzano). I encourage my students to use Twitter to create a backchannel during class discussions using specific hashtags. The biggest question I get is about students who might be off task and I can only say that if my students are off task, it's because my lesson is boring. A student will not pay attention using any means necessary if they are bored, it's not the app, it's the lesson. Twitter has been used well by my students and I encourage teachers to see how they might use it in their class. 

There are some of the apps I will be using and have used the past couple of years. Feel free to share your favorite apps in the comment section and we can all learn some new things. Thanks for stopping by!

- The Nerdy Teacher

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