Thursday, January 31, 2013

Introduction to iPads: Part 2--iPad Integration

How does a teacher start to use iPads in the classroom? While Part 1 focuses on the hardware basics, Part 2 focuses on iPad integration in the classroom. Most teachers need to think through a few things about implementation before going full throttle.

iPad management

When I think about introducing a class to something new, I recall the lesson learned in my first year of teaching when I handed out geoboards for the first time. After reflecting, I came to the realization that I need a plan in place for handing out and collecting the resources; to have a procedure for getting students' attention; to discuss the appropriate use; and, to give them time to explore and play in the beginning so I could expect their attention after they got their curiosity fed.

Those lessons learned apply to iPad management as well. Here's a post that explores those tips, and below is a checklist to help.

Click here to view enlarged image.
iPad integration

There are many apps for the iPad; however, I recommend mastering a few ways to integrate iPads to support learning at higher levels of Bloom's Taxonomy when starting off, and not focusing as much on finding different apps.

Some of the apps/sites below require creating accounts, which typically collects the user's full name, email and password. Therefore, children under age 13 are restricted from creating those accounts according to the COPPA laws. This does not mean those sites are harmful to the students, it just means they cannot give out their personal information for their own protection. Therefore, it's recommended to read the Terms of Agreements (especially since they may change from the time I've posted this), and to create a teacher/class account to log into from the devices.

QR codes

When taking students to different websites, it's time consuming to type in the URL, and frustrating when it's mistyped. The easiest and quickest way to go to a website is through a QR (Quick Response) code, which is a type of barcode.

This can take students to a site for them to read, watch a video, listen to audio/music, collaborate or connect with others, comment on blogs, create, research, annotate, interact, ... Of course, the teacher still needs to set expectations for what to do with the content of the site. See examples below:

Recommended sites and apps for QR codes:
  • Kaywa QR Code Generator: You can type in a short message or the URL for students to scan. It will take them directly to the website.
Examples of other ways to use QR codes in the class:
  • Jackie Gerstain shares a great example of using QR codes with the literature story "Zoom." The lesson focuses on problem solving, communication, perspective, and sequencing.
  • Bonnie Barrett uses QR codes to take students to her recorded spelling tests. This is beneficial with a combo class and multiple spelling lists.
  • Creating audio files to play back to students. Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano shares how to record audio files on a Mac and with an iPad app. Richard Byrne also posts about using QR codes to play a short audio clip. 
  • Tony Vincent shares more fantastic ideas on his Learning in Hand blog.

Doodle Buddy

Allowing students to create visuals and annotations has an important role in learning. Doodle Buddy is a simple app for painting, drawing, stamping, and annotating on a clean slate or a picture (including a screen shot).

As an example, here's a graphic I made with Doodle Buddy to help me synthesize and focus a professional development on formative assessments:

Students can also take a photo of their solution, their science experiment, their vocabulary word, their math problem, their literature story, their art, their timeline, their ... and annotate their thoughts, significant points, their questions, ... Annotations are part of the close reading process, which supports the Common Core.

Narrating photos

Students can use their photos, especially those annotated in Doodle Buddy, and add narration to them. There are several apps that allow this. Here are a few simple ones to use:
  • Fotobabble app or desktop site is currently free. It makes narrating and editing a single photo easy. Note: It's recommended that teachers of students under the age 13 create a class account.
Interactive whiteboard with narration

The apps listed in this section are fabulous for teachers and students to narrate concepts through video. What's being written/shown on the whiteboard plus the narration are recorded as a video and uploaded online.

This is fabulous for students to share their thinking, their reflection, their understanding at deeper and higher levels.

  • Educreations is similar to ShowMe because it too functions as an interactive whiteboard and is easy to use. However, Educreations allows you to add pages to the presentation and different types of paper, but it does not have an erasor (it uses "undo" instead). It is an iPad app that can also be accessed from your browser.

For beginners, I recommend picking one of the two, instead of trying to learn both. I also recommend creating an account to log into from the device. By doing so, all videos created by students will be saved to that account, allowing the teacher to view from his/her browser.

Sticky Notes

Sticky Notes are a fabulous way for students to collaborate in real time. There are endless possibilities for this, such as sharing claims and evidence, exit or entrance cards, etc.
  • is a website that is easy to use with the iPad as well as a desktop computer. In order to collaborate on the same corkboard, a QR Code can be created for quick navigation.
  • LinoIt is another website and app that is easy to use. In order to use the app, an account must be created to log into. Therefore, I recommend the teacher create a class account and log into the iPads with that account if students are younger than 13. 
  • Padlet's update makes it easy to use with an iPad. It is a website that can be used with or without an account created. Padlet's Terms of Service discusses use of services by students under the age of 13. I credit Kathy Schrock for sharing this update.


Animoto Lite is an app and runs on a desktop computer. It allows students to create unlimited 30 second videos of up to 12 photos. I can see this as an excellent way to share photos of science experiments, geometry/math in the real world, photos of projects, etc. Note: Students must be 13 to create an account, therefore it's recommended that teachers create education or class accounts.

Creating with audio (and some visual)
  • Puppet Pals 1 and Puppet Pals 2 are puppet shows with a few settings and characters to choose from, and records the narrations and movement of the characters. Students can use the puppets to share what they've learned. This can be exported and saved in the Photo Album.
  • There are a series of talking animals such as Talking Gina the Giraffe, Talking Tom the Cat, Talking Pierre the Parrot, etc. While the animals can be played with, they also record what they hear, and will say it in their own voices and personalities. If students have a task of recording something such as key vocabulary used in context, the main idea or theme of the story, or how they solved the problem, then they are moving up Bloom's Taxonomy in thinking.  Their videos can be saved in the Photo Album. Note: Settings can be adjusted for the animals for mild violence, longer listening time, and user recorded videos. (Geared more towards primary/elementary).
  • Audioboo records three minute narrations. When published, others can record audio responses. This can be used as an app and on a browser. Click here to see how Em used it on her blog. Note: Students must be 13 to sign up for this app, therefore a teacher account for classrooms with students under 13 is recommended.
  • Toontastic is a cartoon storyboard for recording a drama or narrative. This as a great app to apply creativity, speaking and listening, with narrative elements. Joan Young has students use this app to build social emotional skills.

Final thoughts

The apps in this post are not content specific; however, they allow students to connect to their learning through higher level thinking on Bloom's Taxonomy.
  • What are some ways you would use the apps listed in your classroom?
  • What easy apps or sites would you add to this list for teachers just starting to integrate the iPads in the classroom?
  • What questions do you have about integrating iPads in your classroom?
  • How else does this post connect with you?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Introduction to iPads: Part 1--Hardware

How does a teacher start to use iPads in the classroom? This post will include the basics for getting started. Part 1 focuses on the hardware fundamentals, while Part 2 focuses on iPad integration in the classroom.

Hardware basics
  • Turning on / off the iPad: Hold the sleep button for five seconds until you see the apple appear on the screen to turn it on. To power down, hold the sleep button for five seconds, then  "slide to power off."

  • Putting the iPad to sleep: Press the sleep button. To wake it up, press either the sleep button or the home button. Use this feature to save the battery or to have students' full attention.
  • Open an app: Tap once on the app you would like to open. If it is not on the first page, you can swipe through the pages with your finger to look for it. If you have many apps/pages, then tap the home button on the first screen of apps to access the search field to type in the app's name.
  • Typing: The onscreen keyboard appears when a blinking cursor is observable. Place your finger where you want to type to move the cursor to that spot. Double-tap the spacebar to insert a period (including the space and the shift for the capital letter of the next sentence). To insert numbers, go to the number and symbol keyboard by pressing the number and symbol keyboard key.

  • Scrolling: To scroll up or down a page, drag two fingers up or down the iPad.
  • Zooming and shrinking: To zoom in, place two fingers on the iPad and stretch them apart. To shrink what is on the iPad, place two fingers on it, then pinch or pull them together.
  • Cut, copy, or paste: To cut or copy text, highlight the word or words first. To highlight, double-tap a word, then use the blue circle bracket to pull to the beginning of the desired text to highlight, and the ending circle bracket to the end of the text. Then tap copy or cut. Tap finger at desired placement to paste text. Hold finger in place to see text under a magnifying glass. In case of mistake, simply shake iPad to undo.
  • Screenshot: To create a screenshot, press the sleep button and the home button simultaneously. It will save in the Camera Roll album (see icon below).
Camera Roll album icon
  • Saving images: To save an image, hold finger on image until "Save Image" or "Copy" choices appear. Then select "Save Image" to store it in the Camera Roll album.
  • Exiting apps: To minimize an app, tap the home button. To completely exit the app, double-tap the home button to view opened apps. Place finger on app until red "-" appears in upper left corner, and the icons are wiggling. Scroll through the list of running apps by swiping to the next page.
  • Basic care for iPad: Use dry microfiber cloth to clean the iPad. Don't use cleaning products or compressed air. See Tip #9 for more information. Keep iPad (especially the charging doc) dry. 
  • Troubleshooting tips: If the iPad does not respond correctly, 1) check battery to see if it needs to be charged; 2) close apps that are minimized and running in the background (see "exiting apps" above); 3) shut down iPad normally, then restart it; 4) check how much available storage is left and if it's getting close to running out, take off some apps, pictures, video, or songs; or 5) if all else fails, try a hard reboot by holding the sleep button and the home button simultaneously for approximately ten seconds, let go once the Apple logo appears.

Final thoughts

There are more tips for using the hardware, but the above includes the basics for getting started. For more details, click here to download a PDF of the iPad IOS6 User Guide, or see Tips for iPads in Classroom.

In my experience, learning how to use an iPad is easier than other devices I've introduced to teachers and students. I'd like to hear about your experiences with it.

  • How easy/difficult was it for you or your students to learn how to use an iPad?
  • What would you add to this list? 
  • What questions do you still have?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Internet Search to address Common Core

The Common Core ELA Writing Standard 8 requires students to navigate the Internet for research and evaluate the validity of the sites to support their claims. The introduction to this starts in Kindergarten and progresses each year.

Furthermore, Common Core Writing Standard 7 has students conduct research projects, utilizing multiple sources. Therefore, students must be taught how to dig into the Internet to search, assess the validity of the site(s), and support their claims.

Basics to Googling

Creative Commons License
Digging into Google by Tracy Watanabe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Students can also use the Advanced Search to narrow down the results by clicking on the gear icon (currently located in the top right corner of the search results page). Other lessons, posters, and tips for teaching students to search the Internet are:

Validity of sites

Once students are able to narrow their search, they must evaluate the validity, credibility, and reliability of the site.

Creative Commons License
Validity, Reliability, Credibility by Tracy Watanabe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
There are tips, lessons, and links embedded in the above picture. Just roll over the image to view. Other lessons worth viewing are below:
  • Keith Ferrell wrote about two sites that look real but are hoaxes in the August 2011 issue of ISTE's Learning & Leading. These fabulous lessons allow students to discover validity, credibility, and reliability are exceptionally important because anyone can create a website. The first site is about "The Tree Octopus" and the other is "All about Explorers." There is even a webquest on "All about Explorers."
  • Using Google Scholar is awesome for scholarly research. It is located under the "more" and "even more" drop down on Google. It tells the author(s), publishing date, text, who else cites it, similar articles, and other sites that host it. Here is a Google lesson for using Google Scholar.
Concluding thoughts

Once students discern valid information on the Internet, they use it to defend their arguments / thoughts in their writing. They can do this through hyperlinks and proper citations.

Whether or not students are converting to the Common Core, we are all in the 21st century, and searching the Internet is part of learning. These are skills that should be modeled and taught regularly.
  • How do you teach your students to search the Internet for valid and reliable content?
  • How do you teach students to properly cite sources?
  • What necessary steps (or resources) are involved with teaching students to write from sources?
  • How else does this post connect with you?