Sadly our class set of iPads has been taken away from us and reassigned to Heads of Departments to use, I suspect, largely as personal management systems. I have had one iPad since November and this recent reassignment of the school’s class set of iPads has got me thinking about how my colleagues can use their iPad for more than managing their time and reading online.
Of course, many schools are now embracing new technology and have gone down the route of 1:1 iPads. This has not been the case for me (yet) but I have still been able to use my iPad creatively in my classes. I have been free with the iPad I have been given. I have always taken the line that I am lucky that school gave me the iPad to use and I wanted to repay the gesture by ensuring that the pupils I taught also benefitted from it. This desire, coupled with my increasing awareness through my studies of Digital Technology for Language Teaching, has enabled me to see how my one iPad could be put to good use.
In the first instance I have handed my iPad to one or two pupils to do research on the internet. As a linguist there is always a need to search up definitions and WordReference certainly does that job well. I have the app on my iPad so access is easy with one click. Or maybe pupils are not sure of a particular grammar point so About.com French Language does an excellent job at covering lots of grammatical points in good detail. I am sure that there are similar apps for all subjects. For example Poetry from the Poetry Foundation will give students of English access to classic and contemporary poems or in science 3D Cell Simulation and Stain Tool which enables students to learn all about the cell and its structures with an ability to rotate the cell and zoom in. The key is to be generous with your iPad and give one or two pupils access to it whilst others are getting on with research or other classwork you have set. Over the course of one week with one class each pupil can have access to the iPad.
It is even possible to download kahoot.it as an app. To read more about Get Kahoot (great learning starts by asking great questions) and how to use it in class read this engaging tools post. Admittedly, with only one iPad kahoot.it is not as effective but it can work. Two pupils work together to answer questions displayed on the Interactive Whiteboard using the iPad whilst the rest of the class write their answer on a mini whiteboard. My pupils have enjoyed trying to beat the iPad user in getting in their correct response more quickly than the pupils with the technology.
In modern languages using an avatar is a great way to overcome anxiety when speaking and I have allowed my pupils to hide behind an avatar of their choosing (and there are plenty) to create short videos. This is a first effort using Morfo. It is rough around the edges but I have improved since then and know more about how to enable the pupils to do good work with appropriate apps.
Over the course of one or two lessons students can get on with preparing what they are going to create and given a time limit with the iPad a whole class can produce and create something. With a Green Screen app, the possibilities are endless:
– In geography a report can be filmed about a natural disaster with an appropriate image embedded behind the reporter.
– In politics a report about some political crisis straight from Downing Street
– In English a sonnet recited straight from The Globe
– In History a news report from the Normandy beaches…
(thanks to @ICTevangelist for some of these ideas)
An iPad can give you a chance to prepare some amazing tools for use in class. In addition to green screening, screencasting is also a possibility. For this my favourite tool is Explain Everything which costs a small sum but is worth every penny. Once you have added an image and annotated them and then recorded your message your creation can be saved as a video for your pupils to access again and again. It could be the basis of a flipped learning module. This first lesson on using être in the perfect tense was created in Explain Everything and was accompanied by some worksheets with questions to help guide the pupils’ learning.
This was my creation but there was no reason why I could not let my pupils have access to my iPad to create their own screencast. The very process of preparing to present via screencast enables pupils to internalise information and knowledge and such a process has been shown to have positive learning effects on pupils. Other tools such as ShowMe or Doceri are free and have similar functionalities.
If you can organise a way to reflect your iPad screen on the Interactive Whiteboard then there are also other possibilities. Two apps that come to mind and that are great for starters, mini-plenaries or plenaries are Decide Now and Make Dice Lite. The first comes in at a hefty £0.69 but is well worth it. It is a spinning wheel with content chosen and created by you. Some key dates for discussion? Some questions about home life in French? Some character names that need to be discussed? The list is endless. Make Dice Lite is free and as with Decide Now you can decide and create the content. Roll the dice and let your pupils discuss whatever topic you have chosen that has appeared on the face of the dice. You can have as many or as few dice as you wish. With two dice, in English for example, you can get pupils to talk about the relationship of one character to another. In languages the dice can be starting points for pupils to create sentences. In maths the dice could hold a selection of problems to solve which would be great for revision.
These are just some ideas and I am sure you will have many more of your own. Please share these with me on the comments underneath.