Friday, 25 January 2013

Baby Steps...

What a week!

The process of loading and using apps, creating app and play store accounts and generally just getting going has been a slow but exciting process!

The amazing thing is how the kids have got on board, there is no fear for them when it comes to Tablet devices, to use a Steve Jobs Quote:

"Older people sit down and ask, 'What is it?' but the child asks, 'What can I do with it?'...

and boy have they asked a lot!

We spent the week downloading many of the apps I talked about last week, the kids have managed to find the best WiFi hotspots in the school and it's great to see them congregating around a teacher getting a new app. 

More importantly though we have started using the devices in classes, in the latest lesson I asked the grade 6's to take notes of what I was teaching (Design and Technology - Structures), but allowed them to choose how to take these notes and which app they preferred to use. The variety astounded me. Key notes, sound recordings, mind maps, 'Haiku Deck' (A new app to me but one that now has a place on my iPad!) , a word doc with pictures and just good old notes app were all used and emailed to the person next to them. Some even put their notes in the Kindle app to save them.

The Grade 7's were emailed my iBook of the terms notes and its all go from Monday.

All in all a great week!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Week 2 2013 - Apps, Apps, Apps?

As the second week of the journey starts we are looking at appropriate apps for Tablets.

Most Students have opted for the iPad as their choice of device, however we do need to cater for the Android and Windows market. Just to note that the students are required to manage their own devices and apps.

As a school we believe in using the Tablets to create content and not as consumer devices and so we are recommending the following sorts of apps:-

Type of App  iPad  Android
Presentation  Keynote  Quick Office
Word processing   Pages Quick Office
Spreadsheet  Numbers  Quick Office
Movie making  iMovie Movie Aid, AndroVid
Video Trimmer
Mind mapping Popplet SimpleMind 
Word clouds Tag cloud (Not sure) 
Tracking apps  Find my iPhone  Prey
Annotation  Good notes, notability, skitch Skitch
Browser   Safari, Chrome Chrome
File Sharing  Dropbox, Box, iFiles  Dropbox, Box
Research  Qwiki, HowStuffWorks  TellMeAbout,
Books  iBooks, Kindle  Kindle
Drawing/Writing  Bamboo Paper Bamboo Paper

There is also an iPad app called Pocket (read it later) that will allow students to view web content offline at home, I really hope the equivalent exists for Android or Slate, remembering the Windows Slate is still very new and we have started research on matching apps for these devices.

The most exciting part of all this is the excitement and ownership of the students, they are not only getting on board but are already finding, and using, alternatives that are cheaper or free.

Lets hope the excitement continues!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Week 1 2013

This week we are asking teachers and students about appropriate use of Tablets in a classroom or school.

My thoughts on this topic range from 'free-range' to quite controlled. I do however want these devices to become ubiquitous, as if they were never not there. I love the potential they have to stimulate and entertain, to allow kids to create and own their knowledge and to allow them to share their creations.

What do you see as the most important aspect of Tablets in the classroom?

If you had to write one rule to give a Grade of Students what would it be?

For me I hope the strongest 'rule' I have to set is that the Students must remember that the Tablet is a tool and not the be all and end all of Education, it needs to be used in conjunction with books, pens, paper and all the 'traditional' education tools.

Please feel free to comment and share.