Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bulk licensing deal for childrens story books

As educators, we are often lamenting that publishers of digital resources don't cater very well for the way we need to work at school level. App purchases on the iPad are a case in point, where you must buy a copy of the App for each iPad due to the licensing constraints. So we all understand that iPads are best suited for use as a personal device, but libraries and schools for many reasons are using them in shared ways. So how to accommodate this?

Well one publisher has really thought about the use of their books for a variety of markets. A Story before Bed was already a great App with its ability for children to record audio and video of themselves reading a book.

One of our educators has been using this App for a long time and finds it a great App for developing children's oral language and literacy. Children can share their recordings too. The books have great quality graphics and early this year they won the won the first ever Publishing Innovation Award at Digital Book World. Have a look at my recording of Itsy Bitsy Spider via the iPad.

Now they are providing licences for schools and libraries to utilise the App. With the ability to access over 300 books via the App or via the Web this could be a really useful purchase for schools and libraries.

Maybe other publishers/developers will think about doing the same thing for schools.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Educational Apps from Education Services Australia

Education Services Australia has released more quality educational literacy and numeracy Apps, and the good thing is that they are free. Also Apps related to the curriculum and standards.

Click on the image to be taken to the iTunes store link to the Apps.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Create your own magazine using Flipboard

Connect and engage your students with their current research topic by getting them to create a magazine on their topic with the Flipboard App.

Classroom Instruction that works provides some great student learning ideas at 15 Fantastic ways to use Flipboard.

iPad Curriculum also discusses how students can use Flipboard to create their own personalized digital magazine by utilising a class created twitter account.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

iPad study tour Melbourne 2011

A group of educators from Catholic Education Parramatta recently took part in an iPad study tour of a few schools in Melbourne.  We also had input from Apple and educators from schools who were implementing one to one iPad programs in their schools.
Following is a brief summary with links to useful information about the use of iPads  in Schools:

1. Apple presentation:
  •  ios5 enhancements- use of Airplay with Apple TV box to project from an iPad wirelessly will untether teachers.  Some links to understand Airplay: Extension of Airplay in iOS 5 to advance iPad use in schools and a how to setup Airplay mirroring with iPad2 at Welcome to iPad2.5 Presentation Machine.
  •  'Teachers should promote curiosity and the iPad provides that opportunity'
  • 140,000+ apps available
  • Apps like Virtual Roma and the Last Supper which immerse the students in an 3D like panoramic environment that they can explore.  These sort of Apps move the use of technology from enhancement to transformation on the SAMR model of inclusion of technology in curriculum. 
(Some useful links I have found to information on SAMR model and 'Thinking Creatively: Teachers as designers of Content, Technology and Pedagogy')
2. Presentations from:
Shawn Taggert Acacia College.
Went one to one with Years 7's after buying a class set.  RMIT is doing a study on the use of iPads for student learning in their schools.  Initially the school bought iPads for the students, next year parents will buy them.  They have halved their booklist.
Steven Cook Albert Park College.
Delivering a richer more multifaceted curriculum using iPads to transform learning.  Believe that schools need to use devices that are relevant to students of today.
Hilary Bland Victorian College of the Arts.
Look at the PISA Report on Digital Literacy when implementing iPads. Practicalities: use of Webdav instead of Dropbox to save student documents.
3. Visits to:
 Presentation College Windsor, Kelly McGurn and David Patterson provided very useful practical information on the preparation and implementation of a one to one iPad program in their school. Link to presentation.
Adam Brice from Ringwoood North Primary School: they have a one to one program with 138 iPads across the school using it for Challenge Based Learning in an Agile Learning Space.
Outcomes for them: the iPad allows learning to become the focus rather than the technology and teachers as collaborators.  See one example of students work 'River of Belief' and more posts about the iPad trial via the same link.
Phillip Sakellaridis from St Josephs Ferntree Gully. This year 186 students in Yr 7 have iPads.  Next year Yr 7, 8 and 12 will have iPads.  'Students are the experts'.

The above is a very brief summary of two days of very valuable information gathered from this tour. If anyone from the tour has anything else they would like to add or provide further links please add a comment or email any amendments to

Friday, October 14, 2011

Creative writing using Simulated Environment Apps

Simulated environment Apps like Epic Citadel and Castlerama can be used to inspire students in creative writing tasks. 

In each of these Apps you are immersed in a fantasy environment that you are able to walk around and explore.

Use the App for students to explore the environment and then generate descriptive words and phrases around what they saw.  Then students can use these as a basis for writing a story, or creating their own movie or even their own ibook or ebook app.
Here are some ideas from other teachers, schools and students:
Teacher Helen Walker discusses how she uses Epic Citadel to generate creative writing with her Yr 8 classes at 'Creative Writing using Epic Citadel'.

Danielle Bayes uses one iPad and Epic Citadel with her class of 28 year 3 students to immerse her students into this fantasy environment and uses this as a stimulus to discuss, think, imagine and share ideas as a precursor to writing and ultimately making a short movie with their iwn narrative of their experience in the fantasy environment. See the results at her blopost on Creative Writing with Epic Citadel.

At Ringwood North Primary School, students used Epic Citadel to create their own digital stories.  An example of one students final product inspired by Epic Citadel and created with other other Apps such as Doodle Buddy, Strip Design and Keynote can be found at their blogpost 'River of Belief'

Epic Citadel and Castlerama are currently free.

Take a look at Epic Citadel:

Monday, October 10, 2011

iPads in learning

I recently attended the Australian School Libaries Conference (ASLA) and gave a presentation 'Exploring iPads in Teaching and Learning' (see presentation below).  It was interesting to see a good proportion of the delegates were using  iPads as their device of choice.

There was lots of discussion the use of mobile technologies in learning.  Some schools were looking at iPads as a 1 to 1 program, others looking at class sets, and yet others looking at a set that they could loan from the library.  Broader than that however, was how mobile technologies and online platforms and resources can and are being used to access, engage, learn and teach in today's spaces where our learners live, work and play.  Many of the digital resources or tools that were being looked at such as QR codes, Augmented Reality, Ebooks, Collaborative Textbooks etc integrate well with the iPad.

While not all session related to iPads, the presentations from the ASLA 2011 conference are worthwhile for anyone engaged in improving student learning in today's digital environment.  They are starting to go up on the official ASLA slideshare page with some presenters also personally adding their presentations via the tag ASLA2011 .  Greg Swanson who also has a very useful blog reviewing Apps in Education has a good roundup of the presenters and links from the conference at EdTech Toolbox.