Thursday, July 26, 2012

Students construct knowledge with their own iBooks

I was recently at Our Lady of the Angels Rouse Hill doing a workshop with them in creating iBooks using iBooks Author.  The Principal Eva La Rocco and the teachers saw the main benefit for the software as a way of students demonstrating their own understanding and knowledge by creating  an iBook that incorporated all their work.  The focus being for the students to create content rather than it being pushed to them via a teacher created iBook textbook.

A group of 7th graders in the USA have done just that  - publishing a digitally interactive field guide of Northwest Florida titled Creatures, Plants and More!

Jessie Chuang from Classroom Aid wrote a recent post that alerted me to  this great student created iBook.  As she points out some classrooms have already 'crafted their own learning materials as a learning process itself, including writing their own textbooks.'

'Andrea Santilli, a teacher at Woodlawn Beach Middle School in Gulf Breeze, Florida, wanted to find a new way to challenge her 7th grade Advanced Life Science students. She wanted to help them develop relevant lifelong skills in addition to their regular studies, so Santilli set out on a unique quest."I wanted to give them the opportunity to be published so they could use this as part of their academic resume and to make what they learn have real meaning," says Santilli.

Santilli saw creating an iBook as an opportunity to have her class become the first group of 7th graders to publish a digitally interactive book, and to have their work available not just locally but to anyone around the world.

For MacLife post for more information on this project: 

The book is free from the iBooks store, or click on the book cover image to be taken to the iBook link.

St Agnes iPad implementation

St Agnes Catholic High School are moving ahead with their 1 to 1 program for their Year 8 students.  St Agnes was involved in the trial of iPads during 2010 and since then have researched and consulted  extensively with a strategic process across staff, students and parents towards ensuring an effective implementation program.  This has included learning opportunites for staff and students as well as ongoing communication across the school community. The focus has been on the learning and how this device could assist in providing real mobile learning opportunities.

The school has a number of initiatives which we have posted here in previous posts.  As well they include regular information in their school newsletters about relevant Apps they are using.  This includes providing the frameworks they use to evaluate the learning potential of using the App.

For example a range of criteria has been used to evaluate the App 'The Catholic Game'.  Criteria considered includes thinking skills, feedback etc.

St Agnes has also kindly agreed to share their updated App List for year 8 students.  Each App was evaluated by the appropriate teacher, Coordinator and a selection of students.  Download from dropbox by clicking on the image below.
Staff from St Agnes are also currently working wiht  iBooks Author to see how it can be utilised by staff and students to create iBooks to assist in learning.

iPads for Literacy & Learning resource for teachers

"The real problem is not adding technology to the current organization of the classroom, but changing the culture of teaching and learning.”
- Alan November

My colleague Nicole Sprainger, has created an iBook "iPads for Literacy & Learning" which has been developed to assist K-10 teachers in utilising the iPad in their classroom literacy learning programs. It recognises that our students live in an increasingly sophisticated and  media-rich society, in which digital texts are ubiquitous. Our students need therefore to become multiliterate - to be critical consumers of digital media texts. They also need to develop the ability to construct new knowledge, communicating their own ideas and information by composing using digital tools and processes.

 Nicole says the iBook itself is intended simply to be a stimulus - a spark to encourage teachers to consider some ways to provide explicit learning opportunities for their students to access, use, understand and create multimodal texts while utilising the iPad.

"It is my hope that you and your students will embrace some of the wonderful learning opportunities afforded by access to an iPad and the amazing range of apps on offer. I believe you and your students will find the learning purposeful, engaging and fun!"

The books includes very useful information on the pedagogical consideration of choosing Apps and includes a variety of frameworks to map and evaluate Apps.

Teachers are free to copy and share this iBook with other teachers in accordance with the Creative Commons license outlined in the book.

Click on the image to download the iBook from Dropbox via your iPad.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Language teaching in the iPad classroom


Lesson ideas with Apps that could be used across all languages:

Objective: Get students to express themselves verbally in the language they are learning.
Use Screencasting Apps like ShowMe, Educreations or Explain Everything for students to record a conversation, while annotating an image related to the topic.

Objective:  Students research, create and publish an interactive book on the language, culture and customs of the language they are studying.
Use Creative Book Builder App and incorporate Audio, Video, Weblinks, Images etc to provide a reference book resource.
Or use iBooks Author on a laptop to create an even more interactive iBook for access on students iPads.  See iBooks Author for Languages: 3 Guerilla ideas.

Objective : Introduce students to basic language structures and vocabulary, as well as geography customs and culture.
Students subscribe free to relevant courses and collection on iTunesU, with resources like iBooks or podcasts to read, listen and reinforce understanding of the language and country.  eg, Open University Andante: beginners' Italian Audio.

Objective:  Students practice their speaking skills in their chosen language.  
Use Facetime to communicate with native speaking students from a school overseas.

A few selected Apps and websites to take a look at for your Languages Classes

Translation Apps (free ones)
Wordlens - translate words with this App by pointing the iPad camera at a sign
Google Translate
Numeracy fluency
Count to Ten: (free) Identify the numbers in a game based mode across ten different languages

A comprehensive list of Apps for students learning French - 'iPod apps for the French Class' is available from Wisconsin World Languages 2010 Wikispace.

A useful information text for French students is  :
Fotopedia Paris: (free) More than 4,000  photos of Paris with rich text descriptions.  Also Virtual Trips and shuffle or shake your iPad to discover new spots and images

French Gender (free) Still confused about which French nouns are masculine and which are feminine? Ready to learn the patterns which will unlock the secret?

Byron Bay High School provides a list of Indonesian language learning Apps

Living Language - Italian for iPad (free for 6 lessons, remaining paid) This app has 3  levels—Essential, Intermediate, and Advance with vocabulary, grammar, dialogues, and interactive games.

Learn Italian with Busuu! (free plus inapp purchases):  Covers 150 every day topics

Virtual History Roma:  ($5.49) Students discover ancient Rome in a 3d simulated environment that reconstructs the ancient monuments of the city.

Rome HD : ($5.99) includes images and virtual tours of Italy as well as history.

Human Japanese HD: ($9.99) The goal of Human Japanese is not just to turn out students capable of repeating canned phrases, but to lay the foundation for real linguistic and cultural understanding. To this end, it focuses on helping the student to understand the core engine of the language, giving lucid explanations of key concepts and making frequent comparisons to aspects of English that are similar.

iNippon: (free sample - full version $13.99) A Japanese-English conversation book about traditional Japanese things.

AIUEO-HIRAGANA for iPad  ($4.99) learn to read Japanese Hiragana, listen to native speakers pronounce the hiragana characters.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

iBooks Author Guide for Schools

Educators and staff in our schools are seeing the potential of iBooks created with iBooks Author to use with students in a number of ways:
  • Teachers create materials that can be pushed to students in an iBook format on their iPad
  • Students create an iBook either as an assessment or presentation to demonstrate their understanding  of a topic.
  • iBooks created as a part of a course that could be delivered via iTunesU
The iBooks Author template is very user friendly which means that teachers and students alike have more time to develop the quality, aim and appropriateness of their content as well as considering their design criteria rather than spending time on learning the software.

To help schools with the tasks of creating an iBook using iBooks Author we have compiled an iBook that you can download here that provides the following information:
  • What is an iBook?
  • Content and Design of your iBook
  • iBooks Author
  • Previewing and Publishing your iBook
  • How to share your iBook copy
  • Resources

Thanks also to my colleague Ron Van Vliet who collaborated with me to create the content in this iBook.

While using your iPad click on the image at right  to access the link to the iBooks Author Guide. The link will then automatically open the book in your iBook App. It is 8.7 MB in size.

More useful resources for schools can be found at our curated scoop-it website iBooks for Schools.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Science in the iPad classroom

 In a blog post on Science topics Lisa Johnson from Techchef4U covers a lesson idea for Climate Change and also lists some great lesson ideas from Lisa Carnazzo on a range of topics including: The Water Cycle, Seasons, Weather etc.  (scroll further down the page on the post)

What about getting students to try colour experiments.  Color Uncovered App is an interactive book that  provides students with the opportunity to learn about colour and light.  Using the experiments, articles and videos from this App would be a good starting point to work with students. Free from the App store.

Explore the diversity of organisms that glow with the Creatures of the Light App. Learn about the reasons for their ability to glow.  Which group of organisms uses this ability of bioluminescence to signal to each other.  Created by the American Museum of Natural History this App goes in depth about the chemical reactions that create the extraordinary glows from a range of organisms.  Also supported with a great website. Free from the App store.

Want students to explore concepts around how the Universe began and how did life evolve on earth.  The University of Adelaide have a free Magazine App called e-Science written by researchers for teachers and students.  Topics include What is Life?, How does the Earth work?, etc.

Provide students with the opportunity to interact with and understand how spacecraft is used to explore our universe.  Spacecraft 3D is an augmented reality style app which allows students to see the engineering involved and how the spacecraft move.  Free from the App store

Use this App as a starting point for students in understanding what is needed for space exploration:
  • Use some Apps like Skitch to design their own spacecraft to explore the universe
  • Explain in Educreations the features of their design.  
  • Move to Sketchup (on a laptop) to make a 3d model of their design
  • Download 3D model into their own iBook they create about space exploration using iBooks author.
  • Publish their Space Exploration iBook and open in the iBooks App to share with other students and teachers.
  • Explore what iTunesU has to offer on a variety of science topics.  Get students to download some resources( iBooks, videos, podcasts) from iTunes U or even subscribe to a course.
An interesting lesson idea is one using evidence and science to analze and uncover answers to the mystery of  the Case of the Cheescake Thief.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Learning isn't about the Apps

If we are to get the most for student learning from mobile technology like the iPad or other tablets we need to move beyond the question 'Is there an App for that?'

 A worthwhile blog post to read, for moving beyond a focus on Apps is 'How can the iPad Transform Classroom Learning?' Ben Johnson postulates a few examples of using the iPad in learning and ends with a key question we should all consider:
"The lesson planning questions I hope my teachers will learn to ask will change from "How can I teach this content?" to, "How can I get students to learn this content?" I hope they will answer this question with open-ended learning activities rather than saying, "I have an app for that."

The latest research from a school is a study on the use of iPads at the Longfield Academy in Kent England, where a large scale 1 to 1 iPad program was implemented last year. This comprehensive 56 page report 'iPads as a tool for education' provides a lot of good pointers to how we can and should be using iPads.  Teacher asked to discuss how the use of the iPad in the classroom has impacted their teaching offered points like this:
'More student centred approach, more group work activities, more student led plenaries and activities'
'I have started to create electronic textbooks which aim to focus individual students on the GSCE tasks they need to complete. This sort of tailored curriculum was simply impossible before the introduction of the iPad'

However a key thing that came from this research is that students want to use the iPads in more ways than they have been given; to use them more in Art, PE, Maths, to make videos, create presentations, develop games etc.

The Longfield report also references our Parramatta research results from the iPad trial in 2010 produced by Patrick Barrett from the Learning Exchange team.

Some good posts to consider as you embark on any venture towards a 1 to 1 iPad implementations:
 'Is the iPad the correct tool to aid learning in education from The Innovative Scholar blog looks at the main issues schools need to consider. Referred to in this article is "Launching an iPad 1 to 1 program - a primer': a comprehensive step by step implementation plan.

A useful school example to look at and possibly connect with is the ESSA Academy in Bolton.  See images of their students using iPads to observe and analyse sport performances here.
Read more about one educators visit to ESSA here: 'It's not just about the technology.. although it must help'. His comments: 'The vision and the Eco-system [at ESSA] are not just about the Tech – ...the technology [and it started with the iPod Touches] was introduced to overcome barriers to learning; to help engage the learners and transform their learning. 

It's not about the Apps, the iPad or the technology - it's about the learning.