It has been brilliant to meet so many of you at the Redbridge ICT Forum today, it almost felt like old times.
Here are some of the points I raised today, or at least aimed to:
- Unlike the advice of some in the industry I don’t advocate decommissioning your ICT suite in favour of iPads. Remember as the curriculum changes we need to teach programming/computing and as yet there are limited if any apps that can assist you in the teaching of this subject.
- Take time to consider what you will actually use the devices with your students before you purchase – there are huge possibilities but also limitations and difficulties. Have a vision and one that is shared by decision makers.
- CPD CPD CPD – invest in some high quality training from someone who uses it in the classroom – a good Apple vendor will put you in touch with an ADE – someone like Julian Coultas is excellent value and will help you get started. Good CPD should focus on pedagogy rather than just lists of apps and gimics.
- The schools that have been most successful with iPad roll outs seem to have been those that have also given the device to teachers as well as pupils. If you are on a tight budget seek out the ICT enthusiasts who can help seek out appropriate apps and lesson ideas .
- Try to avoid app frenzy – there is not an app for everything and there are more dummies than diamonds. Try to link apps to school priorities or the broader school ethos. You could also think about IEPS and targets too. That said spending a good deal of time researching new or tried and tested apps can really pay off – just don’t always expect to find what you first started looking for.
- If you are only buying a small collection of iPads then don’t forget you will need to sync and charge these. If you have a set of 30 then number your devices and link these to register/class alphabetical order. This way children do not have to share with quite so many children and teachers can track work saving and any other issues.
- Decide on some iPad rules – and add an appendix to your ICT Policy outlining acceptable use. For example who is allowed to add apps and when should the devices be used. Teachers Pet have a great poster you could begin with – we have this in every classroom.
- Try to ensure that all of the iPad screens look the same – this really helps when teaching as children and staff can navigate through screens very easily. It is possible to organise apps into folders this does not work in Key Stage 1, Foundation and SEN Contexts.
- Don’t forget TAs and LSAS – they can often use apps with small groups of in a 1:1 context.
- Consider using Gripcases or similar in order to protect devices if being issued to young children or those with needs
- Get your self on Twitter and find similar like minded professionals
- Regularly review and reflect upon where you and your staff feature on this continuum
Where to get info, advice and ultimately sets of iPads.
Toucan Computing – top blokes who have done most of the business in Redbridge and Havering – and beyond http://www.toucancomputing.co.uk/
Places to find Apps, apart from this blog
Teaching Appz is run by Mark Warner who has been involved in ICT and free resources/ advice websites for a very long time. He tries and tests apps before putting them on his site and orders them by by device, age range and subject.
Advice on using ICT with SEN children – follow the work of Ian Bean and look out for events that feature either him or Myles Pilling – a very knowledgeable SEN/ICT professional. Just look at this list of helpful documents put together by Myles for his CPD events in Wiltshire.
Apps we Covered Today
My Story £1.49 – Hi Def Web Soloutions
A tool to create Ebooks with speech, photographs, text and colour (where you need it). Look at what my boys and I cooked up in a very spontaneous 10 minutes last weekend. (click on the image and you will also view the story). Not everything on the iPad is so easily shared but with My Story you have the option of emailing a very long url which links to a website which showcases the story. So if you grab that url from the email you can of course hyper link from a blog or website. Julian Coultas would also talk about how you could also publish this book with a QR Code – see his snap guide to this process here.
This always blows me away – it really is music for everyone. Our music coordinator has worked wonders with this app both in music lessons in Year Six and in our school band. Children can play “real” instruments with this app and get a feel for strumming a rock guitar or bashing a drum kit for as little as £2.99. But with the inclusion of SMART instruments and autoplay then your creativity has a channel and you can begin creating bars of music. Record these and layer them together and pretty soon even someone as tone deaf as myself can create the masterpiece below. (I am sure Depeche Mode will be calling me up for their next tour!!) The other great feature of Garage band is the jam function which allows two or more iPads to sync and play together.
iMovie – Apple £2.99
just brilliant for mobile film creation. The iPad gives you a camera and an editing suite all in one. Create a film from scratch or use one of the trailer templates. A brilliant way to share experiences or present learning.
Clicker Sentence –
Autism Apps – Free by Touch Autism
Not so much of an app but more of a guide to apps for children with autistic and similar disorders. If you are looking to use an iPad in an SEN Context then this free app is a good starting place as it classifies apps by condition and allows you to get to look at reviews and screenshots in a more focussed way than perhaps you might gte on the App Store. Each time I visit/ use this app I discover something new!
Pic Collage – free – though there are in-app purchases
We used it at the beginning of term to write up who we were and who we wanted to be.
2Build a Profile – an app for Foundation Stage Teachers to help them document learning experiences within the setting. Take a picture, add the learners involved, add the objectives, add some notes and optional next next steps. Job done and not a tube of pritt stick in sight. My Foundation Stage Teachers and their TAS now have more time to focus on planning and teaching rather than cutting and sticking images.
What Time is it Mr Wolf? – Teacher’s Pet – £0.69
I have found children in Key Stage 1, Foundation Stage and older children enjoy this app. Use it as a fun way to help children to read the time by matching words with clocks. A step on from all those pages of ink stamped clocks i was used to in Junior School. My boys at home love the Wolf character who feeds back to you with his very wolfie voice. Whereas, for me as a teacher the ability to customise the app to work on specific times and alter the difficulty level makes this a very versatile and well designed learning tool.
Number Bonds Pro – Frogmeleon – £0.69
Just like quick recall of multiplication tables, a sound working knowledge of number bonds gives children the building blocks for tackling more complex computations. Number Bonds Pro provides a structured, fun and customisable means of securing knowledge of these facts. Up to four different users per device can learn through a combination of tests and flash cards. The range of numbers looked at , the position of the missing number/answer and the difficulty level can all be changed to suit the learner. I use this and the other 3 Frogmeleon apps with my son, Leo, a year 3 child with learning difficulties. I like the way we could hone in on the number range that provided just the right level of challenge. We were also able to make the tests more accessible by disabling the timer function and allowing him multiple choice rather than keyboard entry. Following the tests we worked on the review section looking at the questions he’d got wrong.
Here is a brief video of Leo using Subtraction Pro recently for Homework, which is another one of the excellent Frogmeleon apps.
MultiFlow – Dactyl Applications – £1.49
This is one of the first apps I installed on our school iPads. It is popular with our pupils and used at school and home. Essentially it allows children to choose the multiplication tables they need to consolidate and work through a series of questions. Learners can also choose the difficulty level and for the more able learners the list of tables to work on extends to 20. My class enjoys using this to refine and sharpen their tables knowledge, while some pupils go further and try to improve their recall of the 17 or 19 times table. This app forms a component of my oral mental starter programme and is also an app we recommend to parents.
Achieve Level 4 – Rising Stars – £3.99
This is a must for Year 5 or 6 classrooms as part of a structured programme of Maths revision. The app contains over 200 new questions on each area of the Maths curriculum for Key Stage 2. Year 6 pupils have been successfully using text books with the same title for home learning for a number of years. The app offers a more engaging and interactive means of revision. This is partly because the content is presented on-screen, which I have found often makes things more attractive. But there is also a gamification element in both the visual progress tracking and upon successful completion Level 5 questions are unlocked.
Banana Hunt- Interactive Resources – £0.69
Interactive Resources have been making whiteboard Maths teaching tools since whiteboards began to replace blackboards. I have been reliant on tools such Maths Pack and Teaching Time as a way of bringing concepts to life for my class for some time. It is really exciting to see their trusted whiteboard tools transforming into apps. This way more children can get access to them, rather than just the child that he teacher has chosen to demonstrate. In Banana Hunt the object if the game is to locate the bananas, these are hidden at a given angle on a circle. The closer you get to the angle, the more bananas you or rather your monkey will get. I use this with my Year 6 pupil in order for them to get a better mental image of angles other than 90 degrees.
Solids Elementary- Synergy IT £1.49
This app allows learners to select a 3D shape, spin it around and explore it from every angle. Counting faces, sides and vertices is easily done as each of these can be displayed and coloured. What’s more, the solids can be gradually opened up to show the nets of each shape. These features are proving to make this a very helpful tool in assisting my class grasp the properties of 3D shapes, along with all the associated vocabulary.
Dirt Bike Comparing Fractions – Arcademic £0.69
Bringing both gamification and collaboration to a challenging topic, this app make comparing fractions fun. Learners can play against the computer, begin their own game, which others can join or play against who ever happens to be online at the time. Two fractions are shown with a missing sign between them, players need to decide whether to complete the number sentence with either a <, – > or an =. There are sixteen similar apps from Arcademic Skills builders all with the online collaboration aspect, which my class really love.