5 Starter iPad apps for the 21st Century Teacher

There is no doubt that the use of the ipad in the classroom is becoming increasingly popular with teachers, or should I say, those teachers willing to embrace new technology! Unfortunately, I have no interactive whiteboard in my classroom (hoping I will have very soon!) but I do have an ipad and can see sooooo much potential with many of the apps I have downloaded!

There are hundreds of fantastic apps that can be used by teachers, even subject specific apps. Here are 5 general apps to start you off using your ipad in the classroom:

1. Dropbox

DropboxDropbox is fantastic for teachers, particularly those who use ipads! It provides an easy, effective platform for storing work in the cloud – meaning that all the work and files you upload to dropbox, can be accessed from ANY computer you want to log on to! You can create folders to share with others on dropbox, giving restricted access to each folder. Dropbox can also be used with pupils, to submit work via the cloud! This is the latest method of collecting work, something I hope to try too! Check out Dropbox for the ipad and experiment with how you could use this with either your colleagues, your pupils, or just for you! (Image source: http://www.androidguys.com)

2. My LessonPlan

Lesson Plans, as much as many teachers complain about them, they are an unavoidable part of the occupation. Necessary to compile and store as well as not forgetting, updating as we adapt new strategies! Why not use a more streamlined, easy to store and easy to edit method of lesson planning? The My LessonPlan app allows teachers to create, store, print, email and customise their lesson plans. You can share lesson plans at the click of a button with members of staff – particularly effective when a new member joins the department! The new iOS allows you to dictate your lesson plans, so little typing is needed! Check out My LessonPlan and start transferring those paper lesson plans or non-existent lesson plans into an easy, effective app. (Image source: http://a1188.phobos.apple.com)

3. Educreations

This is a great tool for a multitude of reasons! Teachers can create tutorial videos on their ipad, recording their audio explanation as they demo on the screen. The videos can be placed in a VLE, emailed to pupils as guidance for homework, stored and shared for revision at exam time or even used if a pupil was absent from class or simply needs clarification on a particular aspect! It is such a great tool as it appeals to our visual and auditory learners and is motivitional revision for those lacking interest with paper booklets. Have a look at Educreations and see the potential for its use in a variety of situations. (Image source: http://d1czawyup1trel.cloudfront.net)

4. TeacherKit

TeacherKit is the ultimate app for creating an organised environment and keeping organised records that are easily accessed on parents evenings and meetings. You can create records for all your pupils, monitoring grades, behaviour, attendance in your lesson. Seating plans can be generated and adapted when necessary. Parents and Pupils can be emailed from the app with gradebook progress updates. No more paper gradebooks or teacher planners carried around to parents evening – just bring your ipad! Check out TeacherKit to see how you could use this in your classroom organisation. (Image source:  http://teacherkit.net)

5. Pinterest

Pinterest is underestimated in education – teachers can use this app to help with many aspects of the job! The fantastic array of ideas shared in the ‘Education’ pins is simply wonderful. Ideas for lessons, for classroom organisation and for classroom displays are plentiful and constantly being updated every minute! Not only is it great for ideas, it is fabulous for collaboration with other teachers around the world. You can really benefit from this simple, effective Pinterest app in your professional development. (Image source: http://tblc.org)

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5 Starter Tools for the 21st Century Teacher

In today’s technology-rich society, educators need to embrace the new opportunities such advancement offers. Yes, it means change, yes it means spending time trying something new, but YES it means enhanced engagement, motivation and boosted energy within the classroom!

With so many digital opportunities, it is hard to know where to start! Here are 5 starter tools all teachers today should be exploring within their classrooms:

1. WIKI

WikiWhat is a Wiki? Wikis are wonderful for encouraging collaborative learning between pupils and even teachers! A wiki is an online environment whereby information and knowledge can be collectively gathered, shared and edited by a group. There are a variety of methods of using this in the classroom – from small group wikis to single class wikis. Small groups work best online as it is less chaotic to edit and discuss strategy in a forum. A fabulous wiki source for teachers is Wikispaces – allowing creation of free wiki environments for any subject. Wikis can be used in a VLE, (I personally use them in Moodle and Fronter) allowing secure spaces for pupils to log on from home to connect with peers in order to collaborate on an educational topic, easily monitored by the teacher. (Image source: http://www.creativeeducation.co.uk)

2. BLOG

BlogBlogs are becoming more popular in the classroom with the increasing emphasis on pupil relection and evaluation of their learning. Why not move traditional evaluation from paper onto the computer? As well as enhancing computer-literacy skills, blogs encourage creativity, analysis and self-expression. They let pupils write, react and share, promoting peer assessment and critique in a new exciting format. Why not try a personal log or reflective learning diary in this way? Blogs will be great for the new UICT requirements which need extensive pupil evidence in the form of a log. A few great educational blogging sites are blogger, edublogs and wordpress. All ranging in ability levels with apps available so blogs can be edited from home on a mobile device. Even Twitter can be used as an educational micro blog! (Image source: http://socialmediamagic.com)

 

3. VOKI

VokiWhat is a Voki? A Voki is an innovative digital tool that inspires and motivates pupils to submit a variety of work – especially those pupils who are a little timid to present in front of the class. A Voki is an avatar that the pupil can have creative control over in terms of appearance. It allows pupils to either type in a passage, which the avatar will read aloud OR (which I love!) pupils can record their own voice saying the passage and it looks like the avatar is saying it! This can be used in soooo many ways, the versatile nature meaning many teachers are now trying to incorporate this technique somewhere in their courses. I encourage you to take a look at the Voki site, play around with it! The finished Voki link can be posted onto a VLE or emailed to the teacher. (Image source: http://edudemic.com)

4. VLE

VLEA VLE has been mentioned a few times so far, as you can see, it is quite an important tool for the 21st Century Teacher. A Virtual Learning Environment is a secure online space where classes can interact on educational topics in the form of discussions, wikis and voicethread. They can easily access resources, (no more, ‘I lost that sheet so couldn’t do my homework!’) upload work, (no more ‘I had no ink and my printer was broken.’ submit assessments and follow their online grade book. It is a great way for teachers to give quick feedback and closely monitor progress. Have a look at moodle, fronter and edmodo as potential VLEs. (Image source: http://www.skillspace.com)

5. Wordle

WordleWordle is an effective, easy tool for teachers to include in their courses. Every subject has keywords within their topics. Rather than give pupils lists on paper, why not try designing a wordle for the interactive whiteboard? Get pupils to work together to discuss the meanings, in fact, why not get pupils to create their own wordle based on topic keywords? Reinforces the content! Ideas are plentiful! Basic wordles with a less creative layout can be used with particular SEN pupils and help with literacy skills. Have a look at the site, Wordle, and try it out. The link can be embedded into a VLE or emailed to the teacher/pupils. (Image source: http://www.userlogos.org)