Please welcome Katherine Fountain oft Engaging a Creative Classroom. She has shared an awesome list of iPad apps with us today that engage students in an authentic learning experience. Thanks for sharing with us today Katherine!
In the past few years the number of iPads in classrooms has
grown exponentially, they are a relatively inexpensive way for schools to get
technology into the hands of students. There
are thousands of educational apps out there for teachers to choose from so
where is a good place to start? My goal
when using technology in the classroom is to use it as a tool in purposeful
manner by asking myself “How will using this improve student learning and
empower the students?”
for education apps and found a lot focused on specific skills and content. There were apps for math facts, grammar, fractions,
and many more for the skills my students learn in fifth grade, I like to call
these apps “Content/Skill Apps”. As the students used them, they were initially
engaged, but they lost interest rather quickly.
I also found that after the students had mastered the skills, those apps
were rarely, if ever, used again. The
students were recalling facts , but they were not using their critical thinking
and creativity skills.
of inquiry in my classroom. The students
are allowed (and encouraged) to be curious about what we are learning and ask
questions. Using an inquiry approach, I
find that my students are more engaged than ever before, learning deeper and
wider, and love to share their learning with others. As my students became
young innovators a shift in the use of my three classroom iPads occurred. Instead of using the iPads and the Content/Skill
Apps, I started focusing on finding apps that would encourage innovation and
creativity, I was looking for “Creator Apps” for my curious students to
share their learning.
not designed for a specific skill or content, instead the user is given a platform
within the app to create a product to share. Creator Apps may not be found in the “Education”
category in the App Store, I personally have found a lot of them in the “Productivity”
category. The first type of Creator App that I introduce to my students is an
interactive whiteboard type of app.
There are a number of free apps like this to choose from including:
Screen Chomp, Educreations, and Show Me.
All three apps are different, but the general idea is the same, the user
is given a digital whiteboard that they can draw on, add pictures and/or text
to, and record audio to create a video.
This video can then be shared within the classroom, emailed to parents,
shared on Twitter, or on a classroom blog.
When sharing learning, my students and I try to brainstorm ways to reach
outside of the four walls of our classroom, it helps provide a purpose for
their learning. I like to introduce
multiple apps to my students and let them explore the apps to learn more about
them, then they can choose which one they would like to use.
students wondered about where the name “Big Ben” came from. As she asked questions and dug deeper into
her inquiry, she decided she wanted to clear up confusion about Big Ben being
the name of the bell and not the clock tower next to the Parliament building in
London. She used a picture and annotated
on the picture while explaining her learning.
When she shared her video with the class, they were all engaged and
learned more about a few landmarks in London.
The video lasted about one minute and the students were excited to learn
from their classmate, we were then able to share the video (and others) on our
classroom blog and tweeted it out on our classroom Twitter account. The best part is these apps can be used all
year long, not just for a unit on a specific topic, the possibilities are open
and do not cap students thinking or creativity.
|Student product in progress to show learning about Big Ben (using Educreations)|
for my students on days that I am gone from class. Instead of writing detailed substitute
lesson plans, I spend my time creating a math mini-lesson, including examples
and directions when to stop the video and take time to practice the skill. I have found that this helps my students
learn even when I am not able to be at school and minimizes the amount of
reteaching I need to do on my return from school.
students to as many resources as I can and then give them the freedom to
embrace ideas they connect with to learn more. Below is a list of some of my favorite (currently free) apps
that my students use in the classroom to share their creativity and learning.
and students can use real pictures to create a product. It is possible to add captions or word
bubbles to make it look more like a comic.
There are settings for students to choose whether to use the actual
photo, make it into a comic, or a pencil sketching. The students work can be printed in a variety
of sizes or saved as a picture. I have
had students create propaganda posters using this app, publish their how-to
writings, and create short stories on the app.
There are a variety of uses for the app and it is very easy to use.
|The student used captions to show some of his learning about architecture in the Colosseum|
personally think does a little more than the others I mentioned. There are more options for students to draw
and create images and videos. They can
save them or upload the video directly to YouTube. The product can be made into a pdf too. I have had students create timelines on this
app. They have published their own
writing complete with pictures, then we save it as a PDF and print it out for
their parents or can email it directly to their parents when they are done.
|Student example of a timeline, practice using the app before heritage project|
my students use to create images that they can upload into any of the mentioned
apps. I encourage students to use their knowledge to create their own pictures
as much as they can so they have total ownership in their project. If they use an image from a free stock source
online, I encourage them to change it in some way (adding labels, captions,
more details) to ensure they aren’t just saving images from the internet to
Freebie for you!: Click here to pick up a freebie to help your students plan out their projects using apps like the ones I mentioned above. The graphic organizer is FREE for you to download and use. I have my students sketch the image they are going to use and write the talking points for each slide or screen. This helps them plan out their product instead of just jumping into it and helps the final product look and sound more polished.