Tag: Tablets

How to Pick iPad Apps for your Classroom

ipad-3-schoolYou’ve heard the chatter. IPads have become the go-to literacy tool for authentic learning in the K-8 classroom, the one that says ‘Our program is cutting edge, up-to-date, inquiry-driven‘. Students want to use them, want to share and collaborate on them, and will follow almost any rules if it means they get that tablet in their hands.

The problem with the iPad as with the internet is: TMI–too much information. There are tens of thousands of apps, each proclaiming itself to be the solution to all classroom problems, each promising to be the practical strategy for learning math or science or state capitals or whatever their buzz word happens to be.

How do teachers sort truth from marketing?

You evaluate the apps. It won’t take long to realize that the best share similar characteristics. They encourage organic conversation, scaffold learning, are student-centered, and inspire risk-taking on the part of student users. What’s that look like when it plays out on an iPad? According to the Texas Computer Education Association, apps should:

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Tech Tip #106: Fastest Way to Add a Period When Typing on an IPad

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: Typing on the iPad keyboard is slow. You have to access two different screens to type most messages. How do I speed that up without buying (and installing) a separate QWERTY keyboard?

A: Here’s one time-saving tip: IPads and most Smartphones will add a period (which inconveniently is on the second screen) if you double-space.

Cool.

BTW–double-tapping a key seems to be a secret shortkey for other tools also. For example, if you double-click the shift key, it turns the CAPS LOCK on.

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How to Use iPads in Your Classroom

What is an iPad?

It’s a brand name—not a product—for a tablet computer designed, developed and marketed by Apple and used primarily for audio-visual media such as books, games, periodicals, movies, music, and web content. It has a keyboard, but most people maneuver with finger taps and swipes.

It does less than laptops and computers, but what it does is spectacular. Such as it’s instantly on—no booting up. If you use your computer’s boot-up time to take a break, that’s over. And unlike smartphones, it’s big enough to check email, watch videos, read a book. It isn’t a phone, but can make addicting video phone calls through Skype. It isn’t a camera, but takes quick and easy great pictures.

What it doesn’t do well is run software—MS Office, Apple software (though it can with the right apps).

Software isn’t the purpose of an iPad. Don’t mistake this new device for a laptop-light. If you’re planning to introduce iPads to your Lower School/Elementary-age students, here’s a lesson plan for you:

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Tech Tip #104: Need a File on Your iPad? Here’s an Easy Way

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: I have a video on my classroom computer I want to use on my iPad. How do I do that?

A: There are ways to do that–email it to your iPad, open through DropBox–but those have issues:

  • emailing requires extra steps and time you may not have
  • many email accounts limit you to <10MB. What if a video file is larger?
  • DropBox has limited space
  • like email, you must put materials in DropBox to access them from there (In know–Duh, but that requires planning. What if your inquiry-driven class popped onto this topic on the fly?)

If you’re like me, anything to make your worker faster, easier, less steps is a good thing.

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education apps

Apps for Education

Kids love using iPads. All those fun activities that can be accessed quickly via the pad format are both stimulating andaddictive. I’m all for giving kids what they want in the way of educational tools, but there-in lies the rub:

How do you find those apps?

When my school asked me to come up with a collection to use on our new class-set of ipads (to cycle through grades 3-8), I thought it would be easy.

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