iPad Projects created with Animoto!

Our middle school ESL students participating in the iPad pilot are having a blast CREATING with their iPads! One of their favorite (free!) apps thus far is Animoto!

Their teacher recently taught a lesson on “Feelings” and sent students on a Google Search to find photographs of people whom expressed specific emotions or feelings.  Once the photographs were chosen, students took screenshots with their iPads, which added the images to the iPad’s camera roll. Using the Animoto app, the kids uploaded their images, entered text, music and transitions to create a customized presentation on the assigned topic.

Here are some examples of the students’ work: They did a GREAT job and had loads of fun working on the project.

Jennifer: “Emotions”

Vanessa: “Feelings”


Just Say NO to Paper!

I write a lot about iPads. I think my fascination with iPads in education comes from the transformative power they have to eliminate pencils, paper, binders, spiral notebooks from the classroom environment. I dislike paper. I just don’t find it easy to organize and I think many students have the same problem. I remember many of my third graders would have desks stuffed full of papers that were months old or incomplete. It’s just not very practical for some students. I was one of those students and still am, really.The iPads that we are piloting at a high school and middle school in my district have allowed the students and teachers in this pilot to work in a virtually paperless environment and it’s all because of a few of my favorite apps, which I’ll discuss in this post.One of the apps that allows students and teacher to “go paperless” is Evernote. It is a GREAT, free app! Today I had the opportunity to teach a class about Evernote at the high school where we are conducting one of our 1:1 iPad pilots…BUT.. I didn’t drive there. Since the class started at 7:15, 45 minutes before my work day begins, I decided to teach the class virtually! Yesterday I asked the teacher to test a new process with me. I set up my laptop and displayed a live shot of my iPad screen in Chrome using a nifty little app called Display Recorder. I “Skyped” the teacher (She used Skype on her iPad) and shared my screen with her. She confirmed that she was able to see a live, moving shot of my iPad. Perfect!

This morning I “Skyped” the high school class where the teacher had connected her iPad to her projector so that her entire class could see the live shot of my iPad screen. I led them through the process of signing up with an Evernote account using their Gaggle e-mail addresses and then walked students through the basic features of the app. It was a true success and the principal was even in the classroom to observe. He filmed the experience on his iPad and was very pleased with what he observed, according to the teacher.

The students are now in the process of creating an English portfolio that they will share with their teacher. The premium version of Evernote allows the teacher to EDIT student notebooks for revision purposes, so we may test this out in the future as well.

Our students are now using a combination of Notability (to annotate graphic organizers, handouts, etc.), Gaggle and Evernote to transition from paper, pencils and spiral notebooks to full-on digital. The awesome thing for our ESL students is that Evernote and Notability allows students to capture images and even audio notes, which are helpful supports in learning the language.

The best feature of Evernote, in my opinion, is that users are given a free “Evernote Upload” e-mail address that is linked directly to the Evernote account. So my next task is to teach students to e-mail work in Notability to their Evernote upload e-mail addresses so that notes are automatically pushed into Evernote notebooks. Sending an email to that address will
create a new note in Evernote using the email subject as the note title, the email body as the note body and the source email address as the note author. This is just brilliant!

We do not allow our students to bring their iPads home due to safety and security issues, but we are encouraging those with computers at home to access their work in iCloud and Evernote. Thus, NO paper to bring home!

Our students are having fun saving paper, are YOU? And HOW?

The iPad is not a Laptop

I am fortunate to work in a department that has the funding to employ two full time technology resource teachers; I, being one of them, have the great responsibility of supporting all 250+ ESL teachers with tech integration ideas, technical support and hardware.

This past school year I have had the opportunity to work with two amazing ESL teachers on a 1:1 iPad pilot in their middle and high school classrooms. The goal of this pilot is to encourage students to learn in a digital, paperless environment while producing projects to be included in their personal digital portfolios.

As many iPad users already know, the iPad is a single user device and it works best in a 1:1 where one student is assigned his or her own iPad. The iPad was never meant to be a shared device because there is no login like there is on a traditional desktop or laptop. This has been a point of contention in the pilot in that it seems that we are not getting “bang for our buck” with only 40 students having access to these iPads.

It is obvious to me and many other iPad users that there is a shift occurring in the business world, in education and in life in general. People do everything with their “device,” whatever that device may be. Some sort of device is with most indivdiuals on a daily basis. Whether it be a Blackberry that one is sending a text message from or an iPhone that one is scanning an important document to and sending along to his or her boss…everyone is connected. Everyone has some device that allows them to improve his or her productivity in life, in school or in the workplace.

School administrators and even corporate executives have taken note of the benefits of using a device to increase and improve productivity. This is why some firms hand out iPads to their employees and many school districts have begun 1:1 initiatives where ALL students have iPads or Chromebooks.  The vision is that students can keep all of their class notebooks saved on ONE device, create movies and presentations on ONE device, email all of their teachers from ONE device and then go home with that device or access their work on that ONE device from “the cloud.”

The fact is, most adults have some device or tool that they use daily, nightly and weekly to stay connected, to be productive, to learn and to create. Why not at least prepare our students for the future that is already upon us?