This post is a follow up to one from a couple of weeks ago – 8 apps that are on my iPad for 2013.
Out of the eight apps that I summarised, there are three that are currently changing the way I teach.
Edmodo – this online learning platform allows teachers and students to connect with each other in private class groups. Notes, links, assignments and general administration can be posted and made immediately accessible. Parents can also access what their child (and only their child) is doing at school. As we become a 1:1 laptop school, Edmodo is quickly becoming a major form of communication between teachers, students and parents aside from email. It is a fantastic tool for the times a teacher wants to use the ‘Flipped Classroom’ strategy as video tutorials and tasks can be accessed by the students at home. I have used this technique with my Year 11s over the past couple of weeks – creating video tutorials for them on Educreations, posting them on Edmodo, and getting them to view them, take notes and jot down any questions for homework, ready to bring to class the following lesson for a group discussion. This has worked particularly well with a small senior class who can follow and note-take more independently. The students have given me positive feedback, and I have enjoyed the ease of making resources from home, and being able to check on Edmodo to see if they have, in fact, viewed the set task/video (the app lets you know when each individual student has done so!)
Educreations – I love, love, LOVE this app. It has allowed me to create video tutorials on my iPad, then upload them directly to Edmodo for students to access. So far I have prepared tutorials in advance and posted them, but I can see the potential for creating the video as I present to the class…I just need to get my hands on the hardware to connect my iPad to the projector – then away we go! Click here for a short example I created – a short explanation of the continuum of Italian verb tenses. Again, feedback from students has been extremely positive and we have had a lot more time in class for students to ask their individual questions and receive assistance with tasks, rather than spending valuable time listening to lectures. It also allows for ease of differentiation – students who understand concepts quickly may only need to watch the video once, others have the option of watching repeatedly and then spending more time getting individualised assistance from the teacher.
Finally, Good Notes – a PDF reader and document marker that has been excellent for cutting down on paper. I have created individual folders for each of my classes and for meetings. Within those folders I am able to create individual notebooks – for my Year 9 Italian class I have created notebooks for each student, and as they send me digital copies of their work (these can be in most common digital document forms including Word), I can add it to their personal notebook, mark it up, then send it back in PDF form either as a single page or a full notebook. So simple to keep digital copies of all of their work, with your feedback. Below is an example of a basic revision document my students accessed via Edmodo, worked on on their computers, emailed to me and have now received feedback for much quicker than if we were working off of paper.
The strategic use of these apps have meant that I am more engaged in my work, and with the changes in my delivery student engagement and attitude also seems to be improving. Although I acknowledge it is still early days!
Finally, an honourable mention to Teacher Kit. This app, whilst not changing my teaching as such, provides a great database for information about my classes, individual students and their progress and attendance, as well as parent contact details. Basically, what I would have handwritten in my brick of a teacher’s diary previously has been condensed into electronic form on my iPad and can be backed up to a PC. Makes life just that little easier!
I will post more updates as I continue to engage with, learn about and use these resources in my classrooms.