Trial Schools Sharing Day

Today we met with all the other iPad trial schools in Melbourne at the Conference and Exhibition Centre. The day kicked off with an App Smackdown where each school gave a quick best 5 apps. Here is a summary of the apps:-
Keynote, Coolfacts, PuppetPals, TED, Nue Draw, Corkulous, Guardian Eyewitness, Popplet, Draw, Wolfram alpha, Math Board, Strip designer, iBooks, Goodreader, Doodle buddy, Reel director, App shopper, SimplemindX, AnimationHD, Pages, Star walk, Dictionary- thesaurus, Melbourne Museum App, Calendar, Epicure, Online Galleries, Homework Plus, Sonic Pics, Atomic Browser/Perfect browser (allows VGA output)

I showed Spoken Motion as another app that allows you to record audio but also records drawing on pictures or text or a blank canvas. I actually created some movies using Spoken motion as tutorials for students wanting to learn cursive script. Each tutorial shows how to write a high frequency word with audio explanation.

The second part of the day was each school telling their story about the iPad trial. Stories were varied but had the same theme with engagement of learners and teachers being a significant outcome. Two schools have students with both a netbook and the ipads and have both found that students are choosing the iPad as their most preferred tool. Some students were even leaving their netbook at home.

Another common finding was that the less able students were seen to gain a lot from the program so far. For some this meant attending school more regularly, becoming techsperts and points of call for others, having social connections because of the iPad use and having a greater work output than previous to the iPad trial.

Creative uses of the iPads was the third common thread between the school’s uses of the iPad. Students creating presentations, movies, slideshows, posters and more using a range of apps to produce a product. Some students can use up to seven or more apps to produce a final product. Students are given a problem or challenge and then decide which apps they would like to use.
An example was using Whiteboard and Sonic pics to create a how to presentation and an assessment piece on addition of 2 3 digit numbers with regrouping.

There was talk about developers and teachers being able to collaborate on creation of apps and it was noted that most app developers are most willing to accept feedback and work to develop their apps along side teachers. If a developer was emailed it was only a short time until there was an answer.

I have found this myself as lately I have made contact with the developer of Spoken Motion. Spoken motion allows you to add pictures and then draw on them while recording your voice. Then you can share the files with others. I would like to be able to use this app on the iPad to give feedback to students on their work. In particular to be able to annotate their work and the record voice with more feedback. This can be emailed to the students.

It was also evident that many of the schools had purchased further iPads than the ones in the trial to allow other teachers and students to participate in the project. In addition parents had also purchased iPads as a ripple effect was felt from the student’s use of the iPads.

In the afternoon Simon Shaw showed us how you can create ePubs (books for the iPad) by using pages or a template available on the Apple website. I thought the students would like to create some of their learning in this format.
Also in the afternoon we were shown the DEECD Vic Gov Ultranet design space that we have all been invited to use. This will be a great space to communicate together and there will be a front page to the www added later in Dec. I liked that feature so we can include a wider following on the project and get added ideas and feedback from a global perspective.

Finally we shared our take away from the day and any other things we wanted to share with others.  My take away was create, share and create. The best apps allow students to create and share in many ways.