Wednesday, November 28, 2012

iPad use evaluation

St Agnes High School Student iPad Survey

St Agnes High School Rooty Hill surveyed their Year 8 students about their response to the implementation of iPads for their year group.

They had been using the iPads for one term before the survey took place.  

Infographic adjacent summarises the results.

St Agnes students learning with their iPads

iPad Scotland Evaluation

Recently there has been also been extensive research done on the implementation of iPads in Scottish schools.  The research sample covered eight schools with 365 iPad used across schools. The schools had a variety of implementation models from class sets to 1 to 1.

The research for the completed 116 page report aimed to identify how the use of personal tablet devices in schools impacted teaching and learning and was drawn from:
  • Baseline and exit surveys of parents and students
  • Interviews with various teaching staff
  • Lesson observations by the research team
  • Reflective journals by the teachers
  • Video logs by students 
 Some of the key findings that would be helpful to schools implementing 1 to 1 iPads:
  • Personal ownership of the device is the single most important factor for successful use of this technology, as students take ownership of their learning and customise their learning experience.
  • Early familiarisation with the iPad by teachers was a key factor in success along with time to experiment, share, reflect and joint plan with other teachers.
  • Parents appeared to be more engaged with the school and their child's learning when the iPad was brought home.
  • Co-learning and collaborating with students to learn with the iPad had great benefits in the classrooms.  It was seen to be a partnership where students were teaching each other and the teacher.
  • In terms of the SAMR model, "even in cases which might appear to be a straight substitution of technologies, there are often 'discernible functional improvement' leading to the conclusion that the 'substitution ' level may not be applicable in the case of tablet computers like the iPad." p92
The report was prepared by:
Kevin Burden, Paul Hopkins, Dr Trevor Male, Dr Stewart Martin and Christine Trala from the Facultof of Education, The University of Hull, October 2012.
You can download the iPad Scotland Evaluation report from here:

'iPad Scotland Evaluation researchers to visit Learning Exchange 

- Monday December 3rd
Kevin Burden and Dr Chris Bonfield from the University of Hull are visiting us at Learning Exchange on Monday 3rd December.  We will be visiting St Agnes High School as well as taking time to discuss and share from their research and our experiences.

If you have any questions that you would like us to ask the researchers please post a comment with your question, with details of your school, your role and where your school is at in regards to iPads.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

iPad Music Class Trial for Garageband

Earlier this year I was invited to do a short 2-hour class on GarageBand on the iPad at Caroline Chisholm Day, 2012, Chisholm Primary Bligh Park. The class consisted of primary school students from year 3 to 6. I had never done anything like this before so I was keen to see how I could engage students in experimenting and learning about musical instruments and musical concepts using Garage Band on the iPad.

My set up was the iPad hooked up to a data projector; sound out to a small mixer and out to stereo speakers. It is important you have good sound and are not just using the iPad speakers, as it does not do bass very well. It just sounds better with proper speakers.

This is what I had as a running sheet on the day:


11 - Introduction
11:05 - Drum kit (if ever stuck, hit the “?” button) and play
11:15 - Smart drums and play
11:25 - Smart strings and play
11:35 - Smart bass
11:40 - Smart keyboard, Let It Be and play
11:50 - Smart guitar and play
12:00 - Smart piano and play
12:10 - Groups, settings and Jam Session
12:20 - Learn song
12:50 – Performance

            As you can see I focused on the instruments and the basics, no recording and basically not going to the “track view” side of things at all. This was mostly to keep it fun within the 2-hour time limit. Basically what I did was go through each of the instruments and give each instrument 10 minutes class time (3-4 minutes instruction, 6-7 minutes play time) except for Smart Bass as it is not too interesting and is pretty much the same as Smart Guitar.

            It is imperative that all the kids have headphones. Number one, because you don’t want 30 different noisy iPads going at once and number two, because during your instruction it is very easy to look at who still has their headphones on. Make sure you give them enough time to explore each instrument, as they might find out things on their own without you even telling them.

            What I didn’t do was allow more time for the very robust piano instrument. There are a lot of things to do with this instrument because of all the synth instruments as well. I also found that the kids wanted to show what they had discovered and share it with the class and me to which I obliged for a couple of kids.

At the “Learn Song” point, I over estimated what was possible in 30 minutes. I had intended to get them all in small bands calling out drummers, keyboard players and guitarists and give them pre-made set up iPad sessions. This actually worked quite well with not much fuss and I thought I had given them good instructions with pages like this:

            Now, I’m not a teacher and I went into this pretty blind as to what the students were capable of. I showed a colleague what I had planned and he seemed to think it was good. But as you can see, there are settings to be changed and, if you didn’t know what the tabs were, you would be a little lost even though they look very simple. This had to be added to the fact that they all had to be taught Jam Session just before they went into their groups. I ended up having to go to every group and set them up which took 10 minutes out of the scheduled time. The year 3 group didn’t have a chance. They even questioned their choice of doing Music on iPads as their chosen class.

            I now realize that it was a little overambitious for primary school kids although a couple of the groups almost got to the point of playing together. It is probably better for early high school students. I just wanted to give them the chance to get the feeling of playing in a band together. It is an amazing feeling when you get it right and I think more kids should experience this. I hope you can learn from my experience in your own class.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Utilising QR codes in learning

QR codes are being used more across the world and especially in learning.

There is a great opportunity for students to create and use QR codes on the iPad to extend learning across a range of curriculum subjects and specifically for demonstrating understanding of their own work or extending their understanding of a topic.

I particularly like the ideas in the following video which links the use of QR codes with digital storytelling to engage, inform and promote.   Have a look at 'Sukiennice "Secrets Behind Paintings"' :

Using QR codes in learning

Download our QR codes in Learning document (click on the image opposite) for an overview of QR codes and ideas to use them in learning

Download our QR Code Learning Quest document to look at a sample QR code hunt using clues to books to inform, orientate and engage users in locating and sourcing resources for their learning.

See how Parramatta Marist Br Ludovic Learning Centre is using QR codes.

Reading (Scanning) QR Codes
You will need a smartphone or tablet with a camera as well as a Qr reader App.
For basics we recommend QRset (free) but there are lots of others available.
However a better one is QRafter (free) as it will also check the QR code link for safety and will keep a list of the QR code links you have scanned, providing students a history of their scans.

Creating Qr codes

Use Safari on the iPad to get students to create QR codes for free via a QR code generator website like Kaywa.

QRafter Pro allows you to create and scan QR code.
But if your would like your students to get creative and colourful with the look of their QR codes try the QR Code Art App.

Use QR codes to get more out of your school staff meetings/professional learning
We recently held a staff meeting where instead of sitting down for hours to hear all the latest information, we armed people with iPads and a QR code quest.  With 10 questions to answer staff moved around the building in teams to find QR codes.  Upon scanning the codes with their iPads or smartphones, they were directed to information to read web based information or view videos on important information that all staff needed to know. Then we all met back at the meeting venue to share and feedback with a reward for the first team back with the correct answers.

For more about QR codes, how they are being used in  teaching and learning and other resources see Learning Exchanges QR codes for Learning.

Monday, October 8, 2012

iPad PLN at Corpus Christi Cranebrook

A great day of shared learning at Corpus Christi Primary Cranebrook to explore iPad use across the curriculum for student learning.  Corpus Christi currently has about 60 iPads across the school, and held a professional learning day for staff to extend the use for student learning they already have with their iPads and develop more iPad lesson plans.

The day incorporated a 1.5 hour session for half the staff at the Apple Store Penrith looking at the iLife suite of Apps (Garage Band, iMovie and iPhoto) on the iPad with the other half of staff taking part in a 1.5 hr school based session around 4 Apps: Scribble Press, Evernote, Twitter and Flipboard.  These session were then repeated so all staff got a chance to attend both sessions.

School based iPad session

Scribble Press
Scribble Press is a brilliant free story creation App that incorporates a comprehensive range of writing and drawing tools.  Students can create their Scribble Press book, edit it as much as they like, include photos or their own drawings and enhance their story with built in stickers and stamping tools.  They can then publish their book to iBooks once they set up an account.  Schools could setup a class/school account to do this.
Alternatively your stories can also be shared by choosing "Email a link" which uploads them to the Scribble Press website and sends an email with the address of the story to anyone you send the email message to. This way only people with the link can access the story.  Make sure your iPad is set up to send email to do. See more info here.

We started with a look at the YouTube video 'Scribble Press' by iPadagogy that clearly explains how Scribble Press can be used in learning.

The Scribble Press Blog also provides some good resources and ideas for use.

Next we looked at Evernote and its use as a digital portfolio for capturing student learning.  All the links for information on Evernote can be found at our previous blog post 'Evernote digital portfolios in our schools'. We discussed the use of the Evernote Webclipper (download via adjacent link) on your laptop or desktop computer to capture your important websites easily into Evernote.  For your iPad you can install a webclipper but it is a little more work.  Instructions on how to install the webclipper code in the bookmarks of your safari app can be found at 'How to install Evernote webclipper on the iPhone and iPad'.

We discussed the use of Twitter by teachers and students to connect with other learners or experts across the world or to curate learning.  Corpus Christi already has a few class twitter accounts and so are well placed to leverage this. We ran through the basics of Twitter language and setting up your profile.  Staff started tweeting using the hashtag #corpusPLN, incorporating pictures and links. A Tweetdoc capturing all the tweets can be found here.

We explored the use of Flipboard to create dynamic visual curated information for students in a magazine style format that they can customise.  The ability to bring in a range of content such as blog feeds, youtube and Australian content was a key advantage of use.  For example Corpus Christi already has some great blogs that could be drawn into Flipboard via RSS. See their 'Year Five's Artistic Adventures' and 'Year 2's Awesome Art Gallery'

We also  pulled in content from the hashtag tweets from the day: #corpuspln.
All the information for using Flipboard is in the following slideshare including ideas for Australian content that can be incorporated easily:

At the end of the day we had an App Taster session and looked at the following Apps/iPad uses the classroom.  All free apart from the Number Sense App.

Friday, September 28, 2012

iOS upgrades - impact on use in Schools

iWorks apps file transfers upgrade
This will make working with the iPad so much easier, the ability to save your Pages, Keynote or Numbers document to another App or location.

Upload photos from iPad to websites
We can now upload photos from the camera roll to websites.  Great for students working with the iPad and collaborating via Blogs and Wikis.

Guided Access feature
With this new accessibility feature you can lock the iPad into a single App and can also disable certain App functions that you don't want the student to use.

Finding your Apps
Now when you search for your Apps in Spotlight it will show you the folder you have put your Apps in.  Great for many of us who have soooo many Apps in folders.

Updating without passwords
This will be good news for schools with class sets, you won't need to rely on your one IT or tech support person to do updates.  Teachers will be able to do it themselves when convenient.

Improved Proxy bypassing
Our IT staff say this will solve a lot of problems they are having with things that need to operate over a proxy server.  So it should improve our access and functionality with the iPads even more.

Improved Open in functionality
Instead of limiting us to a few Apps you can open your document in, you will now have unlimited  options.

Youtube and Maps
When you upgrade to iOS6 you will no longer have access to the native Youtube App.  So you will have to go to the App store and download the Youtube App.  It has been well discussed that the new Maps App has some problems, so we will have to use it with caution and wait for updates to fix soem of the problems.

With all the hype around iOS6 it was easy to miss that there had been an upgrade also to the Apple TV iOS.  Brian Van Vlimmeran from our IT area alerted me to a great new feature in the upgrade.  The ability to set an onscreen code (as opposed to the current password setting).  What this means is that you can require anyone wanting to AirPlay to have to input a code that will pop up on your HDTV screen.  This will stop students and others from inadvertently (or on purpose) taking over Airplay in your classroom. See for more information.

1-1 iPad forum

Learning Exchange  held an iPad forum on 7th September 2012 with representatives from schools who either already had 1 to 1 iPad programs in their schools or where moving towards such a program.
The program for the day was:
  • 2012/2013 schools to provide a 20min overview of their schools planning or journey to date,
  • Summary of Brisbane Study tour
  • IT Support including Caspar
  • Pedadogy - guided discussion
  • Policies and procedures required
  • Resources available
  • PD strategies to support schools
Shared information via Google Doc
The shared discussion and links were collated in a Google Doc by Ron Van Vliet, available to staff who attended on the day.  Access to other staff is available on request to

Overall summary of the day
A collection of the Twitter Feeds by topic is collated in the following slideshare.

IT Support
Our IT area has an 'iPad deployment for CEDP schools' available on OSCAR for our school which provides extensive support information around implementation of iPads in our schools.

Ron led a discusssion on the TPACK and SAMR models.
TPACK Radio/Video Show ISTE 2010 from Punya Mishra on Vimeo.


 Lisa shared some resources to help integrate the use of iPads in your lessons.

Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!

Policies and Procedures
We talked about the poliicies and procedures you should develop and consider:
  • Acceptable Use policy (CEDP have a new policy "Responsible Use of ICT and Social Media" available from OSCAR.)
  • Copyright - iTunesU - with schools able to develop their own iTunes courses schools need to be careful that material they develop to load to iTunesU complies with copyright. See University of Melbourne information on iTunesU and copyright.
  • Copyright - iBooks - with teachers and students starting to develop their own iBooks, our educational copyright licences will not apply to content in iBooks created and shared on sites that are not password protected, for eg iTunes or iBooks store.
  • OHAS - make students and teachers aware of good ergonomics, awkward postures and safety when using iPads.  See our CEDP OSCAR page 'iPad safety" on this topic

Resources for Schools
Useful Websites, iBooks, Twitter feeds etc for schools

Ongoing PD and other support
Learning Exchange is looking at a variety of ways to provide ongoing PD support.  Also Phil Stewart from St Columbas created an Edmodo group called CEDP iPads in Schools to share information among Catholic Education diocese of Parramatta schools.  To join please request the group code via email to

Monday, September 10, 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

Evernote - digital portfolios in our schools

This post highlights the use in our school of Evernote as digital portfolios capturing; learning, observations and anecdotal evidence that can be used for feedback, assessment and sharing of student work among teachers, students and parents.
 Mother Teresa Primary Westmead
 At present each child in 3/4 has their own Evernote account. They have it set up with a  folder for each of the KLAs .  
Using other technology and apps such as Educreations and iPad cameras, video etc, the children record their learning or respond to a teacher set task using their evernote account. The teacher can then access this to see their work.   The children also use the Apple TV to showcase their work to the class and to their parents when they come in to their Learning Studio.
The children are developing their organisational skills with the use of tags.  When we go on excursions we keep a record of the day using the evernote camera and video option, recording sounds we might have heard and writing the text as the day progresses. This is then a stimulating resource to enable us to revisit the day.
From Maria Boyd - Mother Teresa Primary, Westmead.
We began using Evernote at St Joseph’s at the beginning of Term 2. We created an account where all the K-2 staff can log in using the same username and password. Within the account we have three notebooks, one each for Kindergarten, Year One and Year Two.

Every student has their own note within their year notebook. We have arranged these to present alphabetically so it is easy to find each student’s note. We have found Evernote to be a fantastic resource in terms of capturing anecdotal records and assessments of the children’s learning. We are an EMU (Extending Mathematical Understanding) school and frequently photograph activities the children are involved in. We photograph number busting charts and have audio recordings of the students skip counting on and off the decade. In Kindergarten we have photographed structured play activities and recorded audio of the children’s reading and oral language during structured news group.
Using Evernote has streamlined our use of audio and visual evidence of student work. We can open any child’s note and see a visual record of their learning. It’s been great at parent teacher interviews where we can show parents exactly what their children have been doing. Audio recordings of reading, counting, talking etc allow us to measure improvement and gauge where more intervention is needed.

We used Evernote to record the narratives told by the children as part of the SOCs screener. We also photographed the scribed and analysed narrative to each child’s note so we can easily access it at any time.

Realistically, we have only just scratched the surface of the potential for this app. Our hope is for the older children to begin using Evernote themselves for photographing and recording their own and their peers work. As teachers, one of the best aspects of Evernote is that all our photographs and recordings immediately stream to all our devices. We are not limited to using a particular ipad or iphone AND we are not spending precious time searching for and ‘filing’ evidence for individual students – the technology does all the work. 
From Liz Nicholls - St Josephs Primary,  Kingswood

For some additional ideas using Evernote in the classroom see
How to use Evernote to Manage a class
TechChef4U  - Sync-up with Evernote
Evernote and IdeaPaint: Classroom Spotlight, Eisenhower High School - YouTube

Monday, August 20, 2012

Developing iPad learning workflows for best learning outcomes

Rethinking the approach to learning with an iPad was one of the key points that arose from our recent iPad study tour in Queensland.
Many of the schools talked about the development of 'Learning Workflows' where work is created in one app, then built on in another App and so on.
Using the iPad where many Apps are generally single function, requires a different approach to create useful learning outcomes that moves the integration of the iPad in learning from the Subsitution model to the Redefinition model. 

A very useful explanation with some practical examples of how to achieve a learning workflow in your classroom can be found in the following video by ELearning Laura based on work done at the Apple Teacher Institute 2012 in Cheltenham.

Read the full post with more details at:  Elearning Laura - Video iPad lesson workflows

Bounty Boulevard State School, one of the schools we toured, also had a very useful handout towards creating a 'Learning Workflow' available from their iPad portal. This handout provides a range of pathways for teachers to select Apps that can provide learning outcomes from understanding to reflection and then across that to move from less teacher centred workflows to more student centred learning.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

iPads in education study tour - Queensland

A group of educators from Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta recently took part in a study tour of a number of Queensland Schools around Brisbane and the Gold Coast looking at the use of iPads in learning.  We were also joined by educators from Lismore Diocese.

Agenda for the 2 day tour:
  1. Session with Apple
  2. Redlands College
  3. Bounty Boulevard State School
  4. St Hildas School
  5. Kings Christian College
  6. Trinity Lutheran College
Photos, shared thoughts, ideas and information from the tour are summarised in the following slideshare.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Students construct knowledge with their own iBooks

I was recently at Our Lady of the Angels Rouse Hill doing a workshop with them in creating iBooks using iBooks Author.  The Principal Eva La Rocco and the teachers saw the main benefit for the software as a way of students demonstrating their own understanding and knowledge by creating  an iBook that incorporated all their work.  The focus being for the students to create content rather than it being pushed to them via a teacher created iBook textbook.

A group of 7th graders in the USA have done just that  - publishing a digitally interactive field guide of Northwest Florida titled Creatures, Plants and More!

Jessie Chuang from Classroom Aid wrote a recent post that alerted me to  this great student created iBook.  As she points out some classrooms have already 'crafted their own learning materials as a learning process itself, including writing their own textbooks.'

'Andrea Santilli, a teacher at Woodlawn Beach Middle School in Gulf Breeze, Florida, wanted to find a new way to challenge her 7th grade Advanced Life Science students. She wanted to help them develop relevant lifelong skills in addition to their regular studies, so Santilli set out on a unique quest."I wanted to give them the opportunity to be published so they could use this as part of their academic resume and to make what they learn have real meaning," says Santilli.

Santilli saw creating an iBook as an opportunity to have her class become the first group of 7th graders to publish a digitally interactive book, and to have their work available not just locally but to anyone around the world.

For MacLife post for more information on this project: 

The book is free from the iBooks store, or click on the book cover image to be taken to the iBook link.

St Agnes iPad implementation

St Agnes Catholic High School are moving ahead with their 1 to 1 program for their Year 8 students.  St Agnes was involved in the trial of iPads during 2010 and since then have researched and consulted  extensively with a strategic process across staff, students and parents towards ensuring an effective implementation program.  This has included learning opportunites for staff and students as well as ongoing communication across the school community. The focus has been on the learning and how this device could assist in providing real mobile learning opportunities.

The school has a number of initiatives which we have posted here in previous posts.  As well they include regular information in their school newsletters about relevant Apps they are using.  This includes providing the frameworks they use to evaluate the learning potential of using the App.

For example a range of criteria has been used to evaluate the App 'The Catholic Game'.  Criteria considered includes thinking skills, feedback etc.

St Agnes has also kindly agreed to share their updated App List for year 8 students.  Each App was evaluated by the appropriate teacher, Coordinator and a selection of students.  Download from dropbox by clicking on the image below.
Staff from St Agnes are also currently working wiht  iBooks Author to see how it can be utilised by staff and students to create iBooks to assist in learning.

iPads for Literacy & Learning resource for teachers

"The real problem is not adding technology to the current organization of the classroom, but changing the culture of teaching and learning.”
- Alan November

My colleague Nicole Sprainger, has created an iBook "iPads for Literacy & Learning" which has been developed to assist K-10 teachers in utilising the iPad in their classroom literacy learning programs. It recognises that our students live in an increasingly sophisticated and  media-rich society, in which digital texts are ubiquitous. Our students need therefore to become multiliterate - to be critical consumers of digital media texts. They also need to develop the ability to construct new knowledge, communicating their own ideas and information by composing using digital tools and processes.

 Nicole says the iBook itself is intended simply to be a stimulus - a spark to encourage teachers to consider some ways to provide explicit learning opportunities for their students to access, use, understand and create multimodal texts while utilising the iPad.

"It is my hope that you and your students will embrace some of the wonderful learning opportunities afforded by access to an iPad and the amazing range of apps on offer. I believe you and your students will find the learning purposeful, engaging and fun!"

The books includes very useful information on the pedagogical consideration of choosing Apps and includes a variety of frameworks to map and evaluate Apps.

Teachers are free to copy and share this iBook with other teachers in accordance with the Creative Commons license outlined in the book.

Click on the image to download the iBook from Dropbox via your iPad.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Language teaching in the iPad classroom


Lesson ideas with Apps that could be used across all languages:

Objective: Get students to express themselves verbally in the language they are learning.
Use Screencasting Apps like ShowMe, Educreations or Explain Everything for students to record a conversation, while annotating an image related to the topic.

Objective:  Students research, create and publish an interactive book on the language, culture and customs of the language they are studying.
Use Creative Book Builder App and incorporate Audio, Video, Weblinks, Images etc to provide a reference book resource.
Or use iBooks Author on a laptop to create an even more interactive iBook for access on students iPads.  See iBooks Author for Languages: 3 Guerilla ideas.

Objective : Introduce students to basic language structures and vocabulary, as well as geography customs and culture.
Students subscribe free to relevant courses and collection on iTunesU, with resources like iBooks or podcasts to read, listen and reinforce understanding of the language and country.  eg, Open University Andante: beginners' Italian Audio.

Objective:  Students practice their speaking skills in their chosen language.  
Use Facetime to communicate with native speaking students from a school overseas.

A few selected Apps and websites to take a look at for your Languages Classes

Translation Apps (free ones)
Wordlens - translate words with this App by pointing the iPad camera at a sign
Google Translate
Numeracy fluency
Count to Ten: (free) Identify the numbers in a game based mode across ten different languages

A comprehensive list of Apps for students learning French - 'iPod apps for the French Class' is available from Wisconsin World Languages 2010 Wikispace.

A useful information text for French students is  :
Fotopedia Paris: (free) More than 4,000  photos of Paris with rich text descriptions.  Also Virtual Trips and shuffle or shake your iPad to discover new spots and images

French Gender (free) Still confused about which French nouns are masculine and which are feminine? Ready to learn the patterns which will unlock the secret?

Byron Bay High School provides a list of Indonesian language learning Apps

Living Language - Italian for iPad (free for 6 lessons, remaining paid) This app has 3  levels—Essential, Intermediate, and Advance with vocabulary, grammar, dialogues, and interactive games.

Learn Italian with Busuu! (free plus inapp purchases):  Covers 150 every day topics

Virtual History Roma:  ($5.49) Students discover ancient Rome in a 3d simulated environment that reconstructs the ancient monuments of the city.

Rome HD : ($5.99) includes images and virtual tours of Italy as well as history.

Human Japanese HD: ($9.99) The goal of Human Japanese is not just to turn out students capable of repeating canned phrases, but to lay the foundation for real linguistic and cultural understanding. To this end, it focuses on helping the student to understand the core engine of the language, giving lucid explanations of key concepts and making frequent comparisons to aspects of English that are similar.

iNippon: (free sample - full version $13.99) A Japanese-English conversation book about traditional Japanese things.

AIUEO-HIRAGANA for iPad  ($4.99) learn to read Japanese Hiragana, listen to native speakers pronounce the hiragana characters.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

iBooks Author Guide for Schools

Educators and staff in our schools are seeing the potential of iBooks created with iBooks Author to use with students in a number of ways:
  • Teachers create materials that can be pushed to students in an iBook format on their iPad
  • Students create an iBook either as an assessment or presentation to demonstrate their understanding  of a topic.
  • iBooks created as a part of a course that could be delivered via iTunesU
The iBooks Author template is very user friendly which means that teachers and students alike have more time to develop the quality, aim and appropriateness of their content as well as considering their design criteria rather than spending time on learning the software.

To help schools with the tasks of creating an iBook using iBooks Author we have compiled an iBook that you can download here that provides the following information:
  • What is an iBook?
  • Content and Design of your iBook
  • iBooks Author
  • Previewing and Publishing your iBook
  • How to share your iBook copy
  • Resources

Thanks also to my colleague Ron Van Vliet who collaborated with me to create the content in this iBook.

While using your iPad click on the image at right  to access the link to the iBooks Author Guide. The link will then automatically open the book in your iBook App. It is 8.7 MB in size.

More useful resources for schools can be found at our curated scoop-it website iBooks for Schools.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Science in the iPad classroom

 In a blog post on Science topics Lisa Johnson from Techchef4U covers a lesson idea for Climate Change and also lists some great lesson ideas from Lisa Carnazzo on a range of topics including: The Water Cycle, Seasons, Weather etc.  (scroll further down the page on the post)

What about getting students to try colour experiments.  Color Uncovered App is an interactive book that  provides students with the opportunity to learn about colour and light.  Using the experiments, articles and videos from this App would be a good starting point to work with students. Free from the App store.

Explore the diversity of organisms that glow with the Creatures of the Light App. Learn about the reasons for their ability to glow.  Which group of organisms uses this ability of bioluminescence to signal to each other.  Created by the American Museum of Natural History this App goes in depth about the chemical reactions that create the extraordinary glows from a range of organisms.  Also supported with a great website. Free from the App store.

Want students to explore concepts around how the Universe began and how did life evolve on earth.  The University of Adelaide have a free Magazine App called e-Science written by researchers for teachers and students.  Topics include What is Life?, How does the Earth work?, etc.

Provide students with the opportunity to interact with and understand how spacecraft is used to explore our universe.  Spacecraft 3D is an augmented reality style app which allows students to see the engineering involved and how the spacecraft move.  Free from the App store

Use this App as a starting point for students in understanding what is needed for space exploration:
  • Use some Apps like Skitch to design their own spacecraft to explore the universe
  • Explain in Educreations the features of their design.  
  • Move to Sketchup (on a laptop) to make a 3d model of their design
  • Download 3D model into their own iBook they create about space exploration using iBooks author.
  • Publish their Space Exploration iBook and open in the iBooks App to share with other students and teachers.
  • Explore what iTunesU has to offer on a variety of science topics.  Get students to download some resources( iBooks, videos, podcasts) from iTunes U or even subscribe to a course.
An interesting lesson idea is one using evidence and science to analze and uncover answers to the mystery of  the Case of the Cheescake Thief.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Learning isn't about the Apps

If we are to get the most for student learning from mobile technology like the iPad or other tablets we need to move beyond the question 'Is there an App for that?'

 A worthwhile blog post to read, for moving beyond a focus on Apps is 'How can the iPad Transform Classroom Learning?' Ben Johnson postulates a few examples of using the iPad in learning and ends with a key question we should all consider:
"The lesson planning questions I hope my teachers will learn to ask will change from "How can I teach this content?" to, "How can I get students to learn this content?" I hope they will answer this question with open-ended learning activities rather than saying, "I have an app for that."

The latest research from a school is a study on the use of iPads at the Longfield Academy in Kent England, where a large scale 1 to 1 iPad program was implemented last year. This comprehensive 56 page report 'iPads as a tool for education' provides a lot of good pointers to how we can and should be using iPads.  Teacher asked to discuss how the use of the iPad in the classroom has impacted their teaching offered points like this:
'More student centred approach, more group work activities, more student led plenaries and activities'
'I have started to create electronic textbooks which aim to focus individual students on the GSCE tasks they need to complete. This sort of tailored curriculum was simply impossible before the introduction of the iPad'

However a key thing that came from this research is that students want to use the iPads in more ways than they have been given; to use them more in Art, PE, Maths, to make videos, create presentations, develop games etc.

The Longfield report also references our Parramatta research results from the iPad trial in 2010 produced by Patrick Barrett from the Learning Exchange team.

Some good posts to consider as you embark on any venture towards a 1 to 1 iPad implementations:
 'Is the iPad the correct tool to aid learning in education from The Innovative Scholar blog looks at the main issues schools need to consider. Referred to in this article is "Launching an iPad 1 to 1 program - a primer': a comprehensive step by step implementation plan.

A useful school example to look at and possibly connect with is the ESSA Academy in Bolton.  See images of their students using iPads to observe and analyse sport performances here.
Read more about one educators visit to ESSA here: 'It's not just about the technology.. although it must help'. His comments: 'The vision and the Eco-system [at ESSA] are not just about the Tech – ...the technology [and it started with the iPod Touches] was introduced to overcome barriers to learning; to help engage the learners and transform their learning. 

It's not about the Apps, the iPad or the technology - it's about the learning.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Utilising iPads to support diverse learning needs

As I travel around our schools I am most struck by the use of iPads to support and enhance the independent learning of many of our students who have additional learning needs.  I also work closely with our team of educators who support our Vision Impaired students.  They are always pushing the boundaries of technology to ensure that vision impaired students can access and fully interact with the curriculum and their class/teachers.

I think most people are now aware of the great built in accessbility features of Zoom, VoiceOver, and Black on White Text, Speak Auto-text which came with the first iPad operating system version.
However iOS5 also added the following great accessibility tools that our students are utilising:
Recently too, Gita Mathias -  Coordinator for the Vision Team, and myself gave a presentation at the recent IEU conference 'We Connect' about the use of iPads for Special Needs students in our diocese. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

iTunesU - a learning platform for schools

iTunesU offers schools, especially secondary schools, a platform for delivering and creating course content with the iTunesU App.  Schools looking at a 1 to 1 iPad program should explore the content available.
  • Students can search for and subscribe for free (mostly) to courses from a range of educational institutions across the world.
  • Each course can provide access to a range of media: videos, podcasts, iBooks etc.
  • Courses are structured and students can keep track as they complete sections of the course.
  • Students can make and keep notes within their course and notes made in course associated iBooks are available within the course.
A good introduction to the iTunesU App can be viewed here:
From ( 
iPad in Education - How to use iTunes U, part 1.

The really useful part for schools is that there is the potential to create course content via the iTunesU Course Manager that can be made available in iTunesU.  This opens up a lot of possibilities for schools as they can create content and courses and deliver it seamlessly to students via the iTunesU app.
Schools should note however, that content must be created and delivered under an educational institution that has an approved iTunesU account. 
Our system is currently investigating a system iTunes U account and individual schools currently do not have authority to sign up for a school account.

iTunesU as a learning platform