Sunday, November 10, 2013

Student digital exercise book via Blogger on the iPad our students and staff now have access to Blogger accounts via our classm8 Google Apps virtual environment.

For schools who are looking for ways to capture student work in one space as a digital exercise book or digital portfolio, a blog could be the answer. 

Why Blog?
  • Gives students who might not participate in class discussions a voice.
  • Develops students reading, writing and reflective and critical thinking.
  • A space for collaboration and discussion.
  • Empowers them with positive digital citizenship and mulitmodal literacy skills.
See George Couros' The Principal of Change' blog for his view ' Why students should blog'.
Watch the video of this teacher explaining why Blogs are so powerful  for learning at his school: HS Blogging Why and How.

Blogging options on the iPad

Student blogging via Google Apps
  • Go to the classm8 landing page (, select student login and login to your account.
  • Once there scroll to the bottom of your screen and select View Google Drive in: Desktop
  • Ignore browser message and Select 'Continue to Desktop version'.
  • Select More from the top menu bar.
  • Select Blogger from the list.
  • From here you can create a New Blog or edit an existing blog.
  • You can add Pages, add Gadgets, change Settings, apply Templates but cannot change the layout
Student Blogging via the Blogger App
I see the Blogger App as an additional tool for quick posting of work samples and writing.

For example if a student has created an artwork, they can very quickly take a photo of it via the iPad Blogger  App, and provide some information easily and quickly via the text editor in the App.  Then publish it to the blog and view it immediately.

However with the Blogger App, students don't have access to the full Blogger menu and can't access the settings, gadgets, pages, templates, layout tools.

Richard Byrne  at Free Technology for Teachers has some great resources on Blogging. Check out his post on Guide to using Blogger at School.

Teachers setting up a class blog
Often teachers want to set up a class blog and allow students to either comment or author/post to the blog.
Teachers will go to classm8 and select the staff login and select Drive/Docs then login.
Teachers can setup a blog using the same methods shown in the slides above via their iPad or a laptop.

Students posting to class blog
The permissions for posting or commenting can be found in the Settings menu of your class blog.

From here the teacher can invite students or other teachers to be authors by selecting Add Authors.
Then enter the student's email address or selecting from contacts a student group they have created.  

See this YouTube video on how to create a contact group.

Visibility of the class blog
Teachers can choose to edit the visibility of the blog from public to private.

Other options for Digital Portfolios
Google Sites is also another option and may be used in conjunction with Blogger, with Blogger providing the quick capturing of day to day learning and reflection and Sites providing a place to store specific samples of students work.  See Learning and Teaching with Chromebooks 'Student Digital Portfolio's.'  However while you can create and edit a Google Site on the iPad there are limitations such as not being able to upload files etc.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Teaching history Stage 4-5 with the iPad

There are lots of useful ways the iPad can be integrated with the Stage 4 and 5 History Curriculum Depth Studies.
A variety of Apps have primary source material, audio, video, maps and other resources that provide students with the opportunity to analyse and interpret and compare and contrast different viewpoints.

The iTunesU App provides a range of resources and collections around various history topics for eg:
  • Australian Aboriginal History by La Trobe University
  • Exploring History: Medieval to Modern by The Open University
  • Australian History by LaTrobe University
    Following are more specific Apps that could be useful for the different depth studies: 

    Apps for The Mediterannean World (Depth Study 2):
    1.   Virtual History Roma App (paid)
    Students can do a virtual tour of Ancient Rome via this App.  The App provides the viewer with an insight into Roman civilization,  from a digital reconstruction of the city's statues to aerial views of the metropolis as it stood 2,000 years ago, from the manipulation of models of the legionaries, gladiators and war engines to the 3D exploration of monuments such as the Colosseum, the Circus Maximus, Hadrian’s Mausoleum and many, many others. The reconstruction of their original appearance, as seen from various angles, is overlaid and compared with their appearance in today’s Rome.

    2. Pyramids 3D (paid)
    In this App students can explore the  pyramids and tombs of ancient Egypt. Fly around the plateau where the pyramids and the Sphinx are located at Giza near Cairo. Enter and wander around the labyrinthine tombs and passageways. 

    Apps For Stage 4 Depth Study 4 The Western and Islamic World / Depth Study 6: Expanding Contacts:
    1. London 1647  App (free)
    Explore a panoramic view of London, just before the Great Fire and the Plague.

    2. London - a City through Time  (paid)
    Historic panoramas of the city from the 17th Century to the 19th Century - all viewable as high-definition zoomable images, plus 70 gyro-controlled 360º views of the capital’s grandest sites.

    3. Streetmuseum: Londinium (free)
    The new app directs users to locations from Roman London where you can ‘excavate’ finds, using your fingers to dig and gradually reveal ancient artefacts where they were originally found.
    Key Roman London sites, such as the amphitheatre and Temple of Mithras, have been brought to life through augmented reality video (iPhone only) –showing scenes of Roman London, overlaid onto the view today. A soundscape to the Roman capital is also included, so you can listen to the hustle and bustle of the forum or the clamour of the Boudican rebellion.

    4. Paris App Tours: Beware Mme Le Guillottine: A Revolutionary Tour of Paris (paid)
    This app provides a glimpse into one of Paris' pivotal backstories…la Révolution through the eyes of one if its key players, satisfying both historian and eager tourist.

    Apps for Stage 5 Depth Study 4 Rights and Freedoms:
    1. American Experience:  Mapping History (free)
    Relive the history of the abolitionist movement by exploring places central to the nation's anti-slavery effort.

    2. American Revolution Interactive Timeline  (free)
    Offers beautiful imagery, video, and information through an interactive, zoomable timeline showcasing artwork, weapons, clothing, objects, and manuscripts from the Center’s collection. Image captions and video podcasts provide an overview of key milestones of the American Revolution

    3. Civil Rights Movement: Black Power Era (paid)
    An introduction to this historical period and why it is still relevant today
    - In-depth analysis from multiple points-of-view
    - Important facts (trivia, quotes, etc.)
    - Brief biographies of important movers-and-shakers

    Apps for Stage 4 Depth Study 6 Expanding Contacts
    DigiMacq (free)
    An Australian App, allows students to join Governor Lachlan Macquarie and experience his vision through the eyes and voices of the soldiers, scoundrels, convicts, clergy and free settlers who roamed the streets of Parramatta in colonial times.

    Family History (free)
    NSW Department of Attorney General & Justice
    Look up iconic Australians in this Australian App to kickstart inquiry around notable Australian people.

    Apps for Stage 5 Depth Study 6 Topic: The Holocaust:
    StoryPod JHC (free)
    This Australian App features the stories of Holocaust survivors.

    History Students can then bring this content together and demonstrate their own knowledge and understanding by using other Apps to create their own
    See more great ideas at Raffs Rant - ideas iPad Yr 7 Geography/ History class

    Friday, August 9, 2013

    Google Docs and mobile devices

    Catholic Education Parramatta are currently rolling out training to all our schools about Google Apps for Education, which we have branded as classm8.  Schools are responding very positively to the cloud based collaborative features as well as the breadth of different apps that can be used for student learning. 

    As we already have many schools with 1 to 1 iPads in year groups, the burning question was how would Google Apps integrate with iPads.  Well the answer is a mixed one, works well for some Apps/Docs and not others and some limitations within Apps.

    After much experimentation with a range of Apps recommended to us (paid and free) it seems to us that access to your Google Apps suite is just as good on the inbuilt free Safari App or if you prefer, the free Chrome App.

    Safari/Chrome Apps access your Google Apps
    When you first login into your Google Apps (classm8 for our staff) via the Safari App the appearance of your drive will look quite different to a desktop version.

    If you do select a document it seems that the editing and menu functions are limited.  However you can get to a full editing mode and a view more like your desktop by selecting the 'desktop version' option.  This is typically available as an option right at the bottom of the screen or as shown in the screen clip opposite.

    On the iPad you can create and edit:
    • Docs, Spreadsheets, Forms, Sites 
    You can upload images from your iPad camera roll.  You can view presentations very nicely but cannot yet create them via the iPad.

    Limitations - currently not supported:
    • Editing tables in Docs
    • Charts and Images in Spreadsheets
    • Uploading files to Sites
    See Using Google Docs via the Drive iOs App and Using Google Spreadsheets via the Drive iOS App.

    Drive App - easy uploading and access to your files via the iPad 
    We also recommend the Drive App (only for personal devices) for easy creation of folders, sharing, uploading and the ability to open your uploaded files in various Apps.

    The Drive App is not recommended for shared devices such as school class sets via our Parramatta Google Apps domain.   Due to our login system via CeNet the drive App is not properly recognising a change in user sign-in and thus a new user that logs in instead has access to the previous users account.

    During the Google Apps bootcamps our schools have shared ideas and processes for how they will utilise the Google Apps suite via the iPad.  The Blogger Apps is being used by at least one of our schools as a workflow for student learning via the iPad.  We will explore that more in the next post.

    St Agnes iPad use evaluation survey of students

    St Agnes Catholic High School at Rooty Hill has surveyed their 2013 Year 8 students to gather their perceptions about the use of iPads in their learning.  St Agnes ran a similar survey of their Year 8 students in 2012.

    In terms of use of the iPad in 2013 compared with 2012, there was an increase in using the ipad for
    active, reflective learning by creating mindmaps, ebooks and multimedia presentations.  Conversely, reduced time was spent passively drawing in information by using it to search the internet.  This was highlighted by students indicating that Apps used the least seemed to be more content specific app while apps used the most were content creation apps like Creative Book Builder, Pages, Explain Everything, iMovie, Keynote etc which could be used across curriculum. Generally though the findings from this years survey of Year 8's compared with last year were fairly similar.  See the previous post 'iPad use evaluation'

    The results of the iPad survey for 2013 Year 8's at St Agnes reflect the embedding of iPad in learning since its inception last year. To the question 'I am more distracted in class because I use an iPad' - 7% more students disagreed. So it seems that less students this year feel the iPad distracts them in class. This may reflect the fact that the introduction of the iPad last year went through a novelty phase while this year students are more familiar and they are now more acknowledged as a learning tool.

    The embedded use of iPads in learning at St Agnes is highlighted by the involvement of students from St Agnes at the recent iConnect conference of the Council of Catholic School Parents at the Parramatta Novotel.  They staffed a booth and spent time with parents demonstrating how iPads were being used to enrich their learning.  

    Parents were impressed with what the students were able to do and commented on how articulate and reflective of their learning the students were.  You can read a post by student Lois about how she feels technology and especially iPads has enriched her learning on Greg Whitby's blog Bluyonder. Lois was a pioneer student at St Agnes with their iPad implementation and is now continuing her senior school studies at Loyola Senior High.

    St Agnes have used the 2013 Year 8 survey to reflect on their integration of iPads across the KLA's, their assessment tasks and to inform workflow practices.  Emerging Technologies coordinator Damien McGuire comments:
    "We have run some PD sessions with our staff focusing on 'advanced' features of Moodle. For example questionnaires, quizzes and assessment collection. The aim was to point out the interactive nature of Moodle that can be accessed via the student's iPad. There is also a plan for teams across the curriculum to create their own ebooks for next year. These ebooks will incorporate all the necessary curriculum content linked with specific Apps. We will continue to work on our Work Flow procedures to make it clear to the students what their final solution needs to look like in terms of ICT."

    Challenge Based learning and the iPad

    A group of educators from Catholic Education Western Australia, Sydney and Parramatta were recently able to visit Holy Family East Granville to see how they were integrating iPads in learning.

    Principal Sue Guilfoyle and Leading Teacher, Technology, Timothy Butt spent some time with us, discussing their integration of iPads in learning and showing us it, in practice in their classrooms.

    To assist in integrating the use of the iPad across the curriculum, Holy Family has an iPad Professional Learning Group that meets fortnightly to share ideas on using the iPad, integrating it across the curriculum for learning and assessment and trialling apps.

    In the classrooms we saw students using the iPad in a variety of ways for their learning including to create MindMaps with iThoughts HD, answer surveys via Edmodo and to record their reading of a book to improve reading fluency.

    Tim shared his information on how they utilise iPads with CBL in their school, including the workflows, scaffolds and Apps they use.  Click on the image to the left to download the pdf of the presentation.


     Some links to other Challenge based learning resources:

    Apples website on Challenge based learning:

    Challenge Based learning scoop-it

    David Baugh on his site Learning in Touch has a very useful diagram of Apps he uses in Challenge Based learning.  (see right)
    It breaks down the Apps into categories for use in CBL such as planning, research etc.

    Tuesday, April 9, 2013

    Creating iBooks with iBooks Author

    Access to resources for creating iBooks with iBooks Author.

    Download the PDF version via this link:
    Download the digital iBook version by clicking on the image below:

    Tuesday, March 26, 2013

    Learning with iPads for Secondary

    Resource for the Learning with iPads for Secondary workshop

    See also our App list for Secondary in the App toolkit section of our blog.

    Friday, March 22, 2013

    Using iPads in Visual Arts

    The iPad is an ideal tool for the visual arts students to create, draw, experiment with techniques and learn about art.

    Using iPads in Visual Arts iBook
    To get started with ideas for utilising the iPad in your visual arts classroom I have put together an iBook that you can freely download from the iBook store.
    Click on the image below to be taken to the iBook link.

    iPad Art Room
    When I was putting this iBook together I was fortunate to be given some App lists and ideas from Cathy Hunt - Teacher (Arts KLA) from Trinity Lutheran College in Queensland.  Cathy had inspired me at a presentation on using the iPad in Art in 2012.  Her recent successful selection as an Apple Distinguished Educator recognises her innovative and inspiring work in integrating technology in learning.
    Cathy has a fantastic website resource 'iPad Art Room' that I would recommend to all educators, not just specialist Art teachers.  Explore the iPad Art Room for some inspiration for your next iPad lesson.  Follow Cathy on twitter via @art_cathyhunt.

    Another useful resource about using iPads in the art classroom is a YouTube video by Kylie Windhorst ' iPads in the Art room'.  A useful starting video to any workshop or meeting to think about the integration of mobile technology in the arts and all classrooms.

    Thursday, March 21, 2013

    Special needs students learning with the iPad

    Resources to support the Special Needs Students: Learning with the iPad workshop.
    Click the image below to download the keynote slides as a PDF.

    Click the image below to download the brochure handout.

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    Supporting literacy with iPads in Primary

    Resources to support the Support Literacy with iPads in Primary workshop

    Click the image below to download the slides as a PDF or view the slide.

    Monday, February 18, 2013

    Share, interact and assess with NearPod

    NearPod is a free App where teachers can deliver a lesson to the class direct to their iPads and interact with them in a synchronized way.

    Teachers login to their account via the Nearpod App and select their lesson presentation.  Students access the presentation via a unique pin number generated from the teachers presentation.

    The features of NearPod:
    • Access to an already established library of lessons from educators across the world
    • Ability to create your own lesson to upload to NearPod
    • Ability to include polls, questions for students to answer
    • Teachers direct the presentation screens that the students see
    • Students can feedback their understanding of the lesson via the App
    • Teachers can obtain a report of the student answers, feedback or interaction.
    At the moment creation of lessons need to be done via the NearPod website.  With the free subscription teachers can upload maximum of 10 presentations and share with 30 students.
    Teachers can easily use their existing powerpoints or keynotes to create their NearPod lesson.  They can insert polls and questions. 
    A really great feature is the 'Draw it' option, where students can draw on a shared slide to visually explain a concept to their teacher.

    Billie Rengo from Grantsburg Elementary School has put together a very useful step by step PDF of how to create your NearPod presentations from an existing Powerpoint or Keynote Presentation:  Creating a NearPod presentation from her post 'Take your Presentations to the next level with NearPod'.

    Brian Miller from Pine Crest School discusses at Edudemic how NearPod is being utilized in their school :  How the NearPod App changed an entire school.

    Teacher Matt Britland talks about how he uses NearPod in his classroom.  NearPod for iPad: revolutionise presentations and AFL in the classroom.

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

    Brainstorming in the iPad classroom

    While there is nothing new about utilising technology to brainstorm, using the iPad has added benefits. 

    The touch interface, excellent visuals and portability of the iPad can make it easier and simpler to encourage students to generate new ideas, organize their known knowledge about a topic and make connections with ideas and the written word.

    There are lots of great brainstorming/mindmapping Apps available, but one that we have found useful at all school levels is Popplet.

    Popplet has an easy to use interface, intuitive for users,  is visually appealing and allows you to embed images, and links.  You can save your brainstorm as a jpeg or pdf and email it out.

    Popplet lite is free, with a limitation of one brainstorm at a time.  But you can save it to your camera roll or email it out, then delete it in Popplet and create another.   Or you can go to the paid App that allows you to also collaborate with others, along with other added features.

    Students at St Agnes, Rooty Hill use the Popplet App in many of their classes to help comprehend new information and generate ideas. 

    In one example, the teacher gets each student to create a Popplet on the topic/question at hand and then asks the students to get up from their seats and to move to another students Popplet and add an extra idea/answer.   This not only gets a good sharing of ideas but also contributes to the groups understanding of the topic. Additionally all that movement keeps the students alert and focused on the task.  In these classes at St Agnes there is no chance to sit back and not contribute or not learn.

    An excellent post on Popplet and writing is 'iPads can't improve learning without good teaching, Pt 2 writing' by Mr G online talks about using Popplet to plan your writing.  The post then continues discussing some great ways of using a variety of Apps in writing.

    A great list of resources and links for Brainstorming with Popplet and the iPad are at:
    Tips 2012 App Guide #16 Popplet. 

    But if you want to go beyond Popplet there are lots of other Apps you can try, many of them free. The TechChef4U website has a whole page dedicated to great teaching and learning ideas with a range of brainstorming and mindmapping Apps at Hot Apps 4 Brainstorming: Episode 5.  Another review  of brainstorming Apps can be found at Macworld's iOS brainstorming Apps.

    A useful youtube tutorial from explains how to use Popplet lite.

    An action research project by Bradley Christmas (Centre for English Teaching University of Sydney) explored the effects of brainstorming techniques on students perceptions of their writing performance  The role of brainstorming in improving student writing performance in the EFL classroom. Brainstorming says Christmas gives the opportunity to think "about a question from different perspectives, as well as exploring the perspectives of their classmates, students can develop the skills to help them access and develop a broader range of ideas in a writing situation."

    Saturday, February 2, 2013

    Writing and publishing with Creative Book Builder

    Creative Book Builder (CBB) was one of the first Apps I worked with in schools to demonstrate how students and teachers could create and publish on their iPad. 
    It has so many applications for students:
    • Project based learning or collaborative work
    • Writing, publishing and presenting
    • Summative assessment of a topic being studied 
    • Making written work accessible to students with diverse needs
    See how one school district in Vermont is using CBB for collaborative writing in their Years 5-8, ePub collaborative writing.

    Revisiting it for a workshop recently I was pleased to see that it has continued to be updated making it even more useful for schools.
    Some of the features that you should know about:
    • Ability to embed pdfs, word documents and other files, including from Dropbox and Google Drive
    • Incorporate tables, questions, audio, video, images, equations etc.

    •  Students can share their created iBook with fellow students or the teachers via a link or QR code (you need to be on the same Wifi network)
    • Ability to upload your completed iBook to DropBox, Google Drive, WebDav and more.

    Creative Book Builder also has a blog that provides support and information on using the App including links to videos like this one from Finham Park School.

    Appsinclass website have put together a great post about how CBB can be used to help students complete tasks that align with every level of the revised Bloom's Taxonomy.  See Using Creative Book Builder at Every Level of Blooms.

    Creative Book Builder could be used by teachers to create books with audio, video for students with diverse learning needs.  Students have the additional benefit that once opened as an iBook they can access VoiceOver and any of the other accessibility features they need.  See Spectronics review of the App for this use.
    This is one App I would recommend for all schools to have in their top 5 Apps.  It costs $A4.49.  But if primary schools have class sets and buy mroe than 20 with Volume purchasing this would reduce the price by half.

    Get wild with Animals and the environment on the iPad

    There are lots of great options to study the global environment and its animals via the iPad.   There are many Australian Apps which can support a range of K-6 HSIE topics such as Global Environments -  Rainforests, State and National Parks, and Wet and Dry environments

    WilderQuest  is an interactive educational game created by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.  Using an augmented feature, students are taken inside a subtropical rainforest or a coastal environment where they have to move the iPad around to scan for certain animals.  As they find the animals they unlock information about them.  The information includes facts about the animal, where they can be found, their home,food, videos and audio .  This App gets the kids active, so give them plenty of space.

    Taronga Zoo's 'Rainforest Heroes' App is great for student collaborative work.  Students have to work together as a team to complete a field report, incorporating photos, videos and observations.  An additional benefit is that you can incorporate your own photos and/or use the App while on a real  field trip to the Zoo.

    The World Wildlife Fund has put together a fantastic interactive App 'WWF together' about some of the worlds most fascinating animals.  Students can chop bamboo for the Pandas to reveal information, check out tiger vision, access lots of great information and photos in a visually stunning and inspiring App.  Highly recommended and free.

    After students explore the Apps and then perhaps go on their own field trip, you could use a number of Apps to create a video or book of  their knowledge of local ecosystems or fauna.  A school in Florida did just that and created a collaborative iBook which they published to the iBook store called Creatures Plants and More.
    If you don't want to publish to the iBook store use the App Creative Book Builder to create a collaborative iBook and share it with the class.

    Other useful Australian Apps about animals
    Field Guide to Victorian Fauna (free)
    My Environment:  See the heritage places, wetlands, protected species, protected areas, weeds and invasive species near you. (free)
    Please touch the Exhibit: interactive App that includes information about animals exhibited in the Melbourne Museum. (free)
    Frogs Field Guide ($1.99)
    DangerOz:  information on 40 dangerous Australian creatures from the Australian Museum ($2.99)
    Or use Flipboard to grab photos and tweeted information from organisations like the Australian Museum to foster discussion about the topics.  See the slideshare on Flipboard for more information.