Sunday, November 21, 2010

Online Resource about using iPads in Schools

I just found this website, Livebinders, which provides a way to organize online materials in a binder. This website would be very helpful for organizing and sharing online resources for any topic.

One of the binders shared on the website is called iPads in Schools, and has a ton of blogs and other websites dedicated to the topic. It will take me  a few weeks to get through all of the resources collected here!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Collaborative learning with Shareboard

Shareboard is an app that allows up to four iPads on the same wireless network to share the same blank screen. Anything that one iPad user draws or adds to the screen shows up on the other iPads.

A typical problem in Algebra I is that students try to skip steps and do an entire problem in their head. A way to combat this lack of work-showing is to have pairs of students take turns writing consecutive steps of a problem on the same piece of paper. This way, students are forced to follow common process so their partner can understand what they did and what to do next.

I decided to use this same idea, except on the iPads. It worked well using shareboard. Each partner wrote in a different color, so it was very clear that they were switching off writing consecutive steps. It allowed for a more in-depth discussion about the problems, because the partners were looking at the exact same work in front of them.

I plan on using shareboard again, especially for topics where I find that students tend to not show enough work. (perhaps simplifying radicals?)

Here are some examples of the student work:

App Review: Sundry Notes

Description: Sundry Notes is a notetaking app. You can type, write by hand, import pictures, and even add sound recordings. It is free.

In the classroom: I originally downloaded Sundry Notes thinking that students could use it to take notes, but after playing around with it I found that the inking was slow and would make for a very messy, painstaking process of taking notes. However, this app is ideal for students who are creating something - a poster, a project, a summary of anything. The fact that you can import things from the internet, draw, type, and even add sound recordings allows for a lot of creativity on the part of students. It also have a very intuitive user interface, whereas some of the other notetaking apps with the same capabilities are not as user-friendly.

Recommendation:  I would recommend this app for project/picture/poster making, but not for notetaking. The search for a good note taking app continues...

Here is a sample from Sundry Notes:

Notice how you can add sound recordings:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

iPad Algebra I Textbook

This year, Houghton Mifflin Hourcourt is piloting an Algebra I iPad textbook in select California public school classrooms.

The e-book, called the HMH Fuse: Algebra I, is more than just a pdf of the paper textbook. The e-book contains self-tests where students get feedback on how well they understand a section, videos where a nerdy-looking teacher figure explains concepts, and demonstrations where students can see how changing the m in y=mx + b affects the graph of the line. Here is a video that shows how the textbook works.

I will be interested to see the outcomes of this pilot project. How will the student learning with the e-books compare to the student learning with the regular textbooks?

Regardless of the outcome of this particular experiment, I do believe that this is the way that all textbooks will be going very soon.

Tech Blog: iPad Curriculum

There are some amazing education technology blogs out there.

iPad Curriculum  reviews different applications available through the itunes store that could be used in the classroom. One of my favorite apps mentioned is edupad, an app that allows teachers to create their own applications without knowing any code. While this app has not yet gone live, I will definitely be checking it out when it does.