Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book Reviews with iPads and Google Docs

I was asked to work with some Year 2 and 3 children today on writing book reviews. They had read the story on the school Kindles or the Kindle app on the iPad.
e-Books can be purchased from Amazon

Geronimo Stilton 'Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye'

They had discovered how they could write notes.
I saw this as a great opportunity for writing notes myself and leaving 'Think about' questions and comprehension questions on pages for students to look at while reading the book. Students can then add their answers to the note and all of the group can share their understandings through the note feature.

All of these children have Google app accounts so I made a Google Doc template for them to work from. They used computers for the Google Docs as the Drawing elements cannot be edited on an iPad.

We talked about the book and some of the features of the story  and then I showed them the template I had shared with them. I took a couple minutes explaining how they could access the different embedded draw items and then we discussed what 'Synopsis, Review and Character Descriptions were.
I had intended them to use the Google Draw tools for their book cover but as we had access to iPads we used the Free version of Crayola Paint and Create. They drew their pictures and emailed them to themselves and then we pasted them into the Draw box. They then used the Google Draw tools to add their Book titles and Author names.
Below is Charlotte's work.

A lot of today's session was about getting used to writing and editing in the Google Doc. There was a lot of sharing of ideas and 'how to do things' amongst the group. The next time we work on this template with a new book we will look more closely at the content the students write.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Artrage, Photo Apps and Art

Artrage in one of my most favourite art drawing programmes on both the iPad, iPhone/iPod Touch and the computer, and it was created by Kiwis!
Art Rage for the iPhone/iPod Touch (NZ $2.59)
Account: No account necessary for apps
Saving: Saves to the app
Sharing options: Send to Photos, iTunes, email, Facebook, Dropbox or Print

Artrage for the iPad (NZ $4.19)

Artrage has a variety of tools, different types of brushes.
The wide brush adds real thick paint effects and the thin brush paints like water colour.

As well as using Artrage for the obvious, painting and drawing, there is nice feature that is included in the Computer Artrage as well.

You can upload a photo so it appears transparent and draw over the top.
The example below shows the pencil with the photo in the background, to the right without the photo.

Drawn with pencil showing the transparent photo

To the right is an example of the other tools

How could you use this in the classroom?

Students can take photos with their camera and upload to Artrage.
  • Take portrait photos and use the pencil or pen tool to outline the shapes, remove the photo and print out and finish in pencil or pen
  • take scenery or object photos, use the pen tool to outline main lines of the photo, remove photo and print out, finish off in paint

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Formation of letters with Whiteboard Apps

I was talking to a junior teacher today about ShowMe and all the things she could do with it in Maths. She started thinking about how she could use it for letter formation practice. She lets the students practise on the Whiteboard but if she is not standing over them at the time, she doesn't see whether they are forming them correctly.
Some of the following 'Whiteboard' apps are ideal for students to practice their letter formation as they can record what they are doing and the teacher can view it later.

ShowMe (Free for the iPad)
Account: You need to set up an account to save recordings. Students can set up their own accounts if they are using their own iPad or you can set up a class accounts.
Preview before saving: No
Saving: Tap on the padlock to make a ShowMe private, otherwise it will get published to your public ShowMe account on
Example of ShowMe

Educreations Interactive Whiteboard (Free for iPad)
Account: You need to set up an account to save recordings. Students can set up their own accounts if they are using their own iPad or you can set up a class accounts.
Preview before saving: No
Saving: Tap Done, choose a category
Example of Educreations

Screen Chomp (Free for iPad)
Account: No account necessary but you can login with Facebook
Preview before saving: Yes
Saving: Tap on the screen chomp icon and it will save

In the classroom, I would probably find Screen Chomp at this particular time the best app to use if you do not want to save what the students have done. Students can record what they are doing and then playback to you without saving.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bulk upload of Photos

There are plenty of apps that will send photos from the iPad to the computer, but not the other way round. I have been getting teachers to use Dropbox to transfer selected photos but it is time consuming. I asked the question on the VLN (Virtual Learning Network) 'Does anybody know of a way/app to  transfer lots of photos to iPad but not using iTunes sync?'
I got several responses and here is my summary below. This is what I tried and what worked well starting with the best

  •  emailing photos,  export from iPhoto or Photos library and compress if images are too big, email to email address on iPad, tap on the share button and tap on 'Save # images', the images go to Camera Roll

 Photosync app, costs $2.59 similar to Photo transfer but you need to download the Photosync app companion to your computer to send photos/videos from computer to iPad, photos transferred very quickly. Also transfers to Dropbox, Google Drive, Flickr etc. No limit on number. Buy once and use on all devices (iPods, iPhones)
Photo transfer app, costs $4.19 transfers photos and videos from computer to iPad and the reverse iPad to Computer, a little slower than emailing but still worked quite well. Limit of 200 photos at a time. Buy once and use on all devices (iPods, iPhones)

Photo Sort app, costs $2.59 found that one difficult to use with a lot to setup, some teachers would find this tricky to use.

So the free option of emailing worked the best but I think that I will also recommend using Photo sync and/or Photo transfer as well for the other choices they offer.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Storage Apps

Dropbox or Box are great storage options. Register, download and install Dropbox or Box onto your computer.

Download the app from the App Store
Dropbox (Free for iPad; Free for iPhone/iPod Touch)
3 Gig is free
Stores all types of files
Downloads an application to your computer that will appear as a main folder in your hardrive. You can save files from your computer directly to Dropbox.

Box (Free for iPad; Free for iPhone/iPod Touch)
5 Gig is free
Stores all types of files
You have to use an Internet browser to access/upload your files on the website. There is an offer  where you will get an email offering Boxsync which allows you to save files within your computer.

Some apps will allow you to save to either or both Dropbox or Box, which helps when saving files from the iPad.
Where Box and Dropbox are most useful for, is storing templates you might create in Word, Pages, PowerPoint or Keynote, templates such as Graphic Organisers that students may use frequently. Once stored in a class Dropbox or Box students can access them easily from their device.