Saturday, December 15, 2012

Picture Collage App

I recently found another great App - Picture Collage. Tonight I was playing around with it wondering how stents might use it. My thinking is that Picture Collage would be great for documenting a some kind of process or timeline of events.

It is so easy to use and only took a few minutes to learn the different tools available to me. Here are some of my trial collages.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Protecting the Resource

One of the biggest concerns when launching iPads and/or iPods must to do with security of the device. Some so small and mobile must be easy for people to just take it away. So far, we haven't had any issue of devices being lost or stolen. The two times we have not been able to find an iPad there was a good explanation in its whereabouts.

We have implemented a few different things in order to keep our devices safe and easily trackable.

First of all, we bought an expensive but durable Otterbox case. Although these cases are expensive (and we did get a discount for buying in bulk - 30 cases), we thought it was a worthwhile investment. The cases fit nicely in our Bretford Power-Sync cart.

The case also come with a cover that acts as a stand for the iPad too. It has three different options for cradling the iPad.

We also thought it necessary to label all of our devices to keep of track of them when storing them in the cart. We used a label maker and added the label, to a visible area on the iPad, before putting the cover on.

I also designed unique wallpapers for each of the classroom ipads and ipads that would be stored in the cart.

I'm wondering how other people have labelled and secured their iPads. Please share you thoughts and ideas.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Smart App, Smart Math

Grade: 6
App: Smart Notebook
Student Learning Goal: Students will use technology solve a 'multiple entry point' math problem.

Learning Pathway:
Smart Technologies recently released a new iPad app with a slim version of their popular Notebook application. The students at our school LOVE working in Notebook so we downloaded it as soon as heard about it.

After hearing about it one of our grade 6 teachers wanted to try them out. This was her first attempt at using the new App. Usually, This problem would be created and writing (or printing) numbers on paper then cutting them out into strips.

Here's what it looked like...

Comparing their work with others allowed some students to feel comfortable and confident with their own ideas.

Students were able to share their strategies and ideas with their peers.

The Notebook App allowed student to manipulate number strips with ease, rather than making the numbers  from paper strips.

Kindergarten Labeling

Grade: Kindergarten
App: Skitch by Evernote
Student Learning Goal: Student will take a photo of them self and then label their body parts using a visual list on the Smartboard that we co-created together.

Learning Path:
Our kindergarten students LOVE working on the iPads. My original thought, when we introcuced them to center time was tey would have to work on an independent game style app and practice literacy based activities such as sight words and letter formation. While this was a good activity as far as engagement was concerned, I wondered if we could push them a little further than just 'practicing'.

Last year, I knew that Grade 1 students had used Skitch to annotate over the top of a photo that had taken. I wondered if kindergarten students could do something similar...

We tried it!

First we created a visual list of the words we could use to label our face. I wrote the words in upper case letters  so students could recognize them on the iPad keyboard when typing.

Here is what these students created in about 20 minutes. I can't wait to see where we can take this kind of learning task in the future with these students!


Monday, November 12, 2012

iPad Deployment Successes!

This is post I wrote for my own professional blog. I thought I should share my experiences here. It seems there is a lot of confusion and questions in our system regarding the deployment of iPads and iPods. I would love to share what we did and answer questions as they come up. Please contact me through Twitter (@stevewclark), email ( or comment on this post. Through sharing our struggles and questions with each other, we can learn together.

Here is my experience thus far:

We have had iPads in our school for all of 3.5 months. We are certainly not experts with them yet but we are trying different things and have some ideas for other schools wishing to deploy these amazing learning devices.

Our Experience So Far

First of all we borrowed some iPads and iPods from our Innovative Learning Commons with their Explore program. We had them for about 8 weeks and during that time we explored possible uses for iPads and/or iPods in our school. We decided to go with iPads due to the larger screen size and the possibility of more than one student working with the device at a time. We created this blog to share some of the cool learning projects happening in our school.
This is a screenshot of the original website. We changed it to Blogger format (this site you're on now) for ease of posting. 
We quickly realized that the iPad is more than a game device, where students play game style, or drill and practice style Apps. What we found out was the iPad's most powerful tools came from the camera, speakers, microphone and also the ability to manipulate something on the screen. With our new found understanding of learning this tool fits perfectly into today's classroom. The iPad allows students to focus of their strengths by utilizing them to express an understanding of what they are learning about. Kathy Schrock has collected a lot of information about 'the best Apps' for learning. She shares and organizes them through Bloom's Taxonomy. Click here to see her other recommendations for mobile devices.
This is Kathy Schrocks revised 'Blooms Taxonomy' guide to possible learning tasks.
Here is a link to some of the favourite Apps compiled by teachers from our school as well as a few from colleagues that wanted to contribute to our list  (via Twitter). If you would like to contribute to this list, please fill in the form below.
There are many other versions of Apps aligned with Blooms Taxonomy. A quick Google search will bring up many different recommendations. We have also shared more engaging and exciting learning projects that may or may not include our iPads, or mobile devices from other schools we're connected with. Find them on our collaborative Learning Commons blog - Area III Learning Commons.

Management of iPads

Managing a set of iPads has its challenges that's for sure. We bought 32 devices. We currently have 29 in our iPad PowerSync Cart by Bretford (which we also purchased).
We chose the PowerSync cart as we do not have enough iPads to go around the whole school (although I would definitely entertain the idea of a 1:1 ratio with iPads). We also want to keep them secure and also manage them easily from one computer. Pedagogically, I believe this is not the best idea as an iPad is designed to be an personalized mobile device as opposed to one that is used by a wide range of people. 
Because a lot of different people use each of the iPads, at different time, and for different purposes, they all fill up with different work pretty quickly, and therefore are hard to keep streamlined and 'clean'. In our building, we are working hard to educate our students to erase their work after it has been exported from the iPad.

Change of Plan

As our understanding of the value that iPads will bring to our students, we have decided to make a few adjustments to the way we deploy them. Just this week we decided that we will put one device into each classroom and leave the remaining 18 devices in the cart so they can be booked by classroom. The idea at this stage is to have the classroom teacher manage the Apps and settings on their classroom iPad. This means they will be able to build up a collection of Apps to use in their own classroom and help personalize learning for students in their own class. Obviously, one iPad doesn't go very far, but we hope this will help teachers gain a deeper understanding of their value.
We still need to work out how we will will manage the buying of Apps.
  • Who will pay for Apps that cost?
  • What happens when the teacher leaves the a school - What happens to the Apps if it was their own account that purchased Apps
  • How can we keep control of the 'buying'?
  • How do we encourage the buying of 'good' Apps?
  • What is a 'good' App?
  • What email will we use for the iTunes account?
There will be other questions that will arise, for sure. We also have some answers to the questions above that we will explore in the coming days and weeks.

Have I missed anything? Probably. I am excited to see where our journey goes next with iPads in learning. I look forward to sharing our journey. I welcome any questions or comments that others may have.

What questions has your school come up with? How are iPads and iPods being deployed in your building? What problems are you having with the network? Please share your frustrations and celebrations...

Friday, June 1, 2012

Student Success - Making Learning Accessible

Student Goal:

Record ideas about a model that he/she has designed and built.

iPad App:

Comic Life

Learning Task:

One day while subbing in one of our classes. I noticed one of our complex learners was not focused on what we were doing as a while group. She was building a castle out of geometrical shapes. She was totally focused and and engaged in her little mini project.When a school assistant came in to help we gave the student an iPad and invited her to make a comic page about her creation. In about 25-30 minutes she was able to produce an amazing piece of work without too much hassle at all.This usually doesn’t particular student doesn’t enjoy writing but in this case was certainly enthusiastic about making this Comic Life poster. With a little help with the spelling, she was successful in some written reflection. 


Gr4 Social - The Story of Artifacts

iPad Apps:

Comic Life for iPad
StopMotion Studio for iPad

Student Learning Goal: 

Social Studies - To tell stories about Alberta's rich history using artifacts from the past.

Learning Task:

The students in our 4 grade four classes have just completed a huge social studies inquiry project. Their mission was to learn about how artifacts from the past were important to the different people of Alberta.
Students were able to choose an artifact from a wide variety of authentic and real artifacts. They then had to learn about how that artifact was used and who it was important to.
All groups had to use books and internet to research their artifact to learn more about it. In some cases, experts were invited in to the classroom to share their knowledge about particular artifacts.
Students were given a choice of different ways to present their stories:
  • Green Screen  & iMovie
  • iWeb
  • Voki (animated avatar)
  • Stop Motion animation
  • Comic Life for iPad

Some examples of the videos and webpages can be found to the right.

We called it Fort Discovery...


Monday, May 28, 2012

Gr1-2 Science - Eco Columns

Student Learning Goal:

To learn about the differences of living and nonliving things and how they affect each other.


Skitch for iPad

Learning Task:

Through this inquiry, students explored living and non living things they could find around our school. They took photos of them using the iPads to show what they discovered.

Through the scientific process, the students explored how living and nonliving things affect each other by designing and making an eco-column. Each eco column had three layers in which each contribute to each other to make an mini ecosystem. 

Students observed their eco-columns daily and monitored their progress and time progressed.
The iPads were also used to monitor and document the progress. 
Skitch App by Evernote
The used an App called Skitch to annotate pictures they took using the iPad which was very easy to learn to use and gave an effective finishing product.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Gr6 - City Planning - Integrated Project

iPad App: 

ShowMe - Screen Recording Whiteboard

Student Inquiry Question:

You are given a piece of land for sustainable and responsible development.  How can we organize this area while meeting the diverse needs of plants, animals and humans?

Learning Task:

In this project students were inquiring into the above question. They used an iPad App called ShowMe to plan and present their responsible land use plan. ShowMe allowed students to use a whiteboard style application to annotate over a picture (the land in question) and also record their voices. The group could record and re-record to ensure their plan was suitable. This allowed students to practice and reflect on their group decisions.

Plans were presented by connecting iPad to the Smartboard via a iPad VGA adaptor cable.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Gr6 FSL - Occupations - Green Screen Video

Student Learning Goal: 

To use French oral language to describe the different occupations found in our local community.

Learning Task:

This project allowed students to take the role of an occupation they related to using the French language. We used the iPads to record video using the green screen and then edited the video using iMovie on our student iMacs.

The Camera App must be one of the most powerful applications of the iPad.

Filming using the Green Screen

Friday, May 18, 2012

Gr5 - Student Vote - Animated Title

iPad App:

StopMotion Studio

Student Goal: 

To make an animated tile for a student made video

Learning Task:

Our Grade 5’s made a video about Student Vote 2012. They decided to make an Animated title using Stop Motion Studio HD

Stop Motion Studio is a user friendly app that enables students to make animated videos. iPads can be set up for one user or a group of users to create the animation. SOme of the features are as follows:
  • Camera can be set to a timer or used manually
  • The timing of each photo can be adjust to speed up or slow down the entire animation.
  • Music can be added
  • Voice over can be added
  • Video effects can be added

This app has JUST been updated (June 2012) and it is now even easier to use.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Gr3 - Social - Goods & Services


Green Screen
iPad Video App

Student Goal: 

Describe the importance of the goods that come from certain countries around our world. Also, to make a connection between those goods and the natural resources from that land.

Learning Task:

Student explored the goods that come from the four different countries of focus in the grade 3 Social Studies Curriculum (Peru, Tunisia, India and Ukraine). They then found suitable back ground pictures to use for their green screen video.

Gr3 - Measurement - Video

iPod App:

Camera App

Student Learning Goal: 

To find out what we know about measurement.

Learning Task:

Through a process of investigation, students were asked to measure a variety of objects using a unit of measurement of their choice. They were also required to video their measuring techniques as well as input the data into a shared Google document.

The process gave both teachers and students a great amount of information. It showed the misconceptions that students had about measuring things. It also showed us what they could do well. After looking at videos, we discussed what was done well in each video and what was tricky about measuring.

Where we want to go next: After seeing the holes in knowledge about measurement, we could do some purposeful and targeted teaching around those misunderstandings. We also thought it could be a great idea to go through this process again to make ‘expert’ videos (the kind of video you might find on a Home Depot ‘how to’ website) on how to measure using standard forms of measurement.