During our week-long “Back to School Professional Development,” our district initiated a day where we all had to sign up for different sessions and learn from our colleagues. There were sessions about formative assessment, using Twitter in the classroom, integrating technology into the classroom, and of course, iPad apps for classroom infusion. During my first session, I knew I was going to be presenting a few apps, and with no Apple TV or mirroring software (and because I can’t stand still long enough to use the short little VGA adapter), I brought in my VGA extension cable to allow for some freedom. The beautiful day leant itself perfectly to allow me to feel like one of my favorite archaeologists. I just need a good hat…
I had initially anticipated just showing a few different apps, but instead took my colleagues on a tour of my iPad, since I had also run an “iPadapalooza” workshop/opportunity to play with some apps. Some of them have not had any interactions with incorporating iPads into the classroom, so I was happy to open up some eyes and allow others to see the need and use for this great technology. I wanted to put a list together to describe those apps, but some of them I’ve already discussed in a previous blog post. So aside from showing Educreations, Stage, and Nearpod, here are a few more apps that I focused on:
Futaba turns your iPad into a mini SMART Table. Up to four students can play this game at a time. The idea of the game is that four players go head to head to see who can answer the question in the middle of the screen the fastest. The questions can vary by subject and level. The Lite version obviously offers little choices, however, the paid version gives you lots of leveled questions by subject. You even have the ability to create your own questions. I envision students practicing their spelling words or their vocabulary words. You can answer and create math problems to help build skills. I like it because if you are in a school with limited iPads, you can maximize the amount of students and engagement at one time. Try it out!
King of Math Jr.: Free/$1.99
King of Math Jr. is the little brother to the original King of Math. And even though it’s called King of Math, character options allow you to play as a boy or a girl. What I love about this is that it almost requires your whole brain to play; it never asks you the same type of question twice, building stronger cognitive skills. If you’re in the addition book, the first question may ask you what 3+5=, with a choice of four answers below. The second question may give you the number 9 and the choices below would give four different math problems where the answer would be 9. The third question might give you two dice and you have to add up all of the dots. It’s just a different way to work with math and numbers that is different from seeing the same old boring math problems.
My Story: Free
Elementary teachers seemed to really like this one too. My Story allows students to write a story. Great for retelling or even creating. Students can import pictures, record their voices, add text, and paint and draw pictures. When the book is finished, you can share it out or open it in iBooks. It’s a great app for teachers who want to experiment with iBooks and try a new story writing experience.
Fingle is fun. Fingle is frustrating. Fingle is strange. Fingle is pretty cool. I didn’t show this in our PD session, but the teachers at our iPadapalooza played with this and found it pretty unique. This is a two player game where each player must maneuver and navigate their fingers through and around the other person’s fingers. It’s a fun activity that promotes problem solving and communication between students.
This year will see me working more with classroom teachers infusing some of these apps, along with working on other projects. I love the whole integration process, and hopefully this blog will continue to be a great place to reflect on what works, as well as (now that I have this picture thing figured out), being able to display some of our student’s creativity. Next Tuesday is the first day of school. While it’s the beginning of my 8th year teaching, it’s technically my first as a contracted teacher in the state of Pennsylvania. I couldn’t be more thrilled, proud, and excited to be a part of this great district and to see what our fantastic students are capable of accomplishing. Good luck to all!