Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Educational Poster Delight

Since I have discovered posters making apps I have had a lot of fun.  Here's one created for me by @ictevangelist using Adobe Slate.

However, poster making is not just for fun.  It is also about communication.  

I have written before here about the educational value of creating posters with your students.  Over the last year I have created posters for my own purposes mainly to share ideas and good quotes with my PLN but also to help me clarify thoughts on various topics and sometimes simply to send messages. I have made use of quipio, canva, phoster, and PhotoFunia.  Here are some examples:

So, it has been a busy and productive year.  Have I missed anything off the list? Let me know in the comments.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

New to iPad/Tablet - where to start?

This blog post is for anyone who has just got a new iPad or Tablet that they want to use in their classrooms.  Given that I am a modern languages teacher my focus will be on tools that are great to use in MFL but many of the tools are perfect for other disciplines too.
There are a plethora of apps that are perfect but it can be hard to know where to start.  I think it is wise to choose a few and work on them until you feel confident then build in some others.

Here's what I would do if I was starting over.
Have a look at moldiv (also available on tablet).  This simple tool helps you create fantastic collages, edit the photos you use and add text.  For example:

There are some good opportunities here to create cartoon strips.   Once you have created your image and saved it to your camera roll you might consider putting it into @Book Creator. This is a tool with lots of good features which I have written about before here but the recent ability to add speech bubbles with sound makes this even more useful for the MFL classroom.  Definitely one to consider!

The next app worth exploring is Explain Everything. This tool allows you to create videos and as the website says 'animate your thinking'.  It is a screencasting app that you can use to create videos for your students to watch in preparation for a lesson as done here:
If you can, why not let your students use Explain Everything to create their own explanatory videos?  Nothing more powerful than getting students to create their own content and then share it with a wider audience.

Now, what about a good mind map? Of course, there's no point in using an app for this if you can do it just as well as on paper.  Nonetheless, there are some mindmapping tools that allow you to collaborate and share ideas and comment on each other's work which is a valuable part of learning.  There are many mindmapping tools out there and you can read here for more ideas on potential tools. However, for me, a great place to start is with Popplet.  It is browser based but available as an app too and is easy to operate.  Each note you make (it's called a popple by the way) allows you to input as much info as you wish and you can insert pictures and links to websites too. 

I could not finish this post without mentioning +iDoceo (idoceo website).  I have written about this post before here but in short this app is the perfect teacher's assistant.  Providing you with a place to put your lesson plans and have a great visual overview of these, a random selector and a seating planner as well as a place to store grades, make notes on the work completed, work out statistics and take a visual record of your student's work this is a must-have app. I am not sure how I managed before with my old mark book. 
What tools would you use?  Let me know in the comment box below.