For all of the analyses of academics, learning models, curriculum, 21st century thinking, assessment, project-based learning, self-directed learning, social media integration, iPads and related technology, and other emerging trends, how students learn is why we’re all here, yes?
And understanding how something happens requires observation as an early step. What’s developing, when and how?
Where are the misunderstandings? What is not clear? Where is the learning being successful that I’m missing? And how can I share not just the end product but the proces itself–the idea behind project-based learning–with a much larger audience?
10 iPad Apps To Record How Students Learn
1. Explain Everything has been on our desktops since the school issued them last summer. Not sure why we never talked about it before, it’s fabulous and easy! It can be used with any key learning area. It’s very powerful for those that may be struggling with literacy, as it has the ability to record audio and students thinking out loud. With Explain Everything you can annotate, animate, and narrate explanations and presentations and it is designed to accommodate virtually any content area.
2. Funny Movie Maker has the sights, sounds, and action of a movie to bring a subject to life in your classroom. Ideas?
Use a picture from your camera roll and change it up to make the image come to life.
Try reading the Emancipation Proclamation using Abraham Lincoln’s picture.
Have students replace the face of Susan B. Anthony with their own and read a journal entry they’ve written from the perspective of a suffragette.
Students can email their videos to you or save them to their camera roll. Try it out with math or science, as a fun way to record steps for problem-solving or documenting an experiment.
3. Haiku Deck – start with a few ideas, add amazing images and create dynamic presentations with your students. With just a few words per screen, this is a great way to introduce students to the presentation mode. Focusing on just a few words at a time can be a challenge for many students; this app will reinvent how students put thoughts together. They’re many different backgrounds, creative common pictures, and fonts. It also helps students with visual design. Each slide can have a completely different theme and with so many options it is hard to decide. Very open-ended and quite an incredible learning tool.
4. Aurasma – an augmented reality platform that lets the user discover, create and share virtual content integrated into the real world. This app allows you to connect digital content with real-world objects. This app holds a lot of learning potential, particularly if we teach kids how to create their own real-world AR object. Aurasma is a very intuitive application that allows users to choose their target image and the digital content that will activate when the target is seen by the camera.
5. Goodreader is a powerful PDF reader, but that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this app’s features. It allows you to view almost any file type, watch movies in a variety of formats, and unzip compressed folders. You can connect with numerous cloud accounts, copy, move, rename or transfer files, and send them elsewhere. There are an intuitive number of annotation tools for marking up PDFs, and tabbed file viewing. Often referred to as the “Swiss Army knife” of productivity apps on the iPad, it seems complicated at first but it’s not once you get into it. Let your students teach you how. Also, a great resource for teachers – collect work from your students, mark or comment on it, send it back to them seamlessly!
6. Sketch Nation Studio is a game-maker that could incorporate simple content and be used as a fun way to share what you know with others in a game format. It absolutely motivates like no other app we’ve come across, especially for some of the most reluctant learners. The Simple Mode is obviously the easiest, letting you put together a game in just a matter of minutes. Become a game designer without writing a single line of code!
These last three are the Internet only and not available as apps, that doesn’t make them not worth exploring!
7. Sketchnoting has huge potential for students to create presentations. If you’re someone who takes notes on a regular basis, you may be interested in a fun and even artistic movement called Sketchnoting. Sketchnoting is like note taking, but it includes visual notes as well as words. It’s a way of conceptualizing ideas, information, and other data on paper (or a digital tablet) beyond the traditional text of outlining.
This handbook is pricey but tells the story of sketchnotes–why and how you can use them to capture your thinking visually, remember key information more clearly, and share what you’ve captured with others.
8. Pinterest – The virtual online pinboard, or as an app, allows kids to organize and share ideas through images that they find on the web. This system of “curating” all things found on the Internet is easy to use, free, and as there site states, addicting. It’s a great way to present any content visually and the use of compartmentalizing is a great skill to reinforce.
9. Tagxedo turns words–famous speeches, news articles, slogans and themes, even your love letters–into a visually stunning word cloud, words individually sized appropriately to highlight the frequencies of occurrence within the body of text. For presentations, keywords can be highlighted one at a time. Great help for students doing a presentation and a cool teacher tool to visualize thinking as well. Watch the video. The image below was made with Tagxedo.
Image attribution flickr user barretwebcoordinator