Both teaching and marking can take up a huge amount of a teacher’s day; the latter, in particular, especially tends to eat into supposed ‘free time’. Here, Manchester-based primary school teacher and blogger Amy Kingsley discusses one app that’s been invaluable for her literacy lessons.
Over the last academic year, Explain Everything has fast become one of my top educational apps for applying pupils’ speaking and listening skills across the curriculum. As a busy primary school teacher, I have never been an avid fan of the daily marking marathon and would much rather spend my time planning engaging lessons and creating resources.
Teachers who have been entrenched in their classes for years still seek out innovative edtech to assist their work. Educators moving to a new environment, therefore, are likely to want to know about what’s available for their specific needs so that they can get a running start. Hot on the heels of his Media teacher’s iPad piece, Mike Gunn discusses the best technology for supporting new teachers.
Being a new teacher can be daunting. To be honest, even when you've taught for many years, a move to a new school can make you feel almost entirely like a beginner again. The nature of teacher is that students listen when they respect you, and rarely before that point. Your job as the teacher is to establish high expectations, behaviour boundaries, and what I used to call ‘the deal’: "You guys work hard, and I'll make your learning worthwhile and engaging".
Media teachers have a plethora of technology available for use in their duties, but which tablet to use? Finham Park School’s Head of Creative Arts Mike Gunn shares why he lives and dies by the iPad when it comes to media studies.
As an advocate of BYOD, I've always talked to colleagues about the benefits of different devices and approaches within a "mixed economy" digital learning space (or "classroom where everyone's phone is different”, as it's more commonly known). Largely, what you want to do should dictate the type of device you use, and I'm quite happy to work in a multi-device environment. Until I walk into my Media classroom.
One of the main advantages offered by constantly-evolving edtech is the bevy options given to SEN students. Different special education needs pupils are challenged by different disabilities, and it’s great to have user-friendly, affordable apps for these learners. Experienced SEN and biology teacher David Imrie gives five free apps that he loves using.
Meeting the needs of disabled students need not be expensive. Many of my students encounter difficulty with printed material due to a dyslexia, physical disability and/or visual impairment which require additional support software. Although I use a range of approaches, I make sure students have access to software which they can take and run on a pen drive wherever they go. Over the years I have found a few simple solutions to the most common problems they encounter. I’d like to mention a few of the best free applications.
This is an interdisciplinary science, maths, art and technology lesson by Marc Taras, Lindsey Tisch and Rachel Wintemberg at William C. McGinnis School, Perth Amboy NJ. We used the following iPad apps and websites to investigate the solar system:
http://vitotechnology.com/star-walk.htmlFor this lesson, the website www.outerspaceuniverse.org gave our students the information they needed to create their own planets on the iPads, by answering the question:
We had each group pick a planet out of a hat. They then researched information on that planet using the iPad app Solar Walk (link above).
Credit to: This lesson was created by our team as part of a grant by the Geraldine R. Dodge foundation. Training on arts integration was given, as part of the grant, by the Rutgers Graduate School of Education.
Poetry is one of the arts that many students struggle with. I always found that providing an initial successful learning experience was the best way to instil both confidence and foster engagement with my students.
Here are a bunch of apps that would allow a student to get their teeth into writing some poetry and for those that struggle, an opportunity to see just what they are capable of.
Photo credit: JJPacres
Many schools across the country have invested in tablet technology, but are they using them to their full potential? Research indicates that used correctly, tablets are fantastic learning tools and can really inspire students and aid teaching. A potential barrier to tablet technology being fully utilised in schools is the complexity of storing and moving work and sharing finished pieces between students and staff.
For any tablet technology to be successfully used, it needs to be beneficial to learning and student achievement, and must be simple to use both by teachers and students. Any apps need to seamlessly integrate into the learning environment and curriculum so they don’t detract or become an additional “chore” which impinges on everyone’s time. One new app and software tool which fulfils this criteria is TrilbyTV, which is being launched at BETT in January, 2014.
I love discovering new iPhone/iPad apps, especially ones where the application works well in the classroom. I love to share the newest apps, which is why I started #BlappSnapp (blogging about an app that has great education potential) - this has now started a series of #BlappSnapps by educators around the world.
Sometimes apps work well on their own but occasionally I can see potential for blending two apps together. A number of educators have been calling this process App Smashing.
Photo credit: marcopako - image has been edited
Over the past three years, there has been a huge shift towards tablet technology; with educational establishments quickly realising the huge benefits of tablet-based learning and teaching in the classroom. As a product development executive currently developing a range of apps, I have conducted a vast amount of research into educational apps and their benefits for pupils and teachers.
I have found that apps provide teachers with the tools for independent and group learning, differentiated assessments, progress tracking and blended learning in order to create an engaging and inspirational learning experience for their pupils.
Having worked with many children over the years I repeatedly observed that the use of good quality ICT enhances teaching and learning in all subject areas. They are often motivated to learn not just how the software and equipment works but also the topic in question.
Some areas that I am interested in researching are primary science education and the role that new technologies offer to help children’s understanding and knowledge of this subject. I’m also interested in using ICT to motivate disaffected learners, software design and evaluation and can new technologies support children with learning difficulties, both moderate and severe.
Following a request on Linked In for suitable apps to help autistic children communicate, I thought I would gather together some of the suggestions here.