Five apps that are taking my classroom by storm

Amy Kingsley

Since qualifying as a primary school teacher in 2009, I have taught across KS1 and 2 at three schools in the Manchester area. After studying English and Hispanic Studies at Sheffield University, I went on to complete a PGCE Primary in Spanish at Manchester Metropolitan University. I'm passionate about making English lessons exciting and engaging through the use of ICT. I was thrilled to join Russell Scott Primary School earlier this year and I'm loving my role developing the teaching of literacy through the use of iPads.

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This article was previously published in the innovate my school magazine. This article was previously published in the innovate my school magazine.

Explain Everything: Without a doubt my signature app, I have used Explain Everything in a number of ways. It is ideal for editing and improving pupils’ written work. By simply taking a photo of the child’s work, I record myself reading it out, using the cursor tool to encourage children to read along with me, and the pen and shape tool to annotate positive features of their work.

In Year 1, I have used Explain Everything to support children with rereading their writing. Below is an example of where one of my pupils has used the voice recorder to reread her work and, as an extension activity, picked out the exclamation marks used.

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"Pupils can easily create their own iBooks by adding photos, videos, text, audio recordings and editing the layout of their books."

I often use Explain Everything to set independent tasks for pupils. There’s a letter formation tutorial for example, which models how to form each letter before inviting children to practise. The end result can be saved as evidence for assessment purposes.

The computing curriculum requires children to learn how to manipulate and edit images. During our topic on WW1, my pupils used the picture cropping tool within Explain Everything to create their own Cottingley Fairy style images.

iMovie: This is free for iPad and iPhone, and is a fantastic app for creating professional movie trailers and longer movies. The app offers a variety of movie trailer genres to choose from and enables you to add photos, short videos and text. KS2 pupils enjoy using the app to create their own movie trailers. Below is an example of what a Year 5 pupil achieved.

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I have also used the app to produce many lesson ‘hooks’.

The full movie option is both KS1 and KS2 friendly. My Year 1 pupils are able to add photos from the camera roll and, in supported groups, record themselves retelling stories.

Book Creator: Recently voted Best Educational App in the Bett awards, Book Creator lends itself to KS1 and 2 pupils alike. Pupils can easily create their own iBooks by adding photos, videos, text, audio recordings and editing the layout of their books. The audio tool is perfect for younger pupils to consolidate their learning and the books can be exported as an iBook or as a video for publishing to YouTube and class blogs.

My Year 5 pupils used Book Creator as part of their Romeo and Juliet topic, adding descriptive language using the text tool and short Lego animations made previously using the free iMotion app.

Tellagami: This is a fun app, enabling children to style a character and record short videos using their own voices or adding text and choosing from a bank of character voices. The background can be changed so your character can be anywhere in the world. In the following video, I used Tellagami to introduce Year 1 to a theme day on Brazil during last year’s World Cup. Tellagami only allows you to create short clips, so I recorded a number of videos and sequenced them using iMovie, as shown here.

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Unsurprisingly, children love using the app to create their own ‘gami’.

Morfo Booth: Morfo is a hilarious app, perfect for bringing characters (animal or human, fictional or real) to life! Simply upload a photo from the camera roll, set the position of the facial features and record your message. The pitch of your voice can be changed in order to hide your real identity! Nobody suspected a thing when I informed my Year 1 class that, following a break in and porridge theft at school, Goldilocks had been arrested and interviewed by police! I created the following video using Morfo and used iMovie to sequence the clips, adding CCTV footage, voiceovers, music and text.

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I hope you can have as much fun integrating these apps into your lessons as I do with mine.

Have you used any of these apps? Share your experiences below!

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