Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Board Presentation

I recently presented my findings to the Board of Trustees.  It is intended that next year, the trial goes school wide with the purchase of iPods and iPads (depending on the year level and team - this can be mixed).  It is obvious that these devices not only take the pressure off the laptops and desktops, but they engage learners.  I am very pleased with the findings and look forward to 2012!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Student Voice

Some of the students in my class decided to conduct interviews with feedback for me in regards to the impact iPods have had on their learning this year.  The feedback was positive (and unprompted by me).

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fractions, Flight, Word Study, Maths and the Rugby World Cup

I recently tested my maths class on their fractions and discovered that generally, their recall of fractions and how they relate to each other was not as good as I anticipated.  It wasn't that they didn't know them, it was more about the fact that their recall of them was not more instantaneous.  I have now downloaded a number of apps that should assist with this recall:
Estimate Fractions, Fractions, Picturing Fractions, Fraction Drills, Fraction Monkeys, Candy Factory (I think this one is going to be a real hit!), Math Chef, Portion Platter

I have also added some new basic facts apps:
Factors, Asteroid Arithmetic, Number battle (they can use Wifi to battle each other)

The inclusion of the following Word Study apps should boost interest levels and engagement:
Lexagram, Avalanche, Fishtropolis, Ultimate Word Search, Word Wizard

With the Rugby World Cup looming, I have downloaded the free app, so we can follow the stats and the countries playing with ease.

Our next infusion learning topic is based on flight.  I have added the following apps:
Airplanes and AirPedia (these are reference based), Backyard Pilot (learn to fly a plane), Airport (learn how an airport operates), Warship (problem solving - like the game 'Rush hour') and World Record Paper Planes (has a variety of paper plane designs to simulate flight eg. stunt, dart, eagle)

It is really important to have a variety of apps to ensure the children have something new and exciting to facilitate their learning.  I am simply amazed by the variety and number of apps that are available for practically anything you are looking for!

Friday, August 26, 2011

In house training

Last week, I did an in house training session with staff from Years 4 - 6, as well as the ELL teacher and two members from the management team.  I explained how I have been using the iPod to engage my students, drawing attention to the apps I have found to be the most useful and productive.  I showed them how I go about storing/charging the devices, syncing new apps and getting the children's work (generally photos, videos and screenshots of other work) from the device and onto the school server.  The staff were then able to have a try of some of the apps (although time was a constraint).  To me, it appeared that my presentation was well received.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Infusion Learning - directing the children to specific information

We have recently started our newest infusion learning topic called 'My Space to Your Place' where we are focusing on the Social Sciences aspect.  One of the activities that I was discussing with my class was about conflict and war.  The children could not tell me very much about the subject - they knew a bit about the ANZAC's, but that was pretty much it.  So the children set forth to find out more ... unfortunately, due to their lack of knowledge, they floundered.  I figured that there were probably some apps that would assist with this - I was right!  The children needed direction, and this was definitely one of the moments with the iPods that they were priceless!  The apps I downloaded were:

Wars of the 20th Century - this outlines all wars and conflict in the 20th Century, with photos and a narrative (brief on one side, then they can 'flip' it to get more detail).
Maps of War - Breaks down the wars into the following categories - democracy, religion, leadership, an so on, and shows a map with a moving time line of events.
Historic Line - has a history time line of events dating BC to present day, Inventions, Monarchs, Notable people, Prime Ministers and Presidents. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Mathematics Apps

I have categorised the apps into different strands - I have Basic Facts - this is where there are apps that will test the speed, recall and accuracy of their basic facts knowledge (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division).
Dot to Dot is a very basic game of ordering numbers (sequencing)
Times Tables allows children to select which times table they would like to study - they can view, write, listen then test.
Math Drills Lite lets children test their skills on basic facts
Roll it is like the game Yahtzee - they can have multiple players
Brain Booster tests skills on basic facts
Basic Math tests skill on specific operations
Alien Equation is where the children have to arrange the operations tiles to make the equation true.  The sound function on this will drive you nuts, so make sure they turn the sound off!
Brain Thaw multi-leveled, using multiples (or factors) of numbers

The second mathematics folder that I have is called Geometry.  These allow the children to explore the different functions and skills of Geometry as it can quite often get overlooked or rushed.  This can be incorporated into the maintenance part of your maths programme.
Keep Balance, Geometry: Volume of Solids Lite, Tangram, GeoSudoku, Geometry Test

The third folder is called Maths - this is where I have put anything else related to the subject - there's fractions and decimals, time, ordering numbers and algebra.
Number line, Pearl Diver, Fraction Factory, Just Fraction, Algebra Touch, Clock Master

I change these around from time to time, and add new apps as needed.  You can't expect the children to use the same ones all year round (although there will be the odd one that they will love).  As I progress on this journey, I add relevant apps to complement what I am teaching in the classroom.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


PPP's stands for Pupil Progress Presentations.  My class were very keen on the idea of putting the iPods to the test - the children recorded themselves (and each other) displaying PE skills, reading fluency, mathematical problem solving, along with anything else that was of value to show their parents when they were sharing their learning.  The children were able to use the iMovie app on the iPods which allowed them to edit and publish.  They also used the voice recorder to read their writing and turn it into a podcast.  This is an excellent tool to use for those children who are not keen publishers or skilled typists.  What is it that we really want to achieve?  I believe that their writing should be shared orally so that I can hear the expression, intonation and fluency.  There should be a balance in publishing work for the classroom environment (for other children to read) and orally presenting work for other children to listen to.  Many children uploaded these movies and podcasts to their digital portfolio.