Thursday, March 24, 2011

A week with the new apps

I must say that at the end of last week, I did go a bit crazy with purchasing and uploading a big number of new apps to the iPods.  I was so enthusiastic due to the children in my class really taking on board what I was saying about the purpose of the iPods in the classroom and how they thought they could impact or improve their learning.  I had already gathered a list of apps that I was quite keen to get (while on the ICT Conference) along with some other tried and tested apps.  I spent the majority of the weekend syncing and updating the software on the iPods, then got completely carried away with arranging the apps into different folders so that the children would be able to locate what they needed immediately, rather than sifting through 53 apps!  I sorted them as follows:  Spelling, Maths - Basic Facts, Maths - Decimals and Fractions, Infusion Learning, Publishing Tools, Music and Utilities.  I immediately saw the benefits of this on Monday when I was working with the children because it streamlined what I was doing - there was no fumbling!

During our language time, the children discovered many features within the apps, including a voice activated tool that they could use when researching their animals for their information writing task.  This is incredibly useful if they are unsure of the correct spelling.  It also emphasised the need for speaking slowly and clearly.  Secondly, the Dictionary was equally useful - finding the meaning of unknown or unseen words as well as 'saying' the pronunciation which is a real bonus!  I also have a number of word games, including 'Boggle' and 'Scrabble' which can be multi-player games.  Another aspect is for the children to become self critical on their written language work - they need to read aloud using the 'Voice Memo' function, word for word, then listen to it, make any amendments and try again.  They quickly saw that this was a very effective way of immediately recognising missing words or sentences that simply don't make sense!  (we are all pretty good at skim reading and adding words as we speak)
Checking the meaning of unknown words

Checking the meaning of unseen text

Listening to the pronunciation of the word

Using the TVNZ app to summarise National and World News

Skimming, scanning and summarising

Checking the meaning of unseen text when working independently

My maths class was equally impressed with the new apps - Fractions and Decimals is one of the hot spots that I have been working with my children on.  Not only that, I have been teaching exponents and square roots with two of my groups - the scientific calculator in the utilities is truly unbelievable!  The children had no idea that when you turned the calculator 'landscape' it changed from a standard calculator to a scientific one!
Using a scientific calculator

Decimals and fractions

Decimals and Fractions

Basic Facts

Basic Facts

Scientific Calculator

Finally, I simply cannot get over the level of engagement in learning (especially those who have seemed unmotivated or not productive with their time) - the photos really do say it all.  After the planning of the logistics is done, the implementation makes it all worthwhile.  My aim for the week was to have the iPods fully utilised all day, every day - I have achieved that goal!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Rochelle, this is great. I didn't know about turning the ipod to get the scientific calculator. Can,t wait to get home to see if Anna and Paul know this - they probably do!! Nevermind I am learning on your journey too!!
    Thanks :-) Sue