Must Have Apps: 1.Book Creator

As I’ve continued to integrate iPads into my lessons, as well as assist with the integration of the device into the curriculum, over the last few years, I’ve slowly developed my ‘Must-Have’ App List. This is a series of apps that allow for creation of a variety of content, painless integration, app-smashing and ease of set-up.

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Book Creator is on my top 10 list of apps to have on all iPads, irrespective of the age of the students. We’ve successfully be able to use this with the little kids, as well as our older high school students.

 

To start with, the ‘Getting Started’ tutorial has been a boon! Where I might have had a lesson with the students to learn, figure out and guide them through img_0801the how-to of the app, this tutorial makes it possible for the kids to do this on their own. We’ve done this in two ways:

  1. Where the students have their own devices, it was assigned as homework: Play with the app. Complete the Tutorial and be ready to create a new book!
  2. Where we use kit iPads: Students have one session of about 30 minutes where they have the opportunity to play with the app and figure it out. Try out all the features!

That you can reset the tutorial is a benefit given that if you are using a shared device, different kids can work through it over and over.

To go into the features of the app would be guiding you through the ‘Getting Started’ Tutorial. Instead, there’s just a couple of things I’m going to highlight before we look at examples.

Favourite Feature 1: The first is the choice of templates. img_0802Create Books, Create Comics, Create Both, Within the Same App.

Depending on what you want the students to create, they select the template. I quite like the idea of letting them choose their own templates, it allows them to decide what their project needs to look like.

The additional text and sticker features that you can add to your template will vary depending on whether you’ve selected a book or a comic template.

Favourite Feature 2: As you can see, the various elements that you can include make it quite easy to integrate this with other apps as well. We’ve integrated this will apps including: Explain Everything, Popplet Lite, Toontastic, iMotion & iMovie.


Favourite Feature 3:
The formats in which you can export your book when you’re done!

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When you export as a video, the videos in your book also play as part of the video!! 

How we’ve used Book Creator: 

  1. Learning Journals: We used this with our Grade 4 students during their unit on States of Matter. We included photographs, vocabulary, experiment videos and much more. Final products were shared with the students and their parents as ePub files. I wrote about this as an App Review on Common Sense Education: Book Creator Review.

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  2. Video Story Journal: Our ESL students were working on a unit on Stories, and the students had to plan, write and then animate their stories. They use Toontastic with Book Creator here. They wrote out their stories in the books they were making, animated in Toontastic, and then put both together in the app. We had the kids read out their written stories as well, which worked as a good opportunity to practice their speaking skills and better pronunciation before they animated their stories in Toontastic.fullsizerender_3
  3. Comic Creation in English: Similar to the unit above, students wrote stories and presented them as comics. The focus here was tense, and change of tense when it came to spoken dialogue. (He said – He says). We exported these projects as PDFs so we could print and put them up on the bulletin board, and later clip together for student portfolios. screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-12-42-32-pm
  4. Book Creator in Languages: We’ve used the app in our foreign language lessons where we’ve included pictures, word in English, word in language being studied, pronunciation through the speech feature.

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More offered by the Book Creator Team as Resources and Training

While the app is fantastic and has so much potential, there is also the support they offer! Follow the links below to their site to know more.

Teacher Training: I’ve attended a few of their webinars, and the ideas shared are fabulous! So much is possible! Check here to know more about their Training for Teachers.

Make Comics With Book Creator

Publishing With Book Creator

Book Creator Blog: For ProTips, Case Studies and More

Book Creator on Twitter: I highly recommend following them on Twitter! That’s where I learn about new ways to integrate the app into the curriculum.

Oh the possibilities! Happy Creating!

App Smashing & App Flows

 

While putting together resources for a presentation on App Sharing, I came across a great big bunch of resources. There is so much out there, it would be a shame not to share a part if not everything.

App Smashing:

Take for example this ThingLink on a SAMR Smash.

Or this image: The Ben Bloom fist in the SAMR glove.

Also these fantastic example of App Smashed Projects: App Smash Awards.

And these article:

Why App Smash?

Making the Invisible, Visible with iPads

Unleashing Creativity

App Smashing

App Smashing 101

App Smashing. Little Mathematicians Get Inspired

 

Digital Citizenship and Internet Safety

A while ago, we had a fantastic PD opportunity at our school, on Common Sense Media, lead by Robyn Treyvaud and her team.

-What did we learn?

-So much!

We began the day by considering What is Digital Citizenship? How is the same as or different compared to Cyber Safety? 

Throughout the day, we explored the various resources Common Sense Media had to offer. This included:

1) The Digital Literacy & Citizenship Classroom Curriculum printed curriculum & iBooks. While the iBooks are not available in India just yet, we used the printed curriculum used the modules from there. The way this resource is organised by theme & grade is fantastic. Each module has resources and material, not to mention a complete lesson plan to go with it all. And the resources are grade/level appropriate.

2) Digital Bytes: For older kids. This resource is divided into 4 main buckets, from which you can choose digital bytes. Yes, you lead the students through the bytes, but it seems to based on self discovery & exploration.

3) Digital Passport: For younger kids, and this works parallel with an app as well.

4) Graphite: A platform for teachers and parents, to find reviews and rating for videos, movies, apps and much more.

Apart from this, there are also a whole bunch of other resources available, including Poster, Media Agreements and Family Tip Sheets.

As teachers we were engaged throughout the session, eager to begin our lessons on Digital Citizenship.

As an ESL teacher, I was even able to use and adapt some of the resources successfully to meet the language level of students in my class. And the units were all interactive, which made it even more accessible. Like in many language lessons, while the English word may not be know, the concept is, and then the Ah Ha! moment when language and concept meet, making it all the more familiar.

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We discussed topics including online scams & schemes, studied similes and responded to the prompt ‘My digital life is like a…’

Responses include: ‘My digital life is like a big tree because it connects me and my friends and family.’ & ‘My digital life is like Saturn because I am in the middle and the internet world is around me, like the rings of Saturn’.

I quite like how language, creativity and the key vocabulary of digital citizenship merged together in this unit.

So, as a resource, course tool and all things digital citizenship, this is definitely worth exploring. All you need is a log-in, the rest of it is available for free.

Class Refresher: Move It by PEGeek

The kids walked into class, first period today, all groggy!

Time for PE Geek’s Move It! 

Before the end of the class, we’d planked, high kneed and wiggled to get the day started. Was a perfect way to start their day.

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How to get PE Geek’s Move It?

Open the Chrome Browser -> Access the Chrome Web Store -> Search for Move It by PE Geek.

Look in Extensions. -> Add to your browser.

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You can change the intervals from 5 minutes to 55 minutes! It  definitely gets the energy up.

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MUST: Teachers must do the activities with the students. No fun otherwise!

Resource Found. Resource Enjoyed. Resources Shared.

While browsing through the many pages of the internet, I found this resource.

A Teacher Activity Book for iPads in the Classroom

It is book put together by educators on how they are integrating the iPads into their classrooms, using examples from their classrooms.
Volume 1 of the book is currently available for free: http://edtechteacher.org/awesome
Volume 2 is in the process of being written. If you would like to contribute: http://ettipad.org/awesome
Happy Reading!

Digital Storytelling: What is your story?

“Digital storytelling is the practice of combining narrative writing with digital content, including images, sound and video, to create a short movie.”

Keeping this simple definition in mind, I’ve put together these 5 apps.

The first two apps: Toontastic & Puppetpals HD Directors Pass are animation based. They come with built in characters and scene backgrounds. Toontastic does however allow you to add your own characters and backgrounds as drawings. Puppetpals allows you to add the same as pictures, it accesses the camera.

Toontastic: 

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Image from: http://ipadkids.com/free-app-of-the-day-toontastic-free/

The story arc used in Toontastic is a favourite, that I have also used to teach parts of a story.

Puppet Pals HD Directors Pass:

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With the ability to add more characters in Puppet Pals, character sets like Community, are quite fun to use with young learners. They could have each character to talk about their role. “Hello, I am Tom, a fireman. It is my job to…”

The third app for today is iMotion. It is a stop-motion app that takes continuous pictures (time lapse) and strings it all together as a movie.

iMotion HD (the free version) allows you create the video and save it to the camera roll. The paid version allows for direct upload to Youtube, Facebook or sharing by email.

Within classroom use with regards story telling, I just see fun! Create your own Lego movie! Build a castle! And record the process.

Once done, move it to iMovie, add audio, dialogue and background music, viola!
This brings me to the next set of apps:

Book Creator and iMovie are apps that I have used to put together final projects.

Book Creator is great because it lets you add pictures, videos, audio and text. Have you ever considered the video possibility of adding a ChatterKid video of a book character talking?! That just sounds fun! In fact, ask our grade 4 students! Matilda of Roald Dahl has a lot of different voices.

iMovie is an all time favourite, that sometimes gets forgotten. All these videos that we put together can be strung together in iMovie with a little introduction from the story teller. This is a great way for the student to also be a part of the videos they make.

Also! If you weren’t already aware, Toontastic has released the full version of their app for free. It allows you to access all the backgrounds and characters! Definitely worth a play and a try!

Classroom Ideas from EdTech Teacher:

(Click here for the original Article)

Digital Storytelling can be integrated in any number of ways:

  • Create a virtual tour of a country or historical place.

  • Create a public service announcement on an important local or world issue.

  • Simulate an interview of a historical character.

  • Simulate a debate on an historical topic, such as the Bill of Rights.

  • Create a presentation based on images of local artifacts and architecture.

Also, this page has a lot of other resources to explore: Kathy Shrock’s Guide to Everything

Happy Story telling!

Google Calendars and Shared Google Sheets

Before the academic year started, there were a couple of things that needed to be set-up. These were some of the responsibilities of the Tech Integrationist. Me.

First, Set up a Google Calendar that could be shared with the teachers. Being as we are a Google Apps for Edu school, the calendar was there. I created a calendar which listed major events, holidays and our day 1-6 schedule. I then shared it with the teachers during Orientation Week, via a link to their emails. Once they clicked the link, voila! It was now a subscribed calendar on their iPads. No additional apps needed, just the calendar app.

What the calendar looks like:

Google Calendar

I’ve retained editing rights, however this has not been a concern in any way. All school events are shared with staff during department meetings and I just add these into the calendars.

How I shared this with the staff:

1) Tap on the little arrow next to the calendar name to go into Calendar Settings.

2) Scroll down and find tab: Calendar Address

3) For the iPad, select the iCal link

4) Copy-Paste the link into an email and then share.

When the teachers opened up the link on their iPads,  it asked to Subscribe to the calendar. That’s about it.

 

Second, Set up a Shared Google Sheet for the iPad Sign Outs for the elementary school.

I created the sheet to look exactly like our timetable, putting in the classes, days and dates, so teachers could plan in advance. There had been concerns of editing in a Google Calendar, so we went with simple. Google Sheets. So far, there have been no concerns with the use of this method. The file is accessible via the iPad (if you have the Google Sheets app) or the desktop computer. We did have to discuss moving a shared file from the Incoming folder to My Drive

What the Google Sheet looks like:

Google Sheets: ES iPads

Once done, I shared it, and gave editing rights to the ES staff only. There have been zero concerns of double booking, and has been a good record of where the iPads are at any time.