Sunday, April 17, 2011

Now for the hard part....

So now that my dream of having a 1:1 environment has been realized, I have to start doing the work to make the best use of the tools I will be given.  I'm told that in the next few weeks I will receive my iPad 2. 

There are NO WORDS to explain how excited I am (pardon my nerd).  But before I have it in my hands, I know there is a lot of research I need to do to make sure I'm ready.  I don't want to be overwhelmed at any point in this process (wishful thinking....) so I'm trying to stay a little bit ahead of the game.

To get the ball rolling, I've tried to compile a list of apps that I think I'll be able to use with my kids next year.  They will be fifth graders.  A great deal of the education apps out there are geared toward the primary grades.  Some of those are useful in the intermediate classroom, but I'm afraid they are not as likely to hold the attention of my students.

I'll list some of them here, with some brainstorming on how they might be used in the intermediate classroom.

Popplet - This is the tool I used to brainstorm ideas for the grant I wrote, so I already know it's a great mind-mapping app that is user-friendly.  Students create a "bubble map" of sorts.  This could potentially be used for responding to reading.  For instance, if I read a story in shared reading, I could propose a question and students could all add their thoughts to a common popplet.  The app would let them respond to the original question or their peers' comments.

Bill Atkinson PhotoCard Lite - This app allows students to create postcards using pictures and even audio recordings.  They can be emailed or printed and sent via snail mail.  In 5th grade we study the American Revolution, so my thought is that I could create a character for each student so that they had to embody someone that actually lived during that time period.  Over the course of the unit, students could write postcards to another student, or to an imaginary family member or friend that would come from the perspective of their character.

BrainPOP Featured Movie - While I feel this app is slightly limited because it only plays the featured movie of the day from the BrainPOP website, I think it could serve as really good morning work activity.  Students would watch the daily video and take the quiz.  I believe this app has a feature that allows students to track their progress in terms of quizzes.  It might be a nice comprehension/listening activity for them.  In addition, there is a part of the Google Apps suite that allows you to compile results from BrainPoP quizzes.  If these two could link, it could be really cool....

Flipboard - This is a really cool app that allows you to place all your social media updates, blog posts, etc. into a magazine-style view.  I really want to get kids into reading blogs to journal about current events.  I'd like them to create their own blogs to report their findings.  I think if all of the blog posts were presented to them in a visually appealing format, they would be more likely to be interested in such an activity.

This is a short list.  I still have about 30 more sitting in my Evernote, but they will have to wait for another post.  

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