Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Trades First Day" in 3rd grade

Two third graders create a "ShowMe" video about trading first in multi-digit subtraction problems.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What Learning is Happening with iPads in YES Classrooms?

It seems like every day there are conversations buzzing about how we can support learning with the single iPads that are in classrooms at YES. The teachers whose classrooms received the YEF grant iPads are using them connected to the projector for whole class instruction, for individual student use and as a center for a small groups of students. Additional teachers are using iPads that are their own.
  • One class recorded the field trip to the State House in Augusta by creating a Voicethread using the mobile app. The camera on the iPad made taking pictures easy and then students added narration with audio or video clips to describe what they had learned. The kids seemed to enjoy how easy it was to build the slideshow and the iPad made it possible to do everything on one device. 
  • Students are using the ShowMe app to write math procedures and record their descriptions of what they are doing or teachers are creating blog videos for explaining an algorithm.
  • Dragon Dictation is helping some students with writing as they can speak into the iPad microphone and the app turns their voice into text. This text can be emailed to the teacher who can help the student continue the document.

Some other thoughts for exploration are spelling apps, voice recording of reading fluency, math practice and TumbleBooks online. Also, we added an "eprint" color laser printer this week in the YES Lab for printing directly from the iPads.

There is excitement in the air as we explore ways to use this "touch" device in ways that supplement and expand the technology access we offer to students at YES.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New iPad Learnings

Today the three of us (Rosie, Nicole, and Kate) met with Cathy Wolinsky to share what we've learned (so far!) about using the iPads in our classroom.
  • First we discussed taking photos and video with the iPad, and the best ways to access them once they're on the iPad. We learned that we have a few free options: we can retrieve the photos from our iCloud accounts, or we can purchase the Picasa app from the App Store. In addition, we can email the individual photos to our Picasa account. 
  • Rosie shared with us the way she used VoiceThread to capture a recent field trip to the State House. She was able to take a video of the students in the House of Representatives and upload it to her classroom blog after emailing it to herself. She plans to use VoiceThread to have the students add narration to various photos she took as a way of having students reflect on their experience of the trip.
  • Kate shared her recent use of Dragon Dictation to help a student with a writing prompt. She was impressed with the ease of the application for the student.
  • All three of us would like to use the iPads to assist struggling readers. We talked about different ways we can do this, including TumbleBooks, Kindle books, audio books.

Apps Search Site

I found a new way to search for apps tonight that I thought I would share: Quixey. On a quick search for "teaching reading". I found these iPad apps we might want to explore for the first grade pilot:
This may be one more way to explore and search for useful apps.

(Cross posted at

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Voicethread for iPad

Last week I experimented with using the iPad to document a field trip to the Maine State House and Maine State Museum.  I took photos and video with the iPad and found it extremely easy because I could carry it under my arm.  It was almost easier than carrying a camera!  The best part was that I could also take notes on the iPad during the field trip (using the Pages app). On the bus ride home moved all of the photos into the Voicethread app and begin the process of creating a Voicethread about our field trip!  Back at school I added my narration to the photographs and then the next day I had the students add their own comments using their unique voicethread identities.  They could comment using text, audio, or video (new!).  I found the voicethread app to be extremely easy and user-friendly.  The website doesn't always feel so easy to me, so I was very pleased with the simple navigation of the app.  And, it's free!  The voicethread is not done, but when it is I will share it.  Bottom line--the iPad is fantastic for documenting field trips!