I taught a course this week at the Shrewsbury Summer Institute on how to utilize iPads in our middle and high school science classrooms. This “Tech Tip” is a summary of what was covered over the last few days. Regardless of what subject/age you teach, I’m hopeful you will still find most of this information useful.
General iPad tips/tricks
- 8 Navigation tricks every iPad user needs to know
- Guided Access
- How to check your iPad usage and delete things if you need to free up space
- App Store – Shrewsbury uses automatic downloads to issue student and teacher apps. Students and teachers must be logged into their school Apple ID or they will not receive new apps. You must also make sure both “Apps” and “Updates” checked off in Settings.
- Reflector – useful program for mirroring iPad screens on a projector
Since Shrewsbury has committed to using Schoology as our Learning Management System (LMS) platform moving forward, Schoology was a big focus for the week. All participants had a sandbox course to explore. They added content, assessments, and spent time exploring the features using a laptop and iPad in both teacher and student views.
If you are unfamiliar with Schoology, visit their Help Guides website. They offer a lot of valuable information for teachers, students, and parents.
Notability, Pages, and Google Docs…the “Big 3”
In a science classroom, much of what we do revolves writing notes, annotating worksheets, and writing labs. While these three apps all have a slightly different focus, they are the apps I use most in my classroom for day-to-day work. We also spent some time creating data tables in these three apps, which is an important element in the science classroom.
1. Notability – I use Notability when I have a PDF worksheet and want students to annotate that worksheet. Data tables cannot be easily made within the app, so the worksheet must already have a table for them to fill in.
2. Google Docs – I use Google Docs when I want students to collaborate on research or a lab and I plan to give them frequent feedback (best example is my science fair project). It wasn’t long ago when students couldn’t even view a table within the app. They can now make data tables that are pretty functional. The only missing ingredient is the ability to merge cells. However, a workaround to this is opening the document in Safari in desktop mode. This allows them to merge cells!
3. Pages – I use Pages when I want students to write up their own lab report, complete with data table, photos, and graphs. It has the best formatting options and creates a “prettier” product.
I have found that many times, it does not matter to me what app students use. They all have their own preference. For this reason, I usually share resources as Microsoft Word files. Students are able to “open in” using any of these three apps. Once finished, they can submit their final work back into Schoology.
Creating Tests and Quizzes in Schoology
Participants spent most of the afternoon creating quizzes and tests in Schoology using point scales and rubrics. There are a lot of wonderful grading features in Schoology, and most of the questions can be automatically graded for you!
Creating Graphs on the iPad
I rarely have my students hand-draw graphs on graph paper. If you prefer that option, they can easily take a photo when they finish and insert the photo directly into Notability, Pages, or Google Docs.
Create a Graph (Safari)
Download the graph when you are finished as a .jpg file. On an iPad, the graph image will pop up. Press down with your finger and choose “Save image” to save it to your camera roll.
Pages app (or Numbers)
Creating a graph in both of these apps is very similar. You can create graphs that look more professional compared to the previous option. Graphs cannot be saved to the camera roll. However, you can “copy” the image and paste it later wherever you want to put the graph.
TuvaLabs doesn’t actually let you create a graph, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s so cool. They have a huge collection of data sets that you can manipulate and visualize in a variety of ways.
Using Photos in the Classroom
I think the camera is one of the greatest features on the iPad. Being able to take/share photos and videos allows for a lot of creative ideas that were not previously possible.
A few photo ideas…
- Observations during labs
- Homework/note taking
- Visual Glossary
- Organization – keeping track of where students left off with an assignment or lab
- Assessments and revisions
- Scavenger hunts
When students are able to annotate photos with text and shapes, they are able to demonstrate their understanding. Instead of using that old diagram of a microscope, students could be asked to take a photo of an actual microscope in order to label different parts. It makes learning more authentic.
Here are three apps that my students have used to annotate and label photos.
- Explain Everything (This app costs $2.99 but should be free for all teachers and students at the middle and high school.)
- Notability (This app costs $3.99 but should be free for all teachers and students at the middle and high school.)
Student and Teacher Created Videos
Like with photos, the ability to create and share videos on an iPad opens up some pretty awesome ideas. As teachers, we can now begin to “flip” parts of our curriculum by creating videos and sharing them with our students. These videos can be lectures, instructions for a lab/project, demonstrations that may not be safe for the classroom, etc. Most students are comfortable using iMovie. That is their app of choice, but there are some other useful apps I recommend as well for different purposes.
Here are a list of apps for you to consider…
iMovie – the gold standard
Explain Everything – lets you or students make a “screen cast”. You can embed practically anything (images, documents, presentations, other videos…)
“Green Screen” app by DoInk ($2.99) – This apps lets students create engaging “green screen” videos. You will need a solid color backdrop (does NOT need to be green). You can also utilize a green screen within Explain Everything if you do not have an actual screen to use.
Time lapse videos are useful for long exposures. The iPad takes repeated photos at a set interval (every 2 seconds, 20 seconds, 1 minute, etc.) then combines those photos into a video. The camera in newer iPads already have a “time-lapse” function. Otherwise, you can use a specific app such as Lapse It or Hyperlapse.
Stop motion apps allow you to make an animation video using a series of photos. Here is a great stop motion video a teacher created to model chemical reactions. There are many stop motion apps out there, but my students have used the free Stop Motion Studio app.
While time lapse videos produce a video that is sped up, “slow motion” apps can be used to slow videos down. Newer iPhones have a “Slo-Mo” function in the camera roll. For iPads, you can use the SloPro app.
— Jeremy Mularella (@mrmularella) June 8, 2015
This wasn’t initially going to be part of this course, but Doug Kiang’s morning keynote was all about gaming. I created a badge system this year and hope to include more gaming elements moving forward.
General iPad/iPhone Recommended Apps for Teachers and Students
Here is a list of general apps that I feel everyone should have to stay organized.
- Some type of task manager or “to do” app (2.Do, Any.Do, Google Keep, or Reminders)
- Calendar: Google Calendar or Sunrise
- Password app: 1Password
- iosnoops.com (apps gone free, apps discounted, and new apps)
General apps for Science class:
- Unit conversion app
- Periodic Table (EMD PTE)
- Science glossary app
The high school teachers practiced syncing their Vernier probes and LabQuest 2 interfaces. Students can connect their iPads to the LabQuest 2 interface over a WiFi connection. The middle school teachers spent time learning how to connect iPads with our Pasco probes using the AirLink 2 bluetooth interface.
Students are very comfortable using Keynote on their iPads. While this is a great app, there are many other wonderful options for both students and teachers.
- Explain Everything (Like I said, this app can do it all.)
- Google Slides
- Prezi (Heat Transfer example) (Prezi iPad app)
- Haiku Deck
- Google Slides
Google Slides and Keynotes can be opened in Notability and/or E.E. This allows students to annotate and take notes while you present.
Curating and Sharing Resources
Where will you keep all of your “stuff”? You must consider whether you want it to be private, public, or shared only with your students. Personally, I use Google Drive and Dropbox to save all of my documents, photos, and videos on my computer. I then upload handouts from those folders into Schoology for students to access.
I bookmark all of my online resources using Diigo. It’s fantastic. For you Twitter users out there, you can even have all of your favorite tweets automatically saved to Diigo! I will put some online resources into Schoology for my students, but I’ve found that if there are too many links, it’s easier to provide them with a single link that sends them to my Learnist site. Learnist is like Pinterest, and it’s where I bookmark academic web resources for my students.
Infographics are graphical representations of data. They are especially useful for sharing out a lot of information. Visual.ly and Easel.ly both have plenty of examples you can search through. Easel.ly also lets you customize templates to make your own infographics. STEM Literacty Through Infographics is a great website that includes a lot of published student-created infographics. Compound Interest also has a great collection of chemistry-related infographics.
- Canva infographic creator
- How to create amazing infographics
- Create a slick infographic in 15 minutes
Project-Based Learning (PBL)
One of Shrewsbury’s district initiatives moving forward focuses on project based learning.
Here is the updated Professional Practice Goal:
By the end of the 2016-17 school year, all grade level and department teams will have re-designed and implemented an existing learning experience for students that includes:
- An open-ended question that requires students to think critically about an engaging topic
- A special introductory event to the learning experience that generates curiosity and motivates students to learn more about the topic
- Multiple pathways to demonstrate learning
- Opportunities for students to share their thinking and collaborate with others
- Work shared with an audience beyond teacher and classroom
- Technology integration that enhances learning at the Modification and/or Redefinition level (SAMR Model)
- The resources for this learning experience will be organized digitally to support team and department collaboration and innovation.
General PBL Resources
Project-based learning ideas
(These are resources that participants in the course found and shared.)
Chemistry PBL Ideas:
- Water quality – ions (nitrates, phosphates, chloride), dissolved oxygen, turbidity, pH, etc of different bodies of water and well water sources
- Nutritional analysis of various drinks of choice
- Combustions reactions – production of CO2 with various forms of travel
Biology PBL Ideas:
- Biodiversity: hotspot exploration
- Macromolecules: nutrition
- anatomy: diseases/healthy lifestyles
- genetics: diseases/genetic abnormalities/ designer babies/ family tree (http://www.learnnc.org/lp/media/uploads/2009/05/designerbabiescontentrubricphase2.pdf)
If you’ve never heard of Kahoot yet, you’re missing out. It’s a very fun (and very competitive) online quiz game that lets students compete against each other. You can create your own quiz games or you can use public quizzes. The quicker you answer a question correctly, the more points you earn!
Getkahoot.com – Use this link to set up an account and run a quiz
Kahoot – Use this link to take a quiz