Friday, December 14, 2012

Rambling on apps

Primary Tech

When we first started using the iPads, it was all about finding the app that would change everything.  Everyone wanted to know "what's a good app for..." and everyone had an idea of another great app.  We currently have 148 apps on our student use ipads, and are finding that 1.) there is no ultimate app for everything and 2.) we don't have enough on the ipads to meet the wants of the students.  There is a third point, related to the second, but I'll make that later.

Having said that, there are a number of apps that are pretty cool, and can do some great things across the curriculum.  Our top list 5 at this time:

  1. Screen Chomp/Educreations/Explain Everything
  2. Pic Collage
  3. Puppet Pals/Toontastic
  4. Pages
  5. Keynote
O.K. Sure there are 8 apps on the list, but you can see some groupings among the list.  The other thing you might notice is that none of them are curriculum specific.  We have found that if you want to teach with a tool, you can't have a tool that teaches, because inevitably, you will have other questions that aren't answered by the app that is static.

So, creation apps are great for groups of students and is one way to integrate technology into the curriculum. I would go on about the difference of the apps, and why you may chose one over another, but that's for another post.  

On to my third and final point, which although it comes third, may actually be more important to the development of the student tech user than any of the creation or content specific apps we have.  The one aspect that I feel we sometimes miss out on is the chance for the student to explore and discover on their own.  The students love to take chances and experiment with the apps on their own.  They do need to have direction for the creative apps, but some of the others, they are perfectly happy to sit and learn without any adult instruction.  I compare it to a textbook, where a student might need direction to go through, with a book from the library, which a student might pick up and read on their own.  Each is important to their individual development, but sometimes we may miss if we don't look at both.

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