Technology use for technology’s sake is not what we are striving for in education today. Transforming learning by providing opportunities that would not otherwise be afforded is a goal that, with emerging technologies and increased access, may be achievable. This transformation can be as simple as allowing for as-needed differentiation, as is the case when providing a student with the option to audio record, video record or ‘screen capture’ record his/her ideas or can include such opportunities as sharing their ideas and creations with a larger audience online.
Explore some ways to connect with students and provide for interactivity – my top 5 apps for student engagement and expression (including some that are cross platform!). Download the Handout for more information.
Always explore with a critical eye and ask yourself key questions such as:
• Is it intuitive?
• Is it interactive? Does it support content creation and collaboration?
• Can you edit once you’ve started?
• Can work be easily exported?
Some ‘current’ favourite Apps for student ‘content’ creation (as selected by 3rd & 7th graders). Download the hand outs for more info on each!
ComicLife – This intuitive app allows students to create comic book style pages using their own photos, imported images and text bubbles. It has a wide variety of fonts, tools and layouts available to create very individual works of art. Also available on MAC and PC desktop and laptops.
Inspiration – I love Concept Mapping software. It allows for a great deal of self-expression and allows the student to experiment with categorizing and organizing his/her thoughts, images & concepts. This software, along with the more ‘primary-oriented’ Kidspiration is intuitive with a large clip art gallery. Available on iPad, MAC and PC and online via Webspiration.
White Board Style apps:
All have community forums and include camera, photo import, drawing and text tools. I find these highly useful for pre-, post-, and formative assessment as well as storytelling.
• ShowMe : intuitive, single page; no editing once you begin recording.
• WhiteBoard (by GreenGar Studios) Affords ‘peer to peer collaboration’ in real-time; build with layers
• ExplainEverything Multi-page; editing features
Watch for more App favourites coming soon and visit the ERAC Commons site for teacher tested and rated apps.