iPad Sharing #1

IMG_1405Did I tell you I love my job? At the end of last year at a cluster governance meeting Charles Newton asked me, “Did I have an iPad yet?” I have an iPhone, iBook, iPod Touch, iPhone and some iPods but no iPad.

What was a girl to do but get herself an iPad. Or better still have work get me an iPad. Over the holidays I set about getting one and booking it up! I bought a robust cover for it from Trade Me cos it’s going to get a goodly amount of handing about over the year.

Over the holidays I put a decent amount of down time getting to know it and scouring my Personal Learning Network for excellent apps for teachers and children. Then we product tested it with family visitors over January.

Early in the new year two schools in my patch did a spot of heavy investing in iPads and I helped them deploy the iPads. I thought our learning may be of interest to others about to do a similar thing so here goes…

  • There is a discussion as to whether it is worthwhile buying screen protectors. One school is leasing the iPads and chose not to have screen protectors thus saving $400. The other school has bought theirs and put covers on. Only time will tell how the ‘naked’ iPads will fare. I will report back in three years time.
  • iPads are meant to be single user devices and you have to think carefully of how you might manage that in a classroom situation. We thought about how to individualise the iPads so that students could tell them apart by putting different stickers on them and making each homepage image different. Maybe next time I would suggest if you were going to buy skins or covers for them that you buy as many different colours of them as possible so students can remember which one they were using. They all look the same and a lot of the work or content you have created on them would be stored on each machine separately and different covers would help children tell which is which if they were going to come back to it at a later stage.
  • We physically had to take the iPads around the school to hook them up to the different wireless networks. A task done once to safe initial frustration of not being able to get on the internet.
  • Warren Hall wrote an interesting post on the CORE blog about the purchase of apps on multiple devices. It is problematic to buy apps legally for use in schools with multiple iPads. I hope a practical solution is sorted out soon.
  • At home with my iPad I made a new email address just for the iPad because I didn’t want it synching with my personal emails. That is something we will sort out a bit later. If you want to get a document or screengrab onto another device email is an easy way to do it. I wonder what other people do for this- will one email address cover all of the iPads? A question for Learning at School workshop presenters next week.
  • To take a screen grab- press the home button first and then the power together takes a screen grab and puts it in the photo library.
  • To save a photo from the internet press and hold. It saves it to your photo album where it can be accessed by other applications like Photogene and Sonic Pics.
  • To add a web-page on the home screen. Go to the page, tap arrow out icon and select where to add the bookmark.

So here are some of my all time favourite apps for the iPads… so far at least.

  • Sonic Pics- $4:19 Buy the paid version. It’s worth it. Digital storytelling at its easiest- exports as email, YouTube or direct transfer via URL
  • World Maths Day 2011- free- practice before and after the day and go live when the week is on.
  • Puppet Pals- free but you can buy extra scenes and characters. Last week we used the app to practise our mihi. You manipulate characters and record voiceovers. Kids love it. It doesn’t export unfortunately but its creators are working on that feature. To export I just videoed the scene.
  • Talking Tom Cat- free but you can buy extra characters. Tom is really cute and he repeats everything you say. Great for encouraging talking. You can save what he says as a movie for export.
  • Animalia- $5:29 Like the book except the pages don’t get all torn and ripped.
  • PopOut! The Story of Peter Rabbit- $5:29 faithful interactive recreation of Beatrix Potter’s story.
  • Running Records- $2:59 Save yourself hours of mucking about with a calculator- it does the running record calulations for you in seconds.
  • Photogene $4:19 iPhoto like photo editing app- my fav editor. I know the iPad hasn’t got a camera but you can get photos on to the iPad when you synch it with your computer or by buying a USB adapter dongle.
  • Toy Story- free great graphics- comes with a simple game.
  • iBooks- free You can save pdfs from your computer directly to iBooks. really handy feature as well as view books to read.
  • Crazy Copy- free. Just like the old game of Simon Says where you copy sound patterns
  • Draw Board- free Just the thing for it you are missing your old blackboard.

That will do for the time being but there are lots more to share and more to come I am sure.