Monday, September 29, 2014

The Human Body

Explore the human body with The Human Body app.  Suitable for young children upwards, this interactive app shows how the human body works.  Users start by creating a profile then choosing which aspect of the human body to focus on.  Vision, hearing and brain function are detailed using the iPad camera and microphone.    

The app has some clever features such as how the brain responds to smell, how the body reacts when bitten by a mosquito or tickled by a feather.

The digestive system, where you can select food to eat and watch to see how it progresses through the body, is a popular feature.  

A dashboard feature for teachers and parents provides access to a handbook of supporting materials, prompts for discussion and activities.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Visioning for future learning: Integrating iPads using the eLPF

Visioning for Future Learning:

Integrating iPads using the e-Learning Planning Framework

Tara Fagan & Tania Coutts, CORE Education, April 2013

Are you thinking about purchasing iPads for your school or early childhood centre?  If so, you won’t be alone - many educators from around New Zealand are integrating iPads into their classrooms and early childhood centres.  In our research and work, we are noting some common trends around the implementation of these devices.

Successful integration involves planning and discussion. One tool that some schools have found useful to support their discussions and e-Learning vision is the e-Learning Planning framework (eLPF).  The five dimensions of the framework - Leadership, Teaching and Learning, Professional Learning, Beyond the Classroom and Infrastructure and Technology - provide good discussion guides in planning for how your school or centre will deploy these devices.  Each dimension of the eLPF needs to be considered for the iPads to be used effectively.  For example, it can be difficult to manage a class set of iPads if the infrastructure is not robust or it is not based on a good understanding of the pedagogy - it is not about using the iPads to replace a pen, it is about using the iPad in a creative way.

Under each dimension of the e-Learning Planning Framework, we have compiled reflective questions to help you with the process of integrating iPads into your setting.

What is your vision? - How will iPads enhance your school/early childhood curriculum?

Have you thought about:
  • the potential of these technologies (or is this a given)
  • how these devices are being used in education
  • whether these will be BYOD, 1-1 or school owned/leased sets of iPads?
  • the needs of your community?
  • The professional development needs of your teaching team?
  • How you will review if the iPads are making a difference to student learning?

Teaching and Learning
How will iPads transform teaching and learning in your school/early childhood centre?

How will you:
  • introduce the iPads to your teachers and learners?
  • ensure teachers and students have an understanding of what it means to be cybersmart?
  • support collaborative learning with the iPads?
  • encourage creativity with iPads?
  • ensure that learning is blended so it is about the learning rather than the iPad?
  • use iPads to make connections with other learners?
  • use iPads to make connections across the curriculum?
  • ensure iPads are part of the ‘everydayness’ of the classroom?
  • enable students to make a choice about what tool they will select for their learning?
  • ensure the apps that students are using are appropriate

Professional Learning
How will professional learning support the successful integration of iPads in your school/early childhood centre?
In what ways will:
  • the teaching team develop an understanding of iPad pedagogy?
  • teachers’ innovative practices be modelled and shared?
  • teachers explore the iPad before integrating it into the classroom?
  • there be opportunity to build teacher and student expertise?
  • the Virtual Learning Network (VLN) community become a tool for learning?

Beyond the Classroom
How will the use of the iPads extend beyond the classroom?

How will:
  • your families/whānau and the community be involved?
  • the iPads support sharing learning with parents?
  • iPads be used to communicate beyond the classroom?
  • iPads be used to collaborate beyond the classroom?

Technology and Infrastructure
How have you considered the infrastructure supporting the implementation of iPads?

  • Can our current infrastructure support iPads?
  • What are the insurance requirements?
  • Where will the iPads be stored?  
  • Who will have responsible for ensuring that the iOS and apps are up-to-date or will it be a team responsibility?  
  • How will the iPads be charged at the end of each day?  
  • Will it be part of the environment or will it be stored away?

Good practice we have seen in settings implementing iPads include:

  • Teachers being given the opportunity for hands-on exploring time with iPads prior to the devices being used in the classroom
  • Teachers taking ownership of their class iPad/s and having a budget for apps they can choose to support their students learning needs
  • Students being given the same opportunities for exploration and play
  • Students and teachers being given the opportunity to take control of their learning and find the apps/tools that support their learning
  • Leaders building expertise amongst students and teachers, this is vital for sustainability
  • Teachers creating their own Professional Learning Network eg VLN to seek guidance and support from others as well as share their successes
  • Strong infrastructure that supports the integration of multiple devices
  • Sharing the experiences and learning with the community
  • Integrating thinking and learning around digital citizenship into the school curriculum

A strong vision, supported by a robust action plan is essential in leading the way to successful integration.  As we have highlighted, the eLPF will help guide these decisions and support leaders and teachers as they implement a blended learning programme.  The importance of engaging, motivating and inspiring students continues to be at the forefront of teaching.  The words of Kevin Honeycutt sum this up beautifully:-)

“The killer app for the 21st century is to inspire kids to learn to love to learn.”
Kevin Honeycutt

If you would like to explore the eLPF further you can find it here...
If you would like to join in with discussions on the VLN you can find the school iPad User Group here...

Thursday, January 23, 2014


This interactive book tells the story of Benjamin who counts the nine hundred and seventy two steps it takes him to reach school each day. Dandelion tells of Benjamin's problems with bullies, his fears and his hopes.  Benjamin's imagination and creativity become increasingly important as the story progresses.

This app is beautifully illustrated using contrasting colours that tell as much about the story as the words do.  The subtle background music adds to the experience.  Readers have the choice to have each page read to them or to read themselves.  The interactivity (through breath and touch) is waiting to be discovered on each page.

A lovely tale that draws as much on the readers imagination as it does with Benjamin's.

Price:  NZD1.29 at time of writing
Age: would appeal to children 10 years and younger
Use: Prompt as talking about feelings.  Also useful for older children to showcase how elements can be used to add to a story.
Let us know how you have used this app.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Thing Link - What are the Possibilities?

I have just discovered the ThingLink App and had my first play.  By scrolling over the picture below various links come up to link you to either text, photos or video.  Very simple to use.  Would love to hear your thoughts on how you are using this OR ideas you have to use as part of teaching and learning.  In the meantime enjoy my links to one of my FAVOURITE places in the world, the amazing Hole in the Rock in the spectacular Bay of Islands.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

iBooks and free first in the series books

The iBookstore, available through either the iBooks app or through iTunes, offer paid and free eBooks on a whole host of topics and for a range of readers.  Not only do they have a range of popular books turned into eBooks, there are a range of interactive eBooks to bring stories and learning alive such as  Life on Earth and The Yellow Cab of the Universe.

Currently, the iBookstore has a range of 'first in the series' eBooks available for free.  There are some great titles for children available so take the time to check these out.  You will find them on the iBookstore home page, just scroll down to find the iBooks and First in a Series Free.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Haiku Deck - Playtime is Important

A lite version of the app is available to try before buying.

If you are using this app in your class, let us know how you and your students find it.