Latest teaching and learning ideas

The Latest in Tech, Tools and Toys for Teachers.  Lesson Plans, Classroom resources and ideas for busy teachers.  iPad Apps and Android Apps for teachers and students.

Google Classroom opens its doors to all teachers today.

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As of now Google Classroom is available to all Google Apps for Education (GAFE) users.

Classroom is a tool within the GAFE that allows teachers to set up different classes, set projects, assign homework to groups and grade them all within a single space.  Classroom also records student grades and progress.  It should be a worthwhile assessment tool once you have begun using it with your students for a couple of months.

Remember, what you are using at the moment is essentially Classroom 1.0 and as such it is quite limited in it's functionality and flexibility, but so was everything in Google Apps when it was first released and Google have certainly demonstrated a commitment to upgrade and enhance their products continually.

It will take you all of about 2 minutes to set up your class and get cooking so all I can suggest is give it a shot and see where it takes you.  You certainly won't be wasting your time fro my brief encounter with it so far.

Here are a couple of resources and links to get you started and I'd love to hear about your experiences thus far.

 

 

 

History Hero is a great app for teaching younger students history

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History Hero is an app designed for students aged between 4 and 10 to teach them about some of the worlds most significant historical locations.

Set in the style of a game, a group of villains called 'the erasers' are set to remove all records of history and it is up to you to travel the world, learn some history and in doing so erase 'the erasers.'

Set in a similar style to "Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?" History Hero will definitely appeal to younger students and does a pretty good job of informing students about the where and why of 40 significant historical locations.  It is available on iOS and Android and you can find out more here.

Manage your Google Apps console from your iOS device

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For many schools using Google Apps for Education it can be a bit of a time consuming task to manage users and groups and reset people's passwords from time to time.

Thankfully, now Google have created the Google Admin console for iOS devices that allows admin users to add users, reset passwords and manage groups directly from your iPhone or iPad.

This is a must have for any admin that uses an iOS device.  From my test drive today I was really impressed and recommend getting this free app  as it removes the need to access a PC for 90 percent of the things you are going to want to do within the admin console.

It really doesn't offer many more features than the ones I have mentioned, which is fine with me as it does the simple things very well with a nice clean interface.  Maybe more features will come in time...  

You can access the Google Admin console App here.  Enjoy

5 FREE IPAD EDUCATION APPS

I know we regularly take a look at great educational apps at Edgalaxy but the vast majority of those apps do come at some expense.  Se here is our list of the top 5 free educational apps.

1.   Google Earth:  Hold the world in the palm of your hand. With Google Earth for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, you can fly to far corners of the planet with just the swipe of a finger. Explore the same global satellite and aerial imagery available in the desktop version of Google Earth, including high-resolution imagery for over half of the world's population and a third of the world's land mass.

2.  iBooks:  iBooks is an amazing way to download and read books. iBooks includes the iBookstore, where you can download the latest bestselling books or your favorite classics – day or night. Browse your library on a beautiful bookshelf, tap a book to open it, flip through pages with a swipe or a tap, and bookmark or add notes to your favorite passages.

3.  Image Searcher: (Free)  Image Searcher is a Google/Bing Image searching tool for iPad. Simply type in any keywords and you will see the thumbnails of images. You can view the original images, save them to your Photo Albums, email them to your friends, or open the original web pages.

4.  National Film Board:  As featured in a nation-wide marketing campaign by Apple, the NFB Films app allows you to watch over 2000 movies - documentaries, animations and feature films - free on your iPad.

5:  ToonTastic: Toontastic teaches key storytelling principles that help to promote Creativity at a young age. Its drawing tools bring kids’ wildest ideas to life alongside virtual playsets chock full of pirates, princesses, far away galaxies, and many other characters and settings to spark the imagination. Cartoons can be shared online via ToonTube, Toontastic’s Global Storytelling Network, to help children connect to friends and family and learn about other cultures, customs, and lifestyles through stories created by their peers around the world.

10 IPAD TIPS EVERY TEACHER SHOULD KNOW

Over the last couple of months I have just about switched from my trusty old laptop to the iPad as my primary work computer. Basically, the iPad does everything I could do on my PC and a great deal more through all of the apps available specifically for teaching.

As a result of this, more of our staff are fronting up to work with iPads as they can also see the benefits in using a tablet for conferencing with students, checking email and using with their interactive white boards.

The first questions I get from new users are generally "What can I do with it?"  And "What apps should I have on it?" 

I think we have covered in detail more than once many of the great apps that are out their for education so today we are going to look at 10 tips are specifically useful for teachers who use an iPad.

So here are a few tips that you might find useful.

Disable In-App Purchases

This is mostly for teachers who share an iPad with students or other people, as the last thing you want is someone accidentally charging up your iTunes account with nonsensical or accidental in-app purchases. Disable these easily by tapping on Settings > General > Restrictions > Enable Restrictions, then scroll down to “Allowed Content” and swipe In-App Purchases to OFF.

Use iCloud to sync your calendar, events and emails.

iCloud is a terrible beast that is aimed at getting users to purchase a premium plan.  However if you set it up correctly it syncs messages, mail, reminders, bookmarks, enables Find My iPad, and provides for the most painless backup solution there is for iOS users. It’s easy to configure and free, here is how to set it up if you haven’t done so already

 

 

Connect to a HDTV, Data Projector or Interactive Whiteboard.

You can connect the iPad 2 and new iPad to your HD television using Apple's Digital AV Adapter (which connects from your 30-pin Dock adaptor to a HDMI port) or a plain old Apple VGA Adaptor. Both are available from the Apple Store. The iPad 2 and new iPad support video mirroring, so your entire Home screen will appear on the TV, not just the videos you play. This is a great resource for your interactive whiteboard.

 

 Take an iPad screenshot

You can take a screenshot on your iPad by pressing Home and then the Sleep/Wake button. The screen will flash and you'll hear a click, indicating that a photo has been taken. Your screen shots are saved automatically in your Photos gallery. Here, you can view or email them as you see fit.

 Add a Google or Microsoft Outlook Calendar

Want to add your Google Calendar to the iPad's Calendar app? No problem. In Settings open Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Add an account and tap on Other. Tap on Add CalDAV Account and enter your Google Account credentials (the Server is www.google.com). Exit the Settings app and tap on the Calendar app and all your events should appear. By default all calendars are displayed, but you can tap on the Calendars button to choose which ones are shown.  This also works exactly the same with Outlook also.

 

 Use AirPrint

Thanks to AirPrint you can print right from your iPad, provided you've got a compatible printer, of course. If you've got an AirPrint ready printer then you just choose Print from the Share menu for virtually any open document. AirPrint works with the new range of printers from HP, and you can use a Mac app called Printopia (www.ecamm.com) to print to any printer connected to a Mac.

 

 Orientation Lock or Mute?

The internet got mightily upset when Orientation Lock was replaced with Mute on the iPad during the last iOS update. Apple listened, and now you can head to Settings > General to choose between Lock Rotation and Mute.

 Passcode Denied… DELETE ALL!

If you're carrying around sensitive data such as personal information about students, you can now enable a feature that'll erase all the data on the device if someone inputs the incorrect passcode 10 times. Navigate to Settings > General > Passcode Lock > Erase Data.

 

 

 

 

 Turn iPad caps lock on

To type a capital letter on the onscreen keyboard you first tap the left or right shift key, then the letter. If you need to type a whole word in caps this can be painful. Save time typing in caps by turning the caps lock on. To do this double tap on either shift key.

 

 

 

 

Copy and paste

You can quickly copy and paste text by tapping and holding down, and then choosing Select to select the exact portion of text you'd like the copy. Next tap Copy, then go to a different app, and tap and hold down again, then tap Paste from the menu that appears. Top tip: To select an entire paragraph of text you need to tap four times.

 

 

 

 

 Replace a word

When you hold down on a word to copy it, choose Select, then you will see a new option: Replace. Tap this and, you can see suggestions for alternative words that have similar spellings. It's a good way of quickly correcting typos.

 Add 6 Items to your Dock

By default the dock contains four items, but it can hold up to six on the iPad. Just tap an hold on an icon until it jiggles, then drag a couple more apps, folders, or website that you use frequently into the dock.

 

 

Sync your iPad wirelessly:

To set up iTunes wireless syncing, plug your iPad into your PC, make sure both devices are connected to the same wireless network, and then boot up iTunes on your PC. On your iPad, navigate to Settings, General, iTunes Wi-Fi Sync, select the computer you want to sync with, and tap the Sync Now button. Your iPad should sync wirelessly with your computer, and will now do so automatically whenever you have it plugged in and connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your computer

 

Download the free iPad User's Guide:

You may have noticed that your iPad didn't come with a big printed manual--that's not Apple's style. However, you can download the PDF version of the iPad User's Guide from Apple's website, or you can read it in iBooks if you have that installed (iBooks is available as a free download in the App Store). Make sure to download the manual for the version of iOS you're currently using!