5 great classroom management apps for the iPad

An iPad or tablet is almost an essential item for any modern day teacher due to their versatility and simplicity to use whilst doing that important part of your job… Teaching students.

Today we are going to look at five tools teachers can use to make the process of managing your classroom a little easier and possibly more engaging to your students.  

I am sure that you have other recommendations, and if you do I would love to hear them in the comment section below.

Enjoy.


Random name selector:  

A Fun classroom management tool for Teachers, that will engage and entertain students. The Random Name Selector is a Fun (and fair) way to select students for that special task or to answer that question.


Has anyone not answered yet?, did everyone get a turn? Bring your Classroom Management into the 21st century with the Random Name Selector.


Simply create your class group. The App will then randomly select students from the highlighted group. All names will be displayed before a name is displayed for a second time.


Class Dojo

Class Dojo takes the concept of rewarding good behaviour and positive actions in your classroom to a new level by turning it into a video game format.


When setting up Class Dojo every student creates an avatar which is linked to their teachers’ account.  From there the teacher provides the student with feedback, digital badges, rewards and level ups when they complete a task or display great behaviour.  


An excellent concept for modern day students that can be completely customised by the teacher.


Decide Now:  

It doesn’t get much simpler than this but your kids will love it especially if you use it through an Apple TV or large screen.


You simply create a list of options such as some different types of games you could play as a class and then this app turns that into a large spinning wheel.


Once again a fair and easy way to make decisions in the classroom





Silent Light

This is a visual noise monitoring tool that allows students to see how they are actually performing in the classroom.  They can accumulate points for periods of sustained acceptable noise levels and also see what the learning intention is at the same time.  ie:  working as a group on our history projects.


Time Timer

This is an innovative and visually appealing timer that will be of great use to special needs students who have trouble staying on task.  Specifically designed for use in the classroom with loads of customisable options.  Enough Said.


The best iPad covers for students, teachers and schools

The iPad is almost almost a must have device in any modern classroom.  Whether they are being used in a one to one environment or shared amongst a class of students and teachers.

One thing that is too frequently overlooked and quite often skimped on is the purchasing of a good quality cover that will see out a good number of years of service and virtually come out of it's case in as good of condition as the day you purchased it. 

This is not an unrealistic expectation as the iPad itself is a very strong device with next to no moving parts that will cause you problems provided you buy a good quality case and use common sense along the way.

What is the likelihood of an iPad breaking without a cover?

The short answer is quite high in schools.  You might get lucky for a while especially if it doesn't stray too far from the couch and carpet... But if you use your iPad on areas with hard flooring such as tiles, hardwood or concrete surfaces it is not so much a case of if, but when?  Especially when they are being used by kids the majority of the time.

What is the most common way to break an iPad?

Take it from me.  I have seen thousands of these things in classrooms and homes and heard a similar horror story from nearly almost every school.  iPads can break a number of ways but the most common way is when they are dropped on a their corner onto a hard surface...  Screen cracked...  And that will set you back around $100 to get that fixed.  It is important that you know this fact because it should be your number one consideration when purchasing a case.

Should I buy one of those cool Apple Magnetic Fold up cases?

Definitely not.  I would go as far as to say these are the most impractical case for a student on the market as they offer zero protection to the edges of the iPad when dropped.  They get grubby fast and don't offer much versatility in the way you can position your iPad.  Steer well clear of this one.  It is like wearing a T-Shirt and shorts for protection in a motorbike accident.

Do I need those plastic film screen protectors?

Whilst some people prefer to have these, they are not so necessary on newer iPads as the screens have improved over time.  A good case should cover you but for an extra couple of dollars you can up the ante further.

What should I pay for a good quality cover?

Essentially anything over $50 is a rip off in my eyes unless you are getting a good quality Bluetooth Keyboard built in.  You shouldn't have great expectations of a $5 cover protecting your $500 new iPad.  Between $15 - $40 is a reasonable expectation and today we will be working within those parameters.

Which one should I get then?

You literally have thousands to choose form if you trawl the net, and you could drive yourself insane doing this.  Today we are going to break this down to three highly popular and battle proven covers that have been on the market long enough to prove their worth in classrooms.

Let's take a look.

The Ultimate All Rounder - Fintie Apple iPad Air Case

Okay so this is the biggest seller on Amazon that ticks all of our boxes.  It's a great price for one coming in at under under $20.   It offers plenty of versatility in the way it can be positioned and has a range of protective features all round such as softened edges, leather full bound case and it is not too intrusive on the screen to cause the user frustration. 

Plenty of colors to choose from for personalization too.  This would be a very smart investment for any student, classroom or school and they have been around for a number of years with great reviews.

 

The Super Tough iPad Case Winner - Kensington SafeGrip Rugged Carry Case.

So whilst there are many options in this field you need to remember that the iPad needs to be used as a teaching and learning tool and not as just some indestructible object to be thrown against walls.  Which this will handle might i add.

This cover is ideal for a group of prep, kinder or special needs students who need a handle, extreme protection and durability. 

The best keyboard - Durable Case combo New Trent Airbender 3.0 New iPad Air Case

The Airbender 3.0 is my current iPad cover and I can personally attest to the quality of it's build and good looks.  The wireless Keyboard makes the iPad far more versatile for older students and offers plenty of options in the way it can be positioned.

So there you have it.  Three worthy considerations for your next iPad in the classroom.  Even if you don't choose one of these be sure to take note of our safety advice and let us know of any success stories and disasters you may have had with iPads and covers. 

Google Slides arrives on iPad alongside other Drive upgrades

presentations-128.png

I have written a couple of articles around the issues of using Google Apps for Education on the iPad as it has been a poor cousin to a PC or Chromebook if you are a serious Google productivity user.

Today Google went someway to improving this position by releasing slides for iOS which gives you the ability to create presentations collaboratively and syncs in well with Google Drive for iOS.

This is the first time we have seen the ability to use images in any real capacity with an iPad and Google Apps and as such it should open up a number of opportunities to be a little more creative and collaborative.

Alongside with this release we also see an upgrade to docs and sheets that now allows the ability to import Microsoft Office files and edit them on the iPad too.  This will be useful for many who are either new to Google Apps or just love MS office a little too much to let go completely.

Google Slides is now available from the App store for free and would be a must have for GAFE users who own an iPad.

OSMO links tangible objects to the iPad for new learning opportunities.

OSMO is an innovative add on for the iPad that allows you to use tangible objects instead of the screen as an interface between the user and software.  If you check out the video above you can see it in action to get a better idea of how it operates.

This add on allows for a range of new opportunities that can be applied to education.  

Right now, the company has three different game sets that work with corresponding apps for iPad:

  • Tangram: This old-fashioned Tangram game brings back a wave of childhood memories.
  • Newton: Newton is a drawing app slash obstacle course.
  • Words: This is a Scrabble-like game that asks you to guess the correct word based on the letters you see on the screen.

All of these games include brightly colored, physical toys that connect in real-time to the apps on your iPad.

This product is currently in it's infancy and has proved to be a very popular crowd funded product.  You can get on the order list

I would imagine within a year or two we will see this product mature and expand to assist students through the use of using their hands and toys in a more traditional manner than simply doing everything through a screen.

Full details can be found here.

 

 

Is Adobe Voice the best educational iPad app of 2014?

As teachers we live through presenting ideas in innovative and engaging ways.  Occasionally a tool comes along that makes that process both simpler and more engaging to the audience.

After a few days of play time I have to say Adobe Voice is clearly that tool, and every teacher and student should download it if they own an iPad.   It meets all of the above requirements and is so easy to use that literally a five year old can do it... And it's completely free.

So What is it?

Voice is another presentation tool which is a tough market to crack on the iPad with iMovie, Keynote, Prezi, Etc, Etc.

What separates voice is the massive library of photos, cartoons, templates and audio that is available in seconds via a logical search feature.  You cannot make an ugly voice presentation they all look amazing.

Secondly - you edit on the fly... Say a sentence add a pick tweak it... Delete it and re do it if you are not a fan.  It takes around 15 minutes to create a 90 second presentation.

It even has prompts for students who don't know what to do or how to get started.  Prompts such as 'The most amazing moment of my life' will ensure students are focussed. 

If you haven't got on this already make sure you do and let us know your thoughts on Adobe Voice.

Google docs still disappoints iPad users

Transient

I work with a large number of schools who have 'Gone Google'.  As it is an excellent platform freely available to teachers and students which works on all devices.

The difficulty I have with the wording of the second part of my opening statement, is that you could assume it would not only work on all devices, but would also be useful and productive.

Unfortunately, if you are an iPad user ( As a huge proportion of students and teachers are. ) you will be sorely disappointed with Google Docs on the iPad, as it increasingly becomes a very poor cousin to the productivity offerings from Apple and Microsoft.

Earlier this week Google released what we could assume an 'Upgrade' to the existing Google Drive app by individually releasing Google Docs and Google Sheets as standalone programs.

Both of these standalone apps offer no functionality over the existing Google Drive app and are clearly an attempt to compete with Microsoft's awesome Office Apps and Apple's equally impressive Pages, Sheets and numbers.

If you wish to create a document that contains images or tables of any description you'll have to stick with the Microsoft and Apple options as this is simply not an option for Google Docs.  A deal breaker for anyone wanting to create a document more appealing than html code

Don't get me wrong I love Google Docs and promote it every opportunity I can.  But if you are an iPad user the experience will definitely underwhelm you in comparison to the desktop version.  Hopefully Google will lift in this area and we will see an iPad solution that live's up to it's users expectations.

I am confused as to whether they are simply trying to highlight the stark difference between using Google Apps on a Chromebook which is excellent versus a tablet, or whether this is simply not a seen as a priority.

10 iPAd / iPhone Apps for Primary School Teachers

Alphabet Fun Learning the A-B-Cs was never like this. Alphabet Fun makes the most of Multi-Touch technology on iPad to teach kids letters, numbers, and colors. They’ll swipe through colorful images and easy-to-read text. They’ll trace over letters with their fingers right on the iPad display. They’ll even write entire words. Kids think it’s a game. Parents think it’s educational. Everybody wins. (DESCRIPTION VIA APPLE)  

 

 Math Magic - Don’t you just love how much your child has improved in adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing? You never get tired of hearing, “Can I do math?” from your six year old, do you? Of course you don’t. (DESCRIPTION VIA APPLE)

 

 

Star Walk is a winner of APPLE DESIGN AWARDS 2010 for technical excellence, innovation, superior technology adoption, high performance, and outstanding design! Star Walk is installed for demonstration on iPads at Apple Stores! Try it out in the shops! Enjoy NEW Picture of the Day and Bookmarks sections, share your astronomy observations via Facebook and Twitter! iPhone best astronomy app *Featured by Apple - Best Apps of 2009!* is now available for iPad! On a bigger screen starry night sky looks fantastic with 3D graphics and one of the user-friendliest interfaces ever. Star Walk is your personal planetarium that can answer to all your curiosities about the sky! For anyone who is interested in stargazing, amateurs or professionals Star Walk makes discovering more than 9,000 stars, planets, constellations, messiers as beautiful and easy as it has never been before! (DESCRIPTION VIA APPLE)

 

 National Geographic's World Atlas HD - Designed specifically for the iPad, National Geographic's World Atlas HD puts our best maps in the palm of your hand. Unlike other map applications, the National Geographic World Atlas HD utilizes our highest resolution, press-ready images, providing you the same rich detail, accuracy, and artistic beauty found in our award-winning wall maps and bound atlases. The app is preloaded with 3 different styles of world maps, down to country-level detail. With an internet connection, you can continue zooming through continent-level maps to detailed Bing maps - close enough to see your home! (DESCRIPTION VIA APPLE)

 

 

 

 

 

Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com - The free Dictionary.com app delivers trusted reference content from Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com, including nearly 1,000,000 words and definitions and 90,000 synonyms and antonyms. No Internet connection is needed. The app also features audio pronunciations, similarly spelled words and Dictionary.com’s popular Word of the Day that is enjoyed by millions of people. (DESCRIPTION VIA APPLE)

 

 

Wikipanion - Accessing Wikipedia has never been faster and easier than with Wikipanion, designed for easy, search, navigation and display of Wikipedia entries. Streamline your browsing with history grouped by visit date, and bookmarking that not only bookmarks individual entries, but individual sections within an entry. (DESCRIPTION VIA APPLE)

 

Miss Spell’s Class is an original word game that lets players test their spelling skills against the most commonly misspelled words on Dictionary.com. Players must quickly decide whether each of 20 words is spelled correctly or incorrectly, as speed and accuracy count to get to the top of the class! (DESCRIPTION VIA APPLE)

 

ArithmeTick - How fast can you add and multiply? Solve math problems against the clock! ArithmeTick is a challenging math game where you solve addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems! The objective in ArithmeTick is to solve as many problems as possible before time runs out. You are awarded up to 10 points and additional time for each correct answer. A practice mode is also included to help sharpen your math skills! With five difficulty levels, ArithmeTick is perfect for kids and adults! (DESCRIPTION VIA APPLE)

 

 Read Me Stories - A new talking picture book EVERY DAY teaches your child new concepts, new words and how to say them. Your child can practice reading - anywhere, anytime - while you’re driving, shopping in the grocery store, or having a quick coffee at your favorite cafe. Our books are fun and entertaining - so your child will look forward to reading their new book, every day! Imagine that - your child reading a new book everyday! You can spend quality time with your child while teaching them the core skills of reading and speaking that are so necessary for every child in today’s modern world. Bedtime reading will become something extra-special. Or, you can have a break while your child practices reading. With our books in your pocket, that can be when and where it fits into your day. (DESCRIPTION VIA APPLE)

 

VideoScience - Science Class Experiments brought to you by Science House and featuring Science Teacher Dan Menelly, winner of the NSF Einstein Fellowship in Cyberinfrastructure! These videos are 2 to 3 minutes in length and demonstrate the steps of simple science experiments. The experiments are designed to inspire and excite kids of all ages, with very little set-up time and using only low cost materials. So whether you are a public school teacher, private school teacher, or home school teacher; we hope you use these videos and the many more on our website to ignite the scientific passion in your kids. (DESCRIPTION VIA APPLE)