rAPPido Review: Side by Side

Side by Side Price: Free

Side by Side
Price: Free

One of the more common objections to the iPad is that it does not allow several apps to be open at the same time. Although sometimes I think this might be a good thing in terms of focus, the complaint resonates with me. I am writing this on my desktop at the moment and have a total of 3 applications open at the same time: Firefox for my research, Safari for writing this blog, mail where I have emailed my screenshots from the iPad, and so on and so on.

So when I posted the 24 apps to support Bloom’s taxonomy the other day, and I came across this app called Side by Side, well. You could have just coloured me intrigued.

Side by side allows you to search the web, download documents and take notes all on one screen. So I did an experiment. I know the Grade eights are in the middle of reading Twelfth night so I used that as my theme. In one panel I used the web option to access the school’s encyclopedia Britannica subscription. In an other panel I downloaded the html text of Twelfth night from Project Gutenberg. I left the whole right side for note taking. This is how it looks:

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Pretty Handy! The files application took me a moment to figure out. I was expecting to be able to access a file from my dropbox or other app on the iPad like iBooks, but no. When they say Files, it means only that you can take a website, save it and download it. This means that you will be able to access the file offline.:

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To download a file, you have to tap the star and then save. Then they are saved under the files–> all section:

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You have several options for the layout:

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And you can email your notes:

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I also tried uploading a youtube video through the web option and it works fine! A student can watch a video and take notes without having to change screens!

This is a great option for web research on the iPad- the student can have their notes right beside the text, easy and accessible. The temptation to copy and paste is neutralized by the fact that the student can download the website and have it available to them offline.

Here is a youtube video that gives a nice, clear robotic-voiced tour of the app:

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Lesson Plan: Exploring your Digital Footprint

Via educatorstechnology,com

I came across this wonderful lesson plan on exploring students’ digital footprint this morning:

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Read more

Although I have covered many of the topics covered in this lesson plan, (even using one of the videos suggested) I like the group activities and discussions. Also the idea of getting them to make a profile online and then have them peer evaluated is genius:

7- Show them how to use social media 

Social media websites s are among the top sources of your digital footprints.Here is an activity to do with them on this. Get them to pair up in small groups and ask them to create a profile on some social networking website you select for them. When they finished , get them to share  their profiles with other groups. Give them time to peer edit each other and make the editing process interactive by allowing each student to assess others’ profile. Finally,  Give your feedback to each group.

I think I will be incorporating these ideas next year!

Hidden Experts in the School: Mr. H, Math Teacher, Science Teacher and Ed Tech duderino

Mr. H: Hidden expert

Mr. H: Hidden expert

One of the unexpected but amazing outcomes of the iPad survey I’ve been conducting is that I am ferreting out the hidden experts in the school. Okay, in all fairness, my library seems to be the black hole for all rumours and gossip and grapevines (ironic for a place of knowledge, I know. Great on book knowledge, not so great on people knowledge) and I am probably the only one in the school who didn’t know about this, but still. Yay!

Mr. H is an Ed Tech dude! As well as being a teacher, he has had experience in the business world, and worked for LEARN where he could meld his interest in technology and education.

When asked about whether student engagement increases or decreases when he uses tech in his classroom, he brought up a point I had never thought of:

The students respond well if you start using a technology they have never seen before. It has an impact..they have the ability to suck it up so fast. Because button pushing is now in their DNA, when you bring something new to them it excites them.

He also thinks that that integrating technology in education is essential:

You have to put these [iPads, probes, computers] in kids’ hands because that is the environment they are going to work in.

My H. gave me some excellent places to find resources for integrating technology in the classroom. Most work on the iPad:

  • Phet: Interactive simulations (they don’t work so well on the iPad because of the pesky flash thingy- though some of the simulations are in java).
  • Edmodo: He will be giving a tutorial to our teachers soon about how to use it effectively in a classroom, so watch for it!
  • Schooladvice: This is his own website – Mr. H. maintains it as an unpaid, volunteer thing because he believes knowledge should be shared. Check out his Resources for teachers!
  • Sharemylesson.com: Thousands of lesson plans by teachers for teachers:

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Thanks Mr. H!

24 iPad Apps to Support Bloom’s Taxonomy

Via Libby via Fluency21.com (Thanks Libby!)

I know, I know. Another list. But this one gives you a finite amount of apps that can be used  across the curriculum:

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Diigo was presented at a recent conference and I am in the middle of installing it on my iPad. So far, I am intrigued with the possibility of having not only a place to bookmark websites and access them across platforms but also being able to add notes and images. A tool like this could make project work way more efficient between students.

For some reason, I have a blockage with Evernote. It is possible that I haven’t given it enough time, but it has never been intuitive for me, though many people I know and respect use it religiously. So it sounds like I have some work to do here- check out Evernote again, figure out Diigo. I am also curious about Side by side- which sounds like it would allow you to have a text and a note taking app open at the same time. How awesome is that? The promise of it seems large- we will see if the reality lives up to the dream…

Check it out and help me explore these apps!

Lesson Plan: Photo Essay on the iPad, Option 2

Last year I wrote this post about how to make a photo essay on the iPad. But in spirit of giving the students a couple of choices, here is another way to do it, using keynote.

1. Gather your photos. Depending on your topic and the parameters of the assignment , you can either take them yourself with the iPad or download photos from the internet and save them into your cameral roll. Here is a photo from the library window:

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2. Then use a photo enhancing app like pixlromatic (free) to give it the look you want (optional):

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Warning: don’t take too long on this- there is an embarrassment of choices that can you paralyze you!

3. Go to keynote and choose your template. I recommend the plain black one. Add you photo and your caption:

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Repeat! Don’t forget to add a title page!

When you are done you can email it to yourself:

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If the file is too big for you to email to yourself (which happens quickly with photos), you can also import it into imovie and then upload it through your youtube account. Make sure to click on the privacy setting that allow only the person with the link to view it.

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10 Steps to a Successful iPad Program

Via teachthought

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So how are we doing on this list?

We’ve got 1-3 covered, though I like how Gliksman states the following:

This is possibly the only period in history where the younger generation has greater ease and expertise with the core tools used throughout society than older generations.  Moving the focus from teacher led instruction to student centered learning empowers students to use technology to explore, create and innovate with technology.

4. Develop Management Strategies.  Well, we are getting there. Having used the iPads for class projects and understanding some of the issues inherent in share-filing, I think we are very close to a standardized method of proceeding.

Here are a couple of more gems from the article:

6. Use Apps as Tools

Ask a carpenter to build a wine rack. They won’t go out and get a set of “wine rack tools”. A carpenter has developed expertise with a set of hardware tools that are used to build all types of furniture. We need to use a similar strategy when buying and using apps on the iPad.

Or this:

8. Developing an Ongoing Training & Support Structure

Organizational change requires adequate training and support … and it’s important to understand that “training” doesn’t mean a one day workshop at the start of the school year. Schedule time for ongoing training throughout the year. Develop teacher support groups within your school and with other schools, where teachers can exchange experiences, share their successes, and learn from each other.

I think we are getting there. My impression about large workshops is that they bore those who have a proficiency with the tool while intimidating and consequently losing the ones who do not. After speaking to most of the staff, it seems like a system of peer mentoring, an ongoing, one on one exploring time with a tech savvy peer is more helpful. That way they can address specific projects and explore different solutions in a convivial and non-threatening environment. This means that identifying the hidden experts in your school and then getting them together with the tech-reluctant. But more on that in a lter post…

One last point from the article, and I am quoting the whole point as it says it so well:

10. Embrace the Unpredictable

We’ll often give students a task with very specific expectations of the results they should deliver. Adherence to a strict top-down, curriculum driven agenda requires teachers to be classroom conductors that direct and control every instrument of the learning process. Asking them to relinquish control over student activity is often the hardest part of any technology implementation in schools.

Technology however is most effective when students are given the freedom to use it as a tool for creativity and innovation. The iPad classroom should be open, flexible and driven by passion and initiative. Don’t expect to control every aspect of students’ learning and don’t feel that you always need to be the expert on technology use. You already have rows of them sitting in front of you. Students look at technology as a canvas. Allow them the freedom to paint their own masterpieces.

Yeah. What he said.