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!

Collaborative sites for ipads in education: tips, apps, ideas, discussions

When I am searching for apps or ideas on how to use the ipad, I tend to leave the app store and check out what the people who are actually using it are saying. In my virtual travels I have come across a few good collaborative sites whose content is provided by teachers, staff and other people who work in a classroom.

Here are a couple of sites you might want to check out:

ipads in Education: Exploring the use of ipads and eBooks in schools and colleges

This is a Ning site – a free space where people can sign up and contribute. The Tips section is a little like this blog- it gives how tos, such as how to download a youtube video to your ipad so you can watch it offline. It even has a section on deployment with planning considerations, volume purchasing and apps. Although I find the interface a little bit daunting (too much stuff!) it is relatively easy to find the section you are looking for and has some great tips (how to use your ipad as a whiteboard?)

ipads in Education by Ian Wilson (an apple educator from the UK)

Not exactly a collaborative site (okay not at all) but a beautiful, clean interface. What caught my eye with Wilson’s site was his discussion of the “agile space”:

I am using the term ‘agile’ here to signal a new technology space in between handheld and portable. Devices which fit this space are particularly useful for teaching and learning purposes, as they offer the flexibility needed for modern learning practices.

He makes a compelling argument for how the ipad is uniquely qualified for use in the classroom.

He also has an amazing array of apps for visual arts, and music as well as other subjects (I got stuck in these last two..) Warning: he quotes the price in Euros -so you will have to look them up in the app store to get the price in dollars.

ipad in Education: a wiki by the department of Educational Technology in the School District of Palm Beach County.

I think I have already sent you this link, or at least the page where they discuss good apps for high school. As with all wikis, it is only as good as the contributions. Although the ipad apps section was pretty comprehensive, the lesson plans only had one lesson uploaded (although it looked cool).
Still worth checking in from time to time to see if there is any new content.

DIGRESSION! The ipad app of the week is CTV – I can finally watch the Daily show!!!! (not having a television, this has proved harder than I like to admit). DIGRESSION CONCLUDED.

OMG!!!!! I am so excited. Why you ask, WHY? because I just came across this blog with 12 lesson plans on how to use the ipad in a variety of classes. I am totally RSS ing this woman’s blog. right now:

A big barrier for me when thinking of the ipad in the classroom is well first of all, I’m not in a classroom so I don’t know what goes on in one (except for the 20 odd years of actually being in a classroom as a student) and second of all, no concrete examples of how it can be used. Well this last post gives some really great lesson plans. If you look at the blog post before this one, she also outlines how she creates them.

Lisa Johnson (the awesome creator of the Techchef4u blog and instructional tech specialist) mentions the Apptivities site which has even more lesson plans! (ooh and I just saw a To Kill a Mockingbird lesson plan for the ipad!

Okay. Enough for today. I am gathering all these sites on my evernote account (which I haven’t given up on yet although our relationship is very tense indeed). If you would like me to share my ipads folder with you, just send me an email. Of course, you must have your own Evernote account for this to work…