iPad apps and activities- Part 1

Yesterday, I wrote about struggles we’ve had with deployment, but today I want to look at all the good we’ve accomplished so far. Everyone always wants to know what apps schools are using, so I will give you that list, but I also want to explain what activities I done with them. That is the hard part. There is so much great technology out there, but to make this be all about the learning, this is the key. I have attached the current complete list of apps we use on the iPads. Some are just for me to use as a teacher, like AppStart and EduTeacher, but most are for student use.

As for activities, we began with a tutorial of using the iPad. I couldn’t find one online that started with the basics and moved on, so I had to create that from scratch. Next, we began a researching project. Every student chose a local college, university, or trade school to research. They compiled images using Google in their Camera Roll and then used Popplet Lite to create a graphic organizer of the school. They then used Evernote to write a paragraph about the school and recorded their voices reading the Evernote. Finally, the students showcased their Evernotes and Popplets on the screen for everyone to view, read, and listen.

After we completed this activity, we moved on to an Idiom unit. We showed videos on YouTube introducing the concept of idioms: Ziva from NCIS http://youtu.be/dyd9-8ZYsIA and one other for which I’m still searching. We then read the book More Parts by Tedd Arnold and used some handouts from Read Between the Lines! Learning Idioms by Themes by Mary Conger for Super Duper Publications. If I were to do that part again, I would make a PDF and have the students use Good Reader to annotate the answers. We then read In a Pickle and Other Funny Idioms by Marvin Terban. This was PDFed (is that a word?) and given electronically for the students to follow along. Students were given time to play the idiom game on FunBrain. We discussed the origins of idioms and of course their literal/figurative meaning. Finally, we used the app English Idioms Illustrated by Robot Media SL to show comic strip version of these origins. We were finally ready to begin creating our own comic strips of idioms. I taught the ELLs how to use StripDesign (or in some cases, they taught me!). I then let the kids choose their own idioms (from a pre-researched list) to research. We used the website The Phrase Finder and students began the research. They utilized iTranslate and Google Translate to read their research. They then began looking for images on Google to represent the story of their idioms (or literal meaning) and figurative meaning. Students then created comic strips with Strip Design. I think this turned out really well. Unfortunately, we did lose some student data with a sync problem, but we’re working on making sure that doesn’t happen in the future. I would post their final product, but there were names and in one case, a photo used of all the students, so ethically, I can’t. I am going to wrap this up and continue the description of activities in my next post. Next up, Little Red Riding Hood.

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iPad deployment

This year we went forward with using our Title III funds to purchase an iPad for each of our ELLs in the ESL 9-12 classroom. There are currently 12 students in that class and 1 teacher. We have 17 iPad2s and intend to buy 3 more to complete a 20 set. We’ve had an interesting beginning of the year roll-out. I’ll lay out some issues we’ve been having. My next post will be the successes (including what projects my students have been working on).
* We are still waiting for our iPad cart to arrive from Griffin Technology. It’s going to be 2 10-dock charging/stations which we will put on a mobile cart with a designated Macbook to help sync with iTunes. Without this cart, charging is a miserable experience and syncing is even worse. We expect the cart to arrive next week.
*We created a Master iPad and used iTunes to back-up and restore to create clones for the other devices. However, without the cart, we cannot sync the folders where apps are organized and we lose all app data. For instance, Strip Design lost the strips the students had been working on when we tried to restore to get all the iPads to look identical. In addition, when we do sync the pads together, students then get into the email account from the one student’s iPad we used as a Master Student device. We have some ideas for how to correct this including Mobile Device Management software or creating a separate iTunes email for each pad. Since these iPads are 1:1 and with high school students, we want them to be a consumer device for each student, but easy to manage apps as well.
*We are looking into how to create a wireless iPad projection. We currently have SMARTBoards in every classroom with a mounted projector and a Mac Mini. The obvious way to project the iPad2s are through AirPlay and Apple TV. However, ATV does not work with VGA, which is the only component the projectors use. We tried two converters (Sewell Direct and AVDemand) and neither worked. We think the issue is needing to go HDMI to VGA, not the reverse. We think we found one that will finally work. I will update when it arrives and is tested.

Welcome to my ESL EdTech Blog

Hello. To introduce myself, my name is Kim Beiderman (pronounced like Byderman, or Spiderman, or Vitamin). Vitamin is how my 3 year old daughter pronounces it! I am the ELL Supervisor at a K-12 charter school in Philadelphia. We are embarking on a pilot program to have iPads used in the 9-12 ESL class. I will be posting updates on that. I have also figured out ways to creatively use our Title III funds and I will be making posts about that as well. I hope you enjoy this blog and get a lot from it.