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Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

Tag Archives: iPads

Book Creator with Five-Year-Olds

Introducing Book Creator to Kindergartners is quite exciting. Any time the camera app is used, kids go nuts. An introductory lesson covers the following:

  • Create a new book
  • Add a photo by using the camera (students got into pairs, swapped iPads, and photographed each other)
  • Add text (student name)
  • Change font
  • Change color of font
  • Change size of font
  • Change color of cover
Many KG classes will utilizing Book Creator to serve as a digital portfolio, replacing the traditional mountainous folders.

Best App for Making Your Pictures Truly Talk

yakitThey say that a picture is worth a thousand words, now with Yakit Kids, students can actually make their pictures speak. One of my favorite apps to help students bring any photo to life is called Yakit Kids. It’s free, has an easy to use interface, and kids absolutely love it! Students bring in any photo (either one they take, or any other royalty-free image) add a mouth, eyes, and other desired props from the app, and then record their voice. The mouth moves with their voice, and the pitch can be adjusted from low to high. The one drawback (which is not always a drawback) is that recordings are limited to 15 seconds, but being that you can save the videos to the camera roll, it is easy to combine multiple videos in iMovie.

Description from the App Store:

YAKiT Kids allows kids of all ages to let their creativity loose and share their creations with family and friends in a safe environment. Parents and teachers never have to worry as their children let their little imaginations run wild with YAKiT Kids.

• Make quick and fun animated videos with multiple scenes.
• Change the pitch of the voice to make it even funnier.
• Add expressive animated stickers to customize the photos – including facial features, props, characters, and special effects.
• Save the videos directly to your phone to send anywhere

Below are two examples from my third graders who are using Yakit to have geometric shapes explain their own characteristics :

Measuring the Success of 1-to-1 Initiatives

Guest Post by Mark Pullen

Attribution: flickr.com/photos/29096601 @N00/4700349141

With 1:1 technology initiatives proliferating in schools around the country, it’s clear that an ever-increasing number of school boards, school administrators, teachers, and students see technology adding value to the classroom experience. Defining that added value, however, has been elusive; measuring it, virtually impossible. To this point, schools incorporating 1:1 technology have largely relied on standardized test scores to measure the success or failure of those programs.

Without a better measure by which to judge 1:1 initiatives, the mass media have, essentially by default, chosen to assess them by that same metric as well. In September 2011, The New York Times published one influential article that was critical of a 1:1 program in Arizona; in February 2012, they turned around and penned an article, which lavished praise on a similar program in North Carolina. What was the difference? Standardized test scores in the North Carolina school had increased significantly since the 1:1 initiative had begun, while the Arizona school’s test scores had remained flat.

I believe that it is up to us as tech-integrating educators and administrators to change this narrative. We must come up with an alternative measure with which to determine whether or not the introduction of technology into the classroom has been successful. If we fail to do so, the current test score fixation will remain, and as a result, since education technology improves student learning and engagement in more ways than what can be measured on a fill-in-the-bubble test, the benefits of classroom technology will largely remain hidden from the public.

Here’s one possible solution: I believe that students, teachers, parents, and administrators should be surveyed annually to collect data designed to measure the average level of student engagement in school, parental satisfaction with their child’s education, teacher satisfaction with the education their students are receiving, whether or not parents feel their child’s education is preparing them for the future, and more. Ideally, of course, baseline data would be collected in all of these areas before a 1:1 initiative ever takes place.

Given the “sound bite” media culture in which we live, I propose including numeric rankings for many of these questions, while also creating a number of opportunities for lengthier responses. (For example, “On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied were you with the education your child received this past school year? Please explain your answer in the space below.”) This will allow schools to supplement the black-and-white numeric data of a standardized test with sound- bite-friendly numeric data of their own: “Student engagement has increased 35% since we began our Bring Your Own Device initiative this fall.” More thoughtful audiences will appreciate the lengthier responses, but let’s be honest: those aren’t the folks who were swayed by the test score data in the first place.

Leave a comment to continue the conversation: How do you feel we can best transform the ways in which the public measures the success of ed tech integration in schools?

About the Author:

Mark Pullen has been an elementary teacher for 13 years, currently teaching third grade in East Grand Rapids, MI. He’s an advocate for classroom technology integration, and writes extensively on that subject on behalf of Worth Ave Group, a leading provider of laptop, tablet computer, and iPad insurance for schools and universities.

iPads in Education

Here’s a great resource compiled on scoop.it by Kyle Calderwood, for learning about the reasons to use iPads in educational settings. There are currently 81 articles about ways to use iPads in your classroom, must have apps, tips and tricks, case studies, and more.

Using iPads in Education

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