Saturday, March 8, 2014

The iPads are coming! Preparation ...

Where I work we have been anticipating imminent delivery of iPads for the cohort of young freshmen college students air college pilot cadets where I teach. Last Sunday March 2 we had a discussion during our regular weekly Learning2gether time on how we could go from teacher professional development to boots on the ground: suddenly your students each have iPads in your classroom, and what do you do?

At some point, Rita Zeinstejer recommended Joyce Valenza's excellent collection of Digital Storytelling Tools here:

and I asked those present if they had heard Valenza's "Wizard of Apps", a skit done by students and filmed on location in the library where she works, which debued at the 2009 K-12 Online annual asynchronous presentation conference

The iPads did not arrive last week but they appear to be even closer over the horizon, maybe in days, so I've called for another brainstorming session and decided to blog it here so that we can invite comments from those who might benefit from some of the resources listed here and who might, in comments, add more.  Please do!

Of course, as we develop our expertise we'll be able to hold more Learning2gether sessions that are less about "what do we do now?" and more about what we did and what we learned.


Here are some other resources my colleagues where I work have been looking at:

Another fire hose opens up at There is a huge body of material here.

These are the apps that our students will download onto their iPads during the setup process. 
Any suggestions for using these?

Apps Store
Face Time
Garage Band
iTunes Store
iTunes U

Photo Booth

These apps are recommended for our students as "must have" to download in addition to the above bundle

DropBox                                                    Free
Tense Buster                                             Free
Spelling City                                              Free
Road to IELTS                                          Free
Showbie                                                    Free
Lockdown Browers                                    Free
BBLearn                                                    Free
HCT Mobile App                                       Free
PDF Reader                                              Free
Adobe Reader                                          Free
Neu Annotate PDF                                  10AED ($1 U.S. = 3.68 AED)
Dictionary Apps
Google Translate                                     Free
Collins Mini Gem English-Arabic             20AED
Oxford Word Power Dictionary for
Arabic Speakers Learning English          115AED
Wordflex                                              50AED
Note Taking Apps
Penultimate                                             Free
Mobile Notetaker                                   Free
Notes Plus                                              38AED
Noteshelf                                               22AED
Evernote -   Free
One Note                                                Free
Sling Note                                              11AED
Photon – Flash Browser                          20AED

These apps are specified as "Recommended" for our students as opposed to 'must have'
Explain Everything                                  12AED
British Council (series of Apps)
Haiku Deck
Action Words
Voice Record

My colleague at work gives the following advice about using DropBox
  1. Use on the web to manage DropBox (on a PC or Mac) rather than doing this through the app
  2. You'll work in two spaces
    1. A folder in your DropBox which you share with groups of students
      1. You put documents here that all students can access
      2. Any student can erase documents here so be careful; keep backups
      3. You can easily copy from back up space back to here to replenish everyone's shared DropBox despite what anyone might inadvertently delete IF you keep a mirror backup handy.
    2. Folders that individual students share with you
      1. Students submit work to you through their individual shared folders
      2. Such folders are private only to the student and anyone s/he shares it with (i.e. the teacher)
  3. How to start your students off in dropbox
    1. make a list of their e-mail addresses, one per line, ready to paste
    2. create a folder where you can push items out to students
    3. Share the folder with them as shown in the screen shots below

Students will now get an email inviting them to set up their dropbox at the email address you have sent their mail to. 

Presumably this is an email address where you can easily identify your students. If they are not using DropBox at this address already then they can set up a DropBox account dedicated to their class work. This will create ideal conditions for working with them (pushing files out and getting files submitted back), but I haven't tried it yet, so I'll let you know the pitfalls (I've been told they lie in wait for the unwary).

Once this is set up you can send PDF files to the folder shared with all students, and they can use Adobe Reader to mark them up and then share them with you through their teacher share file.  You can then mark them up with your corrections and feedback.  Paperless!

Wait, there's more

Nalini Malhotra gave colleagues and I a series of PD sessions on apps she finds useful for the following skill areas.  The trick here is to check out each app and discover its affordance for that skill. There are some duplications in from the list above, but categorized by Nalini in her lists:

Assessment and course management
  • Socrative
  • Bb Mobile Learn
  • Showbie 
  • Edmodo
  • iFiles
  • Tense Buster
  • Grammaropolis (not free)
  • Action Words
  • Elementary Pearson Grammar app
  • ESL Tests
  • Make Dice Lite
Vocabulary and spelling
  • Vocabulary Spelling City
  • Notability
  • Word: 4 pics 1 Word
  • Opposities
  • Bluster
  • iSpeak Word Wizard
Listening and speaking
  • Haiku Deck
  • Natura HD
  • Voice Recod
  • British Council LearnEnglish weekly radio show podcasts
  • Oxford Bookworms
  • VocabKitchen (processes online texts)
  • prompts
    • Think About
    • Write About
  • Mindmapping
    • Mindmeister
    • Popplet lite
  • Timeline
  • My Journal
  • T-Charts
  • Venn
  • Book creator
  • Ask3
  • AWL Builder
  • IELTS writing
  • IELTS Skills
  • Writefix
Tools / Utility apps
  • TedEd
  • Knowmia Teach
  • Educreations
  • ShowMe
  • Explain Everything
  • Outline
  • Skitch
  • Side by Side

What else should they have? (comment to suggest more apps please)

Rehab Rajab reviews a few apps and lists sources where she replenishes her information on the topic here:

The apps she reviews are iMovie, Notability, Explain Everything, Socrative, Nearpod, QRafter, BookCreator, and ThinkLink, and these resources are copied from her post:
There are plenty of websites that review Apps and sources to get information about new Apps and what teachers are doing with them, here are a few that I really like:

And Socrative, Kahoot, and FlipQuiz are reviewed here for their game components


  1. Great post!!!There were some really great tips on how to successfully promote a blog.

  2. Wow, when I see the list of apps I went through with you guys, I realise that was quite a lot to take in and of course everyone has their own preferences. However, in line with a comment associated with John Grimsditch and the SAMR model, check out this link: