I’d like to share a few highlights of the iPad Summit I attended in Boston on November 12th.
First, kudos to Sabba Quidwai (@askMsQ), our workshop leader and tech maven Ramona Towner (@rmbtowner_tech) for an outstanding pre-conference workshop. Of all the creative tools and strategies and they presented, a few stand out.
Instead of just telling us about Nearpod (cross-platform app) Sabba used it a management and sharing tool for the day. Each time we completed a project (an annotated book, for example), she had us upload it to Nearpod so everyone could see it.
As Nic points out, although Nearpod is lacking in reviews, some real TechnoYes teachers out there are big fans. It lets you (for free, folks) create and design your own presentations, share them with students, and invite them to respond (live). You can also monitor and measure the results.
Here’s how it works. After creating a free account, Nearpod allows you to use your tablet to manage content on students’ mobile devices. A side benefit is that you can see which students are off task. (Usually just inching toward the girl who is busy checking her email will get her back on track without needing to say a word). Nearpad can also be a boost to collaboration, with students posting their work for others to add to or critique (anonymously if you like). You can also Nearpod it for quizzes (and data collection), as Sabba did to get a sense of where we would place ourselves on the edtech curve. At the end of the session, you can have the data sent to you as a PDF.
For a real time saveer, you can upload your own PowerPoint présentation. You can also find lots of free lessons on the Nearpod website on topics ranging from the Formation of the eEarth to Geometric Elements. Here’s more on why teachers who have access to sets of mobile devices describe Nearpod as a game changer. Check out this link.
The second a-ha for me was having a chance to work with an online bulletin board app called Padlet. Billed as “the easiest way to create and collaborate in the world,” Padlet allows you to create a wall that, among other things, allows you to curate all sorts of images and text focused on a given topic (e.g., current events). It’s hard to explain! You need to see it.
Have a look at the Padlet Gallery to get a sense of the possibilities. I think you’ll come away with a few creative ideas for how you can customize this tool for your students. Also see Richard Byrne’s YouTube video about Padlet for a step-by-step introduction.
My last a-ha was not so much one particular app (although I am really taken with Book Creator, Explain Everything, and Popplet Lite apps—all free). It was more about the mindset for working with apps. First, Sabba recommends that you not try to integrate too many apps all at once. Focusing on one or two per year might be the best way to go. Over time, you will easily build up a repertoire of five or so apps that will become an integral part of your tool kit. And instead of going it alone, think about working with a team.
Another piece of advice Sabba gave us was to give kids “sandbox time” when you introduce a new app. Encourage them to try out everything. Then when you’re ready to move on, your students will be ready.
What experiences with apps do you have to share? Let us know!
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