iPadography: Photo Projects for the iPad Classroom

The camera is one of those apps on the iPad that we sometimes take for granted. We forget it is there or don’t always use it to its full potential in the classroom. This week I am presenting at iPadU: Slide to Unlock Learning, and I wanted to highlight some of the many ways that you could use the iPad camera, so I put some ideas together and added some I had seen on the web or learned from others. The result? iPadography: Photo Projects for the iPad Classroom.

So, if you are looking for ideas for using the iPad camera in the classroom, take a look at some of the slides below, and feel free to share it with others who might be interested! You can also join iPadography for Educators – a Google+ group I created for educators looking to do photo and video projects with students on an iPad.

Learning to Innovate in a One iPad Classroom

Today I was presenting at our annual iPad conference for educators – iPadU: Slide to Unlock Learning. Matt B. Gomez was our keynote speaker and kicked off the first of our three days with an inspiring talk for educators.

Later in the day I gave one of several presentations I am scheduled to give at the conference, and it was on a topic I have written about before, the one iPad classroom. So, if you are interested in getting some ideas for this, or you know some teachers who are faced with a similar dilemma, feel free to pass on the ideas below!

10 Reasons Why OneNote is the Ultimate Note Taking Tool for Schools

Microsoft OneNote

It may just be the best thing you have never heard of, but if you take the time to learn how to use it, Microsoft’s free, multi-platform note taking tool will surprise you with how powerful it really is. So, here’s why OneNote is great for the classroom and beyond. (Note: Not all features are available on all platforms, or in the free apps, but all are available in the Office 2013 desktop version)

1. Availability: OneNote is a free download for Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Mac, iPads, iPhones and Android devices. You can even use the online web app, and of course it comes with all paid Office subscriptions. So, no matter what device you use, there is a OneNote version for you. You don’t get all the features on all platforms, but you get most of what you need. What’s more, your notebooks are synced via your Microsoft account so any changes you make will instantly be updated on your other devices.

2. Organization: Think of a OneNote notebook like a three-ring binder. You use sections to divide up your notes into manageable chunks of text. You can choose a color for each section, or let OneNote choose that for you. Within each section, you can add pages so that you can add the notes that you want to take. You can have as many pages as you want in a section, and merge or group sections. Password protection can be added to sections to hide teacher notes, or to unlock a section at a time as the teacher chooses.

3. Tags: Choose from dozens of tags to help you annotate and bookmark the best part of your notes. Students can tag paragraphs they want to ask the teacher about later or mark up the important parts of their notes, while teachers can use custom tags to highlight the homework in a shared notebook. All tags can be filtered and found quickly.

4. Search: Speaking of finding things, the search function is a great tool to find anything that you need. It will search through all your notebooks, or just the one you are working on, to find the notes you need. The search bar will search all typed and handwritten text, as well as any text that it detects in images.

5. Attachments: You can attach most common file types to a OneNote notebook. Audio, video, images, PDFs and more can be added to a OneNote file to keep all your resources together in one place. This is great for teachers who may want to use OneNote for a lesson planner, or as a digital handout for students. You can also add images from Microsoft’s online clipart gallery or search Bing for images.

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How to Move a Public Google Site to a Google Apps Domain (and vice versa)

Better Google Sites

Something I get asked about every now and again is how to move a Google Site that was created in a public account, into a Google Apps for Education domain account. This is a popular thing to do when a school gets Google Apps for Education for the first time. However, it is also a top request among teachers that move to a new job with a new school and want to do the reverse, or even transfer between apps domains. Here’s what you need to know.

The first important thing to know is that you can’t actually move a site. What you have to do instead is make a copy of the site, and for this you need two Google accounts — your personal account and your Apps for Education account. Once you have made the copy, you can choose to delete the other site if you want, or just take it offline and ignore it.

The instructions below are based on a scenario where you have created a Google Site in your public account and want to move it into a Google Apps domain because your school is going Google. However, it is very much the same procedure to make a copy of a site to a public account, or move it between apps domains. So, let’s get started!

1. In your browser of choice, log in to your personal Google account with your @gmail username and password. Then navigate to the Google Sites website you want to work with.

2. Now, add yourself as an owner by clicking on the blue share button in the top right-hand corner of the site. (You are, of course, already an owner of this site, but what you are going to do here is add your new Google Apps for Education account as a collaborator on the site. Be sure to give this account the rights of an “Owner”).

sharing permissions

2. Next, copy the URL of the site you just added your school Google account to.

3. In another browser, (or in another user account in Chrome), log in to your school Google account with your Google Apps for Education username and password.

sign in to Google

4. Paste the URL of the website we made changes to earlier. You should find that you have full access to the editing controls when it loads, but if you don’t, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Sign in link in the footer.

5. Click the gear icon in the top right-hand corner, and select Manage Site. This will take you to the General settings page of your Google Site.

manage site

6. Choose the “Copy this site” option and rename it accordingly. If you want to keep your other Google account as a collaborator on this site, feel free to copy the original collaborators checked before you copy.

copy this site

7. The site will now appear in your list of websites at http://sites.google.com when you are logged in with your Google Apps for Education account.

There are, however, a couple of caveats. For starters, the site you just created now has a new URL. Be sure to make that available to anyone who needs access to your site, or create a custom tinyurl and share that. The URL you used previously, will direct people to the site that was originally created outside your Google Apps domain.

Speaking of the old site, it’s a good idea to change the sharing permissions on the one to “Private” so not to confuse visitors about which site to visit, or just delete the old site altogether if you don’t think you will need it any more. You also need to make sure that you, as the owner, are updating the correct site!

Otherwise, you should be good to go. When you make a copy of a Google Site it will look exactly the same as the original version so all the content you had before will now be available to you and your visitors inside your Google Apps for Education domain.

Special Education iPad Apps for Reading and Writing

Recently I had the distinct privilege of working with Julie Freed, Grant Wood’s Assistive Technology guru, to present a number of iPad apps that can be used to help improve the reading and/or writing skills of students in special education. Interested? Here are some of the apps we talked about, along with the reasons why we picked them.

Reading Apps

1. Prizmo ($9.99) – This innovative app includes powerful OCR software that will scan printed text, turn it into editable digital text, and read it aloud for you. In the classroom this can be great for printed tests, worksheets, and even textbooks that might otherwise need a classroom assistant to read them aloud for a student with reading difficulties.

prizmo app screenshot

2. Pocket (Free) – This might not be the first app you think of when think of special education iPad apps, but it has a lot of potential for the way that it simplifies the layout of web based articles and makes  them easier to read. Annoying ads, distracting sidebars, and pop-up ads are gone when viewed in the Pocket reader app and you can also save and organize articles for future use. Readbility is another great app for this.

3. WritePad ($4.99) – It’s a favorite of OTs, and may be just what you are looking for if you need an innovative notetaking app. WritePad uses handwriting recognition software to convert your handwritten notes and turns them into digital text. The more you use it, the more it learns your handwriting style and the better it becomes at converting your handwriting.

4. PDF Expert 5 ($9.99) – Readdle make amazing apps for the iPad, and PDF Expert is no exception. While you could use it to annotate over digital worksheets, a better use of the app might be as a test taking aid, because PDF Expert allows you to add audio annotations. This means a teacher could record questions on a test for a student with reading difficulties to playback on headphones. Alternatively, students with handwriting or motor difficulties could record their answer to test questions right on the PDF, and then email it to a teacher. iAnnotate is a similar app with many of the same features.

pdf expert screenshot

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Office Mix: It’s PowerPoint, but Not as You Know It!

If you thought you knew the limits of PowerPoint in your classroom, think again, because Microsoft have released an innovative PowerPoint add-on that extends its functionality and usefulness for teachers. It’s called Office Mix, and it’s available as a free download for Windows users who have Office 2013 installed.

office mix

The premise is simple. You take an existing PowerPoint presentation, or create one from scratch, and enhance it with the Office Mix add-on. The add-on appears in the ribbon at the top of the screen in PowerPoint and lets you add additional features like quiz questions, videos, or web content from Khan Academy or CK-12.

office Mix ribbon menu

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The New Adobe Voice: Digital Storytelling With Style!

Adobe launched a new free iPad app today called Adobe Voice, and it has great potential for the classroom due to the way that it lets you effortlessly create digital stories, explanations, or stylish presentations by adding your voice to a variety of images.

adobe voice screenshot

Adobe Voice has several great features for teachers who may be wanting to use this in their classroom. For instance, Adobe has included a wide variety of searchable images and icons that students can use in their projects. This saves having to worry about finding images online because they are all there inside the app. Better still, as model of good digital citizenship, they are all cited correctly as sources in the credits.

When you first create a project, you get prompted to choose the type of story you want to tell. Why would this matter? The app gives prompts at each step of the way in order to help encourage you to develop a well structured tale. Here’s an example of what you will see if you choose the Hero’s Quest template:

  1. Tell us about the hero and their world before the quest begins.
  2. What happens that causes the hero to undertake their quest.
  3. Show the trials or challenges that the hero encounters along the way.
  4. Show how our hero overcomes the odds and accomplishes their goal.
  5. Tell us how the world is better now.

Of course, these prompts are optional, but the fact that they are there as a scaffold for students is a nice touch, and the prompts vary for each template you choose.

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