good-bye to the iPads

Blair said good-bye to the iPads on Thursday and had them packed up and ready to go to the next school involved with this project. During the project, I had the students respond to some questions to see what they thought about learning with the iPads.

An email from Apple this week says that by updating to iOS 4.3, you will be able to print from the iPads. This is a great feature and I know one that will be very useful in educational settings. I had set my email to a few of the iPads because students had wanted to print some of their projects and this is the only way we could do that.


Some links about using iPads in educational settings: (the official Apple iPad education site) (47 interesting ways to use an iPad in the Classroom) (a compilation of resources)


Some things I learned during the project…

For the grade 3 students, I think the interactivity of the touchscreen was very appealing and engaging. The students were very intuitive about how to “work” the different apps, much more so than adults. There are an amazing number of apps available to enhance different classroom studies. I was surprised by the creative opportunities the students had to represent their thinking and learning with the iPads.

Thanks to CUEBC for the opportunity to have iPads at Blair Elementary!

Janice Novakowski

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sharing the iPad on the big screen

When I first got my own iPad and began to play around with it and think of how I would use it in my teaching, I knew I would want to be able to show the iPad screen on a “big screen” so that the students could see how to operate an app or for following along as we searched or worked with an online site or app. I went out and got an iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter from our local Apple store (this is what they told me I would need) and took it to school the next day to try it out using my iPad, Macbook and LCD projector. No luck. After some investigation online, I found out that there are actually only a few things that work with the adapter, including Keynote and Youtube. I found that very frustrating and soon found out that Apple had not really anticipated all the ways educators would want to use iPads in classrooms. During a meeting with two reps from Apple Canada yesterday, I learned that the second generation iPad will have this feature built in so that the screen and apps will be able to be projected.

What I have done to work with the first generation iPads is to order a Point 2 View USB Document Camera made by IPREVO. At $90, this was a great investment and I am very pleased with the quality.

With some help from a colleague, we got the software downloaded on my Macbook and got it running today to use with a class in the library. It was great for showing students how to use a new application on the iPad – in this case, showing the students how to change the font type and size on the Writer’s Studio app. We also used it to share some of the student work on the big screen so everyone could see what others had done. It’s super easy to take the camera out of the stand and move it around using the longish USB cable to focus on different student’s work around the room.

Janice Novakowski

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group of seven art using doodle buddy

On Friday I visited my son’s grades 6 and 7 class again. This week we used Google Earth to explore Canada’s ecozones and then the students used the Doodle Buddy app to create their own version of one of the Group of Seven’s paintings. The classroom teacher has several art images up in the classroom and many of the students pulled out their sketchbooks where they had been sketching the paintings.

The students explored with with brush sizes and colours as well as “smudging” which gave a great effect. It’s been great exploring how the iPad can be using across all curriculum areas.

Janice Novakowski

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loading photos on the iPad

I bought the iPad Camera Connection Kit and it is so easy to use! It has both USB and SD card connectors/readers. I used the USB connector for my DSLR camera and the SD card reader was quick and easy for students to use with our Casio digital cameras at school.

On Tuesdays at lunch hour, the Blair Library hosts a photography club. This week, the students staged some sort of action sequence and took a series of photos. They then uploaded their photos onto an iPad using the SD reader.

Next the students used the Strip Designer app and inserted photos and then learned how to add text, effects and speech bubbles to their filmstrips.

We were then able to save the student’s filmstrips as jpg files to the Photo Album on the iPad.

With 10 students, this took half an hour…each with their own camera and iPad. I am very glad I got the Connector Kit and can see lots of opportunities to use it.

Janice Novakowski

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iPad maintenance

As I spend my evening at home syncing 14 new apps to the iPads and making sure they are all charged to 100%, I was thinking that I couldn’t imagine dealing with 30 iPads (a full class set). The amount of time needed to do the ongoing maintenance and updating of the iPads is something a school would need to consider. There needs to be a staff member or members that are willing to take on the logistics of the iPads.

Some colleagues and I visited Elsie Roy Elementary in Vancouver to see how they were managing their iPads and iPod Touches. Turns out they have two high school students that come afterschool to do much of the syncing and charging. I can see how this would be very helpful and there are always techie students looking for service hours I am sure.

Our school has already looked into one of the storage units for the iPads (for when we purchase our own) which includes charging which would be great to just return them there at the end of each day and know that they’ll be charged by the morning. As it is, I am using so many of my outlets at home and have my sons running around checking on each iPad’s charging status! I have one power bar which helps (takes 3 chargers only – the charging units are a weird shape) but I should probably invest in a couple more.

Searching for apps and syncing them is another time consuming task. I think that once more educators are using iPads with their students, more lists will be generated and shared. It’s nice to have something to start with. One list was created by Eric Sailers for Special Education students but is a helpful starting document for schools, especially elementary schools. You can find the document HERE.

New apps I added today included: The Cat in the Hat, Horton Hears a Who (in honour of Dr. Seuss’ birthday this week), Fractions App, Mousefish, TimesTable Lite, Kids Time Fun, Animation Creator, Greek Mythology Gods, The Strange and Wonderful World of Ants, Learning Tables is Fun HD, Mabel Goes to the Moon (lite), My First Interactive Book: Little Red Riding Hood, Astrojammies (lite) and My First Weighing Exercises.

Janice Novakowski

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flipboom lite

I don’t teach at Blair on Fridays so I had brought home the iPads to charge and add new apps over the weekend. I took the iPads into my son’s grades 6 and 7 class at McKinney Elementary here in Richmond so the students could get a chance to try them out. Coincidentally, without my knowledge, my son’s teacher had also applied to be part of the CUEBC iPad Inquiry so I was glad that she got to be a part of this!

We played a few math games…GlowBurst, PopMath and NumberLine. After about 30 minutes of playing, I asked the students for some feedback. One grade seven student commented that it was just so interactive – more than a laptop and way more than sitting and working out of a textbook. Because the students were working in groups of two or three, communication and collaboration become an essential part of using the iPads which fits very nicely with many pedagogical goals in the area of math.

Because we had a few more minutes, the students tried out Flipboom Lite for about 10 minutes. It always amazes me how quickly the students just figure out how to use the apps, or learn from each other. After each group had completed a short animation, the teacher suggested they do a gallery walk so the ipads were left on the desks with the animations running and the students walked around and watched each others’ iPads.

You can watch a short video of the animations HERE.

Janice Novakowski

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the iPads@Blair

I picked up the iPads from Homma yesterday afternoon and then spent the evening loading 35 apps and then synching and charging the 11 ipads. I bought a plastic container to keep them in at the school and it was the perfect size for the iPads, the charging cables, a power bar and the cleaning cloths. There might be enough room as well for the headphones I got at the dollar store on the weekend.

I sorted the apps into four pages:

1) Early Literacy

ABC Go, ABC Tracer, Toy Story, Green Eggs and Ham Lite, Doodle Buddy

2) Astronomy (for division 6: grade 3)

NASA, Planets, Exoplanet, Solar System, Moon Globe HD, Mars Globe HD, Hubble HD, Planets, Pocket Universe, Stars, Constellations, APOD, iLearnSolarSystem HD

3) Math

PopMath, Glow Burst Lite, Number Line, TanZen Lite, Pizza Fractions, Rocket Math

4) Misc/Intermediate Apps

Doodle Buddy, Puppet Pals, Strip Designer, Writer’s Studio, Alice Lite, The Guardian Eyewitness, DuckDuckGo, Flipboom Lite, Google Earth, Chicktionary

Wednesday afternoon, division 6 was introduced to the iPads for the first time. We read the Blair iPad Oath together and each student signed it after we had lots of discussion about iPad use. This idea was inspired by a visit to Elsie Roy Elementary in Vancouver.

We then headed down to the library and the students worked in partners to explore a couple of math apps, Doodle Buddy and Chicktionary. These apps were chosen for students to learn to use the touchscreen and to scroll through pages on their iPads.

We also spent about an hour working with the NASA and MOON GLOBE HD apps and then with to investigate some of our inquiry questions about the moon.

It was a full afternoon of iPads!

Janice Novakowski

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