Right. It’s now been a week, and a bit. Had plenty of time to reflect, so here we go.
Last Monday I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the Slide2Learn Conference hosted at Albert Park College, Melbourne. S2L has been a conference that i have been aiming to attend for a few yeas now as it’s reputation is quite seeing that it is a conference ran by teachers, for teachers, as well as being heavily focused upon Apple Mac technology use in education. Fr more about Slide2Learn and its inner workings, head to the website HERE.
Now S2L was a two day conference and due to prior family commitments i attended only the Monday, a which was filled with learning and engaging sessions for attendees to… attend.
Now, rather than give a minute by minute experience, which may bore some to the utter death, i thought i’d be a little more proactive in giving more detail about some of the excellent tools that i came across. These tools being one’s that could easily be embedded in to a Teaching and Learning program. Tool’s that i know i’ll be keen to use with my own students! Some of these may be new, others, perhaps not, so here we go… Thanks to Simon Shaw from Apple for these…
1. Nearpod Application – iPad
Nearpod is an application that has been released only recently and allows some amazing things within a classroom to occur. Teachers can create a slideshow online via the Nearpod website. Nothing special. Yet. Teachers can embed in these presentations quizzes, videos, polls, sketching tools, and more. Still not impressed? From here, students have on their own iPad devices the “Nearpod Student App”, which allows them to view the created presentation on their own device, in real time with the teacher. So when the teacher swipes to the next slide, it will do so on the student devices. Now this can only happen if all devices are connected to a wifi network, however, 3G will also allow sharing to happen! If creating and sharing slideshows is not your thing, then PDF documents can be uploaded, exported as a slideshow, and shared with students this way also.
All of the above can be a little better explained i suppose through the image below, sourced from the Nearpod Website.
All in all, and my VERY brief summary has not done it justice, Nearpod has a plethora of applications for classroom use. Head to the website for a much better description! www.nearpod.com
dotEPUB allows users to embed a Widget/Bookmarklet in to their browser (Firefox and Chrome only) and then, once on a web page of interest, by clicking this installed button the text from that webpage is automatically converted to an e-book! A great way to share specific content that is web based with others. As a teacher, excellent resources can be created from this, such as converting a current event news story to an e-book and then sharing this with students. And, as the e-book can be read offline, great for students who have zero Internet access at home if the e-book or reading material is distributed at school.
3. TEDeD Talks
Most of us are familiar with TED Talks. Well, for those who may not know, we have now have TED-Ed Talks. This site focuses solely on educational based material that educators can use with students. Currently, at time of timing… there were 89 Videos that have been uploaded for use. Not much hey… HOWEVER! These videos have been ‘Flipped’ 4,740 times! Now what do i mean by flipped? Rather than me trying to explain it, i’ll TED do that… “Flipping” a video allows you to turn a video into a customized lesson that can be assigned to students or shared more widely. You can add context, questions, and follow-up suggestions to any video on TED-Ed or YouTube.”
Check the screen shot below for a snapshot of what each ‘flipped’ video can contain!
This amazing resource is well worth a look see!
4. Book Creator Application – iPad
When i first had a play with this it reminded me of the iBook Author software for my Mac. This is a great App for eBook creation right on the iPad itself. Now, there are other eBook creation type app’s for the iPad, yet i found this one to be easy to use, effective and most of all, student friendly. Create great eBooks in minutes, as i did at Slide2Learn! A very worthwhile app. Once created, students can read their eBook directly in iBooks, or email and share their creation with friends. The app gives a lot of features for students to be able to edit the content they include, which of course, is very important. Cost: $5.49… App linked here.
5. Posterous – Online Sharing
Like a lot of online tools and sites, i had heard of Posterous, know of people using it, but never had a chance to see it in action properly. Now i have, and i can say i am glad i did. One of the first questions i am asked re: our 1:1 iPad Trial at my College is the whole sharing work of an iPad scenario… Connecting to a server? Printing work? Etc… Currently, we use email being a Google K-12 App’s College. This works great for us and our setting. We also ustilise Dropbox and using these extremely well also! In saying all of this, i have not yet had a chance to use, or play around with Posterous, yet from what i did see and have heard, it looks to be a winner. In my eyes anyway.
Posterous looks to be along the lines of a Dropbox type scenario, yet it also appears so much more! In a few words… students create an account. Then they have a ‘wall’ or space so to speak. Once they have created on their iPad device, they email it to their Posterous Space. Rather than displaying as a link or attachment, the actual document or file is displayed. How easy is that! How good is that! Spaces can be private, public, limited to a select few, etc… and this is a great thing about Posterous. I am excited to have a greater play with this to see if it would be a great fit for our students.
Lastly, Posterous supports a wide range of file types so the uploading/sharing of created content by students is a no brain-er. Posterous will also automatically re-size and convert image and video for optimum viewing via the Spaces that the dos’c are going to. Impressive.
So… I hope you find the above 5 tools useful. They may be great for you and your students, they may not, but definitely worth a share. Thanks to the Slide2Learn team and Simon Shaw from Apple for giving me a great insight in to these applications and tools!