Book Creator

Today we’ve been using Book Creator for iPad for some AFL.

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It’s the first time we’ve used the app so after a very quick demonstration I asked the children to each make a book showcasing six or more pieces of their own work.

The were asked to choose work they were proud of and a piece of work that they had found particularly challenging.

They had to photograph their chosen work and comment and annotate the work explaining why they had chosen it.

It worked like a dream – the app is brilliantly simple to use yet has so many features all easily available.

Some children chose to use the record audio facility to record themselves reading a poem or story.

Some annotated by writing text, others highlighted phrases or paragraphs they were especially pleased with and explained why.

The majority of children produced a book that showed they had really thought about their own work.

It linked beautifully with personal target setting and certainly helped make the children look at their own work in a reflective manner.

Tomorrow when we have GRIT (Guided Reflection and Improvement Time) I’m sure we will reap the benefits of today’s task.

Looking at their choice of work was fascinating – lots of them chose a piece of poetry and to my surprise RE featured heavily.

Their annotations nearly all echoed my own style of marking.

The best part about this app for me is the seamless integration with Dropbox.Having used other e-book creators where sharing and saving the work was fraught with difficulties I was expecting the worst.

This is simplicity itself.

Finish the book, make sure it is named correctly and the author added then upload to a prepared folder in Dropbox.

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That’s it.

No converting or worrying about different formats.

Best of all the books can be opened on any of our Class iPads and read or edited.

If we want to share them with anyone without the app we can export them as .pdf files or iBooks.

It’s not often I give an app 10/10 but this one is practically perfect in every way.

Effective use of iPads

As we roll out our new set of class iPads I’ve been thinking a lot about how best to use them effectively.
My biggest worry is that they’ll be used inefficiently.
As a reward “now go and play on the ipad” or an incentive “if you work hard you can go on the ipad” or even worse as a time filler.

In order to prevent this I’ve asked staff to look carefully at how they plan to use them.

We’ve just started using pupil friendly ICT targets so theoretically it should be possible to look at planning and ICT skills and marry them together with a task that can be best facilitated on the iPads.

First class up for the challenge are going to look at control (Daisy the Dinosaur) and creating multimedia projects (e book creator).

Choosing an app to use can be quite a daunting task. There are almost too many and I’m coming to believe that less is more.

Luckily Configurator my nemesis means that theoretically I can set them up quickly so they are ready to use with all the appropriate apps installed.

iPads for Assessment

For the past two terms I’ve been using ShowMe and ExplainEverything as an assessment tool in Maths.

Pupils take an iPad and work to produce a short presentation that teaches a specific Maths skill.

At first they were really self conscious about making them but now it’s becoming part of our normal classroom routine.

The finished products serve three purposes.

First, they provide a really good overview of whether a pupil has understood a concept.

Secondly, some of the presentations can be used as a teaching tool for other pupils.

Thirdly, we sometimes listen to and watch presentation and then give feedback on things that were done really well and areas for improvement.

Cutting the apps

I’m in the process of setting up a new iPad for myself in work.

I’ve been using the original one since last March and over the months have added apps in a fairly non-discriminatory manner. You could say I was app-happy.

Obviously this is a perfect time to review my iPad usage and look at the apps that actually enhance my working life.

After much deliberation I’ve come up with my list of ‘must haves’

These are apps for me – distinct from those I use with the children.

Evernote – all my planning and notes are on my Evernote account so that’s a must have
ExplainEverything – I’m still getting to grips with this but it’s very powerful as a teaching tool
Pages
Numbers
Keynote
Instacollage – great for grouping pictures before we blog
Wordpress – I can access all the school blogs via one app
Twitter
INCERTS Snap
iMovie
GarageBand
Wunderlist

I’m sure as time goes by I’ll add more apps.

I’ll definitely want to add apps that we’re planning to use with the pupils so I can play with try them first but this pared down list is enough to cater for all my needs for now.