Too Many Apps for that!

There are currently over 80,000 Educational Apps on the iTunes store. 80,000+ AMAZING, INTIMIDATING, DIFFERENT, SIMILAR, DAUNTING APPS to choose from and more are coming every day! Part of me wants to run out, explore and go for it. The other part of me wants to channel my inner Luddite and run away.

With >80,000 APPS to choose from, where does one start? It is so overwhelming! There are so many great Apps and sites out there, how do I choose? How do I keep things straight and work smarter, not harder?

This graphic from SeansDesk.com provides a great visual for ED APPS. The key at the top helps break down different APPS by purpose. I’d like to try making one of these with my students as a way to help us all identify and organize the APPS we use, so kids can easily choose the tool that best suits their need.

SeansDesk.com

‘s post, The Ultimate Guide to Using iPads in the Classroom is a great resource for teachers who are starting to use iPads in the classroom.

Integrating iPads in the Lesson—The Pedagogy Wheel

With the understanding of how iPads can benefit students and teachers in a learning environment, the next question is how, exactly, to use these tablets to enhance education.

What iPad apps, for example, work best to promote creativity, analysis or understanding? Allan Carrington, from the University of Adelaide, created a Padagogy Wheel using Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy and a list of applicable educational iPad apps. This wheel helps connect different aspects of teaching while using iPad apps, in an easy to digest format.

Source: https://www.edudemic.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-using-ipads-in-the-classroom/

This wheel combines the SAMR model, Bloom’s Taxonomy, and APPs fit for purpose in one place. It helps me organize and make sense of the many options that are out there.

Another challenge I’ve faced is consolidating resources for lessons. My team uses Google Drive and we have unit plans, resources and other really great things in our Drive. We were so excited when ATLAS started linking to Drive! Our resources and curriculum documents are all in one place, but they still feel all over the place. At times I feel like a slave to technology. Document in ATLAS, link to drive, show three forms of evidence for each Power Standard and be sure to assess each of the AERO standards. I’m spending too much time collecting evidence and documenting and not enough time reflecting on teaching and learning, which is really the driving force behind all of the documentation. Round and round we go!

So what to do? How can I make a one-stop-shop for lesson plans, printables, links, videos, etc.? I’ve decided to use Slides to create my units. I can build them as I go, compiling the resources I’ve used in the past and add new ones along the way. Here is a sample you can view.

screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-10-17-21-am screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-10-17-32-am screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-10-17-06-am screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-10-16-57-am

Each slide follows a similar format, guiding questions, teaching point, and mission of the day. Some slides link to more in-depth lessons on a topic. These are saved as  separate slideshows, so they can be accessed easily during other units.

 

My hope is that by organizing lessons this way, I can consolidate resources in a way that is user-friendly, become a resource for new teachers, provide colleagues with easier access to resources and a way to collaborate digitally with colleagues in real-time.

Setting up resources such as this can also provide more opportunity for a flipped classroom. Students can view lessons at home, have time to process new learning, view resources multiple times to gain understanding, formulate questions for further understanding and share their discoveries with each other.

Teaching and learning have changed and are continuing to change with the introduction of new tools. As digital immigrants, this can be quite scary. Thankfully our digital native students can help us navigate and troubleshoot our way through this new terrain.

 

Jennifer Byrnes

My name is Jen and this is my 10th year as an educator. I am a fourth-grade teacher at the American School of the Hague. I have lived and worked in the US, Uk, Italy, China and the Netherlands. I have taught grades K-4.

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5 Responses

  1. Sarah B. says:

    Jen I love your idea for using Slides to cover your lesson plans etc. I also find that at times it is hard to keep organised with Google Docs and to keep everything in one place. We have so many folders and though we have been trying very hard to include all important files in our Grade 5 folder at times it is hard to keep track.
    I think that this is also a great way of communicating with the students and helping them to access what they are focusing on.
    I am going to ‘borrow’ this idea!

    • Thanks, Sarah! I’m glad you liked it. I have been using it this week and bar a few problems with my (not so) SMART board, I am really enjoying this format. I sill use a class website like we did at WAB, but I always found myself searching through my old posts, which was very time-consuming. Keeping everything in Slides is much easier!

  2. Greetings Jen,
    Is commiseration the word I’m looking for? I can definitely relate to your statements around Atlas and Google. It’s a struggle but at least now they are now connected. As an admin team we are having a lot of discussions around where do we head next. Do we keep both, get rid of one, create our own…? It is a big task and I think it needs to involve many stakeholders. And on a positive note, the slides format is a great way to go because of the access for the kids. The ability for them to return to the slides multiple times and from anywhere supports their learning. I’ve been working on a similar format with my faculty. It’s validating to see it being done elsewhere too. Thanks for sharing the Padgogy Wheel too!

    • Hi Ken,
      Thank you for your comment, it is so nice to know I’m not alone! I agree that finding the next steps should involve the many stakeholders involved. From a teacher’s perspective, I do see that value in documenting our curriculum, and Atlas is certainly becoming more user-friendly. That being said, I do feel overwhelmed by the amount of documentation we are currently responsible for and I am hopeful that using Slides may help to consolidate things for us a bit.

      Curricular documentation aside, I LOVE the impact this is having on student learning! The students are using them in a variety of ways. Many of my students are taking time during their independent work and even at home to preview and review resources, some are even creating their own Slide presentations about topics they are interested in. I am really excited to see how this develops.

  1. June 5, 2017

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