MarkBook allows you to store all of your important student data on your iPad as well as making it easy to share. Classes are easy to set up and students can be added manually or imported via a CVS file. A nice feature is being able to create class seating arrangements on the App and export them along with student photos or comments. The App makes it easy for you to record the various reasons for student absences and tardiness by providing a stock of reasons for such as well as giving you the option to create your own reasons.
Prezi even allows you to upload your old PowerPoint slides as well as any other document or picture into a presentation. A neat feature is the ability to embed sound files, YouTube videos or videos from your desktop and have them automatically play upon arriving at that slide. All of this means that you can import almost any media or file and present in a seamless and attractive fashion.
Prezi is free to use. You have the option of a paid account (which I recommend) which allows you to make your projects private and which gives you the option to share with only those you wish to see them. Prezi can be used on any model of computer or operating system and it is simple to synch projects between your iPad and desktop. This means, for example, that if you have a preference for working on your laptop, you can create a project there and easily synch it to your iPad, where you can continue to edit or present. It also means that you can leave the laptop at home and travel light with just your iPad! One of the great benefits of Prezi is that even if you have a difficulty with your iPad, if your battery dies etc., you can access your Prezi from any laptop or desktop by logging into your account on the homepage. Further, internet connectivity problems is not an issue as you can store your projects on the App and edit and present offline.
VoiceThread’s blog is full of practical and creative ideas on how to make the most of the App in your classroom. Further, it’s YouTube playlist provides everything you need to unlock the full potential of the App. For advanced users or for those who wish to move into online education, VoiceThread is also compatible with Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Canvas thus giving a crucial interactive element to your online programme. The App is also a outstanding means of providing formative assessment and engaging parents in that process, which I have previously written about here and here.
When creating a quiz you are given the option of multiple choice, short answer and true/false questions. You can provide a visual clue and an explanation in case a student answers incorrectly. Once the students have completed the quiz, a full grading report is sent to your email account in Excel format meaning that you do not have to manually grade quizzes and can instead quickly and easily import them to MarkBook.
What makes Socrative an important means of feedback for teachers is that as the quiz is ongoing, they can privately view class or individual student progress on their iPad screens. He or she can immediately see if the quiz was too easy or too hard depending on how long students took on each question. Importantly, if the majority of students get the same answers wrong, the teacher can immediately identify this and reflect upon why this pattern emerged. In other words, while a quiz is sitting, a teacher can identify areas that need clarification or deeper analysis. In this way, Socrative is a powerful means of self-reflection for teachers and facilitates meaningful and timely feedback. Similarly, the “quick question” option, much like @Polleverywhere, allows the teacher to very quickly check student understanding of, or opinion on, a topic before moving on.
As for motivation, the “space-race” option allows students to compete individually or in teams in a fun way. The speed with which the student answers each question correctly determines if his rocket gets into space before the others. It makes taking a quiz engaging and if teachers wish not to promote individual competitiveness, they can assign team colours and have students complete the task in groups.
Weebly is a website-building programme that requires absolutely no knowledge of coding. It is a powerfully simple drag and drop system with a multitude of features such as blog and store pages. As well as building your website with @weebly you can also purchase your domain name there, making getting noticed online a simple process. As of October 2014 you can now fully edit and build your website from your iPad and just as with @prezi, your work is automatically synched and saved across all of your devices. To see a little of what it can do, why not have a look around the rest of my website?
As part of my transition to PBL at the University of Augsburg, I inform my students at the outset of a seminar that our findings will be presented to a global audience. I promote their findings on Twitter where I am fortunate to have a truly global #PLN. When students know that their work will be appraised by educators of all denominations their engagement level and enthusiasm becomes palpable.
What Apps do you regard as essential?