This year has been full of technological excitement at PRACE, as teachers and students have embraced the new iPad gadgets.
VCAL students began the experiment, being the most likely to explore new things. They are now sharing files via a combination of google drive and showbie, submitting their work via airdrop, and more. Teachers broadcast polls and surveys straight to the big screen wirelessly, and any student can also share their work with others via the big screen.
Thanks to the heart-warming success of the initial iPad explorations in the VCAL classroom, ESL and literacy teachers have also begun to explore new territory.
- Yvonne pushed the innovation at one teacher moderation session, when she shared documents for validation via the airdrop technology (files travel directly from one iPad to the others, in the air).
- Barb has been making stop-motion animation videos with her “Making Connections” group, as they work with images and vocabulary relating to food – particularly pizza. She has also found that her students respond much more positively to the challenge of taking photos on excursion, when an iPad is involved.
- Rohan has been challenging students to discover apps that would suit their interests and working lives.
Just now, I’ve found another couple of apps that could suit literacy students, and I think Rohan is going to trial them with his literacy students:
- Dragon Dictate turns your speech into words. There are many apps that do this now, but this is the original, with years of experience… and bizarrely, it is free for the basic edition. (But the app does require your internet connection, and it may send your speech back to home base for analysis.)
- Spell better gives options for predictive text while you type, and then reads each word aloud. It will also check each sentence and offer improvements. When I tried this, the app suggested “piece of cake” as an alternative to “peace of cake” – that’s pretty good. There’s an option for an Australian voice, and also a font designed for people with dyslexia (Open Dyslexic font). The basic app is free but limited to one note. The full app costs $13, with options for volume license. (Here’s another review of the product.)
- iMotion for making stop-motion animation, and iMovie to combine all the students’ movie snippets into one film with audio overlay.
- VCAL: Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning
- ESL: English as a second language
- Airplay: a way to broadcast your iPad to the big screen, like a wireless data projector (uses Apple TV).
- Airdrop: kind of the same as airplay, but you send files direct to other iPads.
- ACSF: Australian Core Skills Framework