Friday, August 26, 2011

Probes, Pads and Pods

Doesn't that sound like the beginning of a bad B-Movie involving an alien abduction? :)

I've been facilitating and helping out at Touch'N'Go this week and it's been fantastic.  I got to meet lots of great people, and really worked closely with some fantastic educators.

The two workshops I actually facilitated were using iPads and iPods in a UDL environment and using Vernier Probes, iPads and iPods in a science classroom.

A brief summary of both:

We split the UDL session into three sections - Writing, Photography/Video and Sound.  Major apps were:


Pages - $10
-nearly full featured word processor.  It has some limitations, but in a school environment, it's pretty good for producing nice looking work.
Keynote - $10
-Nearly full featured presentation creator which is really easy for students to use to create quick presentations of learning.
Bamboo Paper - Free
-Great, simple "use your finger as a pen" tool.  It's a blank piece of paper.  The possibilities are nearly endless :)
Idea Sketch - Free
-Mind mapping


Collabracam - $6
-VERY cool multi-camera editor.  It takes the feeds of up to four iPod or iPhone cameras and allows a single director to manage recording from devices, send messages to users, etc.
iMovie - $5
-A limited, but still viable, movie creation app.  Limited in that the editing is a bit of a pain on an iPod but still doable.  It's great for quick hits of "what did I just do" or summarizing learning.
PS Express - Free
-Photoshop lite (more like Piknik) with some basic editing and neat filters.

Quick Voice - Free
-Easy voice recording for the iPad.  Used to record in the field, or use for descriptions of events to replay later.  Other possibilities are huge
Dragon Dictate - Free
-Decent text-to-speech app for quick annotations and some special ed use.

I accept that there are TONS more apps, and many that I use often, but we only had a limited time, so those are what we focused on :)

My vernier presentation was a blast - teachers performed two labs - a friction lab by dragging objects and a heart rate lab - and then contributed their data to a collaborative spreadsheet on Google Docs.  It worked really well - everyone got to play with the probes and see the graphs being created.

Many of the above apps were touched on with specific science uses, and we added LabTimer (16 simultaneous timers) and Numbers (nearly fully featured spreadsheet program).

Overall - a fantastic week with lots of learning!

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