Posts tagged ‘iPad’

Become an Apple Teacher

“The most important thing is a person. A person who incites your curiosity and feeds your curiosity; and machines cannot do that in the same way that people can.” by Steve Jobs

Recently the Apple Education Team launched Apple Teacher, a program to help teachers integrate technology skills into the classroom. Apple Teachers are recognized for their understanding of how to use Apple products for teaching and learning. They have proven knowledge of using iPad, Mac, and built-in apps to enhance productivity and inspire creativity in their classrooms and beyond. Apple honors their achievement and commitment to creating the very best learning experiences for students. Anyone can become an Apple Teacher and it is FREE.

To sign up to be an Apple Teacher, click here. You will then be taken to the ‘Apple Teacher Learning Center’. The Apple Education team has personalized the learning experience for you because you can choose which Apple Teacher path you want, either iPad or Mac, to become an Apple Teacher. (You can also do both paths if you want to as well.)

All you need to do is complete eight online quizzes, in any order that you want, to earn badges. You do not need to review the study materials or resources provided if you feel you have mastered the content of a certain quiz, you can just take the quiz. For example, I use iMovie on my Mac a lot; I felt pretty confident that I didn’t need to utilize the resources provide and I just took the quiz. You can complete the quizzes at your own pace and once you earn all eight badges, you’ll receive an official Apple Teacher logo that you can share with the world. 


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Apple Education Team will also be updating the Apple Teacher Learning Center, so be sure to come back and check out new learning materials! What do you have to lose, give it a try and Good Luck!


Mystery Skype

“It is the dim haze of mystery that adds enchantment to pursuit.” By Antoine Rivarol

Guest Blog Post by Megan Mehta

We were a few weeks away from a unit centered on the 5 Themes of Geography, and my options were looking like either a) pull the info from the textbook, or b) do something the kids would be excited about.  So I started doing some research and some thinking and this is what I came up with:

We would still use the 5 Themes framework, but I wanted them to branch out beyond the borders of North Carolina.  I also wanted them to work collaboratively while sustaining interest in a project that was going to span a few weeks. I began with a regional map of the United States:


I split up the kids and let them choose their regions.  Each and every group was excited about their region because someone had some connection to a state, so we were off to a great start!  The next step was to figure out a way to organize our information.  We are a BYOD school, but not all of my kids have devices, so we discussed ways to keep track of our learning and research and decided on a common graphic organizer:


Hey! That’s only 4 themes! I decided to omit the “movement” theme for the purpose of this unit, as we will be learning about it later in the year.  Anyway, we discussed the themes as they related to Charlotte, North Carolina, and began with Location.  They immediately realized that finding the absolute location of their region was going to be tricky. One group’s solution was to do it just for the capital cities in their respective states; the other groups declared them geniuses, and everyone was happy with the solution. For relative location, some groups chose to describe it for the capital cities, some chose to focus on the region itself.

We went through each of the remaining themes like this: I modeled, they applied. I assessed them with a simple rubric of 3 (mastered), 2 (partially mastered) and 1 (not mastered), and provided support where needed. I expected to be tearing around the room with my hair on fire, but the kids were really into this and did an amazing job of working collaboratively.

We finished our graphic organizers (this took about 4-5 class periods of 45 minutes each) and I was (fairly) confident we were ready to set up our first Mystery Skype. I found a list of jobs and tweaked it to meet our class needs. What we ended up with was this:

1 note taker (records the clues on paper)

2 tweeters (to live tweet the event, of course!)

3 moderators (the faces of our class– asked the questions from the inquirers and relayed answers to the mappers)

4 state experts (answered the questions from the other class)

3 inquirers (asked questions based on the mappers’ notes)

4 mappers (used maps of the U. S. and Google Earth to narrow down the other class’ location)

2 photographers (used iPads to document the experience)

For the first call, I assigned the jobs but in subsequent ones, I have had them pull them out of a hat (a fancy word for “quart-sized storage bag”) and given the option to trade.

To set up the call, I turned to the Great and Powerful Twitter. Within hours, we had three classes wanting to connect. I learned quickly that scheduling can be a challenge with our regimented days, but with some creative rearranging we managed to find a time to connect with a class in Iowa. I told them from the get-go that we were completely new to this in case we breached some Mystery Skype protocol or etiquette that we were unaware of. We took our cues from them and we were off and running! Their first question asked us if we were in the U.S. and where we were in relation to the Mississippi River. It took all I had to restrain myself and let the kids figure out the strategy! I’d like to say that everyone stuck to their job and their assigned classroom area the whole time and everything went perfectly… However… we had sound issues which made it all much more difficult than it should have been. We couldn’t get skype to work on our desktop, so we were using an iPad. The speakers I had weren’t working, so the only audio we had were the tiny sounds coming from the iPad speakers. In a room full of excited 8 year olds, this is not ideal. At one point, I was leaning in to the speaker to listen, not realizing my face was right in the camera. Not exactly the big screen debut I was hoping for, and I’m pretty sure I reappeared in a subsequent nightmare or two because that was one intense close-up. Also, the kids were SO excited that they were (of course) all over the room, talking over each other, doing each other’s jobs, and often doing everything but paying attention to the clues. BUT, we made it! After 45 minutes, they had guessed our location and we figured out theirs (with a little help).

In all, it was and continues to be an amazing learning experience for these kids. They are learning so much about U. S. geography, and thrilled about connecting with other kids across the country. We will definitely continue this throughout the year! If you are looking to connect with us, our Twitter handle is @MehtasBESpandas.

**Update! This process has evolved throughout the year, and I’m sure it will continue to do so next year. I’ve since added the job of “back channellers” where we set up a room on and ask questions about how many kids they have in their school or class, what their school mascot is, etc. We also use Google maps to find out how long it would take us to travel to their school by car. Something we may do next year is come up with a short bio about us and the Charlotte area to use as a wrap up or conversation starter once the locations have been correctly identified. We also need to talk about time zones and the 13 original colonies– both those questions came up a few times and stymied our state experts. I’ve also learned that guessing the state is the easy part– guessing the town or city is really tough! I think the biggest take-away I have from doing these this year are how quickly my kids took over and rocked it out. There was a lot of initial coaching, but by the end of the year, THEY were the ones taking the lead, keeping each other in check, critically thinking, and collaborating. And no one will ever be able to say one of our Pandas can’t find xyz on a map of the U.S.!

Why we should be App Smashing!

“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.” Robert Frost

‘App Smashing’ (I have also heard it called App Synergy) was invented by Gregory Kulowiec.  App Smashing is when students create content using a variety of apps for example smashing Tellagami and iMovie to make a video. Intro to App-Smashing from misterkling on Vimeo does a great job of explaining what App Smashing is more in-depth.

Why should you be App Smashing? That is easy, because why limit yourself or your students to just one app! App smashing allows more creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication of content mastery; all 21st century skills we want our students using along with integrating technology seamlessly. Take the concept a step further and have the students explain how they created their app smash.

10 FREE Apps You Can Smash:

1. Telligami

2. iMovie (now free) or TouchCast

3. Thinglink

4. Evernote

5. Skitch

6. Popplet Lite

7. Google Drive

8. Pic Collage

9. Haiku Deck

10. Story Me

Below are more resources on App Smashing:

On Twitter: #appsmashing #appsmash

App Synergy: The Art Form of App Smashing 

App Smash: The Ben Bloom Fist in the SAMR Glove

The Definitive App Smashing Guide

Place Value App Smash

How about you? Please share what App Smashing you have done with your students on the iPads?

Activities and Resources for Non-fiction Text Features

“Education…has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.” By George Macaulay Trevelyan

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The Common Core emphasizes the importance of nonfiction text. Understanding text features are an important part of helping readers determine what is important to the text.

Two of my favorite ‘Newspaper’ web tools, that also work on devices using a browser, are TweenTribune and Dogo News. Both sites have articles that are appropriate, student friendly topics and each article also comes with a ‘Critical Thinking Challenge’ question for students to ponder. When you use Dogo News, you can click on a current event and it will tell you what Common Core Standards the article addresses, what age level and what National Standard. Both of these sites are great to use for non-fiction texts and especially to teacher text features. Below are activities you can do with your students that allow them to also demonstrate 21st century skills and digital literacy.

5 Activities for the Classroom: 

1. You can also use the Bounce App website. You paste a website address that you like into the “app” and it turns it into an interactive screenshot where students can jot ideas while reading non-fiction text! You can have the students identify the non-fiction text features. (Works on all devices using browser too)

2. Have students use their devices and do a photo text features scavenger hunt. The students can find an example of each text feature and take a picture of the feature, add the picture to Pic College or Skitch and label each feature.

3. Have students create non-fiction article that include all text features using Apps or websites such as Google Documents, Pages, Book Creator or any word-processing such as word.

4. Having students reading a non-fiction text on their level, using the sites above. Have the students analyze the text by blogging or writing with starter questions such as: What text features did the author use?  Were they helpful,  why or why not?  Are there any other text features the author should have included to make better?

5. Have students create a presentation using an App or website of their choice and have them ‘teach’ their classmates or a younger grade about text features. For example, have 2nd graders teach the kindergartener as both grade levels have learning about text features in the Common Core standard.

I would love to hear how you teach nonfiction text features, please add them in the comment section.

Make Your Point in Haiku Deck

“It is better to create than to learn! Creating is the essence of life.” by Julius Caesar

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Guest Blog Post By Lisa Maples

If you want to do something, then you’ll do it.  In my experience, going after a goal is thrilling especially if it is one that comes from an inner motivation.  No one has to beg you, or force you, if the motivation is intrinsic.  Being able to persuade others with convincing arguments is a skill that we work on throughout our lives.  As humans, we like to be right and consistently try to prove our points.  After all, as Angela Maiers so aptly taught me through her You Tube lesson, I Matter and You Matter.  Our ideas are valuable and need to be heard.

As our first iPad project of the school year, I planned a project that would allow my fourth and fifth grade students to grasp that their ideas mattered.  I knew that if I could set up the right conditions, my students would welcome the opportunity to be asked to share their ideas.  I asked them to choose a topic that they knew a lot about and convince others to think the way that they think about the topic.  I had 14 iPads for students to share as I wheeled them around the school and visited the fourth and fifth grade classes for a total of 45 minutes each during a five week span in September and October of 2013.  Due to collaboration with their partners, students were engaged as they articulated their points that they would use to persuade an audience of their peers.

After being amazed at the precise points of Birke Baehr at a TEDx Talk on You Tube, I decided to show students his powerful five minute talk. I loved how Birke introduced his topic of genetically altered feed given to animals then motivated the audience to change the way that they viewed the topic.  After watching his talk, I asked students to consider whether or not the author had convinced them that our food system had some flaws after analyzing his comments.  Many students reported that they were more interested in buying organically grown food and wanted to know more about how the food they eat was created.  Using the TEDx Talk as my springboard, I then posed an Essential Question that I had previously composed to my students which was this:  Can you persuade someone to think the way you think?  I gave some suggestions on my Smartboard file such as the following topics:

Should kids be given allowances?

Why should one person be paid more than another?

Should we recycle and go green?

What is the best Movie or Book of all time?

Why play sports?

What is something that makes you happy?

What are the benefits of healthful eating and exercise?

In pairs, students brainstormed at least six reasons to convince others to have the same opinion as themselves.  They recorded their persuasive points in the yellow notepad app on the iPad and labeled their notes with their grade, homeroom teacher’s name and their first names since they shared these 14 iPads with 850 other K-5 students.  (I also put numbers as the Home Screen on each iPad and distributed iPads to the same students each week.)  I noticed an incredible amount of excitement as students took advantage of me asking them to prove that their ideas had worth and to record their thoughts.  Students were told that they would be presenting their ideas in front of their peers in a mini TED Talk format using an awesome app on the iPad.

In a follow-up session, I introduced students to Haiku Deck, a presentation app for the iPad.  I demonstrated how to create a series of slides with words and images that would convey an opinion that I now share with Birke Baher.  I showed them the Haiku Deck presentation that I created about “Organic Food:  What’s the Big Deal?”  

In Haiku Deck, there are no fancy transitions and limited amounts of text allowed per slide.  The more text that one writes, the smaller the font becomes so less is more.  Students can choose from several free font choices and Creative Commons Licensed images from within the app.  There are also plenty of images that can be purchased, but we chose only free options within the app.  Once students’ notes were complete including words that described the images that they wanted on each of their Haiku Deck slides, they began the process of choosing words to persuade their peer audience of their point and to find or create images that would powerfully illustrate their opinions on their chosen topic.  I realized soon, however, that despite the amazing images offered within Haiku Deck that are Creative Commons Licensed, my school district filters blocked the majority of the images.  As a go around approach, I showed students how to search for copyright free images at Google Advanced Image Search, save the images to the Camera Roll on the iPad and import the images into Haiku Deck slides.  I also wanted to give them additional choices on how to prove their points by allowing them to draw pictures on the iPad using the Doodle Buddy app then import their drawn images into their Haiku Deck Slides.  An example of a finished product of two students who developed their own topic, not one of mine, is here on the topic of “Why Everyone Should Have Dogs”

Giving students a choice in their topic was paramount because it fueled their interest.  As they began to work on this project for the 45 minutes that I saw them each week, I decided to share a Project Based Learning Rubric that I modified from Jill Thompson’s example at one of her websites.  Here is the rubric:


  • Haiku Deck presentation shows knowledge of the selected topic.
  • Presentation clearly answers the essential question, attempts to persuade audience to think the way the authors think and calls audience to action.
  • Group members effectively communicate content in front of peers.


  • Creativity is used to clearly illustrate and emphasize main points.
  • Words are displayed and organized in the layout of the presentation.

Technology Integration

  • Group used technology tools in Haiku Deck on the iPad to showcase their product to their audience.
  • Images chosen within Haiku Deck are effective at illustrating the point.


  • Group members contributed ideas frequently, communicated clearly and positively to team.
  • Group worked collaboratively to develop answers to essential question.

As they have begun to finish, I have had them practice giving their mini TED talk while using the slides that they made in Haiku Deck.  They are vested in this project and care deeply about others adopting their viewpoint, while also beaming with pride in the slides that they have created.

When students present their Haiku Deck presentations next week, I will have them share in six areas around the classroom then rotate around the class to hear all of the persuasive TED-like talks.  I will be asking students to validate as audience members the TED Talkers with positive comments and then to decide if the talk actually persuaded them to adopt the thoughts of each TED Talker.

This was my first multi-week iPad  project as Technology Teacher during the 2013-2014 school year.  I knew how the education world was and is all a buzz about Passion Based Learning, Genius Hour, and 20 % Time.  I feel that I have given students a platform for their ideas to be heard though this project while allowing them to choose a topic that they were passionate about as their focus.  I wanted students to see the effort it takes to craft words into powerful tools to cause others to adopt the mindset of the authors.

I developed a Haiku Deck presentation to document my Summer Break of 2013 with my family once I saw Cory Tressler from The Ohio State University give a talk using Haiku Deck at a Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools’ Summer Institute in June of 2013.  I loved the various places to put text on the screen and that it forced me to limit my wordiness.  I would use images of my family as well as the images found in the Haiku Deck app to create my presentation.  I found that I knew how to navigate Haiku Deck because I had used it in my personal life before showing it to my students.  Once I arrived at school however, my district filters blocked most of the free images so I was limited with students unlike when I was at home.  Nevertheless, the Haiku Deck app gives a way to quickly and concisely make points while focusing on the message not on elaborate transitions or music.  My students will be able to use Haiku Deck during the school year as they investigate other Essential Questions that I will pose to them.  Since Common Core State Standards are rich in having students argue their points, I feel that this project allowed students to practice not only analyzing a TEDx Talk but to create their own mini TED Talk with persuasive points and present their ideas while using Haiku Deck.   I am most excited that this project gave students a chance to be heard and to realize that they have a contribution to make to the world.

I got the ideas for the TED Talk lesson from a teacher whose work I had purchased at www.Teachers Pay Teachers. Com named Monica Burns, but then put my own spin on it by framing the lesson through the lens of “You Matter” from Angela Maiers, adding in the Haiku Deck presentation app, and modifying Jill Thompson’s PBL rubric.  You can view Monica Burns’ original lesson here. 

Bringing Apple TV into the Classroom

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”  — Henry Ford

Apple TV and ipad

Apple TV’s are making it into more and more classrooms around the world. Our district is in the starting phase of brining Apple Tv’s into the classroom. Below are ways you can use Apple TV, steps for how to mirror and other articles/resources.

8  Ways to Use Apple TV in the Classroom

1. Simple be untethered – freedom to move around.

2. Demonstrate apps or sites

3. Display pictures of student/teacher work

4. If you have more iPads in the room, students can share their screen on the Apple TV

5. Students/Teacher can present/share from anywhere in the room.

6. Annotate documents live with your students

7. Using iBooks and highlighting sections/words for discussion

8. Display Apps so all students can see on a big screen (Ex. ShowMe, Virtual Field Trip Apps etc)

Example: The picture above is of a Kindergarten class and I.  We are looking at an App called Insect Lore-Live Butterfly Garden. This app allows you to watch butterfly’s grow through metamorphosis. The students watched and wrote in their science notebooks what they were observing. You start by naming your butterfly and an egg appears then hatches. The students see the transition from baby to more mature caterpillar. You ‘feed’ the caterpillar and see it change into a chrysalis, and finally emerge as Painted Lady butterfly. This process takes about 5 minutes.  (NC Essential Standard K.P.2) This app is also great for 2nd grade 2.L1 – Understanding animal life cycles.

 Mirroring your iPad’s screen to the Apple TV

1. Turn on the TV/Projector connected to the Apple TV

2. Ensure each device is on the same network

3. Double tap the home button on the iPad

4. Swipe to the right and you will see a button that has a square with a triangle

5. Tap the button. This displays the available devices for use with AirPlay

6. Tap on your Apple TV’s name and then slide Mirroring to ‘On’

7. Your iPad should screen should be now displaying on the TV/Projector connected to the Apple TV

Here are other Articles/Resources about Apple TV’s in Education: 

Apple TV in Schools

Apple TV in the Classroom – 4 Reasons to Try it Out

Apple TV in the Classroom – The New Smartboard

Ways to Use Apple TV

iTunes Podcasts on Apple TV

Good Bye Smartboard….Hello Apple TV

I would love to know how you use Apple TV’s in the classroom. Please share in the comment section.

Digital Storytelling with Tellagami App

“You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.” By Clay P. Bedford


Tellagami is a newer Apple and Android the allows you to create talking avatars. Similar to Voki’s you can have students create and show their knowledge. Tellagami is simple, user-friendly and FREE!

Steps to creating a “Gami”

1. Click on Create

2. Chose your character, emotion and background

3. Record or Type your message.

4. Save and Share

Here is my “Gami” message for you:

As my Gami stated, this is a great App to have students demonstrate mastery of skills but also integrating technology and 21st century skills seamlessly. Having students explain their knowledge allows for higher order thinking. I like that you can either type your responses  or record  allowing you to differentiate. Creating Tellagami’s infuses Common Core:  Speaking and Listening Anchor Standards along with other Common Core and/or Essential Standards efficiently. Here are my top 5 ways you can use Tellagami in your classroom:

1. After reading ________ (fill in the blank book) have the students create an avatar that looks like the character summarizes the book.

2. Have students describe a vocabulary word and use it in a sentence.

3. Create avatars to read their poems

4. Create an avatar that looks like them and explaining any concept that you are working on such as rock cycle, simple machines, adding and subtracting fractions etc.

5. Create avatars to persuade the audience (Ex: voting for a candidate)

I would love to hear how you use Tellagami App in your classroom, please share in the comments.

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