Apps for Geography Fieldwork

With preparations underway for fieldwork to support students with the new AS and A2 specifications and to provide them with tools that may be useful for their independent investigations I have been exploring options for useful apps to take into the field. The screenshot below is a small selection of some the key ones that we hope to use during fieldwork over the next couple of months. I will be reviewing some of these as and when we use them. For now just something to think about….

Page 1 – Fieldwork Apps
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Page 2 – Fieldwork AppsFieldwork Apps2

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Using new technologies in Geography

Back in January I ran part of a training session for a local network of Geography teachers. The main session was taken by Jason Swale from ESRI UK looking at the fantastic ArcGIS and the ways in which it can be used to successfully integrate GIS into the curriculum, particularly in light of the new GCSE and A’level specifications. Prior to this I did a short 30 minute session exploring some of the ways in which new technologies can be utilised in the teaching and learning of Geography, drawing particularly on some of our experiences in the ways we use it in my department at St Ivo School. Here is the presentation summarising the key ideas discussed during the session.

In case it is useful you can download the handout of links I gave out on the evening here to help explore some of the ideas covered in more detail.

Into Film Launches Innovate Free App Storymaker – The Gruffalo Edtiion

Education charity Into Film puts film at the heart of young people’s learning and have just announced the launch of new teaching aid Storymaker: The Gruffalo Edition. The innovative new, literacy focused iPad app and teaching resource has been developed in partnership with Magic Light Pictures and is available for free, along with a free film club membership. The charity’s UK-wide programme provides 5-19 year olds with unparalleled opportunities to see, think, make and imagine, contributing to their educational, cultural, creative and personal development and is supported by the BFI through Lottery funding.

App store preview image 2

App store preview image 4Using the app, pupils can record their own dialogue, music, and sound effects for a number of selected clips, and create their own unique version of the award-winning film, for the very first time.  This new platform will allow students to apply their creative skills to an actual film and is currently also the only app to be supported by an extensive teaching resource. Designed for Key Stage 1 (and useful also for older pupils who have SEN or English as a second language), the app enables students to develop their reading, writing, speaking, listening and technical skills by interacting with popular fictional character The Gruffalo, in many different languages.

App store preview image 3Highlights from Storymaker: The Gruffalo Edition include the ability to watch key moments from The Gruffalo film and for users to record voices over the top of the clip using subtitles from the original script, or creating a new narrative completely. Users can add depth to the scenes by choosing suitable soundtracks to enhance the mood, or record their own sound effects.  Each creation can be saved to the device and shared in class.

Russell Hardy, a teacher at Bookwell Primary School in Cumbria who tested the app said: “There is lots in there education wise – speaking and listening. Play is such an important part of learning at this age. Some students find it hard to articulate themselves so giving them the chance to have several goes at reading or saying something in their own time like this was valuable to them.

This new platform for learning can be downloaded from the Apple app store and accessed by any school, college or youth organisation which runs a free film club with Into Film. To start a film club and access the app click here.

For more information visit www.intofilm.org.

CanaryFlow

Since taking on my new responsibility as Head of Geography from September, I haven’t had much chance to post, but finally half term has arrived! Although my school responsibilities have changed, my philosophy hasn’t and I’m committed to continuing to explore ways in which new technologies can help support teaching and learning. One of the areas I hope that one day I can myself explore is the use of one to one devices. I am not in that position at the moment but it is interesting learning from others who are currently in this position and exploring new apps and programmes that can support with this.

CanarOne which I have recently discovered through my ‘TPD’ (Twitter Professional Development) is CanaryFlow from Canary Learning. I can’t try this one out myself because not all my students have devices but it certainly looks like it has great potential for those of you who are in that lucky situation. Hand out assignments which are are automatically downloaded to student devices and students can work on it even when they are not on-line. Students then submit and everything is automatically downloaded to your device. Comment you add are remembered so for ‘common’ mistakes or comments they can reused across student work if necessary.

More about the CanaryFlow plans is available here and CanaryFlow Teacher is free.  Student and Teacher apps are available on itunes.

Canaryflow example

Student’s see all the content teaches want them to see and there is a useful calendar view as well (photo below – taken from Canary Learning website).

As CanaryFlow works completely offline you don’t have to be online to work.

The following video gives an introduction to Canaryflow 2.0

PDF to Word

PDF to WordPDF to Word is a neat little free app for Cometdocs for converting PDF documents to word. Great for use with iphones and iPads for converting PDF documents on the go.

Some of the free features of the app:

  • The app is free and has no limits on file size or number of requests
  • Conversion is simple, accurate and precise. The end result of the conversion is ready to use in MS Word or Google Docs.
  • All PDFs are supported (even scanned ones)
  • The in-app purchase is valid for a lifetime and it enables users to skip the possible conversion queue (it happens when there are too many requests although never a long one).

Random Name Generators

Encouraging all students to participate in lessons in order to elicit evidence of their achievement can be difficult. One method which involves a no-hands up policy is to employ the use of a random generator to randomly select students. Some studies have shown that this is beneficial in that it helps keep the attention of students as they are unsure whether they might be next and are more likely to maintain engagement in the lesson. There are various methods of doing this from the use of names in a hat or on ‘lolipop’ sticks drawn from a jar through to computer based solutions. The benefit of many of the ICT solutions is that they are very visual, names can easily be saved and updated and as many lessons involve the use of computer based presentations they can easily be integrated within the lesson.

Below is a collection of some of the different random name generators available, divided into 3 categories:

1. SMART notebook – there is a generator tool called the “random word chooser” which can be found in the Lesson Activity Toolkit.
2. Internet based options – a variety or web based, or downloadable tools
3. iPad based options – with the increased use of tablets in the classroom, there are various apps which allow you to select students at random, some of these are more sophisticated with options for recording formative assessment as well.

 

SMART notebookSMART NOTEBOOK

This random selector is a flash generator embedded into a SMART notebook page – so easily saved for each of your classes – and can easily be embedded as part of your lesson if using a SMART notebook file.

For staff at St Ivo a copy of this has been saved in Projects_Staff_IWB Resources_Random name and group sorters. For other colleagues who might be reading this – you can search for the “random word chooser” of the Lesson Activity Toolkit.

(similar group sorter templates are available in the same folder on projects).

 

INTERNET BASED OPTIONS

Random Nameshttp://primaryschoolict.com/random-name-selector/

You can save the names as a URL (so could be saved as a shortcut in your projects area or on the desktop.

Simple and effective.

 

Random Name Word PickerClass Tools Random Name / Word Picker This can be either as a fruit machine or as a typewriter. Names can be saved. A simple but effective internet based option. This is widely used! Could also be used to good effect with key terms – students given a key term at random to define!

http://www.classtools.net/education-games-php/fruit_machine

 

Instant Classroom (Superteachertools.net)Instant Classroom http://www.superteachertools.com/instantclassroom/random-name-generator.php

(this will also act as a ‘group’ sorting tool and allow you to show names on a desk for swapping round seating for different activities).

For this you create a group name and then add a password and add your email address.

 

 

Instant Fruit Machine – Random Selector

http://www.teach-ict.com/tools/picker3.php Fruit MachineThis one acts a bit like a fruit machine – unlike the ones above it doesn’t allow you to save names – however it will allow you to simply copy and paste names in very quickly if you have a list in word format.

 

 

 

 

No Hands – Random Student Selector http://www.ehyde.com/No%20Hands/

This requires a download to your computer and it can take some time setting up your class lists. However these only need doing once!. You have to install this one on your computer and then Read the ‘Read Me’ File in order to follow instructions of what to do.No Hands

The benefit of this is it is quite discrete and will sit nicely in your toolbar for whenever you need it in a lesson so it enables you to use it as a randomiser for picking students whenever you want.

 

Random Name Generator (Excel)

http://www.teach-ict.com/teacher/utilities/Random%20Name%20Generator.xls

ExcelVery user friendly as is in Excel – all groups can be created and saved in one spreadsheet – if you name each column with the name of the group – this will then appear in the drop down box for you to choose from!

(You do need to ensure macros are enabled for this to work).

 

Random Student Picker Tools

http://www.barryfunenglish.com/toolsRandom FunRandom Fun Dart

This option includes a random student picker and a dartboard selector tool which can be used in a similar way. You need to sign in to access this tool – it can be accessed from the free trial section – so you do not have to sign up to a paid account.

 

 

OPTIONS ON THE iPAD (then use Airserver to project on the IWB)

Name SelectorName Selector Lite https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/random-name-selector-lite/id589498393?mt=8 (Free) (there is also a paid for version which is add free for £1.99)

Simple and easy to use and you can easily turn students within a group off and on – for exactly which students you want to be included in any particular selection group.

 

PickSticksStick Pick

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/stick-pick/id436682059?mt=8 £1.99

Random selection of a student’s name from a virtual can of lolipop sticks. Each stick is linked to a mode and level of difficulty for each learner (which can be set and saved) – every time a student stick is drawn – you are shown over a dozen Bloom’s taxonomy related questions – each will be at the individual ability level set for that student.

 

iLeap Pick a studentiLeap Pick a student https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/ileap-pick-a-student/id549617029?mt=8 (Free)

This app enables staff to pick students at random and supports multiple classes as well having a number of different options for choosing students. There is a turn based selection if wanted so that every student will be picked before any one will be selected again.

 

Pick me upPick Me (£1.49) https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/pick-me!/id444045099?mt=8

This tool will also help track formative assessment – will randomly pull student names and once question has been answered – you can record whether or not it was correct using the thumbs up or incorrect using thumbs down – data can be saved and sent to your email address.

iPad Bulletin – issue 9 (Apps Focus – Geography)

iPad Bulletin 9

You may have noticed that at the moment this has become a fortnightly bulletin rather than weekly – mainly due to time pressures! Hopefully it will give people more time to digest and try things out! Click here to download this week’s bulletin.