Tuesday, 8 June 2010

iPhone School & Prof Development Apps

I wanted to share a few iPhone apps that I have downloaded which could be used to support work in the classroom and to help with professional development:

  • Tweetdeck
Tweetdeck is my preferred Twitter client. However, the new Twitter app is looking very useful...
  • MobileRSS
I use this feed reader to keep up-to-date with education blogs. I have only ever used this RSS reader app so I have no frame of reference, but I find it hard to imagine a better app for this purpose.
  • Tumblr
I'm using this app to share ideas which feed into a widget in this blog. I love its simplicity.
  • ColorSplash
With this app you can take a photo and make it black and white. You can then highlight a feature in colour to make it stand out. It's incredible easy to get started but needs real concentration to master it, but you can produce some great results. You could use it to inspire a piece of writing, or to introduce a historical artefact.
  • Teaching UK
The Teaching UK was created by Mark Warner for his Teaching websites. This brilliantly simple app delivers education news and competitions, teaching and ideas and also the latest tweets. Excellent for professional development. You can download the app here.
  • Comic Twist
I like the fun of this app. You can add thought bubbles and speech bubbles to a photo. I'm not teaching Science at the moment (this is my management time) but I think this could be used to create concept cartoons with the children - to encourage them to discuss concepts and work through misconceptions.
  • Tiltshift
I have used this app to take photos of the school grounds. Again, it is so simple to use and it produces brilliant results. Tiltshift blurs parts of photographs to focus on a particular feaure. The effect makes the picture look a bit like a model village.
  • PhotoStamp
When visiting other schools, I frequently use my iPhone to take a quick photo of a display or resource that I like. I use the app to add a watermark to say where the picture was taken.
  • Mathemagics
I love maths (I know, I'm sad). For a bit of fun (hmm...) I downloaded this app which teaches you mathematical tricks, like squaring a number ending in 5, multiplying in the 90s and multiplying if the 1s sum is 10. I love the app, and I know my class will too after half-term!
  • StoryCubes
Rory's Story Cubes is brilliant! I found this app at the Education Show in March. Rory's Story Cubes are nine dice with pictures on them. You roll them all to reveal nine pictures. You can then use the pictures to create discussion or for story telling. I found that it helps the children to develop their verbal storytelling and also to improve creativity. The iPhone app recreates this on the iPhone. The one problem with this is that I can't display my iPhone screen on the IWB, but I can use my visualiser to display the screen. Alternatively I can save the picture produced by the app and email it and share it on the screen. You can download the app here. You can follow Storycubes on Twitter. Read more about Story Cubes at the website.
  • RAG
"The Random Activity Generator is an iPhone application. You give the iPhone a shake, the cards spin and you are given a random activity to do. Hundreds of carefully crafted activities will keep you busy for hours."
I love the idea of this app, but I'm not convinced of its worth in a primary classroom just yet. Put simply, I think some if the 'random activities' are beyond the children. There are many which would work, but when using it with the children, I would be frustrated if the activity was too hard for them. I would love to see a primary version of the app which is based on the knowledge and skills of the primary curriculum. In its current form, I feel the app is more for secondary schools or for staff use. I would use the app with staff to be an icebreaker activity or for team building work on an INSET day. You can find out more here and download the app here.

You can read more about education apps available at Mark Warner's Teaching News website here.

Do you use any iPhone apps in the classroom or for professional development?

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