Friday, July 13, 2012

An App for the Teacher

Its not so many years since the 'briefcase' was the essential must-have for every self respecting, serious businessman on his or her way to the office. Carrying documents, pens, phone and planner and sending the world the 'I am a serious businessman' message.

Nowadays, things seem to have moved on incredibly. I was recently at an ipad launch in a Danish school where the Headteacher wore shorts, a loose, un-tucked shirt and no shoes to address the conference and only I batted an eyelid!

So, briefcase or backpack?

Many people have an idea that there is a magic list of apps for teaching. I seem to read more and more '100 Essential Apps for Education' on blogs and tweets all over the place.

Having looked at a few of these lists I think that many of them focus on very consumption or task specific apps - i.e those that either deliver information or those that perform some, generally boring, 'school' function such as recording homework plans, sharing files with students or subject specific task.

All of the above are valid functions for the iPad in school, sometimes even interesting and exciting ways of replacing tired routine tasks in a way that is incredibly helpful to the workflow of student or school.

I suppose you could describe such sets of applications as a 'briefcase' of apps; business-like and functional.

However, my set of apps would be a rucksack or backpack; sometimes it contains clothes for the gym, sometimes folders and pens, sometimes art materials, sometimes instruments and even games or toys.

I'm actually not a great fan of lists in the first place but as I look to starting a new school year after the summer I need to reflect on the apps I use and the ones I want to include in the student set for the coming school year.

So without further ado, I begin what shall probably be a number of posts on my essential classroom apps:

1. Pages

At the top of the list is the Apple word-processing app 'Pages'. Any 1:1 iPad teacher would be eternally grateful for Pages and I think it is the kind of app that goes along way to justifying the cost of the device, even if that was all it brought to the classroom.
It's not just that it enables students to type and print their work but it handles text and even basic desktop publishing tasks with a simplicity and ease that produces fantastic results that students are proud of.
Templates are fantastic and intuitive to use and students become almost instantly familiar with many iPad essentials; copying and pasting, replacing and inserting images, link between camera roll and photo library and other apps, spell-checking and text manipulating to mention a few.

Are there alternative apps out there?

To be honest I don't know, and I don't care. For me, at this price Pages is number 1 on the list, or first to be thrown in the backpack.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

No comments:

Post a Comment