Friday, May 12, 2017

The Latin iPad

My colleague Natalie and I came into the windfall of an iPad when my grandmother decided to update hers. She was going to get rid of it, so we asked for it so we could have a dedicated Latin department iPad.

And we have made great and joyous use of it.

Some things so far this year that I highly recommend:

1. Explain Everything is an app that lets you draw, record, move pictures around, and create movies while you draw. I have given children the iPad while I tell stories, or set it up at a station, and let them create the story illustrated while narrating over it. You can stop and start it as you go, reverse, rewind and record over sections, and there's a timeline feature. You can change colors and paste in pictures from your iPad or the internet. It has been a phenomenal storytelling tool, and then you can export it so you can put it in dropbox, eClass, or whatever other method of file-sharing you use for your students.

2. Goosechase. I'm going to start with the negatives:
a. it's a freemium app. if you're using the free version, you can only have five groups on it at once, so if you have large classes, you may have large groups. you'll also have to create one for each class period, but it takes twenty seconds to redo it because you can draw the tasks from your bank of already-created missions.
b. once you've sent your kids out, you can't send a group message to them
c. videos can only be ten seconds or so long.

That said! I have so far used it to send them on a scavenger hunt to discover the various stages of the eruption of Vesuvius. (the fours want to use it at the zoo, so I'm pretty excited for that, too.)
You can set up a scavenger hunt with as many tasks as you want. Goosechase has suggested missions, or you can create a bank of your own (and you can draw from it again, which makes recreating scavenger hunts really easy).

You can set the number of points each task is worth, and they can choose which task they want to do first, meaning they won't all be going in the same direction at the same time, and it doesn't mean more work for you. You can set start and end times ahead of time, and you can create groups ahead of time (and password-protect them and/or your whole game!) if you want to.

The kids do have to create an account, but they really only need one person in the group to have the app, unless they want to make multiple submissions per task. They can have one person create the team and the other team members simply join.

For the Pompeii scavenger hunt, I hung short stories around the school with tasks on them, and they had to follow goosechase to find them and submit their tasks. At the zoo, they'll use goosechase to read some riddles, solve which animal they're looking for, and complete and submit a task at each animal's pen.

Since they're submitting evidence for every task, you can watch in real time how they're doing and (to a certain extent) send feedback. You can also give bonus points for particularly good submissions. It will keep the submissions, so if you have a great one (like a terrific haiku that was submitted about the eruption), it'll stick around in the app. DO BE AWARE - you have to create the game on the website. You can't create games in the app.

Before they left, I did give them an email address to send questions to that I monitored constantly in case they needed to ask something and couldn't spare the time to send a runner.

I also sent them with a pass. It said, "Hello! Our team name is __________. We are on a scavenger hunt to discover the stages of Vesuvius' eruption! If we are behaving well, draw us a smiley face. If we are not, send us back to (classroom)" so anyone encountering them would know they were supposed to be doing what they were doing.

3. Podcasts. Again with the stations - I can cue up a podcast on the iPad and have them listen to it, either individually or with splitters, and do an activity.

4. Voice Record Pro is free and lets them record music, songs, or speech.

5. I-nigma is a great QR reader app, and there's a world of things you can do with QR codes, including recording MP3s, having them scan the code, and listening to whatever is behind the code.

Recently, I hung up QRs around the room, each with half a sentence, and gave them individually the other half of the sentences. Based on a text we had recently read, they had to determine what the other half of the sentence was that went with the one recorded in the QR.

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