Technology is so important in today’s educational field. There are so many benefits and endless possibilities, and let’s face it, most of the time kids respond better to a digital model.Every month my building holds tech integration meetings.This past week we were all together and experienced our first App Smack Down! We were all instructed to bring our iPad and an app that we use in our classroom (all of the teachers in my building are issued 2 iPads).
Once we were at the meeting we were told the rules of the smackdown.
-We all had to speak
-We had to jump in one after another
-We had to give an explanation of the app and how we use it in our classroom
-Let the smack down begin!
A couple of my favorite apps that were brought to the smack down were, Geoboards and Good Reader. Geoboards was brought by my special ed. neighbor. It is so cool and perfect because we are working on perimeter and area right now. How many times have you said OUCH! after the rubber band breaks when using the traditional Geoboard that looks like this?
Well the new Geoboard App is the answer and folks it’s FREE!
I was able to use my Reflector software, which is an awesome way to mirror your Apple device onto your computer, which I then hook up to mirror on my board. I know it seems complicated but it is totally worth it. Who doesn’t want to see an iPad the size of your board? We started our activity by having the students find the perimeter of the shapes that I made. We then moved to them making shapes for each other and then finding the perimeter. Then I took it a step further and had the students copy a shape I made on the board. This was really tricky for my kiddos since they had to multitask but they loved it. Here are some images of use using the Geoboard App (you can also see how the Reflector Software is hooked up).
Another awesome app I use in my classroom daily is Good Reader. It is an awesome document reader that has so many cool features. This one is not free but it's only $4.99 and worth every penny.
One of my little guys has difficulty writing, as he applies limited pressure (you can barley see anything when he writes), he hates the feeling of the paper and the sound that is made when the pencil touches the paper irritates him. Could we work on these things? Absolutely, but why put him through torture when he is able to do everything the class is doing right on his iPad with the use of the Good Reader app?
I email him our daily assignments and he opens them up in the app. He then types his answers in and then emails them back so I can print them. And that's it folks. He has the same document as the rest of the kids. If he is not finished he simply saves it and has it waiting for the next day.
The other cool thing we use this app for is reading. You can download (or upload I suppose) a book and open it in Good Reader. You then are able to highlight, look up definitions, plop sticky notes right in (yes Lucy Calkins friends Sticky Notes!!!). This is great for all of my students since there are so many things we require them to do during reading. Allowing them to have all of their materials right on the screen maximizes the time spent in the text rather than searching for sticky notes and sharpening pencils. This is a cool image I found on Google to showcase what Good Reader can do.
I can not stress enough how technology is taking over the classroom. If you are a pro with tech then download and go. If you are a bit scared of technology, I would say these are two great apps to start with. Geoboard and Good Reader takes what we already know and puts it into the digital world. Do any of you use these apps? What cool educational apps do you use in your classroom?