Mobile Monday: Using the iPad with ESL/FSL students and the ComicBook! app

November 21, 2011

This ICT tip is for the mobile devices category:

Info: ComicBook! for the iPhone, iPod, iPad.

Cost: 1.99$

Quick overview: Using the ComicBook app in a literacy (ESL) classroom to help students develop basic writing and communication competencies.

How can the app be used in the classroom? Sharon Meehan teaches a literacy level “Building Foundations” course at ACCESS Riverside in Brossard, Quebec. Using the ComicBook app in conjunction with the iPad’s built-in camera, Sharon’s students took pictures of each other to create a simple comic. Students used the iPads to insert written captions to simulate real life situations, such as ordering at a restaurant. At the end of the exercise, the iPads were  connected to a digital projector so students could collaboratively edit grammar and spelling, or rearrange the placement of the written captions.

What advantages did the mobile technology bring to the classroom? The app’s easy to navigate interface (symbols and pictograms) helped students focus on the activity, rather than getting bogged down by a complicated computer interface. It was surprisingly easy for the students to create the comics, even if they didn’t have a strong grasp of the English language. The limited length of written “comic bubble” style captions also ensured that the students wrote short, concise interactions. 

Interested? The activity was closely linked to the prescribed elements of Sharon’s ENG-B122-4 course and it mainly focused on developing writing competencies. Would you like to do a similar activity in your Literacy or French second language classroom? We have enough iPads to accommodate your class and we are booking now for January 2012 and beyond. Contact us to discuss how we can adapt this activity for your classroom!

Video: To see a 2 minute in-class video demonstrating how Sharon’s students used the app in the classroom, click the play button below:


Mobile Monday: Screenchomp helps explain tricky concepts through an iPad whiteboard recording

October 24, 2011

This ICT tip is for the mobile devices category:

Info: Screenchomp for iPad only. Free, with no in-app costs.

Quick overview: An iPad app that allows teachers (or students!) to create a live recording of whatever they write or draw on on the iPad, along with their voice. Easily share the resulting video with others.

How does it work? Choose a color, talk, draw, and then share! What I like best is that there’s a very low learning curve involved to use the app, it’s almost effortless to create and share videos. In order to write in the app, you can use your fingers or purchase an inexpensive capacitive stylus, such as the Targus stylus I use with my own iPad. In order for students to view the videos, all they need is a regular computer with a web browser (no iPad required!) and the unique link. No accounts or passwords are needed either.

How can it be used in the classsroom: Teachers could use Screenchomp to quickly explain complicated concepts for students study at home without a huge investment of prep time. Students could use Screenchomp for peer teaching or oral presentations. Teachers could even hook an iPad 2 up to a digital projector and record parts of the lesson as they teach. Lastly, younger students could draw and simultaneously recount a story to mobilize language skills.

Video Tutorial: For a video (3 minutes) how to use the Screencomp app, click the play button below:


Mobile Monday: The Elements is an amazing way to learn (and enjoy!) the Periodic Table of Elements

September 26, 2011

This ICT tip is for the mobile devices category:

Info: The Elements for iPad HD, iPod touch/iPhone 4. Also available in French for the iPad.

Cost: Cost varies by device, see links above.

Quick overview: To some students, the periodic table may appear to be just a bunch of confusing letters without any meaning. This app helps students make a connection (through sight and touch) between everyday objects and the elements they are comprised of.

How does it work? Elements on the periodic table are represented by beautifully detailed 3D animated models that the students can touch and rotate. Students click on an element to bring up a brief description of the element along with an interesting anecdote or out of the ordinary fact about its history… even the most jaded students will want to keep reading!

How can it be used in the classroom? I think this app is great for self directed learning. If you are teaching in an individualized classroom, provide a student with an iPad and ask them to explore the elements on their on own. You can ask them to focus on one element and create a presentation about something new they’ve learned. For students wanting more detailed scientific information about any element, they can access the Wolfram Alpha website directly from within this app. This is currently one of my favorite reference apps for the iPad.  Did I mention it’s ridiculously easy to use too? A must see!

Video Tutorial: For a video (2 minutes) overview of The Elements app, click the play button below:


Mobile Mondays: A new feature coming to the ICT Blog this school year

September 12, 2011

This ICT tip is for the mobile devices category:

What’s this all about? Like it or not, mobile devices like the iPad, iPod, and various smartphones have exploded in popularity. As a result, we’ve been seeing a significant shift towards educators exploring the potential of these devices in their classrooms. Our students love using these devices in their own personal lives, so why shouldn’t we take advantage of a new approach to learning in our classrooms?

What about the ICT Blog? At the blog, our first priority will remain focused on bringing you easy to use Web 2.0 suggestions each week. However, in addition to our regular web 2.0 suggestions, we will start highlighting pedagogically relevant educational apps for mobile devices every odd Monday, hence the term Mobile Mondays!

What are Apps? See “apps” in our ICT Terminology section. Apps for touch based mobile devices open up new ways of learning that simply aren’t possible with laptops or computers… and that’s the part we hope to start highlighting here each week. It’s often easy to get up in the “wow” factor with mobile devices and we’ll be doing our best to avoid all that.

What happens if I don’t have access to any mobile devices? If you’re a Quebec FGA teacher and see something here that you’d like to try in your own classroom, please let us know! Alain and I have access to our own mobile lab (iPads, iPods, etc..) and would be happy to help you setup your own pilot project.

We need your help! We’d like to know more about what you’d like to see in future “Mobile Mondays”. Please take a few seconds to fill out both polls below. Thanks!



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