Mobile Monday: Two apps that can help students in an individualized math classroom

March 18, 2013

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

App info: Khan Academy for the iPhone, iPod, and iPad / Cost: Free (No official Android version, but many 3rd party equivalents exist)

App info: Wolfram Alpha for the iPhone, iPod and iPad / Cost: 4.99$ (Android version available too)

Kkhanhan Academy: If you haven’t heard about Khan Academy, please read my earlier blog post. Khan Academy now has an iPad app that students can use to view hundreds of math related videos recorded by Salman Khan. The benefit of the iPad app (compared to simply watching his videos on YouTube) is that the majority of the videos are broken down into small “one sentence chapters” which allows students to skip back and forth to any part in the explanations. This app could work well in an individualized classroom when you may not have enough time to re-explain a concept to one particular student, he may benefit from another explanation, and/or learns better at his own pace. While they are lots of sites that have math tutorial videos, these videos are all recorded by the same person (i.e. – consistent) and Salman Khan’s explanations are considered by many teachers and students to be top notch. Definitely worth checking out.. Free!

wolfWolfram Alpha: While I covered Wolfram Alpha in an earlier blog post, this amazing iPad app can bring a whole new dimension to problem solving in a math classroom. In a nutshell, Wolfram Alpha is a very advanced calculator, which you can see in these examples. Not only does the app allow you play with a plethora of real world statistics but it also allows you to solve algebraic math problems too. If you notice that a student made a mistake on a traditional paper worksheet, you can ask him to plug the math problem into the app and then use the “step-by-step” problem solver. With the assistance of the tool, the student may be able to figure out on his own (or with your help) at what step he made the mistake on paper. You can then sit down and work on the problem area together. (Thanks to Cathy Hortop for exploring these two apps with me at New Horizons, ETSB)

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Mobile Monday: iPad apps organized by learning objective (not just a huge list of apps!)

February 25, 2013

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

Link: http://tinyurl.com/learnobjapps (EdTechTeacher.com)

Quick overview: A list of iPad apps organized by learning objective, rather than by subject.

OK, so what’s different about this list? If you’ve ever tried searching for iPad apps to use in your classroom, you may have found websites with long lists of categorized “educational” apps. Upon closer inspection, these compilations often contain way too many apps to sift through and it can be difficult to find a meaningful link of how they can be used with YOUR students.

My advice: When I’m using technology in the classroom, I always like to start with the learning objective (start with the why) and then see which technology would fit best to help the students reach their goal. In regards to mobile devices, this means you may want to avoid finding an app first and then seeing where “it fits” afterwards.

How do you use this list? Using this resource, try starting off with the learning objective (click on the image below) and then see what apps are recommended for the task. Next, test the apps yourself before giving them to your students. If you find a good fit, then try it out with them! (Sources: “Learning Objective Apps” list shared by Paul Rombough, LEARN and “Technology Poster” shared by Paul Laplante, FGID/QLWG)

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Mobile Monday: Phoster allows students to create simple printable posters on an Apple mobile device

February 11, 2013

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

App info: Phoster for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod / Cost: 1.99$

Quick overview: An app that allows students to easily create posters on an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. This app can be used for any course that requires students to produce a very simple presentation or idea. Phoster is similar to the Smore website I posted a few weeks back. The main difference is that Smore is a Web 2.0 tool that is meant to be used on a Mac or PC (and allows for more complex posters) while Phoster is an app that allows you to create quick and simple posters on Apple mobile devices.

How does it work? Students start by picking the look of their “Phoster” poster by choosing from a list of included templates. Once they choose a template, they can add their own image from the built-in camera or the Internet, a little text, and then export the whole poster by e-mail (JPG) to a computer so it can be printed on a color printer. It’s easy to use too!

How can this be used in the classroom? Literacy students could create a “Phoster” about accessing a service in their community or a PSA about a civic responsibility. As each Phoster can only contain one image and a very small amount of text, students could be asked to create a whole series of simple posters around a central theme. This activity could be used as an opportunity to help Literacy level students with very basic writing skills, such as grammar and spelling. Otherwise, individual posters could be created by the students as a “my name is” sign and include a picture of themselves (taken with the iPad’s camera) to be used at the start of the term. Higher level students could use this app as a way to create a class announcement to post up around the school, classroom, or community.

How does it work? To see an overview of how it works, please watch this 4 minute “quick look” video by AdoramaTV:


Mobile Monday: Brainscape enables students to create their own flashcards

September 24, 2012

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

iPad version: Link / Web version: Link / Cost: Free

Quick overview: An iPad app that allows students to create their own sets of flashcards to be used as a study aid.

How can it be used in an individualized classroom? Ask a student to come up with about 10-20 flashcards (i.e. – both question and answers) around a topic you are covering in class. Next, work together in order to validate whether the flashcards are correct or not. The student can then practice with the flashcards in class or at home. For classrooms without iPads, Brainscape is available on the web too! (Source: Sandra Piperni, Readaption Officer at ACCESS St-Lambert)

How can it be used in small groups? Do you have access to more than one iPad in your classroom? If you are interested in exploring a collaborative, student centered activity, place your students into small groups and provide each group with an iPad. Each group would be responsible in creating 10-20 flashcards around a particular topic. Once complete, ask each group to exchange iPads so they can try out the other students’ flashcards. Alternatively, you can connect iPads to the class projector (with an Apple VGA adapter) to discuss and validate the sets with the whole class.

Does this type of activity challenge the students? While I generally prefer to highlight apps that focus on higher order thinking skills, this app is a great fit for students who need help memorizing core concepts, grammar, etc. I believe that asking the student to come up with both the questions and answers provides a better understanding of the material and a higher chance they’ll retain the information.


ICT Tip: Mathboard is an iPad app that helps students with basic arithmetic

March 19, 2012

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

Info: Mathboard for the iPad.

Cost: 4.99$

What is it? Mathboard is an iPad app that can help students work out basic arithmetic problems with minimal intervention from the teacher.

How can it be used in the classroom? So far, we’ve used the Mathboard app in an individualized math classroom. Before the students arrived, the teacher and I selected which math problems (subtraction, addition, square root, etc..) would be generated by the iPads. We then paired same level students and asked them to work out the problems in the Mathboard app. The Mathboard app keeps a running tally of all the math problems the students worked on. As the students were working, we were able to see (at a glance) which math concepts the students were struggling with. What impressed me the most was how the students worked side-by-side and helped each other out on tricky concepts. Two groups worked together on one iPad, while another group used paper and pencil in conjunction with an iPad. The app also has a “chalkboard” mode which students can pull up and work out with a stylus (or their finger) directly on the iPad’s screen. It also has a “problem solver” mode which will explain how to solve the problems step-by-step, if the student is stuck. (Special thanks to Cathy Hortop and her group of individualized students, New Horizons, ETSB)

Benefits and limitations: The app costs 4.99$ which is relatively pricey for an iPad app. It also defaults to a multiple choice mode when the app is first installed. I’m not a fan of multiple choice as students can simply guess answers and throw off the teacher. Thankfully the settings in the app can be permanently changed so that the students have to manually input the correct answer. As a side note, it’s often difficult to find applications that deal with basic arithmetic that aren’t targeted for young children. Thankfully, the Mathboard interface is free of “cartoons, balloons, and puppy dogs” and is a perfect fit for adult education students!

Video Tutorial: For a video (4 minutes) how to use the Mathboard app, click the play button below:

Mobile Monday: Using Videolicious to help students with oral presentations in a language class

February 20, 2012

This ICT tip is for the mobile devices category:

Info: Videolicious for the iPad, iPhone, iPod.

Cost: Free

Quick overview: An overview of how we’ve used the Videolicious app with FSL and English students to help develop writing and communication competencies. An advantage to using Videolicious is that it allows students to present an oral presentation without being put on the spot in front of the whole class.

How can the app be used in the classroom? Students were paired into groups of two and were provided a topic by the teacher. Before recording anything on the iPad, the students were asked to research their arguments and write out a bullet point list of what they’d like to communicate. In the next step, students used the iPads to select pictures, videos, and music to support their spoken text. After everything was recorded, the class reviewed the videos together. The entire activity can be done in about two hours.

What about different levels of students? For higher level students, the activity was geared towards using English language to persuade or arguing a viewpoint. Lower level FSL students used the app as a springboard to get them talking in a second language about a particular theme (i.e. – what I’m doing over the holidays, what I saw on my way to school, etc..)

What advantages did the mobile technology bring to the classroom? The app limits the student to 50 seconds of speaking time, similar in format to a TV commercial. This forces the students to present short, concise speeches. It was not uncommon that the students had to record multiple takes to get things right, providing them with lots of practice! The way the app is designed, it does not allow the students to fiddle with editing, which could take away from working on the language. Last but not least, if you’re considering this activity with your students, it’s VERY important that each group of students has a quiet place to record their videos. (Special thanks to following teachers who graciously invited me into their classrooms to try this activity: Shanna Loach and Megan Maclean, New Horizons, ETSB – Stephanie Sabbagh, Place Cartier, LBPSB – Darlene Brown, The Learning Exchange and CDC Vimont, SWLSB)

Interested? We have enough iPads and iPods to accommodate your FGA classroom. Please contact me to discuss how we can adapt this activity for your classroom!

Video: To see a 1 minute video demonstrating how the app works, please click the play button below:


Mobile Monday: Speech-to-text with Dragon Dictate for the iPad

January 9, 2012

This ICT tip is for the mobile devices category:

Info: Dragon Dictate for iPhone, iPod, iPad.

Cost: Free.

What does it do? The app will transform spoken speech into text. No training required, just speak and go!

How can it help my students? If you are an ESL (Literacy) teacher, this app could be used to help your students with pronunciation. Students could practice individually by dictating short sentences to the app. If the app repeatedly has trouble recognizing certain words, this can be a cue for the students to ask the teacher for the correct pronunciation. Students could also benefit by seeing grammatical errors “written out” that might otherwise slip by unnoticed when they are speaking. Lastly, this app could be beneficial for students with disabilities that may prevent them from typing on a regular keyboard. Text generated in this app can be e-mailed or copy and pasted into other apps. Definitely worth checking out!

Video Tutorial: For a 2 minute video on how to use Dragon Dictate for the iPad, please click on the video 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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