The school year has come to an end, and a semester of 1:1 with iPads is under our belts. Did we take education to a whole new level? Maybe not a WHOLE NEW level, but I feel we definitely took some very large steps in the right direction. However, as I reflect back on this semester and look forward to next school year, I ask myself, Did we make the right move going with iPads instead of laptops?
Differentiation vs. Collaboration
- Evernote – The more I play around with this app, the more I love it and see its capabilities as a true collaborative tool. Students can not only take notes with voice recordings or photos within it, it saves EVERYTHING! Students can also share their notes, not in real time like Google Docs, but a nice alternative nonetheless. I’ll report more once I get this one tested in the field.
- Notability – Think of Evernote, but with the ability to annotate over notes and PDF’s using your own handwriting. I’ve used Notability this year to not only to leave hand-written marks on students’ writing turned in through email, but I also give them audio comments that go more in depth. Then I email it back. I have also had students do this to each other’s as peer review. The cool part? You can have multiple recordings on the same document. The author can hear 3-5 other reviewers within the same document. The critical depth they are able to achieve is pretty remarkable. I know, because I have them email the rough draft with the comments along side the final draft.
- VoiceThread – This is an app that was brought to my attention recently through my grad school cohort. A person is able to post a video, audio clip, or PDF, and anyone else can leave comments in similar mediums. I see this as a viable collaborative tool when I have something to share with students that pertains to a text we are reading, and I want to get their feedback. Students are able to read, listen and see their classmates’ feedback on the same topic. This one fits collaboration AND differentiation.
- Skitch – Again, not a true collaborative tool, but can act as one. Just as Notability allows one to annotate notes and PDF’s, Skitch does quick work on annotating pictures. It allows you to pull in pictures from websites, photo album, or take a quick photo. Then, using the built in tools, you can write, type, highlight, and even add shapes. I usually have students take photos of common writing mistakes, and we will annotate them to fix them. Or vice versa, we will point out excellent examples of writing.
- Reflection – I will admit, this one is not an app for the iPad, but I think it still allows one to do collaboration. Reflection is a utility you download onto your laptop. It then allows you to Airplay any iPad to your laptop (which I recommend having it connected to a projector so everyone in the classroom can see as well). We use this one frequently in my classroom to share out projects, ideas, examples, etc. It allows any student in my room to share what’s on their iPad with everyone else in the room.
- Tapose – Looks very promising and cool. I currently have it downloaded, but haven’t had a chance to give it a real-life test run to see what capabilities it has in the classroom. According to its website, the creators of Tapose tout that it is “The ONLY iPad application to offer advanced cross collaboration.”