Staring me in the face is a set of iPads destined for my classroom this fall. I'd love to find some ways to integrate them in a non-clunky way. YouTube, sadly, won't be allowed, so there's no need to go compile some epic favorirtes list there. Vimeo is an option but I'd probably have to generate the content myself. Possible, yes, but not sure where I begin there. A fun irony is that over the last few the days the internet has exploded over a new Khan Academy controversy and yet completely unprompted, several students suggested I create videos they could watch for a similar purpose. That I need to mull over some more, ignoring my lack of production studio.

Anyway, I do have a few things figured out and I need to dig through my topic list to see where these belong.

Logistics

Managing a bunch of iPads used to be a hassle. Each had to be tethered to a computer and you fiddle with settings and whatnot. Nowadays, your Apple ID gets you iCloud and with iCloud each device is backed up to the internet and if you buy an app on one, it can very quickly get loaded on others (Apple Store employees have told me 10, some would imply its infinite). If you launch App Store on a given iPad, tap Purchased and it will show what's been bought but not installed on the iPad in front of you. Lets you quickly deploy a new one. If you dive into Settings>Store you have the option to push new purchases to all devices. Though inadvisable if you want to create a teacher iPad that has more stuff on it. In my opinion, if you want something out of your iPads, it will be necessary to spend money. Some people find it crazy that software should be paid for, others find it equally crazy to expend personal money on their classroom, but whatever. I will have 7 iPads in my room (1 Teacher, 4 school provided, 2 from my private stores) with the ability to go up to 11 if I combine forces with another teacher.

GraphCalc HD - $1.99

Plots four equations at once in function, parametric, or polar mode. The iPhone version is further along and supports implicity equation plotting as well. Has all the built-in math functions you can think of, lets you look at a table of values, has calculator functions, and the best part: infinitely higher resolution than a TI.

graphcalc.png

WolframAlpha - $1.99

Interface to the WolframAlpha computation engine. Type a function in and it'll tell you way more than you want to know. Not sure what to do with this one, though for something like quadratics it will give numerical solutions, show the graph, and convert the equation to other forms. I find that interesting as I always find its difficult for kids to understand that graphs, tables, and equation forms are features of everything.

wolfram.png

PDFPen - $14.99

Syncs with iCloud and Dropbox. So if you import a PDF from your Dropbox, PDFPen will scoot it up to iCloud which pushes to every student device. I think initially I may distribute poster problem sets this way. Feels like overkill, but if there's a tool in my classroom, the more I keep it omnipresent the more likely I am to come up with random eureka moments. If anything, gives me the ability to include picture examples which can't be done as easily with copies.

pdfpen.png

Numbers and Pages - $9.99/each

Great for projects. Have the students collect data, respond to discussion questions and create presentable versions on the iPad. Through the magic of iCloud, their work will push to all the other devices for critique, peer review or for easy display on the big board by me. Right now it's a clunky web interface. iPad creates document, document appears on website, teacher downloads document from website and opens the file. The website has upload abilities so I can quickly deploy a document to the iPads this way. However, the imminent release of Mountain Lion will give the desktop versions of Pages and Numbers direct access to iCloud, no clunky web interface. If you teach off a PC, Numbers and Pages still have uses, as the iCloud website give you the option to download a Word/Excel compatible version. The iPad versions of the apps can interpret Word/Excel as well, though don't count on fancy format making the translation 100% of the time.

numbers.png
icloud.png

This is all frameworks for now, a detailed examination of the curriculum will hopefully give me some more specific use cases.

Posted
AuthorJonathan Claydon