When I’m not at school or “relaxing” with my boys, I am more-than-a-little-bit addicted to reading cooking blogs. I follow several blogs and drool over the beautiful pictures and read the recipes, thinking about which ones I’d like to try out one weekend. Several of the bloggers I follow do a “Things I’m Loving Lately” post every few months, which feature non-food-related items they’ve enjoyed lately and want to share—books, clothing, jewelry, outfits— anything that they think their readers might like, too.
For this post, I wanted to share with other educators some apps that my students and I have been loving lately in our classroom. One of the big “take-aways” from attending the iPad Summit last month was the idea that our classroom iPads should be for “creation, not consumption.” Rather than having our iPads loaded up with a bunch of apps for students to play games, we should be using the iPads for students to create something that they can share with others. The following apps are ones that my class have enjoyed using to create and share. We hope your students enjoy them, too!
1. My Story ($2.99) – This app allows students to create their own books. The illustration part looks similar to Kid Pix. The thickness of the “pencil” can be changed, or children can change from pencil to paint mode for a different effect. Instead of illustrations, pictures from the camera can also be used. A short amount of text can be added to the page, and children can record their voices telling the story. The final book can be shared to iBooks. So many possibilities!
2. Book Creator ($4.99) – This app is similar to My Story; however, there is no drawing option within the app. Instead, students can use pictures from the iPad’s camera to create a book. Text and sound can also be added. If students want to draw, it is easy to use Doodle Buddy or another drawing app to create a picture, save it to your camera roll, and then use in Book Creator. Simple! The final product can be shared to iBooks.
3. Haiku Deck (FREE!) – This app creates stunning slideshows. It has a great variety of gorgeous pictures that can be used as background images. Students simply search by topic and choose an image. There is no need to Google search and drag and drop anymore! So easy! You can also easily change the layout and text on each slide. The final slideshow could be shared to Facebook or Twitter, if your class likes to tweet to their followers. 😉
4. Strip Designer ($2.99) – This app uses your pictures to create a comic strip. You can choose from a wide variety of layouts, add pictures, and then add word balloons, stickers (POW!), and other text effects to create a comic-book style story. Although I haven’t tried this one out with kids yet, think about how engaged your class would be if they created comic strips to showcase their content knowledge. Way better than an essay and more fun to grade, too. Imagine the possibilities! Final products can be emailed as a PDF file, added to your photos, or shared on Facebook and Twitter.
Finally, while this is not an app for creation, it is definitely for sharing and connecting. If you know me well, you know that I am seriously addicted to it. You knew I couldn’t leave out Twitter! #lastbutnotleast
5. Twitter (FREE) – Use our community hashtag, #TrinityLearns, to highlight and broadcast the #brightspots in your classroom each week. Share ideas and successes, collaborate with colleagues, and connect with other classrooms. It is amazing how many like-minded educators from all over are sharing ideas using this social media app. If you are not on Twitter, give it a try. I promise you will learn something new!
Try out these cool creation apps in your classroom for engaged, energized, connected students. Of course, these are just a few of the amazing apps that are available for your iPad. What are you and your students using and loving lately? Post in the comments, or better yet, tweet about it using the hashtag #TrinityLearns. I can’t wait to see what other Trinitians are creating!
Learner, Thinker, Writer, Observer, and sometimes Tweeter: Samantha Steinberg serves the Trinity School community as a Second Grade teacher.