An article by Richard James Rogers (author of The Quick Guide to Classroom Management).
Technology is supposed to be helpful, but sometimes it makes me mad. When I can’t change the text color on a blog post because the iPad doesn’t support it, or when my PC auto-updates when all I want to do is switch it off, I find myself losing faith in the power of technology.
A bright light of hope was shone my way these past two days, however, when I attended an excellent Science JAWs (Job-alike Workshop) event at Harrow International School, Bangkok.
I had the chance to rigorously test out the apps I’m about to show you and, I can tell you: they really do make life easier (and they can do some cool things too!).
So here’s my list of what I believe to be the most useful apps I tested during this event. I’ll definitely be using them with my students and in my teaching. Enjoy!
Cool Feature #1: You create a slideshow on Nearpod. Your kids login with a code that Nearpod generates (they don’t need to sign up, which saves tons of time) and, boom!: the slideshow will play on every student’s device. When the teacher changes a slide, then the slide will change on the kids’ screens.
You can choose to show the slideshow on a front projector screen/smartboard, or simply walk around the class with your iPad or laptop as you’re instructing the kids.
Cool feature #2: Put polls, questions, quizzes, drawing tasks, videos, 3D objects, web links and audio segments into Nearpod presentations to make the experience fully ‘interactive’.
When I tested Nearpod at Harrow I thought it was super-cool because I could write an answer (as a student) and it would show on the front-screen as a sticky-note with everyone else’s. Chelsea Donaldson shows this excellent image of what I experienced over at her blog:
As you can see, other kids can click ‘like’ and can comment on the responses, making this an ultra-modern, ‘social-media’ style education tool.
Another feature I loved was ‘Draw it’. It’s similar to ‘collaborate’ (the feature above with the sticky-note answers), but this time the students either draw a picture or annotate a drawing you have shared.
I can see this being great for scientific diagrams and mathematical operations.
Students can use a stylus/Apple Pencil, their finger (if it’s a non-stylus tablet or phone they are using) or even a mouse to draw the picture. Once drawn, the pictures will show up on the teacher’s screen together, and this can be projected if the teacher wishes.
Cool feature 3: Virtual reality is embedded into Nearpod (and I need to learn a lot more about it!).
I don’t understand it fully yet, but Nearpod themselves say that over 450 ready-to-run VR lessons are ready on their platform, including college tours, mindfulness and meditation lessons and even tours of ancient China!
Now that sounds cool!
My thoughts about Nearpod
I like apps that are quick, useful and free/cheap to use.
Nearpod ticks all of those boxes.
The features that I tested which were super, super cool include:
- Kids log in with a code and your presentation appears on their screens. When you change a slide, the slide changes on their devices!
- You can put polls, drawing tasks and questions into your slides and it’s all fully interactive. Kids’ answers will appear on the projector screen for all to see (if you wish), or simply on the teacher’s screen (for private viewing).
I love this app and I look forward to using all of its features with my students.
Cool feature #1: Noteability has allowed me to make the most amazing notes and save tons of paper and paper-notebooks in the process. Just look at these beautiful notes I made during my Science JAWs training this weekend:
As you can see, you can select a wide variety of colors and make beautiful notes, Mind-Maps, concept-maps, flow charts, diagrams and more.
I use this feature of Noteability to:
- Plan things in my daily life (such as my blog posts, my weekend plans, my fitness plans, etc)
- Write shopping lists
- Write lesson plans
- Take notes in school meetings
Cool feature #2: Noteability allows you to annotate PDFs with the Apple Pencil. This is absolutely brilliant and has allowed me to annotate my IB Diploma Chemistry coursework (Internal Assessment) quickly and clearly before uploading the coursework to the IBIS system.
I can see this feature becoming really useful for schools that want to save paper and for teachers that want to annotate coursework, homework or classwork and then send it back to the student in some way (e.g. by e-mail, through Google Drive or through Google Classroom).
Take a look at this IB Chemistry coursework annotation I recently did with Noteability and the Apple Pencil:
Another way to use this feature is to get the kids to scan their classwork, homework or past-paper answers and then annotate each other’s work with the Apple Pencil. The teacher could also annotate it too:
Cool feature #3: Students can make revision notes, classnotes, homework assignments and submit work all through Noteability. Using the ‘split-screen’ mode on the iPad Pro they can even copy images and charts directly from a web-page they are reading at the same time:
For students, I can see Noteability being using in a range of creative ways:
- Making revision notes
- Annotating their own work, or each other’s
- Creating assignments and presentations (Noteability allows users to copy content from the web seamlessly using ‘split-screen’ mode)
- Making notes in class
There is the possibility that tablets may even replace traditional school notebooks in future too – removing the need for 11-year-old kids to carry really heavy bags around school all day (and this has already been linked to back problems).
My thoughts on Noteability