Wednesday, November 4, 2015

iPad Resources, Interactive Lesson Tools, and More!

Three topics comprise the instructional technology post for the bsd220tech newsletter this month:

1. iPad resources, apps for creation, and app discovery practices.
2. Versal, a tool for creating lessons with interactive gadgets for personalized learning.
3. An article about Twitter, and why you should be on it.

Connecting with educators on Twitter as part of my personalized PLN (Personal Learning Network). I constantly receive helpful resources to use myself and share with teachers. This month, I'd like to highlight three resources especially pertinent for elementary and middle school teachers with iPads.

Using Explain Everything and Book Creator to Create
This article demonstrates step-by-step directions for using the workflow of Explain Everything to Book Creator for students to create using the iPads.

Using @Appolearining to connect with teachers and resources
If you're like me, you are overwhelmed at the shear quantity of apps available and recommended through the App Store. This article helps me cope with that anxiety and approach app and resource searching with a plan.

Resources for using iPads in Elementary and Early Elementary Classrooms
iPads are brand-to-relatively new to our classrooms in both elementary and middle school. Despite the title of this article being focused on elementary and early elementary, it contains helpful practices, ideas, resources, and philosophy for integrating iPads meaningfully at all grade levels.

When I taught middle school science, I loved using a now-defunct tool, Mightybell, to create online lessons and units that could be differentiated for students and consumed at the student's own pace.  This model allowed me to check in on student progress and spend the majority of class time checking in with students, grouping students for reteaching, workshopping experiments, etc. When Mightybell ceased to exist in this format, I lost an incredible tool. However, when I came across Versal, my heart leapt at the possibilities of this tool and its ability to differentiate like the venerable Mightybell. Versal offers teachers the opportunity to personalize learning and add interactive features, existing Google Docs, embed videos, gather assessment data, export to Schoology, etc. It looks awesome.  Just check out the promotional video:

If you're not aware of my endorsement of Twitter as "the best personalized professional development tool," please allow the following to confirm that statement. Twitter is the best personalized professional development tool. Using Twitter, you can connect to the resources, teachers, experts, etc., to benefit you and your specific professional development needs and wants. Don't believe me? Please read this great article, Using Tech and you are NOT on Twitter? Rethink that! from the great @alicekeeler.

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