Sometimes you find an app that will work great as either a small stand-alone activity or a game-changing classroom revolution – - all depending on how much you want to customize it and use it. If you want to use the App as a filler activity, it could be. If you wanted to make the App an individualized choice activity that students use to practice a concept, it could be. If you wanted to use the App for specific students in enrichment and intervention activities, it could do that for you too. If you wanted an App to totally revolutionize the way you gather data and build practice activities, it could do that. The great things about these types of apps is that: 1) each student has a personal log-in so that each students experience on the app is personal, saved, customized and abled to be accessed again and again, 2) the teacher can include as much customization as he or she is comfortable with.
Edmodo Free (App Store)
I’m a big fan of Edmodo as a classroom management portal. It’s an easy way to send students links, files, notes, assignments and quizzes, and safely allows them to collaborate, write and share. Students can log in and out of their individual Edmodo profile so that each individual user can access their individual Edmodo account.
Ideas for Edmodo Implementation in general:
- Post a discussion prompt and have students respond to a question or share thoughts for everyone to see
- Create an assignment in which students submit a private only-seen-by-the-teacher response
- Post a class brainstorming session to generate writing ideas
- Create formative assessments in the quiz module
- “Exit Ticket” or “Elevator Speech” where students explain what they learned following a lesson or day
- Post videos, notes or information for students that need extra review or were absent
- Put links, documents or information there for students to easily access
Another great plus with Edmodo is its Apps (so, essentially, there are Apps within the App). There are a lot of great ones – - some that you have to pay for and some free ones. One really great literacy app is No Red Ink. (Click here for a review on No Red Ink) (There is also a internet site for No Red Ink that anyone can use through Safari).
ScootPad Free (App Store)
I came across this App last week when a friend of mine was talking about how the students in her school can’t wait to use the IPads to review Math and Literacy games in order to earn coins and that their school earned more coins in the last two weeks than any other school in Iowa using the App. Many parts of this looked intriguing, so I setup a teacher account on ScootPad posing as a 5th grade teacher.
ScootPad has a teacher set-up page on the Internet at www.scootpad.com. That is where I set-up my account, created a class and added my list of students. I control the student usernames and passwords and can adjust and change them if needed. I picked by grade level (5th grade) and then chose my standards. ScootPad works with the Common Core and I chose to select all the Common Core standards for 5th grade. These standards are now added to my class.
Option #1: That’s the bare minimum of what is needed to work with ScootPad (setup a class, create student accounts, share account info with students). At this point, your students can go to the ScootPad app on the IPad, log-in with their personal information and access grade level appropriate Math and Literacy practice activities. These practice activities are randomly generated using the Common Core standards and over time also keep in mind the progress of the student, adjusting to their level of comprehension and understanding. The students earn coins for each correct answer and bonus coins for 100% completion. From what I can see, students can do as many practice activities as they want, whenever they want.
Option #2: Teachers can log-in and monitor progress and student achievement. Teachers can also assign practice activities to be completed. These homework assignments can be assigned for every student or assigned to only those students in need of enrichment and intervention. I like the results tracking feature in ScootPad because it breaks everything down by the standard. The teacher can see the level of proficiency of their students in each standard area. It’s a great tool for identification and intervention.
Option #3: The students have an individualized piggy bank that they store the coins that they earn for completing their activities. Teachers (and parents!) can set-up classroom rewards that students can “purchase” with their coins. You can also customized these and make them available for only a few students (for example, if you had a reward available only for those struggling students). It’s a nice option and ScootPad is something parents can access also so that they can build rewards for their own students.
Khan Academy Internet
If you want your students to practice math problems by concept, there isn’t much of a comparison with Khan Academy. It’s an internet based application that can be used through Safari on your IPad. Students can practice the problems, get hints if they get stuck and watch tutorials and explanations if they need to. If students created an account on Khan Academy and attach a teacher as a “coach”, the coach can see progress and get data. But the activities still work well as review and practice activities even if they don’t log-in to an individual account. But since that option is there, I include it here.