Category Archives: mobile learning

mobile learning schools Uncategorized

iPads and Students with Special Needs

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iPads are the most amazing tools.  The level of adaptability and complexity that can created with a simple, easy to use device is astounding.  It is really only limited by your imagination and those of teachers and educators working with classes and individuals.

When considering how to use iPads with students with special needs there are four main things to consider.


1.  The accessibility functions built into the device.

IPads have a number of features built into  the device that allow great functions like voice over, speech, guided access, zoom and black/white picture.

Below is a video explaining guided access.  Guided access allows the iPad to be locked into one app and only released with a passcode.  This is a fabulous feature when working with students who are easy distracted or have poor motor control and keep accidentally exiting the app.


2.  The wide variety of apps in the app store.

Currently there are over 1 million apps in the app store and approximately 10% of those are targeted at the education sector with another 20 000 targeted at the medical market.

Apps like Prologue toGo are invaluable for assisting students to communicate their needs.


3.  Accessories

Third party providers are constantly responding to the needs of the market.  A huge range of cases, wheelchair mounts, stylus, keyboards and other accessories are released onto the market every year.

The site has a huge range with labelled links and pictures:





4.  Online support

There are many websites that provide a huge range of app lists with many coded to individual needs.


One of the best is Spectronics.


They provide online tools, videos, apps reviews and also come out to schools and conferences to provide Professional Development to extend people’s use of the devices.


Other great sites include:

Moms with Apps



Apps for children with special needs




Below is my presentation

ICT integration mobile learning Uncategorized

Making the Web Work for You

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Making the Web work for you is all about working smarter, not harder.

The web contains so many interesting things it is difficult to work out what you need and what is useless information.


Two types of services will assit you to make the web your friend rather than the big timewaster in the room.


1.  Cloud services

2.  Content Curation


Cloud Services

Learning how to use the right cloud services will minimise lost or duplicated files.

I recommend Evernote for note taking and basically orgainsing your life!  There are many apps, devices and third party programs that integrate with Evernote.  Sign up, start saving and give it a go.

I use Dropbox as my USB substitute.  Install it on all your machines and devices, use the same user name for each and all your data will be synced and safe.


Content Curation

Content Curation is the new buzzword in business and education.  But what does it mean?


To me it means I find stuff that I like, I organise it in some fashion and then share that information with other people.


My Favourite content curation tools are:

  • Pinterest
  • Flipboard on my iPad
  • AllTop on my desktop
  • Google reader
  • and Delicious for my bookmarks.

Amazing links for library people
Attached here is the PDF listing the apps:  50apps_il2012.pdf


Another great summary about the changing face of libraries
ICT integration mobile learning Uncategorized

Connecting and Collaborating with online spaces

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Moving into a 1-1 environment or even just trying to create an anywhere, anytime experience for the students can be difficult.  Understanding the different online spaces and how they can work, ways to use multiple forms for different purposes and how to create individual spaces is an important part of the transition to a connected world.

Some fabulous ways to connect online are:
I use wikispaces.  I find it the most reliable and most customisable of the free wiki creators.  Wikispaces has free educational tools for use by teachers.
Edublogs is my tool of choice.  Simple, easy and well structured.
Collaborative online spaces:
Edmodo:  Free and easy to set up classes, create tests, do a poll, and share docuemnts.  iPad friendly.
Schoolology:  Similar to Edmodo, new to the marketplace.
Online document creation:  Allows real time collaboration for a single document for multiple users.
mobile learning Uncategorized

Moving Beyond Substitution with iPads

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In my many web wandering I find countless snippets of information that can be useful in many different contexts.  One such nugget I love to use is the SAMR model developed by  Dr. Ruben R. Puentedura (Twitter: @rubenrp ).



This model discusses how technology can in integrated at vaious levels within any organisation, and it translates particularly well to the educational context.

Briefly summarised:

1. Substitution: the computer stands in for another technological tool without a significant change in the tool’s function.
2. Augmentation: the computer replaces another technological tool, with significant functionality increase.
3. Modification: the computer enables the redesign of significant portions of a task.
4. Redefinition: the computer allows for the creation of new tasks that would otherwise be inconceivable without the technology. (Source)

IPads are the perfect device to assist with this “Transformation”.

Below I have a number of sample set of activities incorporating iPads with the SAMR model.

LITERACY EXAMPLE:  Taking notes to create a non-fiction text


   Using Safari on the iPad to search for information on a new topic.

  Use a simple note taking app like Neu Notes to collect notes about the topic.


Use a note taking app that allows a variety of inputs, eg audio and hand drawings.


 Sound Note allows you to input sound and drawings into the simple format.


  Notes Plus also allows text, audio and pictures to be added to the notebook.

   Paper Helper creates a split screens so students can research and take notes at the same time.



 Paper Plane Notes allows one person to share their notes with others to create a set of shared notes.  Fabulous for collaborative projects or meetings.


 trunk Notes allows users to create notes and then link them like a wiki and to share the notes with others.



 Sling Note allows users to cut and paste from webpages, complete with the links.  It allows multiple entries including click and drag from webpages, text, pictures and freehand sketches.


       Using Google Drive with google docs integrated allows users to share and collate information. It is simple and easy on the iPad.


  Using an online tool like Titan Pad on your iPad allows users to write a simple collaborative document in real time or use the time slider to view what has been written and by whom.


 NUMERACY EXAMPLE:  Recording and collating the speed/velocity of various moving objects



 Use the basic Calculator app to record and calculate the speed of objects as they travel over various distances.

Use a simple StopWatch to record running, skipping etc over various distances.


 Numbers can allow you crunch numbers just like Excel.  Start the students using simple spreadsheets to collate the numbers.

 Keynote (and Pages) has a function that allows users to put in a chart, enter data and then Keynote creates the chart of the data.

Tutorial Video below



  Speedclock will calculate the speed of any moving object that passes the screen.   Gather multiple sets of data about people moving in different ways, cars speeding or balls zooming around.


  Survey Deck is one of the few apps that allows users to work off line to collect data.  Gather data about the speed etc of many objects and use these results as the basis of new calculations.


  Create a school/class WordPress site to capture, collate and share data.


SCIENCE EXAMPLE:  Tell me what you know.



  Use the Google app to search a wider range of topics and have the more advanced tools within easy reach.  Don’t forget to encourage students to press and hold an image to save it to the camera roll.



  Use a free QR Reader like Scan to read QR codes that will direct students to more specific websites and links.


  Use an app like the Khan Academy or iTunes U to collate and distribute multimodal ways of presenting content.




 Use a QR code generator like Qrafter that allows the students to create and share their own QR codes linked to relevant content or content they have created.

 Use a private social media platform like Edmodo to share the curated content the students have accessed or created.



  Use an app like Explain Everything that allows the students to import pictures and then create an audio over the top to explain what they now know about a particular topic.





 Use an app like Wikinodes to fine tune the searching and present visual links for the students to use as search terms


 Use an app like iCardSort to collect notes about a topic.  Share these notes with others using bluetooth or wireless.


 Use Keynote create a set of slides about the topic.  Take screen shots ready for iMovie.


  Use iMovie as the format the students can present their understanding about the topic.  integrate pictures, Keynote slides and audio into the one movie.




  Use an epub creator like Creative Book Builder to integrate the audio, movie, picture and text files collected and created during the unit, into a multimedia book.


 Book creator also allows videos and text and presents it in a prettier format on each page.




No one method is guaranteed to achieve the magical transformational teaching and learning within a classroom.  Instead work on how to move just one level up and start to create small degrees of transformation in your teaching and learning activities.













mobile learning

Thoughts on iPads in primary schools

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I had the great pleasure this afternoon of heading out to one of our schools and chatting with the staff about the possible use of iPads in their school for 2010.

It was refreshing and energising to see the interest generated and to listen to the insightful comments and questions asked by the staff and prompted from the ICT coordinator. This school has a great vision of ICT use and is forcefully pushing itself ahead of the pack in terms of true and authentic ICT integration. The school was the first in our system to implement a one to one laptop scheme in primary school and will now be the first to look at how to integrate iPads in the early years classrooms.

This afternoon was a chat about the apps (click here for list of apps) that may be used in the younger years and how these can be expanded to cater for literacy groups, individuals, differentiation and children with special needs.  The staff were very receptive and it is a credit to the leadership that they are so open minded to new technologies, even as early adopters.

The school is using a multi-tiered approach and starting with 12 iPads this term for teachers to use and investigate.  After this trial the issues will be analyzed and solutions proposed.

At this stage they are hoping to have a set of iPads for each year level from Pre-Primary to year three.  Year level teachers will be responsible for creating a library, loading apps and syncing the machines from their laptops.

This carefully structured, planned and measured way of introducing new technologies is likely to be well received and ensure success with the initiative. Leadership is key to any success and the wonderful blend of passion from the ICT coordinator and support from the Principal ensures that staff are on board with the initiative and the hardware, infrastructure and people are all working together.

I look forward to watching and reporting on the progress of the initiative.