Classroom Examples: iPads

20 Nov

A video highlighting some examples of how students are utilizing iPads in several classrooms at my school.

EdPuzzle: Great Subplans….

19 Nov

I was recently out of class presenting at a conference and looking for a way to keep my students moving forward in my curriculum.  Usually when I miss class for a conference I try and time it around a project, group work or a hands-on activity that a substitute teacher could easily oversee, however that just wasn’t possible this time.  My class was heading into a very challenging section of the curriculum where they were learning about the steps of muscle contraction.  This is a very complicated process where I usually walk them through it using an App Called Animation Creator HD.

(see post here: )

(see my Book on the iTunes Bookstore about teaching this concept:

One Best Thing

What made this different then both of those situations?  I was not in the room!  I decided to use a combination of and  Animation Creator to help my students learn about muscle contraction.  I used three Kahn Academy videos on muscle contraction (Myosin and Actin, Tropmyosin and Troponin, and The Role of the Sarcoplasmic Reticulum) but loaded them into EdPuzzle so I could add my own audio and short quiz questions to help further my students’ understanding.  If you are not familiar with EdPuzzle, the website allows teachers to take videos they have created or found on the web and add interactive content.  Teachers can add their own audio over the entire video or just pause the video at a specific point and explain a topic further that perhaps their students were not as familiar with.  I did this a number of times which helped scaffold my students up to the higher level content found in these videos.  The interactive piece comes from the discussion questions and multiple choice questions that you can add to any video.  This forces students to pause, reflect and answer a question before they are allowed to move on in the video.  I found this particularly helpful because I was out of the building.  However, because I still had access to the internet, I could sit and watch my students progress through the videos and watch which answers they were getting right and which ones they were getting wrong.

Lastly, I create a short video using a program called Reflector on my Mac to record a movie on how to create a muscle contraction animation on iPad.  Students worked in pairs because one students showed the video on their iPad while they worked together on the other iPad to create the animation.  For homework both students were required to add their own audio to the animation using iMovie.

I have to admit that I was worried that my students would struggle with all of the new technology and the new content but they didn’t!  My students had NEVER used Edpuzzle or Animation Creator but they were able to figure it out!  I just sent them the links and a few instructions and they were off and learning.  I was amazed with what they created the last two days in class and pretty happy with how much they had learned.

Inquiry to teach bone anatomy and design

31 Oct

Goal: In my anatomy and physiology class students need to learn about bone anatomy and have them understand the following:

  • Shape of a long bone
    • Hollow middle
    • Ends of long bones are wider
  • Discover that there are actually two types of bone *spongy bone and compact bone)
  • Location of spongy bone vs compact bone
  • How does the design of a bone accomplish the structural/support needs of humans

Previously this would have all been taught via a lecture and discussion where I would tell the students all of the information.  This year I decided to have the students discover how and why bones are designed the way they are.

Students move through a series of six stations that have 1-3 real bones. (human, deer, cow, and mastodon) While at these stations, students record observations on their iPads about each type of bone, including the shape, and the structural design. In addition students take pictures of the bone and in some cases place magnifying glasses in front of the camera to take pictures of the bones. Through these observations and just a little bit of research students discovered and learned for themselves all of the learning outcomes I had previously given them.  Take a look at some of my students work!  Pretty amazing!Intro to Bones

What was used to complete lab:

PDF Expert used as lab

Camera of iPad

Simple Magnifying glass


Examples of students work


Intro to Bones

Timeline Creation App for iPad

28 Mar

Last week I was walking down the hall and saw a group of students working on a timeline for their Biology class.  They had a large white sheet of paper (about 6 feet long) and they were measuring out a distance of time on it and adding significant events.  As I got back to my desk I thought to myself “there has to be a great iPad app out there that can do this in a more meaningful way.”  After searching for just a short time I discovered a great App: 3DTimeline.  Although this App is $9.99 it is well worth it for the ease of use and the professional looking product that gets created when you are finished.  Because students can add images and video to their timelines it can be used as a standalone project or as part of a larger presentation.  (In the end it almost has a Prezi feel to it)

Major Features:

Easy to edit:  As you can see in the image below, the ability to add new events and information about that event is very intuitive.

3D timeline


Timeline creates a beautiful finished product that can be viewed in either 3D within the app or sent our of the App as a PDF.

See result of a timeline below at the end of this overview video.




The little and unexpected positive uses of an iPad

27 Mar

I was having a conversation with a physics teacher at my school last week and he pointed out a few interesting and unexpected advantages he has found about using iPads in his class that I thought I would share.


Size of a piece of paper doesn’t matter anymore:

In the past I have always used the default paper size of 81/2 x 11 piece of paper because that is what we can print at school.  With the introduction of the iPad and PDF annotating apps like UPAD, Notability and my favorite PDF Expert 5, the size of the paper no longer matters.  This allows teachers to actually put more information on one page limiting the number of times kids have to flip from one page to the next.  By setting the default page size to something bigger like 11×17 teachers can place notes, text and graphs all on a single page.


Color Matters

In any class the use of different colored text, color images and color graphs can make classroom discussions a lot easier.  When discussing a particular line on a graph or diagraming sentence structure it is really nice to be able to reference different items by color.  A simple yet very effective way to enhance discussions.



Flipboard for PLN

1 Mar

If you have not used Flipboard, or another app like it, to curate all of your incoming information from RSS feeds, Twitter and other websites you are missing out.  I found myself checking three or four different blogs a week, several news sources and monitoring a number of twitter hashtags in my effort to keep up with educational technology.  Flipboard is a great iPad app that curates all of this information into one place and displays it in a layout, similar to a magazine.  Now I just have to spend a few minutes a day “flipping” through my different magazines (or boards)  on Flipboard.

In addition to reading articles, twitter feeds and blog posts, you can create your own boards  to curate information you are interested in.  Several teachers at our school are using this to compile articles for their students to read.  The teachers create boards centered around topics their students are researching and the student subscribe to their teacher’s boards.    These boards immediately update on the student’s Flipboard App giving them the most up to date articles to read.

See the  short video demo below:

Stop Motion Animation

28 Feb

Stop motion animation can be a great way to get students to create short videos around different topics.  Students can use stop motion to create short animated films or to demonstrate knowledge of a particular process.  In my class we have used it to help student learn processes like Glycolysis and Mitosis/Meiosis, but I have seen it used in English and Social Studies to tell stories as well.

See the student examples below that were made with iMotion HD

This is an easy app that is FREE and allows students to create wonderful stop motion videos.

Meiosis Student Examples 

Glycolysis Student Examples