Making iPad music using Garageband

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During the Apple Distinguished Educator Institute that I was lucky enough to attend last summer we attended a workshop that went into some great ideas for iMovie, Final Cut, Garageband and Logic. We saw how using these we could create, firstly great films, but also great soundtracks to accompany our slick visuals.

I am pretty poor when attempting to create music, always leaving it to musician friends in my personal life and music professionals inside the classroom. Although I do love music and see myself as a ‘musical snob’ this is always pre-recorded and on my favourite ‘hipster’ format of vinyl.

Having been inspired by what I saw in Amsterdam I decided at some point I would attempt to get my class to make some, as they put it, ‘sick beats’ (this may need a z!)

At the start of the term I introduced them to Garageband and showed them how to add instruments and layer sounds. We built this up to them adding any sounds they wanted to ‘just make noise’. The class loved this activity, although it sent both my teaching assistant and myself home with headaches that evening!

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The following week, I showed the class how to access Apple Loops within Garageband, something I didn’t know existed until shown in Amsterdam. Apple Loops contains hundreds (if not thousands) of professionally recorded loops (short bars of music) on a variety of instruments. Layering these together was the activity, again with mixed results, the learning intention was to expose the children to the idea of Apple Loops and the process around using them.

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Today, we took this a stage further asking the children to open Garageband and again, use Apple Loops, to create a piece of music that they were proud of, I reminded them that less was often more (and demonstrated this myself; I don’t think they liked what they heard!). After a little time, and silence in the class, the first few children came over to me, excitedly, iPad in hand, grin on face. I was concerned that they would have layered up as many sounds as possible, in no coherent fashion, BUT to my amazement the work they had created was great. I, obviously, you d the most appropriate way to send their work to SeeSaw straight away.

I realise that I should never be surprised by what the children in my setting can create, especially when using iPad as a tool.

Give it a go, you might inspire some future hip-hop superstar, or the next John Williams! Here are some of the pieces created:

 

Piece 1

Piece 2

Piece 3

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Differentiation by App

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When I launched our Apple Regional Training Centre (RTC), whilst presenting (for the first time) a phrase just fell out of my mouth that I thought must have been mentioned by someone before me. I guessed that I must have heard this phrase via my Personal Learning Network (PLN), taken it in and then blurted it out. After a few months of looking around and ‘Googling’ the phrase, I was amazed to see that I couldn’t find any evidence of it being used before (please let me know if you know of someone else referring to it!)

The phrase in question is:

‘Differentiation by App’

Differentiation standardly happens in my class by me creating different avenues for the children in my class to follow to enable them to succeed with their learning.

Recently I have began to differentiate my work not by the actual activity, but by the means to achieve the same outcome by using a variety of apps. These apps have a similar outcome BUT the beauty is, that each app needs a different level of input by the student to achieve the outcome.

Here are a couple of examples of a variety of apps that give a similar output but utilises different levels of input ability.

  • Creating talking characters/faces/avatars.

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For me one of the simplest apps to create a talking character is ChatterPix Kids, a little more input is needed with Tellagami, more still with YakIt Kids and then finally a lot of input needed for Morfo 3D Face Booth. thus, differentiation by app.

  • Coding and programming.

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When teaching coding to the children in my class (and indeed my school at large) the outcome is essentially the same, get the desired outcome (complete the puzzle in most cases!) I have started off with a variety of apps that help teach the basics of coding but require a variety of input abilities, these are (in ease of use order) Kodable, Bee Bot, Cargo Bot and Fix the Factory. Once these simple(ish) apps have been completed I would then move onto coding proper using apps such as Daisy the Dinosaur and Scratch Jr.

Feel free to let me if you decide to use Differentiation by App in your classroom, and what apps you differentiate by, I would love to know!

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Top Five Takeaways from EMEIA ADE Institute 2015

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Inspired by my good friends Gavin Smart, Mat Pullen, Matt Smith, Martin Coutts and Dan Oakes, and the many games of ‘Top five’ during down time at EMEIA Apple Distinguished Educators Institute 2015 in Amsterdam. I though it would be a good idea to create a top five things I took away from the institute, this (like the biscuit top five, custard cream anyone??!!), was a really hard task BUT i’m willing to give it a go and see what happens!

  1. People – I was so inspired by the people I met and become good friends with! Everyone had a great story but much more than that, everyone I met had the same outlook on so many things as me. This is not a common thing, especially when it comes to education, where I often feel like I am the ‘mad iPad man’ within our school or more commonly the resident geek! I felt none of this at institute, just an array of people that I could relate to and were as passionate about pushing the boundaries of using technology inside classrooms, to deliver amazing outcomes for the students in our schools and classes.
  2. Bill Frakes – I was so happy to have listened to Bill talk at length about his inspiration for photographs he had taken and the stories he was telling through the images. The film ‘Nebraska Skies’ was amazing and since returning from Amsterdam I have viewed this film several times. I was massively inspired to (attempt) take more higher quality photos and images and think about the story the images are trying to tell.
  3. Christopher Hills – Now, he wasn’t at institute, he didn’t present, neither was he featured in a Showcase. A video of him using his skills as an Apple Certified Final Cut Pro tutor to create an amazing set of images and film, although he suffers from Cerebral Palsy, using one switch, his head and his iOS device. This was a huge inspiration to me was shown to us in an accessibility session. I always knew the Accessibility features built into ALL Apple products were powerful but this really brought it home to me. I urge everyone to check Christopher’s YouTube channel here, and defy you not to be moved by this young man!
  4. Design – Alan Rosenfeld took to the stage for a workshop based around the fundamentals of design. This is something that I found so engaging and interesting. I always look at things with a critical eye for design, but struggle to make my own presentations and documents look good. With Alan’s simple advice I feel I have improved massively already. I just hope that the word on the street, of an iBook with the content will be released at some point soon, does come true!
  5. Passion – I was struck by the passion that everyone had, not just for Apple technologies but for pushing the boundaries of education. To this end I feel like I have not stopped; working, creating and thinking since I  returned home, to push the boundaries of my own practice. Literally, everyone I spoke to was so passionate about education, technology and Apple. This is what makes the fantastic community that is Apple Distinguished Educators, long may we all work together and drive each others passion for education; and in turn instil passion into others within our institutions or region as a whole.

As I have said before, and no doubt I will say again, this was one of the best experiences of my life. I have been massively inspired by so many people and thoughts.

I really hope that one day I have the chance to do it all again and be a part of the journey of many other ADEs during their institutions and in turn be inspired by them.

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To finalise this post there were four main goals set out at the start of our institute, these were:

Inspiration, Discovery, Professional Growth and Collaboration

During the week I feel that I achieved all of these things in large measure, I left inspired after discovering lots of great individuals that have all aided to my personal growth and led to lots of collaboration.

I also feel I need to make a mention of the use of some amazing hashtags during the week, these will stick with me for a long time. Some favourites were: #devilishlyhandsome, #expolodingballs, #dandandandandandan and #tvvoice; you probably had to be there!!

Please also read my more detailed posts on:

ADE Institute Days 1 & 2

ADE Institute Days 3 & 4

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Apple Distinguished Educator Institute 2015 – Day 3 & 4

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Day 3 of the EMEIA ADE institute began with the showcase session, the standard was incredibly high and I thought there were some standout presentations, firstly my good friend Dan Oakes and his story of increasing children’s self esteem through film making, secondly Marta Ruiz Benito reminding us why we became educators through some slick images and beautiful words and lastly Sarah Wright talking about future forward thinking and preparing our young people for a brighter future! Again every single showcase was amazing and really thought provoking.

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The next session was a masterclass with Bill Frakes, an award winning photographer who had the honour of taking my portrait earlier in the week, or should that be the other way round! Bill spoke at length about his love of telling stories using images both still and moving. He showed some quite unbelievable films and imagery, explaining the process he and his team went through to capture the shots and the stories behind them (many of which were very humorous!)

The following film – Nebraska Skies struck a real cord with me, I thought the story of homecoming for Bill and the beautiful imagery of the state of Nebraska were unbelievable, I wish it had been able to go on and on!

The room was ‘buzzing’ after such an amazing man had spent the time to speak to us, a true honour to have been photographed by such a creative genius! He even made me look pretty good, if I do say so myself!

The remainder of the morning was spent plotting with the rest of my Creativity in the Primary Classroom team working on our individual projects and assisting each other with theirs.

After yet another hearty lunch, we began our individual workshop tracks. I attended a workshop on accessibility, that was very interesting, especially as I got to see the features built into Watch. Then I moved  onto looking at ‘Creating Great Content using iOS Apps’, we looked at the series of iBooks Apps in the classroom (have a look here) worked through an example lesson in the Hopscotch book, and analysed the learning that took place and what we learnt. We all decided that these were a great resource, especially to assist less confident teachers to new apps and ideas (and for me to support teachers that attend my RTC sessions). We then spent time developing ideas that could be made into an iBook for ‘DoInk Green Screen’, these books are such a valuable resource for teachers of all levels, I strongly recommend checking them out!

Then onto the final workshop of the afternoon ‘Formative Assessment using iPad’, this for me was quite exciting as the previous week I had been invited to present a ‘Deep Dive’ session into student learning journals within this workshop, I had created my content and was ready to present to my peers once more, a true honour! I was going to talk about SeeSaw, one of my favourite apps. I have to say that the feedback from the group was great and yet again I learnt a lot from the rest of the session, once more I left the room fulfilled!

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Some of the work submitted by the workshop team to a SeeSaw test class.

After these sessions we had some free time, so a group of us went to the pool and sat around in the jacuzzi chewing the fat of our experiences so far, until it was time to eat yet more fine food! Followed by some beers, laughs and building some fine friendships!

So, like a whirlwind, the final day of the EMEIA ADE institute was upon us and although excited to see my family back at home, I was also sad that this weeks experience was drawing to a close. More fine presentations followed, the two stand out presentations for me were from Danny Ross, who spoke about using Augmentative reality to inspire his reluctant learners in his SEN school and also the ladies (Iva and Lenka) from iSEN in Czech republic showing some of the amazing work they are doing with SEN children using iPad as the catalyst for some great learning. All in all, the ADE showcases were amazing and a true highlight of the week as a whole-well done to everyone who took to the stage to present!

After a brief break we were then treated to a special guest speaker, the rumour mill had started; Will.I.Am? Dr DRE? Ant and Dec?!? Who knew? Who would it be?

Turns out it was none of these greats of entertainment, it was actually one of the most important classical composers and conductors of our generation, Eska-Pekka Salonen. He spoke to us at about how he used digital technology to inspire and engage more people with classical music, some of the work he showed us was truly amazing, he then introduced us to an App, that Salonen and his team had been working on ‘The Orchestra’, that allows the user to follow exactly what is happening across an orchestras performance of several pieces, a really powerful app for music departments across the world.

We then split into our groups for a final time where we finalised our plans for our projects in our Creativity in the Primary Classroom team. I cracked on with creating my Lessons for the Classroom iTunes U course, that will hopefully be featured along with the others here!

After our final luncheon, we got together in our UK team and discussed the possibilities of meeting up in various regions and things we could do to support each other. We also spent ten minutes saying hello to any of team UK that we might not have spoken to during institute so far! There were quite a few that had slipped through my net, apologies for that! I feel that the UK team of 2015 is very strong and it complements and adds to the previous classes, filling holes (if there were any!). As such a big group we had to find a space large enough for us to have our photograph taken as a group, but we found a location!

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The final session of the day involved being in the main ballroom for one last time and saying our thank you’s and goodbye’s to each country, as well as having more group photos by the one and only, Bill Frakes (who doesn’t seem to take health & safety that importantly-those that were there will know!!) We were also given a special gift from Apple to commemorate our induction into the Distinguished Educator class of 2015.

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We then had some more down time, which means another trip to the pool! Then we ate, drank and danced (and sang!) the night away in true style, a great end to a great week! One that will live with me for the rest of my life, having made some amazing friends that have made me realise that I am not mad, I am just am member of a unique group of educators that really want to push the boundaries! Thank you to all that spoke to me, tweeted me, laughed with me/at me, supported me and attended the institute, making it such a fantastic experience!

In the true style of EMEIA ADE Institute 2015, I shall be posting my top 5 things from the institute, at a later date!

Please also check out my memory from EMEIA ADE Institute Days 1 & 2 here.

 

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Apple Distinguished Educator Institute 2015 – Day 1 & 2

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I have just returned from one the greatest week-long experiences of my life in both a professional and personal manner, a week that will stay with me for the rest of my life! This week was the Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) Institute that I attended in Amsterdam along with 250+ colleagues from around Europe, Middle East, India and Africa.

I shall rewind back to February/March when I was applying to become an ADE and my reflections upon being accepted in late April, here.

The week began arriving at Birmingham airport bright and early on a Sunday morning, waving off my family and checking in for my short flight to Amsterdam. Travelling on the same flight was Sarah Jones, so we sat and drank coffee, chatted about work, family and what we expected to experience during the coming week. I don’t think either of us had any idea how far off the mark we would be!

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Image courtesy of Sarah Jones @SarahTVNews

Upon arriving in Amsterdam Schipol airport we were treated by a lady pointing us to the ‘meeting point’ we walked there to be told we had a 15 minute wait for the shuttle bus to arrive. Once on board we travelled into the unknown for around 20 minutes before arriving at our hotel for the week. Once quickly checked in we went for a quick bite of lunch and then began the Apple registration process, one of the first people I bumped into was my good friend Greg Hughes, who is a legend of the ADE circuit and also an Advisory board member along with Catherine Mangan and Miriam Walsh, who I bumped into shortly after. I was issued with my t-shirt, pin badge, jacket and most importantly my ID card. I was also given my agenda for the week and generally made to feel comfortable. I was then ushered into a small room for rehearsals!!!

On the weeks before institute I had been asked to present for three minutes to tell one story from my classroom, I had agreed to present and had done the bits needed before hand (working alongside EMEIA ADE advisory board member Gavin Smart) but hadn’t thought too much more about it! When inside the room all ADEs that had been asked to present were practising their presentation and were being given feedback from a  variety of Apple staff, ADE EMEIA Advisory board members and their peers. I did my presentation and was happy that my feedback involved changing an image on a slide and a word in the presentation! I have to say this was one of the most nerve-wracking moments of the week and indeed my teaching career, the level of pressure to present in front of peers that you respect  was intense!

The rest of the evening was spent eating, relaxing, catching up with old friends and making new ones; and also waiting for the legend that is Dan Oakes to arrive, as I was sharing a room with him for the week (poor soul!) I’d like to say an early night was had by all, but there was none of that happening this week!

Anyone that knows me will surely know that mornings aren’t easy for me!! So when the alarm sounded at 6am, YES SIX, it hurt but I was excited to see what was in store for the rest of the day. Myself and Dan, got showered and dressed, then headed off for breakfast. An aside here that I’m sure us Brits stood out a mile in the restaurant for each meal, as we would all have a most bizarre, mountainous combination of foods on one or sometimes more plates, and so began the random selection of foods being served in various glasses (shot glasses being the most popular!).

At 7.45 we were being ushered into the main room, by the use of a small bell (another feature of the week!), as we walked into this cavernous room the nerves kicked in for my presentation the following morning, the room was massive, easily the biggest room I have ever been into for something like this. Another feature of the week was the banging, and I mean banging house music being played as we all walked in and took our seats!

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I will admit that I was very, very excited so the photos began and at the stroke of 8am the show kicked off, this was slick, as I’d come to expect from attending many an Apple event over the last year or so, but on a much, much larger scale! Some of Alumni were doing short presentations, sharing their stories and they were great, Catherine, Greg, Miriam, Anna Razdorskaya and Daniela Rubio, were obvious highlights for me personally, although everyone had such an amazing story to tell.

The next session involved us meeting new people and grouping ourselves with like-minded individuals who had a similar story to tell. I moved around the room settling upon the group for me: Early Learning and Primary. Within this a sub group – Creativity in the Primary Classroom (aged 7+) formed and this was my home for various sessions for the week!

Before lunch, we were introduced to our ADE project for the coming few months, we could select one of three options…

  • Publish a One Best Thing multi-touch iBook – some amazing  previous examples here
  • Publish a Lessons for the Classroom iTunes U course – some great Classroom Lessons here
  • Work on a community engagement project with a museum or gallery to produce digital media for them.

The ADE alumni that were in attendance took to the stage once again to present on their One Best Thing iBook and Lessons for the Classroom iTunes U course, all of which I had been lucky enough to have read before institute. Notable highlights were presentations by Darryl Bedford and Simon Pile.

A particular highlight of the first day and the week, was listening to and seeing a demonstration of Garageband, Final Cut Pro and Logic (the latter – two mac apps I have no experience of using) being used to create a movie and soundtrack from nothing! This was incredible and showed how easy the more powerful apps were to use if you had a handle on using Garageband and iMovie. It was great to see the passion in the presentation from two guys that spend their 9-5 day jobs developing these tools!

The theme for the week was ‘Storytelling’ and to this end we had a great session on the principles of telling a great story, analysing stories (Finding Nemo!) and then creating and improving our own stories! This was great fun, although by this point in the day I was feeling tired and the levels of excitement had worn me out, although there was plenty more to be getting on with before I could rest, including a dress rehearsal for the three-minute presentation and meeting of all the UK ADEs. Obligatory food, beers and chats followed until late into the night! An amazing first day was had by all!

Day two began in a similar way to the first day, an unusually early alarm call, strange combinations of food for breakfast BUT then arriving in the main room earlier than the majority as it was my turn to present my three-minute story to the 400 people in attendance.

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This was a fantastic experience and I have to say that I felt no nerves before stepping up on stage and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, particularly the simply unbelievable feedback from so many people from all around the world! Thank you all that spoke to me in person, via Twitter or iTunes U discussions it means a lot! The other stories that were being presented were also amazing and it was such a valuable and humbling learning time in the whole institute experience.

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The remainder of the morning was spent listening to updates to the education apps and processes within the Apple eco-system and time spent with my Creativity in the Primary Classroom group talking about the project we would all undertake. At this point I was well on the way to deciding upon my project,but it was interesting to work with such a diverse set of educators whom all had similar outlook and level of passion towards using Apple technologies inside the classroom.

The afternoon of the second day introduced us all to the various ins and outs of using the Apple logo and various ethical issues surrounding the whole ADE programme. We were also treated to an outstanding session on the finer points of design and how, with some simple steps we could all make our work, Keynotes, iBooks all look professionally designed, this was one the stand out sessions from the week, I learnt so much from this! Another thoroughly enjoyable workshop was a quick run through of the accessibility features built into iOS devices and to the mac OS. This really engaged me, as I am a huge fan of these features (I especially look forward to new additions that arrive with iOS 9) and have spoken about them before here.

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Image courtesy of Tricia Friedman @FriedEnglish101

The finale to the second day was a ‘Playground’ this involved using ‘toys’ to aid STEM learning with iPad such as: Sphero, Dash, Parrot Minidrones, MakeyMakey, Lego Mindstorms, LightUp and 3D printing. This was great fun and although I had already had experience with most of these ‘toys’ the rooms were awash with excitement and practical work.

A superb end to the opening two days at institute, some amazing new connections, friends, stories and incredible experiences. I, for one, was exhausted but so excited to experience even more over the final two days!

Please also read my post on ADE Institute days 3 & 4, here.

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Inspiring Adjective Use with iPads

Today my class had (yet another!) lesson observation, so as with teachers across the land, I tried to do something new and exciting with lots of WOW factor! An area of the literacy curriculum that my class find hard, but have made progress with this year, is using adjectives in their writing to make it more interesting. Sometimes the children struggle to be creative with their ideas for describing words and the age old issue of everything being ‘nice’ rears its ugly head!

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Firstly, I introduced my children to a new app (to the class) WeeMee Avatar Creator, I ran through the app (adding in some words on e-safety regarding the ‘pop up’ adverts) and then gave the children five minutes to create an avatar and export the character to the camera roll on their iPads.

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The children were then brought back to the circle and shown ‘Dave’, an avatar that I had created earlier. Each child was asked to describe a part of ‘Dave’ or his background. I recorded these words and phrases using WordClouds on my iPad, then displayed them onto the whiteboard using AirServer. The discussion around this then involved identifying the adjectives amongst the other words.

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The children then went to their tables where they all proceeded to make their own WordClouds, switching between apps to keep heir avatar in mind at all times. Once they had, exhausted their ideas for adjectives they were prompted to generate their ‘cloud’, again saving to the camera roll.

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The final stage of the lesson involved the children producing a document, containing their Avatar image and WordCloud, as well as a photo of the learning intention (for marking later) using the old favourite Book Creator. The children then began to create sentences using the word clouds as an idea bank.

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The children all created great sentences and were engaged in the whole activity, upon completion the children wanted to carry out the whole activity again (or so they said!). I think using WeeMee was a great success and opens up a lot of avenues for a variety of writing activities, as well as a whole host of speaking and listening ideas.

As an end of half term treat, we may drop their WeeMee avatar into YakIt Kids and get the children to describe them!

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Apple Distinguished Educator

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Today started as any other day, the alarm went off waking me from my slumber, I thought about hitting snooze BUT then it struck me…the Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) alumni had been contact the previous night, my iPad and iPhone may be harbouring a cheeky email that could put a grin onto my weary morning face!

I had applied to be an ADE in early March, after preparing for many months before. I had created a variety of resources for the school, including iTunes U courses and multi-touch iBooks. As part of the application process I needed to make a two minute video sharing my vision and achievements, this included recording my class hard at work on iPads, me delivering training and (the worst bit) delivering a piece straight to camera! I actually enjoyed making this ‘movie’ it really focussed on how amazing the work my students were achieving and how far the school and myself had come on our 1:1 iPad journey. I do wish I could share it, but due to e-safety concerns, I sadly can’t!

The second part of the application was a written part outlining you, your vision and how Apple technologies (not just iPads!) had transformed the learning environment. Anyone that knows me will know writing does not come easy to me, but this writing was some of the easiest I have had to do. Possibly because of the opened ended nature, a limited character count or the fact that I am just so passionate about using these technologies in my classroom.

As an ADE the role is to be an author, advisor, ambassador and advocate for the use of Apple technology in education toe hence teaching and learning. I have been inspired by many ADEs on my journey so far, to name but a few Neil Emery, Greg Hughes, Gavin Smart, Mat Pullen, Tom Riley, Marc Faulder, Daniel Edwards and Mark Anderson. They are a great community and can be relied upon for great ideas, inspiration and answers to queries!

I am delighted to say that I have been selected to be an Apple Distinguished Educator in the class of 2015. It is a great thrill and honour to be in this select group of educators across the world. I can’t wait to join the ADE institute in Amsterdam in July, where I am looking forward to learning loads and upon my return helping others to enhance the curriculum using Apple technologies in the classroom!!

Mentions and thanks to my headteacher, Vic at Academia and also the Apple Midlands Education Development Manager (whom shall remain nameless!!) for all the support through the whole journey!

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Autism specific wheel of iPad Apps

I first heard of Dr Sue Fletcher-Watson at an Apple Accessibility Summit I attended last year, she spoke of how using the iPad with people on the Autistic Spectrum could be really valuable and also introduced me to the excellent app (that she had a hand in designing!) FindMe. Sue does some amazing research into ‘exploring the uses of technology, and especially iPad apps, to support, educate and engage children with autism.

I added her to my Twitter Personal Learning Network and keenly follow the things she talks about and try to introduce the ideas mentioned to my colleagues at work. Yesterday, Sue unleashed a new updated wheel of apps aimed directly for those on the Autistic spectrum.

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The wheel separate’s apps into four main categories: Communication, Education, Life Skills and Fun. These are then sub divided into those apps for children and those for teenagers and adults.

Most of the apps are things that are already used commonly inside my classroom with the Autistic children that I teach, but I am pleased to say that there are some that are new to me!

You can download the high resolution PDF image, with clickable links here.

Thanks so much to Dr Sue Fletcher-Watson for kindly allowing me to reproduce the app wheel.

Follow Sue here.

Visit her web site: www.dart.ed.ac.uk

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Apple Education Resources

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Apple have announced the launch of their ‘For Educators‘ page on the App Store. This page curates content from a variety of sources including Apps, iBooks and iTunes U courses. Having all this content in one easy to reach place is excellent for all educators beginning their iPad journey or those that are already along the road. There is some excellent content including the brilliant ‘One Best Thing’ series of iBooks created by Apple Distinguished Educators, click here and have a look!

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Also, a dedicated collection of Multi-touch books written and published by educators for FREE has been released. This hand picked selection of iBooks includes titles on Mathematics, History, Science and a lot more besides. The Free Books by Educators collection is available here.

Both are well worth looking at for ideas, inspiration and to see the possibilities that Apple technologies allow inside the classroom, in an SEN context or more mainstream!

 

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Maths in SLD Classroom

My class are a wonderful group of individuals, all with their own gifts and challenges. They range in ability from p5/6 to p8. The area of study for this lesson… The vocabulary of shape.

We have, in previous lessons, experienced using 2d and 3d shapes and the children were to work both digitally and non digitally.

As a lesson opener I made a presentation reminding the children what they knew already, explaining the learning objective for the lesson and linking it to the eclipse we had all just witnessed. A rich tea biscuit and giant chocolate button helped here!

imageThe children working at p5/6 we’re learning to match shapes and put shapes in a shape sorter. In readiness for the lesson I used the iPad’s camera to take screen shots then used Pic Collage  to create a visual learning objective and reminder of the app they were to be using.
They had 2 activities to complete. The first involving the app Sorting 3 by Tiny Hands.

image        image   The game they were to play involved matching shapes to holes in a virtual shape sorter. The game creates errorless learning as it bounces incorrect shapes back. The adult working with the group talked through each selection using the relevant vocabulary.. Is it big or small? What shape? Is it a circle? Etc. the extension to this task was then to use a traditional wooden shape sorter to try to fit the shapes in. This too was carefully chosen.. A plain wooden shape sorter with 3 shapes per side. In previous weeks we had used a brightly coloured shape sorter. Some children were able to complete this well, but it was not clear if they were matching the colours or truly the shapes. One ingenious child put her shapes in the large hole in the side! The plain wooden shape sorter proved much more challenging and as these children range from year 4 to year 6, more age appropriate.

Their efforts were photographed on their own iPimageads and they were then able to put their photographs into their Maths journal, using Book Creator, annotated by the adult and saved to iBooks.

They were able to complete much of this independently.

The pupils working within p6 were learning to match and draw shapes.

Somimagee of these children have very poor motor skills. The first app I chose to use with them was Tiggly Safari, using Tiggly Shapes.
imageThis is a fantastic aimagepp which allows the use of shapes that the children can manipulate to complete the pictures on the screen. Again, the adult working with each child noted down the language the children could use and understand.

The second task for this group was to trace shapes.. Circle, square and rectangle. Given the needs regarding fine motor skills of the group the best app for this was Writing Wizard.

imageAs well as letters, numbers and words, this app has a section for practising shapes and patterns. A starting point is indicated and the child has to keep constant pressure, in the correct direction around the shape to complete it. Again the adult guides the child to the correct starting point and checks the vocabulary each child can use and understand.

 

imageThe final group of children working at p8 had a greater challenge. They were learning to identify shapes within objects and patterns. This was a test of their understanding of vocabulary describing shapes and their use of this vocabulary. The first app I used with this group was Shape Quest.

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Their first task was to play Hide and Seek. The children being directed to find particular shapes within the picture on screen. When the correct shapes are touched creature appear… highly  motivating for our children.

As a reward they were then allowed to play Patch the Path.

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This uses augmented reality and a gameboard that you print off. For our children it is pure magic! Those with fine motor difficulties do not notice that their fingers are being strengthened and they are learning to use their hands and thumbs independently. They use their iPad to catch escaped puppies and manipulate the correct shapes to mend the path allowing the truck to move on. This game proved to be such a good motivator I had children asking to come to do their work. Keen to be independent some refused help, preferring to work it out for themselves… And as for that “awe and wonder” we had it in spades.

The other task this group were given used Osmo.    image

We used Tangram. This utilises the front camera on the iPad and gives pupils a picture, made using shapes from the Tangram set.

imageThe child has to match the picture. Exactly. The camera detects the shape and “bings” when each portion is correct.

Colour, shape and orientation are all vital. Again, the adult talks through the activity, checking the use and understanding of vocabulary.

All of the children were highly independent, motivated and engaged. The use of each app was carefully matched to each child’s learning objective. Adults play a key role in assessing the children and extending their use and understanding of mathematical vocabulary.

The only down side of the lesson…it went too quickly!

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