Using iCan Animate app in a Science classroom.

I recently used the I Can Animate app with a BTEC group who love demonstrating their knowledge through anything but writing. The lesson was focused on enzyme action and required the students to understand the lock and key theory of how enzymes work, the structure of enzymes and how the enzyme-substrate complex forms and works.

After a brief introduction I handed over to the students. Students were given a success criteria and suggested apps and the rest was over to them. I also chose to make some QR codes available to some students who required more support. These QR codes linked to websites and also short teaching videos to cater for different learning styles and abilities.

All students decided to use I Can Animate app combined with iMovie where they provided a voice over to their animation. I Can Animate is an excellent animation app for only £1.99 as it provides a very simple but effective onion skinning and a range easy to use settings and functions.

I Can Animate App features:

• Capture frames using the inbuilt camera
• Displays onion skinning
• Adjust exposure, white balance and focus
• Time lapse
• Review last five frames
• Preview whole project
• Supports a library of multiple projects

Share your movie
• Export your animation in three movie sizes: medium, large or HD.
• Exported animations are added to your camera roll which can then be shared through email, MMS, MobileMe and YouTube. Exported animations can also be added to an iMovie project for a really polished movie.

I Can Animate provides hours of fun for both the serious and amateur animator. This app also allows students to demonstrate their learning in a fun and creative way that is easy to share during the class and also upload to YouTube or share via Twitter and the you never know the video may go viral!

Once the students had completed their short movie, they were easily shared with myself via email and shared with the world via YouTube. Some examples can be seen below.

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Solar Walk App for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

Solar Walk is an excellent app for teaching astronomy to students with outstanding visualisations, short videos, information about all the planets in the solar system and a most impressive 3D feature that can be used to enrich the learning environment. This 3D Solar System model enables you to navigate through space and time, observe all the planets in close-up, learn their trajectories, inner structure, history of their exploration, points of interest and more. Use 3D mode to get a more realistic experience and zoom out to view and spin the entire Galaxy!

I used this app recently when teaching Year 9 BTEC students about the composition of the Solar System and the some what unbelievable sizes of planets and our galaxy. Students where engaged from the start as I had chosen to project the animation of the solar system rotating slowly on the board as the pupils arrived. A darkened room and the music playing set the scene for the lesson and I was pleased and amazed by the engagement of the students throughout the lessons as this app made the lesson more accessible to all students. Students where required to research all of the different planets in the solar system and produce a scale drawing of the solar system by the end of the lesson. Some pupils struggled to finish all of the tasks however this was because the students were so engrossed in using the app and finding out more about our solar system.

I would highly recommend this app to use while teaching because of the excellent realistic visualisations and also the excellent amount of information available to students at their fingertips all in one application.

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Using ComicLife app to produce revision comics

A lesson today saw Year 11 GCSE students use the iPads as part of their revision for their forthcoming exams. Students worked in pairs to produce a revision comic using Comic Life. Students decided to use a range of different sources such as the internet, text books and their work books for information. The students had 20 minutes to produce their comic, following this they were considered experts in their chosen subject area.

Once the comics were completed one member of the pair visited other groups to learn something new from their peers, whilst the other member of the pair used the comic to teach other students within the class. Students were engaged and showed excellent team work and peer teaching skills whilst producing an outstanding revision resource that can be easily shared via email, twitter and also Facebook.

Some examples can be seen below.

The start of the future? Using iPads in the classroom.

Today saw the first lesson where I had planned to use all 9 of the iPads to enhance the learning and had planned to allow the students to be creative when demonstrating their scientific knowledge.

The students were starting a new Assignment and were asked to work in pairs or threes when using the iPads. This allowed for collaboration and continuos feedback from their peers. Students were engaged in the task from the start and enjoyed working collaboratively, where discussions with their partner were always focused on learning. Initially some students were a little dubious about using the iPad as they didn’t know how to use it. However, after a few minutes of demos from myself and their peers they had gained the confidence to give it a go and try different things.

Using Dropbox, I shared the assignment brief with all devices along with some key websites and vital information such as the success and assessment criteria. Students needed to use the internet to research all about maintaining a constant environment within the body to produce a leaflet using Comic life to hand out to runners at this years Race for life. Some QR codes were also positioned around the room which were linked to websites and useful information. This allowed curious students to discover the potential of QR codes, all of whom found them ‘amazing’ and one student commented ‘thats well cool,sir’.

Other members of the class chose to combine their comic with a document produced on Pages where they felt they had more freedom with different fonts and layout.

Some students seemed to be slightly distracted with the cameras and were very amazed by the fact that they could take pictures. Those students where quickly advised that this was not part of the success criteria and were reminded of the expectations. I feel that the pupils felt that they were privileged to use the iPads and treated them with a lot of care and a usually lively class was very quite as the students were engrossed in the iPads.

All work, once completed was then emailed to a faculty account that had been set up as dropbox does not support the ability to upload documents other than pictures and videos. Dropbox doesn’t allow you to email the files to be stored which would be a perfect way to share the work with other users and their devices, although this may be developed in the future. Overall, I feel this lesson was a good introduction into the use of iPads within education.