iPad Diaries: Volume 3

In my previous posts about iPads in my classroom, I've talked about the interactive game Kahoot, the whiteboard app Jot, the brainstorming app Lino, and using iPads in stations for quiz review.  In this post I'll share a project students did using Apple's Keynote app.

Every year I like to give students a project that allows them to use ER verbs in context.  I've done both individual and group projects, but I've found that this material can be challenging for students to work on individually.  This year I wanted to use the iPads.  I just wanted a simple app that could make presentations with text and pictures.  After playing around with the few, I came to the conclusion that Keynote was the best, due to its simplicity.

The main idea of the project is for students to state what various people do and don't do in a certain setting.  By anchoring the "story" (and I use that term loosely) with a specific setting, such as a place or time of year, the sentences have more context and don't feel like unrelated ideas.  First, the students choose a character (such as Mickey Mouse or Harry Potter) to be the narrator.  Then they pick the setting (at home, at school, in winter, etc.).  After that they write, as the narrator, what the narrator ("Je") does and doesn't do in that setting, what another person - a friend or family member of the narrator - does and doesn't do ("Il" or "Elle"), what the narrator and another person - could be the aforementioned person or a different one - do and don't do ("Nous"), and what two other people ("Ils" or "Elles") do and don't do.  Then they end it with a question.  It hits on almost every verb form, but it has a story-like feel to it.

First, the students brainstormed on paper so as not to monopolize the iPads, which are shared among the department.  Having it laid out on paper helps me more quickly assess whether they are on the right track as opposed to flipping through slides.

Next the students typed their text into Keynote.  When they were all done, they made original drawings in Jot to insert into each slide.  Many of them wanted to include pictures from the internet, but for copyright reasons I asked that the work be entirely original.  A few of them made drawings at home and photographed them.

Here are a few examples of finished products:

Most students enjoyed working on the project and I was pleased with the results.  Here are a few thoughts going forward:

Advantages of using iPads for this project:
-Ability to easily publish work on blog for a wider audience
-Possibility of narration (although that was not used in this project)
-Built in autocorrect actually helps students with spelling if the keyboard is set to French
-Work is preserved/archived more easily and doesn't deteriorate

-Work cannot be displayed in classroom
-Students get a little carried away on drawings because it is more difficult to make a good drawing in Jot than it is to draw it by hand

All in all, it was a good project, but I'll be looking for ways to further exploit the technology when I do it next year.

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