The iPad Diaries Index

Back in the spring my department was given a set of 10 iPads through a generous grant.  Since then, I have been blogging all about them here at the French Corner in a series I call the iPad Diaries.  Now that the posts have started to pile up, I've decided to create an index page to organize everything.  I will continue to update this as I add new posts, so if you choose to bookmark this page, you won't have to worry that it's out of date.

Index of Posts
Volume 1 - I shared how we used Kahoot! and Jot! Free with the iPads.
Volume 2 - I shared how we used Lino, Jot! Free (again), DuoLingo, and station work.  I also shared my thoughts on the SAMR model for integrating technology.
Volume 3 - I shared how we used Keynote and Jot! Free for a project.
Volume 4 - I shared how we used Kahoot! (again) Move & Match and YouTube videos.  I also shared my EdShelf resources.
Volume 5 - I shared how we used Adobe Voice to make a video for incoming students
Volume 6 - I shared how we used Adobe Voice and Creative Commons to make a video about a French-speaking country while using images legally.
Volume 7 - I shared feedback collected from students about the iPads.
Volume 8 - I shared how we used Nearpod with the iPads.
Volume 9 - I shared a presentation on the benefits of using iPads in the language classroom.
Volume 10 - I shared how I use Socrative and iPad Review Stations.
Volume 11 - I shared how I use the TinyTap app.
Volume 12 - I shared the benefits of MakeBeliefsComix and the French keyboard
Volume 13 - I shared more of the benefits of Socrative, along with Quizlet and EdPuzzle
Volume 14 - I shared a project for reinforcing the weather
Volume 15 - I shared how I used Quizlet Live with shared devices.

Other posts that mention iPads:
Activities for Practicing Time, Day & Date
Pronouns, Part I
The Year in Review:  My Favorite Apps, Lessons & Activities from 2015

Bonus!  Other Language Teachers Blogging About iPads or tablets:
Mme Mallette
Sylvia Duckworth
Nicole Naditz
Sara Spanglish

iPad Diaries: Volume 7

This is my seventh post on using iPads in my classroom.  In case you missed it, you can read Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3Volume 4, Volume 5, and Volume 6.

At the end of the school year, I needed to gather feedback from students about the use of iPads in the classroom.  This feedback was then shared with the Saratoga Foundation for Innovative Learning, the organization who gave us the grant for the iPads.  I decided to write a post sharing some of this feedback, because it can be potentially helpful to any language teacher using iPads in the classroom.  A few of my colleagues and I gave the students a survey to answer anonymously.  Below are some of their answers to the questions.  While most of these answers came from the survey, some of them also came from conversations, both formal and informal, with students.

How did the use of iPads improve your learning?
· I was able to do work a lot faster.
· They help with pronunciation.
· They gave us an easy and fun way to practice new concepts that we had just recently learned.
· They provided me with abilities to work in real life situations.
· They are more interesting than listening to a teacher.
· It helped me memorize terms more, and it made me excited for class.
· I have gotten a lot better at reading and writing.
· iPads are more mobile, making it easy for groups to move around the classroom.

What about the iPad experience would you change to improve it?
· Use better apps/wider variety of apps
· More iPads so each student could have their own to work with
· More alone station work
· If we all got an equal amount of time on the iPad
· I would work more with oral learning and then speaking it back to the teacher.
· More competition-type games.
· Maybe on the first day next year you could have the students browse the web for safe and appropriate iPad games to learn from and enjoy.

Students’ Feedback on Specific Apps

Kahoot (read more about Kahoot in Volumes 1 and 4)
· It's really fun and I think I benefit from using it each time.
· Kahoot provided a fun and competitive way to learn with your friends. I thought it was cool how everything connected to the Smart board.
· Kahoot motivates me to do better.
· Kahoot has helped my quick thinking in French.

 Keynote  (read more about Keynote in Volume 3)
· With Keynote, when we did the story project, I had a lot of fun. I was able to use all verb conjugations and draw in the same project (with Jot! Free), so that was a lot of fun.

Jot! Free  (read more about Jot in Volumes 1, 2, and 3)
· We could do the same thing on our white boards.
· Writing is too big, not best way to draw. For drawing I prefer the old fashion method such as quality dry erase markers.

Move and Match (read more about Move and Match in Volume 4)
· You can’t really win.
· There is no immediate feedback on whether you are right or wrong.
· It was boring.

Author's note:  Move and Match had a lot of potential, but the lack of instantaneous feedback made it hard to use in a large class.

 Adobe Voice Project – Making a commercial for a French-speaking country (read more about Adobe Voice in Volumes 5 and 6)
· It was a cool program and fun to use.
· There was a lot of background noise, but this was solved by talking closer to the mic.
· It was sometimes hard to find photos to use [legally].
· I learned about lots of francophone countries.
· I would like to have more time to have a deeper understanding of my country.
· Students could give each other feedback by stating two things they liked and one thing they would improve.
· The automatic citing feature was great.

It is evident from the feedback gathered from students that most of them felt the iPads improved their learning and made the subject matter more engaging for them. Students are most motivated by apps that are interactive and offer immediate feedback, as well as competition-type apps. This summer, I have been researching apps to replace the ones that students did not find beneficial, and looking for ones that can move the learning up the SAMR model towards modification and redefinition. I have also been brainstorming more ways to incorporate stations into my lessons so that students can have more one on one time with the iPads, as many expressed an interest in being able to use them individually. Students’ willingness to be honest about what worked for them and what didn’t has made it easier to assess the usefulness of each app and activity.

iPad Diaries: Volume 6

This is my sixth post on using iPads in my classroom.  In case you missed it, you can read Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4, and Volume 5 as well.  In this post I'm going to share with you another project my students made using the Adobe Voice app.

You may recall that I did a project last year (well, two school years ago) where students created a video ad for a French-speaking country using a green screen.  I was really happy with that project, but I aimed to improve the project this year through the use of the iPads.

The objective was to have students demonstrate speaking skills, digital citizenship, and cultural knowledge, through a short "commercial" for a French-speaking country using Adobe Voice.

First, I showed students portions of each video from the playlist below, to get them acquainted with the scenery of each country they would have to choose from (I tried to pick a variety of countries all over the world).  We also pointed each one out on the map.

Next, in groups of three, students researched a country using both digital and print media.  This isn't a traditional research project, but students need to know about what kinds of foods one can eat there, what kinds of activities and traditions there are, what the weather is like, and what the major landmarks or cities are.  I gave students the following graphic organizer to prepare a script ahead of time (they also had a set of directions stating what information needed to be included) (click to see full size):

When students were done preparing the script, they got to start using Adobe Voice.  One of the requirements of the project was that they had to include at least three cultural photos (but most included more).  They could search in the app's library (which automatically uses Creative Commons photos and cites them for you), but if they couldn't find what they were looking for, they had to find an appropriate image to use legally and cite it properly, since these were being published to the internet.

Since most students (people in general, for that matter) are unaware that photos that you find on the internet are not free to use without permission, I took this opportunity to teach students about Creative Commons.  For those who aren't familiar, Creative Commons (or CC) is an organization providing a series of licenses that artists can apply to their work, giving permission for anyone to use it, as long as they follow the terms of the license (one of which is that credit must be given to the author).  There are six different licenses, stipulating terms like whether or not the work can be used commercially or whether or not the work can be modified.

I showed my students this video as an overview (the intended audience is younger than my students, but I appreciated this video's simplicity):

I advised students to use WikiMedia Commons to find their pictures, because most of the photos on there are either public domain or licensed through Creative Commons.  Additionally, the licenses are very clearly noted on each photo.  I gave the students another graphic organizer to note their photo sources as they went along.  They then typed them into the credits slide at the end. Again, click the image to view the full size.

Best practice attributions for Creative Common works contain the name of the work, the author of the work, and the specific license the work is under (which can be abbreviated; see above).  Yes, I even made them write the attribution in French!  It may look complicated and confusing, but almost all of the students did their citations correctly.  Now, I'll readily admit that many of the students were skeptical of the premise that not all photos are legal to use, and that they would have to do all this elaborate citing.  People rip off images all the time, and there don't appear to be any consequences (of course, sometimes there are, but rarely for personal use).  What I tried to impress upon them, though, is that although you're not likely to face any legal consequences by sharing a copyrighted photo in your online project for school, it looks unprofessional and unscholarly.  It's a good idea to start now leaving a clear footprint on the internet.

Above, when students hit the "export" button, they have an opportunity to add in credits.  Below, you can save a link to the video to your clipboard and email it to yourself, or save the actual video to your camera roll if you want the file.

I think this project improved upon last year's, and it once again turned the idea of a presentation into something more engaging. Below are some of the finished products. You can see more on my class blog.

Feedback from the Students
As I did last year, I asked students for their feedback about the project.  Here were some of the things they had to say, both about the project and the app in general:

• It was a cool program and fun to use.
• It was boring.  [I included this comment because it is honest; not every student will like everything!]
• There was a lot of background noise, but this was solved by talking closer to the mic.
• There were lots of buttons but it was easier to use than PowerPoint.
• It was sometimes hard to find photos to use.
• I learned about lots of francophone countries.
• I would like to be able to present to the class as well.
• I would like to have more time to have a deeper understanding of my country.
• Students could give each other feedback by stating two things they liked and one thing they would improve.
• The automatic citing feature was great.

Have you ever done a project like this or would you?  What would you, or did you, do differently?  Sharing our ideas and collaborating is what makes us better teachers, so please, share yours in the comments!

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