In our prospective iPad project in our English and Media faculty we are currently trailing the best apps to use in the teaching of English and Media Studies. Here is a useful top ten list (with a few extras with honourable mentions!):
Some other great apps for English teaching deserving a mention:
YouTube: No explanation necessary, but very useful. With the vast range of resources being uploaded by educators (particularly with the growth of the ‘Flipped classroom’ model of teaching and learning) the options are endless.
GoodReader: A powerful app for annotating PDFs, this app has many uses for engaging with texts actively. I find the legion of options rather cumbersome so I am on the looking for a similar, but simpler, app for text annotation.
Instapaper: A great app for simply saving articles and documents offline in case any wireless network problems ensue.
Snapseed: Currently free, this is a great app to edit photos in a variety of ways.
Socrative: A great app for creating a variety of quizzes for instant formative or summative assessment.
Keynote: Effectively Apple’s PowerPoint, it is a nice smooth app that facilitates some lovely presentations. Similar to PowerPoint, it does take some time to get to grips with.
CloudOn: A free app that provides the opportunity to create Microsoft documents for those who wish to use the familiar tools of the likes of Word or PowerPoint.
Frankenstein (by Inkle): A modern re-working of the classic. This app presents a modern, interactive version which really explores some of the moral choices inherent in the text. It also has the original text and some fantastic contemporary anatomical drawings and maps. Surely the future of e-reading is hinted at in this great app.
We intend to use Apple TV in our classrooms to ensure that students can instantly show any of their work from the apps selected. There are a range of apps that also provide this crucial sharing and control of multiple wireless devices, such as IdeasFlight -
I hope these ideas are useful. Do reply with any other good options for apps to use in English lessons.
Beginning in our next school year, we are very excited to implement iPads (iPad2 devices) as a tool for collaborative learning in our English and Media faculty. We believe that the technology can enhance our pedagogy, whilst engaging our students in the basics of reading, writing and speaking & listening. We believe that the devices can harness excitement and confidence in our students, unleashing greater creativity and raising literacy standards. By using Apple TV, we will use the devices as a tool for formative assessment, immediately streaming student responses, writing, annotation or presentations and films etc. We are not going for the 1-to-1 model, instead the device will be used as a collaborative tool in groups. A class set will effectively be 7 to 8 iPads.
‘The main thing is the main thing’
Undoubtedly, any such new innovation requires time and training (both for students and staff), but we do not want to be put off by the relative newness of the technology for us all as a teaching and learning tool – we want to grasp the innovation and utilise the devices to enhance our pedagogy. Every teacher is a creature of habit – often we teach very similarly throughout our career – with a few ‘tweaks’ along the way. It is therefore important that we create new habits and really focus on where the devices can make those marginal gains in teaching on a day to day basis. We have therefore highlighted our key teaching and learning strategies:
- Using the device for photographing and streaming student work to the projector for immediate formative feedback
- Using the device as a tool for shared writing and guided writing
- Using the device for multi-modal group presentations
- Using the device for group reading and annotation
- Using the iMovie app for creating films/presentations
- Using apps like Goodreader for annotating documents (Interactive Whiteboard style)
- Using the device to research the web
- Using the device to store student work: ongoing and completed e.g. notes on a novel
- Using the audio recording facilities for speaking and learning activities e.g. podcasts
- Using the device to access and collaborate with research homework e.g. Pinterest