Six Educators talk about iPhone/iPod Touch use in Queensland education, Feb-April 2009

- Compiled by Jonathan Nalder, over-enthusiastic mobile and ubiquitous learning educator, ADE (Apple Distinguished Educator), & blogger ( - Contact me at, or on twitter as ‘jnxyz’ .

In February 2009 I resolved to find out what the growing use of the iPhone and iPod Touch platform meant for education in Queensland. To accomplish this, I sent out the following message to members of my PLN (personal learning network): Hi all, I'm wanting to put together a paper for the 2009 Apple University Consortium conference and would like your help! The paper will basically be an audit of iPhone/iPod Touch use in P-12 and Higher education across Australia - and of course knowing of you as being a proponent of the platform, I'd like to ask that if you have the time, could you please respond to the following to describe your use of the platform: --------------------------------------------------------------------WHO: (Your name, title etc) WHERE: (Where you're based, school, admin etc) WHAT: (fill out all if relevant) A. Educator-focused - how (what apps in what ways) etc are you using the platform to enhance your role in provding education B. Student-focused - how (what apps in what ways) etc are you using the platform to enhance student learning C. Are any of these uses utilising wireless connectivity - wifi, txting, internet, wireless collaboration etc. WHY: (any thoughts on the strengths/ weaknesses of the platform - why you personally use it) ---------------------------------------------------------------------Ok, thanks a million. The compiled results will be made available to all - should make for some great reading!

Unfortunately, the conference itself was unable to go ahead, but the responses I received still needed to be shared, especially at a time when the platform is continuing to be adopted in schools across Australia. So I present them unedited here for the encouragement of anyone looking to harness the growing ubiquity of mobile devices in their classroom. (If you’d like to contact any of the Educators below, please use the contact details above and I’ll be happy to pass your request on.)

1. WHO: Shane Roberts, Head of Department (HPE) WHERE: Palm Beach-Currumbin SHS WHAT: A. Educator-focused - calendar (synced with google calendar), iTunes for relevant podcasts and iTunesU downloads, Evernote, Ultimate ToDos, Twittelator, WordLite, Discover - for transfer of files B. Student-focused - graphcalc and TouchCalc as replacements for the default calculator, calendar (synced with google calendar) - students retrieve lesson information notes - students leave me reminders (set me homework!)translator. Wikiamo to search wikipedia. iTunes - to listen / watch podcasts or iTunes U. Google Earth MultiConvert - for conversions. Nike + iPod - physical training. I have eReader installed but have not yet used it. Its in the plans, students could access reports I've downloaded. C. Are any of these uses utilising wireless connectivity? WiFi - Twittelator, WordLite, Wikiamo, Google Earth, Discover, Collaboration - notes (sort of). They can add to and edit the one list. But no use on real wikis or collaborative sites yet (due to poor wireless at my school). WHY: I initially began use with the iPod Touch as mainly a listening device. However subscription to email lists and online groups has shown me a variety of ways it can be used. For me, in my context, the only weakness I see is the poor wireless coverage across my school. This limits the areas the iPod Touch can be used. For me, the most significant strength is its size, and subsequent portability. As a HPE teacher, portability is important when considering devices for integration. The device is easily managed, and can be simply restored if mistakes are made by less knowledgeable users. I am seeing the rise of iPhones possessed by students. By demonstrating productive use of the platform with the iPod Touch I can teach students to use the device they own in a more productive and effective manner.

2. WHO: Fiona Banjer WHERE: Year 3 Teacher, Park Lake State School, South Coast District WHAT: A. Educator-focused - how (what apps in what ways) etc are you using the platform to enhance your role in providing education. Twittelator – communication via Twitter with my worldwide PLN Internet access to Webmail and online networks e.g. Nings, diigo etc. if computer not available but wifi is. Itunes – podcasts (professional and personal) B. Student-focused - how (what apps in what ways) etc are you using the platform to enhance student learning. I’m using my own ipod touch, so there is only one in the classroom. Two children at a time, one using a calculator the other entering the answers to try to beat their best times on Brain Tuner. I have also adapted it to become a storage device using DiskAid and have sight words on a PowerPoint slideshow. Also stores MS Word documents. Will use to enable children to use this at school when they start creating their slideshows. C. Are any of these uses utilising wireless connectivity? Twittelator – only at home or the Coffee Club at the Logan Hyperdome where you get wireless access with a cup of coffee!! Webmail if wifi access available. WHY: I use it for novelty value. Simple for the children to pick up and use and they enjoy using it. I initially wanted an ipod to share podcasts the children made but was sorely disappointed when I finally purchased the ipod touch and it didn’t have the capacity to store my documents. It took a while and much discussion amongst my Twitter colleagues to find the answer! 3. WHO: Dawn Clark, Year 3/4 Teacher WHERE: Cedar Creek State School, South Coast WHAT: A. Educator-focused - Calendar, Ted, Speedtype, Dictionaire, Writepad, iTalk, To Do, Cooliris, easywriter B. Student-focused - Maths - Brain Challenge, Brain Tuner, iChoose (this is a great probability app that the kids love), Dice bag, BasicMaths Literacy - Word warp, Dictionaire, Hangman, Voice4fun Other - Beatbox free, Match, LineRider, Eye tricks, Traveller lite (find cities and countries on a world map)

C. Are any of these uses utilising wireless connectivity - Ted, iTunes, Cooliris WHY: The kids love it, it's a good motivation tool. (I only use my own in my classroom, it's used as a reward for the kids, and also in group rotations with 4 kids on a Nintendo DS and one on the iPhone. It's easy to use, such a range of apps for all ages. A few of my students have parents with iPhones so it's relevant to the technology they have at home (and they can then go home and show Mum and Dad what they can do on it.). 4. WHO: Bob Bartley WHERE: Taranganba State School, Year Six Teacher WHAT: A. Educator-focused - I access my PLN through my ipod touch at home. I use twitteriffic and Twittertrend to follow up on leads. I also use Google reader, (not so much lately) to read blogs that I am subscribed to and also collect my diigo group bookmarks weekly. I also intend on using one of the grade book apps when I decide which one I want. I recently downloaded a timetable app which allows you to create an on going timetable for the class. I have taken a screen capture of it and use it with my IWB. I also subscribe to different podcasts through itunes app and I am encouraging the LOTE teacher to use it as well. I hope, after getting a bank of touches in my class, other teachers will get a chance to use them and see their potential. One way I plan to do this is through a buddy class in year two. For keynotes and other presentations I use TED app and you tube. Inewz is an app that uses rss to pull down current headlines in a range of genres including technology (needs adult filtering if being used with children). and of course Icricket B. Student-focused - As I only have access to one ipod touch, my own one, at the moment (currently sourcing funding for my own trial) at this stage the children are accessing the ipod touch apps to practice mental recall: Brain Tutor, Kids math fun, Diamath, pop math lite and BB maths apps other apps for maths include one called measures which converts measures from one scale to another, TPP lite is a tangram app that is free and easy, I also plan to use monopoly to teach the concept of k = thousand and m = million and there is also some geography in the game if you make children research the places they have purchased (world edition). There is also social skills involved here as the children have no control over whose turn it is or who goes first. You can also ply wifi if you have more than one ipod and obviously wifi too! Watch video and animation that supports their learning, Spelling apps: BB spelling word games: wurdle, wordlite gives a word of the day to develop vocabulary reference materials: All countries (free app with statistics and facts of over 240 countries), WordBook: dictionary and thesaurus ($12.99, i think) this is a great tool for children and myself to use.

Wikipanion: an app obviously linked straight to wikipedia (free) but not available without internet connection. Misc: Emees for children to create their own avatars to use on the ipod touch; flipbook lite (create simple animation on the ipod, similar to pivot). Google earth and google maps has potential but I haven't used them yet. iflipr looks very good too, it offers a range of cards that you flick through saying what each picture or word is (good for LOTE) I just used the world flag set and you need to look at the flag say what flag it is and then touch the arrow, it then reveals the answer, if correct you tick correct, if wrong you tick wrong and it goes through a few flags until you get them all right. Simple concept but good for learning number facts and other recall concepts. Another free app that looks great is Quizcreator, where you can set quizzes (through a website) for children to do on the ipod and it will send an email to me with their results. (I haven't actually used this yet as I only have the one ipod and it also requires internet access). I want to use the ipod touch in more creative ways, such as creating podcasts and other digital texts. C. Are any of these uses utilising wireless connectivity - Not yet, no wifi at school WHY: My experiences so far have all been positive. The children who have had the opportunity to use the ipod have loved it. It really is a natural tool for them to learn on. Main strength are the simplicity of its design. It is easy to access apps and children of all ages can access the apps. My 3 year old daughter loves superpoke pets where she gets to feed, clean and play with a virtual penguin. I am surprised by how long my list is. I really think the ipod touch has huge merits for learning in the 21st century. The recharge time is also very low compared to how long the charge lasts. A recharge over lunch time will last the whole day. Can't wait to get more in my class! 5. WHO: MJ Raatz – Head of Department IT WHERE: Forest Lake State High School WHAT: A. Educator-focused - iPod – just music, video, etc. Very useful and keeps me up to date. Especially the little 88.1 FM transmitter – Listen to whatever I want in my car just by plugging in the little thingy. Very cool. - iTunes: automatically download content from channel 2, Media Watch, Catalyst, etc, as well as TED Talks, all get downloaded direct to my iPhone every night. Easy to keep up with important educational trends, etc. Ideas for class scope and sequence. - Blackboard: Update school content when I’m on the move. Post links, thoughts, etc, for students to respond to – Discussion boards, wikis (through safari).

- BOM Application: Keep up with the weather and what’s happening on my way home. I’m a big fan of my water tank and know my log/lat so know if rain is falling in my yard. Often talk to students about weather and implications on behaviour, etc. - Facebook: Essentially important to the Educator, keeps you up to date with important news and information from the best source of all – my friends. Also links to blogs, etc of educations if you please. B. Student-focused - how (what apps in what ways) etc are you using the platform to enhance student learning No major focus yet on student learning besides demonstrations to the students from the iPhone. This includes TED Talks, Latest current affairs information. Google Maps – GPS function has been useful – especially the flikr TED talk – just amazing C. Are any of these uses utilising wireless connectivity - wifi, txting, internet, wireless collaboration etc. Our school does not have wireless yet, however I utilise this on my home network and friends networks. Texting, very useful to see the whole conversation – however the only thing to complain about is the “not able to forward” function. Internet – love all the applications, use internet banking, etc. Have a $15 data pack, know it’s more than 200Gb a month, but never gone close to using that yet. The “automatic” mobile site functions on websites these days is just awesome. 3G is usually quick enough.

6. WHO: Wes Warner - Head of Business Organisation and Management WHERE: I am based at St Joseph's Nudgee College in Brisbane Australia. WHAT: A. Educator-focused - how (what apps in what ways) etc are you using the platform to enhance your role in providing education. In an educator focused way I use the iPod Touch in conjunction with my macbook. I run automator workflows using iCal and Mail which allows me to send emails to students automatically when I add certain key words in iCal on the iPod Touch. As iCal updates every 15 minutes using the cloud I find this really handy yet I haven;t found too many people utilising this aspect of the cloud and automator. Other apps I use are Documents, Stocks, Counter Lite, MobileFiles (really great stuff) and keynote remote B. Student-focused - how (what apps in what ways) etc are you using the platform to enhance student learning Prior to the iPod touch I used iWriter and Mogopop. IWriter doesn't work with Leopard and Mogopop has gone the way of the Dodo. Getting the students to have a gmail account is really handy as they can use apps like Documents to access their simple text files, spreadsheets and edit them on the fly using their iPod Touches. Discover Wifi is great to send files from a desktop to their iPod touches as well

using the WiFi network at school. When I do marketing I love the way how there are so many traffic camera apps out their showing the students the traffic at certain times of the day - You can have an excursion inside your classroom now and continue it when the get home without them actually going their - Add this with the Google Earth app and doing screen captures on the iPod Touch is just fantastic C. Are any of these uses utilising wireless connectivity - wifi, txting, internet, wireless collaboration etc. All of the apps I use with the exception of Counter Lite use WiFi WHY: (any thoughts on the strengths/ weaknesses of the platform - why you personally use it) I believe the strengths of the iPod Touch outweigh its weaknesses. The only real weakness I have with it is not being able to show what I have on the screen at any time on a data projector - if I can I get that cable Steve jobs used when he demoed it . That would be cool.

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