Tech Trends in Education Research

Beginning Essential Apps for iPads in the Classroom

App Guide for Elementary Teachers in the Early Stages of iPad Classroom Integration

  • Open or Download the iPad Apps for Educators brochure HERE
  • iPad Apps for Educators Google Slide presentation HERE
  • Open or Download the iPad Apps for Educators slides HERE
  • Download the iPad Apps for Educators PowerPoint presentation HERE

In January 2014 I was placed in a sixth-grade Title I classroom for a student teaching assignment. The school was a 1:1 iPad school. While I do have an Android tablet at home, I was very unfamiliar with the iPad and the tremendous power of apps available to teachers and education. Because I love new technology, especially in the classroom, I dove right in and starting learning about the apps I would end up using almost every single day of my teaching experience.

After my student-teaching experience, I went back to my job at the elementary school I had been at previously. The vice principal asked me about my experience and to someday write up a review of my favorite apps as the school had just received one rotating classroom set of iPads. Life, work, and preparing our home to sell put that request on the back burner until now. I created this assignment in part to fulfill that promise to the vice principal.

I chose my six favorite apps to showcase in this assignment. I used them all several times a week if not every single day while I was teaching. Most were free but a few had been paid for and subscribed to by the school district. I created a tri-fold brochure with a brief synopsis of each of the apps to give to the principal, teachers, or IT specialist. I also created a PowerPoint presentation with some additional resources and website and/or video tutorials so teachers and administration could further investigate the app. The brochure is meant to be a quick overview of how the app is useful to teachers (along with the cost), and the PowerPoint is for looking deeper at the app.

As teachers begin investigating how to use an iPad in their classroom, they will find more resources than they will ever know what to do with. I created this brochure and presentation with the hope that teachers won’t be overwhelmed when they receive their new iPads and wonder what they will do with it. Teachers never have enough time in their day and spending time researching apps probably will fall off the priority list very quickly. My goal is that this simple brochure will give teachers and administrators just enough quick information that they can get set up and running as quickly as possible.

Video Links/Tutorials

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EDTECH Research

I chose virtual manipulatives as the topic of my annotated bibliography.

A few weeks ago I was listening to a parenting podcast when the topic of using technology in the classroom came up as part of the podcaster’s discussion.  They commented on how wholly unbalanced our nation is when some schools have access to technology like personal Macbooks for every student and others barely have a classroom computer.  They then discussed how much “screen-time” the students with iPads, Macbooks or Chromebooks must face on a daily basis and when is enough enough?  This conversation got my mind thinking and wondering as well, when is “enough enough?”

My question isn’t easily answered as I am both a parent and a teacher.  I can see so much value to using virtual manipulatives in the classroom.  The size of our classrooms continue to grow.  With 30+ students in a classroom, how is a teacher supposed to physically have enough physical manipulatives to make learning concrete like it needs to be?  Go into any teacher supply store and see how much money those manipulatives cost and then the controversy grows.  Space, money, quantity, etc., they are all issues.  It is obvious that virtual manipulatives are a good cost-effective alternative.  However, I am drawn back to my screen time dilemma, when is enough enough?

Is using our hands to physically manipulate objects getting lost to higher technology?  This was my ultimate question as I sought to see what research was saying.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that much of the research (much more than just what appears in my annotated bibliography) shows that using a combination of physical and virtual manipulatives is optimum for learning concretely.  While I love and embrace the use of technology in our classrooms, I don’t want to see the pendulum swing so far to one side that we forget how important it is just to sit and discover with our hands.

I learned a lot through  this assignment.  Although I have had an APA class in the past few years and have written a few Literature Reviews, I had never created an annotated bibliography before.  It was a great opportunity to dissect the information into small chunks, easier to digest in a short period of time.  I like to think that an annotated bibliography is a summary of the article’s abstract and conclusion all wrapped up nice and neat along with all the information needed to find that article in the future.

I also learned that I really don’t like Google Scholar.  As another student pointed out, there is no apparent way to filter peer-reviewed articles and studies.  For this reason, I chose to stay with the BSU library, EbscoHost, and Academic Search Premier.  While I did try to research Zotero and its usefulness, I didn’t get into it much and I will have to look more into it in the future.

502 Update and Reflection

Up until now I haven’t posted anything about my journey in 502.  The class is all HTML and CSS and wow, I am astonished at my progress.  I never would have imagined that I might like or enjoy creating a website from scratch but it isn’t bad, it’s almost kind of fun.  Validating at the end is like jumping into a deep pool and waiting to breathe until you come back to the surface.  By working through each assignment and building on concepts learned from the previous week, my skills and knowledge has greatly improved.

Here is what I have so far: http://edtech2.boisestate.edu/jencrook/502/502.html

Moving forward, my EdTech Homepage will be found HERE.  This website is hosted by the Boise State University’s Edtech2 server and will become “home” to my growing portfolio.