Happy November everyone!
I have had the pleasure of getting all around Alberta and BC in the past month. It seems no matter where I go, Special Education Conference in beautiful Kananaskis country, or at many conferences and schools in BC - particularly on Province-Wide ProD day on October 21 - all everyone is talking about is iPad integration.
I started looking into it just for fun over the summer, and I am very impressed with the number of quality apps for Education there are. I'm on the 'cheap' side when it comes to paying for apps, so I've been looking for cheaper ones too. (though, ask anyone, I was the first to shell out a lot of money when I had my own class, and my nephews have been known to get a good app or two out of me!)
So, first thing I get asked is - can I use my iPad with the SMART board. I did do a blog back at the beginning of the school year where I touched on this briefly. The answer is yes...and no.
I have been using the free SMART Bridgit app. A lot of us know Bridgit from contacting SMART support, and they 'take over our computer'. I love that feature, for sure. On the iPad, I can create or join a meeting (to create a meeting, access to the Bridgit server is necessary). I use it all the time to join webinars, meetings, lessons etc...when I'm out and about. I've literally participated in webinars in airports with my iPad & I can see the presenter's content on his/her machine. Brilliant. I can then see a Notebook file on my iPad, which I love. I'm waiting for the reverse to be true - where I can share the content of my iPad with people in a meeting - and then we've got something!
The current system for using the iPad on the SMART board is to attach your iPad 2 (mirroring won't work for iPad 1 users - sorry!) using one of the Apple 'dongles' that you can attach to your projector.
Depending on the age of your projector - you can either use the VGA dongle (as I showed a few months back) or an HDMI dongle with a newer projector.
: VGA Adapter : HDMI Adapter
The plus side of having these connected to your projector is that all the students can see the iPad content, and it's great to show a group of students what the app is all about before you send them off to complete an activity on the iPad. (most classes don't have a class set, let's be honest, so it can be a great collaboration tool. The amazing Alex Dunn (more about Alex's work in a minute) recommended a Belkin brand headphone splitter (though there are other brands, this one is pretty cool!) so that 5 kids can grab a set of headphones & collaborate around 1 iPad. (I had a 2 headphone splitter back in the day - so this is great!)
The other advantage of connecting your iPad 2 to the projector is that you don't need a SMART Board. The disadvantage is that if you do have a SMART Board, there is no way (YET!) for there to be touch on the SMART Board. (I've said it before & I'll say it again - I need Apple to make a dongle with USB & VGA/HDMI or some sort of bluetooth capabilities or something). Soon, I hope.
The last piece of the puzzle is - I'm connected - now what do I have my kids do?? I've done a lot of research into iPad apps for Education and there is A LOT out there. I started with the previously mentioned Alex Dunn, whose brainchild - Smart Inclusion (lowercase smart) - has gone viral internationally. I had the pleasure of seeing her speak twice in Kananaskis & her passion for helping every child was infectious. One of the biggest ways they are helping kids is through technology. If you haven't been to their site yet - check it out, there is a lot of info on there for iPad apps.
In the course of the rest of my research, I came across so many wonderful sites about iPad and tablets in the classroom, that I caved & finally started a Delicious site - to store all of my useful websites in one spot for teachers to have access to. I have started a 'stack' of sites on iPads in Education. There are far too many great apps to list in one place (i.e. here!) so heading to my Delicious stack could be a start.
I did take some screen shots of some of my fave apps, though (I learned how to do that recently - don't laugh!) (who knew holding down the home button & the power button would take a picture of your screen??)
So, here they are.
-screen chomp - like a SMART board! - Brain Pop app
-NASA app -Khan Academy app
In the meantime, I hope to hear from some of you about your fave apps, to explore this new and exciting world more. I love how education has embraced this technology and the desire for the integration with the SMART board is huge, it's an incredible testament to how far education has come with embracing technology!