Archive for February, 2014

App Review: Sticking with the iPad

As part of an occasional series on apps I’m finding useful in my History teaching I thought I’d share Stick Around which takes a little getting used to but then enables you to quickly create attractive sorting and matching exercises that can either be done through the pad on to the board through AirServer or worked on by students in groups. There’s more info here and a video intro below. I’ve made a couple of puzzle game myself and they have gone down well and there seems to be huge scope for use in History, labelling a trench, cardsort and the like.

Ten Superstars of Psychology

There is some excellent material on TED.com, that will come as no surprise to anyone using the internet but it’s getting to the stage now where the amount of excellent material might seem off putting to newcomers. To help with that issue for TOK students in particular there is a handy list from the nice people at psyblog of the ‘Superstars of Psychology’ condensing their material into the requisite sub-twenty minute slots. The ten begins with this one from Philip Zimbardo on the Psychology of Evil.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsFEV35tWsg

The power of collaboration

I thought I’d make mention of the series of events that led me to contribute to an online document on ways to teach History as it’s a classic example of all I love about the possibilities of web2.0. The short form of the story goes pretty much like this. Last week I was using tweetdeck.com and in my feed there was a RT from a teacher I didn’t follow @joetabhistory requesting contributions to an online google doc on ideas for teaching History. I had a quick look at the doc and felt there was some good material there that I could repurpose and, in order not to be a leech, I chipped in with a couple of ideas of my own, for which I later received a generous RT (retweet) from Joe. Since then I have checked back periodically as the list has grown and created a new page in my simplenote account to jot down the ideas ready to be incorporated into my scheme of work when appropriate. The whole process has cost me maybe thirty minutes of time for which I have gained five or six good ideas and contributed something back. This level of collaborative power is the true joy of teaching in the era in which we do and the sooner it filters all the way through the profession the better.

The Great iPad experiment

Several months ago I got an iPad for use at school as part of a project to establish whether they would be more useful for the History department than having highly costly SMARTBoards installed as we have elsewhere in school. At £4000 per classroom for the board and installation compared with £350 and around £10 for AirServer (the software that links the iPad to the projector via the computer) the financial case makes itself. But how usable is the iPad as a teacher held device? And how many appropriate apps are there in the great apple ecosystem? And are any of them useful to a History teacher who already channels an awful lot of his teaching through online resources?

The short answers are Yes, Lots and reasonably. Over the next few weeks I hope to provide some decent feedback on what I’m using and how, and provide a resource for History teachers who are underwhelmed by the extensive app lists out there that just offer timelines and revision guides (I’m looking at you BBC Active).


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