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In today’s society technology is taking more and more place. Consequently, it allows teacher to use it more effectively in their classrooms. IPads are a great example of technology that can be integrated into our everyday teaching. Students love everything that is technology oriented and are often more motivated when we bring them new ways to learn with technology. Also, students feel more involved in their learning. That is why I chose to discuss the integration of IPads in the classroom after discussing the matter in class.

Using an IPad is great both for the teacher and the students. However, as teachers we have to remind ourselves of our pedagogical intention behind the activity we want to carry out. What is our intention? We do not look for an app that will teach “English” or “science”. Before we need to think about an activity that we would like to carry out with our students and only after we look for an app that will help us with the activity. As a result, activities will be created in order to develop a particular competence instead of simply doing an activity for no particular reason. IPads are limitless; they are thousands of possibilities to use them. Consequently, it is up to you to decide how you want to use them in your teaching.

Personally, I found various ways to use the IPads for my classes. Any usual task that we do in a normal classroom environment can also be carried out with an IPad. Whether it is writing, drawing, or creating videos, it can all be done with the help of an IPad. With a simple writing and document sharing app like Google Drive a lot can be done with the IPads. Any kind of activity can be done accordingly. Students simply answer or write on their personal IPad and the teacher can go correct directly on the same document afterwards.

I particularly enjoyed the iMovie app where students can create their own book trailer. It is a very dynamic activity that I think students will greatly enjoy doing. It consists of taking pictures of a book and adding questions or sentences to bring in the interest of the viewer. Audio soundtracks are added on top to add realism to the project. I think it is a great project to do with Grade 3 or 4 students since it helps them create short sentences and questions based on their understanding of the book. In addition, the result is concrete and students have the possibility to show it to the class or their parents. This website presents a teacher who decided to use IPads in order to publish her students’ poetry. As you can see, there are many ways to use the tool depending on what you want to do with it.

In addition, information is a lot easier to reach with the IPads since the students have direct access to Internet. Consequently, it is also a great resource that students can use when they are experiencing difficulty and the teacher is busy helping another student. As a result, students will become much more independent since they will be able to look for their answers easily with their IPads. However, the teacher needs to clarify right at the beginning of classes how the IPads will be used; for pedagogical purposes only. Consequently, make sure to specify that the taking of unnecessary pictures or videos is forbidden and point out the consequences that go with it. As a result, students will be aware that they cannot use the IPads how they want and will be more concerned about what they do with.

Overall, I think the IPads can really be useful in my classes as it allows students to be more independent and learn at the same time. If you look for specific apps depending on your field of specialization click here.

Here is a short video of a teacher sharing about his experience with the IPads. Also, here is a blog written by a teacher talking about his experience with IPads in his classroom. This, blog particularly help in my research on the subject. This forum of teachers discussing the issue of IPads in their classrooms helped me discuss the matter greatly since many have experienced the tool.

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Pinterest

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I admit it, I am a Pinterest addict. However, I never thought I could use it for educational purposes. This website is all about sharing ideas, links and connecting people together. At first, Pinterest looks like a big interactive pinboard. However, when we get used to it we see the many options it has to offer. Originally, Pinterest was mostly for arts and crafts. However, with the increase of popularity new themes were created. Users can have as many boards as they want which allows them to create their own subjects and to pin on. A pin directly saves the link and brings you back to the original source. By doing a bit of research, I soon discovered how this great tool could help me in my teaching (to know more about Pinterest and how to use it go on this website). Also, here is a website that explains how schools have used Pinterest since its creation.

First and foremost, Pinterest is a tool that helps you find inspiration. Whether it is for classroom decoration, ideas for school project, organizing information or lesson planning, Pinterest can help you in every step of the process. Moreover, it allows you to reach out to other teachers worldwide (here are some useful information for teacher thinking about implementing Pinterest in their classrooms). Therefore, sharing becomes a lot more interesting as you can ask questions about the activity carried out or know if the teacher’s students liked it. In addition, visual learners in your classroom will be particularly appeal by this tool because of the visual nature of it. Pictures are big and catch the attention quite easily.

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Apart from all the great advantages that I pointed out previously, I would mainly use this tool for a long term project. Whether it consists of a team or individual project both can be carried out easily. If it would be for a team project, I would suggest using a private board between each members of the team. A private board can be shared with any person you want without having other people look at it. Consequently, my students could carry their research and put their resources on this board without having other people look at their work. With the pictures, students could be reminded of what the link is about as well as writing a short description of the subject. Therefore, information about the team’s project would be available for every team member. In addition, the comments under the picture allow the students to share their opinion about the content. For an individual project, the same thing would be possible but instead of sharing the board the person would simply work on it alone.

I believe that Pinterest could be greatly useful to me and my students, and I hope I have convinced you of using it. Coming from a Pinterest addict, I can assure that you will see the benefits of this tool rapidly.

If you still did not find a useful way to use Pinterest in your classroom after reading this article, here are other options that might interest you.

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Google + Education = A Perfect Match

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Nowadays, Google has become one of our everyday go to website. How could we live without Google? To be honest with you, I do not know how I would carry out a research without my beloved Google. And not surprisingly, I am probably not the only one who thinks this way. We all have become used to this tool because of its efficiency and fast research capacity. Then, why not use it for educational purposes as well? Different schools have tried it out and have seen the benefits of Google Education. For more information about schools that have started using the tool, here is a short video of people talking about their experience with Google which allowed me to know about their opinion about the tool and be more critical of it.

Google Calendar

First let’s talk about the Google calendar. The first time you look at it, you might think that it looks like a basic calendar, but let me explain to you how it could be useful for you and your class. Google Calendar creates the possibility to overlay calendars of various topics. So let’s say you have your school calendar with your different classes and material planned out and you want to see your full week. You can overlay your personal calendar on top of your school calendar to be able to see more clearly your free time. By doing so, planning either for a meeting or simply a personal activity will become much more efficient. In addition, you can share your school calendar with your students if you want and by doing so, it will become easier for them to keep track of the exams or assignments coming up.

Google Docs

The magic of Google Docs is infinite! I think it is a wonderful tool as it allows students to share their documents for peer review and more. By sharing their documents, students can comment or even have the possibility to edit it. Consequently, team work is much more efficient with only one internet document instead of many paper copies. With this tool, the excuse of “I’m sorry I lost my homework” cannot work, as I can go and check if they did it or not. Also, through the whole process I can go and look up the students’ work and make sure they understood properly. If I noticed some issues I can come back on it in class and make sure that every student is on the same level. Furthermore, this tool simplifies grading as I do not have to bring all the copies of my students back home. I only need to log on to my Google account and check my students’ documents. Moreover, we can say that it is an ecofriendly tool has it saves us the use of many paper copies and photocopies.

Google Quiz

In addition, with Google Docs there is the possibility to create small online quiz. You simply create the quiz and send it via Gmail to your students so they can answer it. After they have done the text, the answers are sent to you in a spread sheet where you can see all the answers of your students as well as the time they took it. Consequently, it is a more interactive and fun way for students to complete a quiz. I would mostly use it for comprehension quiz as I can create quizzes with answer choice and more.

Reflection

As a teacher, I think that Google Education is one tool that I can use a lot. It allows me to save time, as I do not have to deal with forgotten homework anymore. Also, it gives my students the opportunity to work effectively with one another without having to meet on a frequent basis. Another important factor that makes me like this tool even more is the fact that it is totally safe, based on who you want to share your documents with. If I share my document with only one person, I know that nobody else but me and the person are allowed to see the document (information about the website’s safety has been found here). I am aware of the fact that students are sometimes quite shy to show their work to others. Consequently, even with the use of Google Education there is room for privacy and security of content. And let’s not forget that Google is a completely FREE tool which makes it even more appealing. It is an efficient tool for every one and most importantly it is also accessible for ANYONE who desires to use it with their school.

If you still struggle with the tool, watch this tutorial, it will explain it to you in detail the various ways to use it. In addition, this website can help you find useful and educational activities that can be carried out using Google Docs which helped me write this article.

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The Magic of Prezi

Oral presentations can be quite boring at times, especially for teachers who have to listen carefully to every student’s presentations. Let’s forget all about the boring PowerPoints and let me present you Prezi.

Prezi is an online tool that helps you create attractive presentations. What is special about Prezi is the “zooming function”. You can drag from one point to another by zooming in or out to another point, by doing so it catches students’ attention more easily. In addition, students that are more visual will particularly like this tool because it favors visual learning with motion and colors. It can also be used as a visual learning tool for teacher as we can create our own documents to support what we want to explain. If you want to know more about how to start creating your own Prezi click here.

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Another thing that is particularly fun about Prezi is the fact that it can be used collaboratively. Two students which are respectively at their home can work collaboratively on the same project with the help of Prezi. Whether it is only for brainstorming ideas or for their actual Prezi creation, they both can work on it simultaneously. In addition, what I particularly like about Prezi is the fact that it is an online tool, so no need to save it on a USB key and bring it to class. As we know students often tend to forget their USB key at home. With Prezi, problems like this won’t happen because they only need to log on to the website to access their Prezi.

I can hear other teachers tell me “I already have my PowerPoints, I don’t want to recreate all my documents on Prezi, it will take too much time!” I am glad to announce you that if you already have your PowerPoint documents, you can easily convert them into Prezi files with the PowerPoint import function on Prezi. Consequently, there is no reason not to use it now.

As a teacher, I gladly recommend this tool to my students because it allows oral presentations to be more interactive and fun which is often not the case. And most of all, my students can use this tool collaboratively if they have to work on team projects. I hope you know more about Prezi than you did before and that I might have convinced you in using it in your future class with your students.