Tag Archives: App

Book Creator – from indifference to magnificence!

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When I was first introduced to Book Creator several years back, I have to say I was a little indifferent.  I couldn’t really see back then how it did anything different to other apps such as Keynote or Google Slides.  How very wrong I was!  Book Creator is now our most widely used app, and when used in conjunction with the accessibility features of the iPad (0r Android/Windows 10), it has allowed our pupils to communicate their thoughts in whole new ways.  It is intuitive, and really does make the best of facilities such as the camera and microphone which are built in to the iPad.

We use Book Creator for:

  • e-portfolios of computing work
  • as a teacher tool for recording evidence in, for example, Forest Schools
  • maths lessons, for pupils to take evidence of achievements that are ordinarily tricky to record, such as creating 3d shapes
  • science lessons for taking photographs and describing
  • creating comic books
  • mindmaps

…and of course….making books.   I put together an ‘Apps in a Flash’ video to showcase what can be done with Book Creator.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Link to Book Creator in the iTunes store

Writing with shapes and technology

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Shapes

Shape Coding is used in many schools to support language including writing.  The official source of all things Shape Coding can be found at the Moor House School and College website.  Here is a link.

However, many schools have created or adapted resources to support writing, including ourselves.   We have developed an iPad app called ‘Furze Down Shapes’.  To respect the wishes of Shape Coding’s author, we are only using the app internally.    The app allows shapes to be used to support the writing process.  It features text to speech synthesis to read words to students and a limited selection of words in word banks.

FDS ShapesWe have just started using the app with students, and staff have already provided some feedback:

  • “Best thing I’ve seen for using with our students on an iPad”
  • “It’s very useful”
  • “I like the way sentences can be rearranged”

 

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My first iPad app – Labels: Materials

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Labels: MaterialsLabels: Materials

By Paul Adams

 

App Store

After many months of squeezing in an hour or so here and there, I took the decision to dedicate five full days over the course of a month to creating my first iPad app. Working at a special school, I had a vision, long ago, of an an app that allowed pupils to label things around the room, in a sort of pseudo augmented reality fashion. The app would speak to pupils, linking to the word on the label; my idea was that vocabulary could be learnt in a real-time learning environment. The app would be accessible for all pupils, and would help learn key vocabulary.Playroom

After following numerous tutorials on learning Swift 2 and SpriteKit, and jumping through all of the hoops to publish on the App Store, I have now released version 1 of my app. I decided to call it Labels: Materials, with a view to later releasing more apps under the ‘Labels’ banner. It is still a way off my original vision, but the app allows pupils to label items in a picture by dragging the labels from a selection. If the label is pressed for more than a second, the label speaks its name. The app contains six different backgrounds to label, including a kitchen, a playground, a park, the beach, a street and a playroom. Photographs from the camera roll or the camera can also be used for labelling, allowing pupils to take a picture of, for example, their classroom, and label items around the room.

For my next steps, I’m intending to upgrade Labels: Materials to include a title and the ability to save an image to the camera roll. Any suggestions for future improvements are warmly welcomed from any readers or users. I’m also hoping to make the following apps using a similar template:

  • Labels: school
  • Labels: living things
  • Labels: the home

I have enjoyed writing the app. I have to admit to having long periods of frustration when familiarising myself with XCode and Swift 2. As Swift 2 is a relatively new programming language, much of the support available online is for earlier versions of Swift or for Objective C. Most importantly, though, I am looking forward to using it in school, and hopefully enjoyed the rewards of seeing pupils benefit from its use.

Show Me app on an iPad

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I have enjoyed exploring  the free ‘Show Me’ app on an iPad.  The app allows videos of the screen to be recorded, complete with a recorded soundtrack.  On playback, the user views an animation of all of the sketching and annotating that has taken place.  My example below is a quick demo of showing grid method; I have simply sketched the calculation, but pictures can be imported too. I can’t understate how simple the app is to use!  On completion of recording, the app can be published live to the Show Me site following setting up of an account, and the embed code can then be used in a blog or VLE such as Moodle, or the usual array of social networking sites. Continue reading