Posts Tagged ‘iTouch’

The iTouch in Geography

April 28, 2010

I have tied our Geography unit to the FIFA World Cup 2010 …. with a class of 7 10-11 year old boys and a football mad TA anything else would have been madness!

They will be learning about each of the 32 countries participating as well as South Africa itself. by focussing each week on one group at a  time.

For each country they will use their iTouches to find out information such as: colour of flag, primary language spoken, capitol city, continent it is on, where it is on a world map .

We started this topic last Friday and looked at Group A: South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, France.

This was the first time we had used the iTouches as a research tool rather than just using the apps.

It turned out far better than I ever expected.

We used resources from a site I heard about on Twitter, International Sunderland Schools, which has loads of World Cup resources and is well worth a visit. Particularly good are their minibooks. Click here for an example.

To find the correct colours for the flags I used a brilliant resource from Bev Evans Communications4All.co.uk (refresh the page if it doesn’t load properly 1st time as her site is being flooded with visitors…. and so it should)

She very kindly sent me a spreadsheet activity which came with picture files of each participating countries flag on a ball.

I have saved these images on each child’s iTouch in the Photos folder. They had to match the shapes and designs from the black and white booklet to find the correct colours.

They then used the free app World Wiki to find out at least three facts to share with the others. (A few problems have been found with this application for example UK countries not listed seperately)

The children found some of the facts facinating, for example that South Africa had ELEVEN official languages and THREE capitals.

I can’t remember a lesson with more work focussed converstations.

Really looking forward to Group B this week!

Email and Choosing Apps

April 24, 2010

Setting up an email account was very simple. I decided to go with the same account for all the iTouches which I have added to each phone with the password saved . I am not going to give the children the password so the only place they will be able to access this account is from their iPod Touch.

In the settings, where it asks for the name of the account, I have named it with the phones associated number so therefore I can, as a safety measure, track where any emails have originated from.

*Here is an excellent post from Oliver Quinlan which gives very clear instructions on setting up ‘dummy’ email accounts using gmail.

Now came the time for the fun bit…. Downloading Apps!

As it says on the Apple ads ‘….there’s an app for that!’ and I must say I certainly have found that if I wanted there to be an app for something… there it was!

I had already been using my iPhone with some of the children at school so I had some apps saved in my iTunes account. At the moment I’m still using this account for the iTouches but I am going to see if there is a way to transfer some of my purchases to a school account.

I have downloaded a mixture of paid and free apps and have an extensive collection to choose from, at last count over 200!

A word of warning about some free apps. Some have advertising associated with them which may not be suitable for younger children. You can set restrictions in the settings area for age ratings for Music/Podcasts, Movies, TV shows and Apps. You can also disable certain things such as YouTube, Installing Apps and other things. You can find this under Settings/General and then scroll down to Restrictions.

These are the apps I have decided to start with. There are apps for Sight Words,Reading,  interactive Books, Maths apps, Collaborative drawing, Comic Writing, Comic books, Geography, Music, Communication and apps for ASD  needs as well as a selection of games. I have also added some music and  audio books.

Kindergarten.com produce some beautiful flashcards and in honor of Autism Awareness Month, all of their ABA apps are FREE for the entire month of April.

* edited 20th April 2011 to add email instructions

Reading Project Using an iTouch

April 24, 2010

When I first ‘bid’ for the iTouches I planned to use them for a transition project. I am still planning to do this next half term but I wanted something as a focus for NOW.

Many of the children at my school have reading difficulties and reading ages well below their chronological age. Improving reading is as major focus across the school.

I spent time over the Easter break researching what makes a good reader and wanted to find something that would lend itself to using the iTouch and also be measurable so that I would be able to see if using the iTouch had a real impact.

I finally settled on using the iTouch as an aid to improve Reading Fluency and to increase the children’s Sight Vocabulary.

WHAT IS READING FLUENCY
Fluency is reading a text with speed, accuracy, and expression and the ability to comprehend the material being read.

Speed
refers to the number of words a person correctly reads per minute (WCPM or WPM).
Accuracy refers to reading with few errors. Misreading more than 10% of the words in a passage generally means the text is too difficult for instructional level.
Expression refers to the ability of the reader to use correct phrasing, tone, and pitch while reading a text aloud.
Comprehension refers to the ability to understand the text being read.

WHY READING FLUENCY
A fluent reader is able to use their energy on comprehending the text versus identifying the words in the text. A fluent reader identifies words automatically. There is evidence that immature readers generally lack fluency which means they devote more energy to word recognition, and have less energy for meaning.

WHAT I HAVE DONE SO FAR

When reading to the children I have begun to make my reading behaviours very explicit and discussing reading behaviours such as phrasing (i.e. the ability to read several words together in one breath), rate (the speed at which we read), and intonation (the emphasis we give to particular words or phrases).

I have completed a Running Record to get an accurate text level for each child. On Monday I will find a baseline for each child of their Words Correct per Minute that they can read. This will be repeated 3-4 times each week. The number of words read correctly will be graphed.

Each child will record themselves reading using the built in Voice Memos app and they will listen to the recording so that they can hear themselves reading.They will be provided with feedback on the number of words they read correctly and an adult will discuss any word recognition errors.

I am hoping that by the end of this half term there will be a measurable improvement.

Setting Up a Class Set of iTouches part1

April 24, 2010

I was lucky enough to take the iTouches home for the Easter break in order to set them up. The first thing I did was order some silicone cases from Amazon.

These are the ones I went for.

I have also ordered a 7 port hub for charging the iTouches but it hasn’t arrived yet.

iTunes asks for a name for each unit and I decided to name each with a number so they are called 01 iTouch to  09 iTouch. For the setting up period I created a screensaver with a pic of each of their numbers.

This really made it very easy to see which  iTouch I was working on each time.

Each iTouch has a silicone case which has its number on the back and it is kept in the clear plastic packaging case which comes with the iTouch which also has the matching number on it. The headphones that come with each iTouch have a small sticker with the same number and eveything is kept in A5 zipped plastic wallets with a sticker which has the iTouch number, the name of the person who uses it as well as the colour of the case.

This makes it very easy to quickly see if everything is where it should be.

In each pack is a notebook to use to record notes, ideas, drawings when using an app as well as an instruction sheet on how to use with reading (but more on that later).

Some of the above ideas came from or were adapted from Tony Vincent’s Learning in Hand site.

How we got our iTouches.

April 24, 2010

It all started with this Tweet on Twitter from @RM_London http://tinyurl.com/385etdo which unfortunately I missed.

Luckily though, I came across a post on PTRC forum from senorcalvo (aka @arsenalchris on Twitter). You can read his blog here.  He VERY kindly told me how he was in contact with RM (a leading supplier of educational software, computers and services to schools) who were looking for a school to take part in using iTouches in a primary classroom.

I decided to take a risk and contacted @RM_London and asked if they’d be interested in a Special School ALSO taking part and……. !!!!!!!

Steve from RM said YES!!!

On the last day of term 9 iTouches were delivered to school. It was better than Christmas opening the box!
9 iTouches!!!! One for each child!!!! THANK YOU RM!

Originally I thought they were ours to use for a set period of time but it turns out they are ours to keep! Double THANK YOU RM!!!!!!!

next post: Setting Up a Class Set of iTouches


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