Monday, October 29, 2012

Bringing videos into iPads

Now this is a tricky one - that is until you get the hang of the workflow and then it all makes sense!
So is there a fool-proof way to get videos into the Camera Roll on the iPad? or getting iPad Apps to recognize clips/pictures from a source other than the Camera Roll?

Photo Transfer
At some point most teachers will want their students to do a basic editing exercise on the iPad, but may end up running into a workflow problem.
For example a class may already be involved in movie editing projects involving re-editing a trailer in iMovie. This is a great activity, easily achieved on laptops, and many schools have successfully been delivering such an activity for a long time.
However, trying to do the same thing on the iPad is not as straightforward. The issue is getting the same footage to all the students in a classroom environment. Of course you can do it through iTunes and iPhoto by connecting an iPad to a laptop,  but its not viable to have every student plug into a computer to transfer the files.
Another way is to upload a video to YouTube and then download using iCab mobile, but this is not an option if the video has copyright restrictions on it - this would prevent you from uploading to YouTube altogether.

So how do you easily get the video footage into the Camera Roll?

Short trailer clips (.mov and .m4v) can be emailed to the iPad. Both file types work perfectly but the quality is really poor. To improve quality the clips could be emailed in small chunks, say four parts, but again this is not an efficient use of teacher time - I can hear you ask, "there must be an easier way?"

Enter the Photo Transfer App (£1.99), it works for me! I can wirelessly send video to a single iPad and it will show up in the Camera Roll, which means that students can edit it in iMovie. I've not yet tried this with multiple iPads although the app description does say it will work.
Photo Transfer is excellent for sending videos or photos back and forth from iPhone/iPad to the computer. 
I also like PhotoSync ($1.99) for wireless transfer of photos and videos between Computer and iOS devices.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

apps for Handwriting

The teachers I work with are always keen to find out how the iPad can contribute to developing aspects of English and Literacy. One particular area of interest is the development of children's handwriting. Teaching children to form their letters, numbers and words correctly can be really difficult, because for many children it is viewed as a boring task with little or no immediate reward for the hours of practice they put in. 
If you're lucky enough to have iPads in your classroom, this is one way to make handwriting practice fun and enjoyable. Introduce a stylus to the activity, and you're now mimicking the use of a pencil or pen, which gives children an additional opportunity to practice holding the pen too. Other children, especially younger ones, may benefit from using just their finger to write. The iPad then becomes a modern 'etch a sketch' or a virtual slate chalkboard!
The following apps have been recommended to me by various schools - let me know which app works best for your class.

Handwriting apps for kids:
ABC Cursive Writer - A fun app to learn the basics of cursive writing.
Alphabet Tracing - Practice letter, number and word formation with fun animations.
Hairy Letters - Practice letter formation and blend letter sounds into first words.
iCanWrite - Customise your own groups of letters for children to trace.
Intro to Letters by Montessorium -Trace, read & write letter sounds and phonograms. Also supports French, German and Spanish.
Kids Writing Pad - A note pad with a middle dotted line between two solid lines - practice writing as if on paper.
Touch and Write - Appealing  and fun, with 16 different food writing textures and a choice of writing papers.
Wet-Dry-Try Capital Letters and Numbers - A personal tutor to help you fix mistakes.
Handwriting apps for the older learner:
If you teach special needs students or older students you may be looking for handwriting apps for the adult learner.
This list of apps facilitate efficient, smooth note-taking, most with a text conversion facility that ensures a standard of handwriting that looks just the same as it would appear on paper. 

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Blippit - app creator tool

At last, with the launch of the new Blippit App Maker , schools are now in the position to start their own school’s web app community.

Blippit is for any school with creative aspirations. With Blippit students and teachers can quickly & safely create, publish & develop as many web apps to the real world as they want. 
Fully compatible with iPad, iPhone and Android phones.

Just in case youre wondering, you wont find Blippit on the app store - thats because it isn't an app store app.  These are web apps that require no submission to stores and carry no risk of store costs or rejection unless decided by the school.  
The apps publish to a school's own sub-domain, designed initially for internal use by the school site. They belong to the school, each having a unique URL. 
Students of all ages can use the QR code generated with the code to send to mobile users, or links can be shared for mobile users via their own mobile app library that may infact just be a web page. 

Students and teachers can make unlimited apps and publish using the Blippit portal for their school. Publishing is real and if you decide to go one step further it is possible to publish to the world. Learning about marketing is part of the process, so secondary schools in particular may see real value there.

If you decide to order then please use this code when purchasing the app - OYA-UK

If youre interested in finding out more then feel free to contact me :