Category Archives: Personal Technology Training

iPad Apps for Special Education

First off, get online and look at what other folks are discovering. Make it a daily or weekly priority to spend 10 minutes surfing the web for what others are using that might apply to your school context. For a very comprehensive list of where to start your search, begin with NYC DOE’s Apple consultant’s site.

One of her many great recs includes a wiki from a NYS district. Vicki Windman (Clarktown Central School District, NY) has a terrific wiki site for Special Education. She clusters App recommendations by topic (Organization, ELA, ASD, Basic Operations in Math, etc.). She also has attachments at the bottom of the page such as iPad Apps to meet IEP goals that are detailed and well-researched.

The trick is that schools interested in learning how to integrate iPads into their school communitites need to encourage teachers, tech folks, and administrators to spend the time investigating Apps that will meet their students’ and teachers’ needs.

Some schools create Technology Spotlights in their weekly team meetings where 3-5 minutes of each meeting agenda are given over to one or more team members presenting on new educational technologies they are trying in their classrooms. This practice is a perfect way to build a school’s repertoire with iPad Apps given that it always feels like there is never enough time in the day. Make it part of how business is done, and iPad Apps for Special Education will be part of the fabric of the work rather than an add-on.

Ning and Jing for Education

Due to recent interest and the fact that their names rhymed, I am writing this post to provide updates on two free Web 2.0 Tools used to support professional learning communities in schools.

I have joined and created several Ning networks for education and found it to be a great place to build professional online learning communities. In the last 6 months, I have not been active in those networks but recently visited the site again to check in, and this is what I found.

Ning is becoming a subscription pay service as of July 2011, but Pearson has offered to sponsor small “Mini Ning” communities for education, thereby ensuring that Education Nings can remain free of advertisements. The details can be seen in this blog post: http://education.ning.com/profiles/blogs/pearson-to-provide-ning-mini. The long and the short of it is that for Nings of 150 members or less, it will be free as long as you complete the application form for Pearson: http://go.ning.com/pearsonsponsorship/

Jing is an amazing and free tool for creating screenshots and screencasts. The free version of the software allows you to record short videos (up to five minutes) and narrate using your computer’s built in microphone (or an external if you prefer). After you’re finished recording, Jing will share the screencasts via Facebook, Twitter, Screencast.com, or Flickr AND provide a hyperlink for you to share via email, chat, websites, etc.

CNET has a great review of the software which you can check out here: http://download.cnet.com/Jing/3000-13633_4-10744274.html.

Educational organizations tend to use Jing to provide quick How-To videos for disseminating technical knowledge (e.g., how to fill out a new purchase request or budgeting form) as well as instructional knowledge (e.g., how to create an essential question while curriculum mapping).

What’s on my iPad?

My iPad 2 arrived about 6 weeks ago. Despite the fact that the injection of apps and constant connectivity have left my brain awash and adrift in seemingly limitless technological possibility, and despite the fact that I at times feel like a car engine flooded by the overzealous driver’s repeated pedal pumpings, I do really love my iPad.

Below is a list of 5 Apps currently residing on my iPad. I chose 5 that I use daily.

For Taking Notes

I love Penultimate and even was inspired this week to research and order a stylus for my iPad. Even before the stylus arrived yesterday, I was using this App daily to take notes at meetings, make to-do lists, draw with my niece, and send my friends silly notes via email just because. As of June 2011, the App costs $1.99 and is worth the splurge.

For Ruling the World (or at least my computer)

Logmein is a REAL pricey App at $30 bucks, but what it allows me to do is worth the initial investment. On many days, I have been able to leave computer at home and rely entirely on my iPad. I leave my computer on and open at home, connected to the internet, and then as long as my iPad has cell/wireless access, I can see an image of my computer directly on my iPad. This means I can access all files and all software on my iPad without having to upload to the cloud or purchase mobile versions of Beta software in order to reproduce computer functionality on my iPad. Way too cool!

Kindle for Your iPad

While the world decides on the best hardware for eReaders (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, etc.), I’m taking full advantage of the FREE Kindle software for my MacBook Pro, iPhone, and iPad. I have both iBooks and Kindle at the moment (software), and I find that I’m more apt to open a book on Kindle than iBooks. Not sure why yet, but the result is that I really love my free Kindle software. I have a few free books and a couple I’ve paid for through my Amazon account.

Top-“Selling” Free Apps for Education

One of the most fun Apps I downloaded is PaintSparkles. It is very, very simple and very, very fun. My niece and I spent all last weekend drawing, practicing letters and numbers, and generally just admiring the very simple and memorizing sounds and graphics that follow the movement of the finger as it draws on the iPad touch screen.

PBS Kids is a slam dunk. Free and wonderful. Just download it.

 

 

A recent NYTimes Article publishes a list of the best children’s books on iPads. Definitely worth a read! (Link to article)