Tagged: iPod

iPods in middle years science education

ipod with lego men

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Since attending the Slide2Learn conference, and being the holidays with plenty of time to play around, I have been exploring the possibilites of using our class set of iPods in the science laboratory. Even without the applications mentioned in previous posts ( Technoscience at Slide2Learn conference, Our Solar System and Free iPod Touch applications for maths and science learners), there are several very useful tools that are pre- installed.

note_taking The note taking application allows the user to tap in quick notes, saved for later use. the advantage of using an ipod over a netbook, laptop or desktop is, of course, it’s portability and it is very quick to open. This is ideal for taking  notes on excursions:

– recording data from water testing, results of quadrat or transect studies;

– adaptations of plants at the Botanical gardens, animal behaviour at the zoo;

– names, (you could also use the Contacts for this) times and dates (likewise, with the Calender) for later reference  – an external memory-jogger!

voice_recorder The voice recorder, an uber-modern “dictaphone”, allows very good quality voice recording  with the supplied earphones and tiny microphone. More sophisticated options for recording are available as acessories, but would only be necessary for podcasting and more serious recordings. I hope to use this tool with students who are very reluctant writers and those with poor literacy skills. As well as all the above uses, a voice recorder will be useful for recording observations of laboratory and outdoor experiments. Instead of writing up a proper experimental report, students can create a digital story using the microphone and drawings or photographs. So, the student will record the materials and equipment, method or process, results, observations and conclusions. The recording can then be sent, quickly and easily, by email to the student’s own email address, the teachers address and/or to a class “Posterous” account. Posterous is an online blogging platform which allows posting by email to a unique web address.

ipod_clockAs well as a world clock, which allows you to add the time in different cities around the world, this tool has an alarm, stopwatch and timer – three useful devices in the science laboratory. And don’t forget the calculator! So, if your students have these devices in their pockets, encourage them to use them for educational purposes as well!

A UK study by Becta Schools concluded that “The iPod can be a flexible tool for students to create their own resources and have access to these resources anytime, anywhere. They can make audio notes, PowerPoint presentations and multiple choice quizzes, thereby having a variety of tools to reinforce their learning.”

Technoscience at Slide2Learn conference

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This week I was fortunate to participate in the inaugural “Slide2Learn” conference, held over two days in Shepparton, Victoria. It was a fantastic event, organised by a committed and enthusiastic group of innovative teachers, to share their specialised knowledge with other teachers from Australia and beyond. The conference was held at the school of Louise Duncan, winner of the 2009 Lindsay Thompson Fellowship, for her Personalised Learning program. I was thrilled to meet Jenny Ashby, a leading teacher,  seasoned presenter and iPod Touch  expert educator. I also attended inspiring sessions by Jonathon Nalder (Key note speaker) Megan Iemma, Stacey Kelly, Kate Maccoll (fellow science freak) and Deon Scanlon. One of the highlights was the Ustream presentation by Tony Vincent, who gave practical, hands-on advice about how to implement mobile devices in schools.

Some of the applications we found out about that are relevant specifically to science teaching are:

  • 8Planets – animations, information and quiz about our solar system
  • CO2 footprint – a greenhouse gas calculator
  • Human calculator – add your birth date and time and find out how many breaths, heart beats, how much food eaten, urine produced and much more…….
  • Periodic table – beautiful images and information about of all the chemical elements
  • Biology core – glossary with biological definitions

In addition, there were many, many more applications with more generalised use that would be useful in my science classes:

  • Simple Mind Express and Idea Sketch for concept mapping
  • SWOT for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
  • Studystack for flash cards
  • iTalk and Voice memos for voice recording (with a microphone)
  • Posterous to send podcasts to a blog
  • Animoto and Sonic pics for slideshows
  • Etchasketch with colours, shapes, text and free-form writing and drawing
  • Cropsuey to crop, rotate and flip images
  • Colour magic and Glow for special effects on images

I’ll be writing more posts about using iPods in education soon – what an exciting time to be a teacher!

There is a more extensive list at  the ICTeD Services blog and on the ning.

Our Solar System

solar-system

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This week we celebrated the Winter Solistice, the “shortest day of the year”, when the earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun. In the southern hemisphere, this is June 20th or 21st, when the sun rises later and sets earlier than any other day of the year.Check out “Astronomy Connections” for an interactive explanation of the seasons.

Next term, Year 6 and 7 students will be starting a unit of work on our solar system.  This 6 minute YouTube video from the Hayden Planetarium and American Museum includes every satellite, moon, planet, star and galaxy in the Known Universe. Anyone with an iPod Touch can install the following applications to help them to learn about our Solar System (Thanks Jenny Ashby for your comment!)

  • 8Planets – animations, information and quiz about our solar system
  • Planets by Q continium – A 3D guide to the solar system for aspiring astronomers.
  • Grand Tour 3D – Space travel on a budget
  • planetFacts – size and distance scale and dictionary
  • NASA app including images, videos, information about launches, when you can sight, orbit trackers and countdown clocks.
  • Stars by Nelix displaying 88 constellations – does not use network.
  • Star Walk ($2.99) 5 stars astronomy guide
  • Space Images by NASA – You can rate, email and save images.
  • Star map ($11.99) Planetarium in your hand with 350,000 stars!
  • ABC TV has a free vodcast “Voyage to the Planets” that you can download or subscribe to.
  • Don’t forget Stellarium on your netbooks
  • Celestia (space simulation) is another free (Open Source) download for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

Students will have a choice of activities including:

  • Write a postcard “Back to Earth” about the conditions on one of the planets around our sun.
  • Write a brochure for tourists about space travel.
  • Use “Voicethread” , “Powerpoint” or “Photostory” to describe our solar system to aliens from ‘outer space’.
  • A 60-second science video advertising one of the planets as a tourist destination
  • Create a digital story about the planet you would most like to visit and how you would survive there.
  • Use “Blabberise” to record an alien invader’s report back to his home planet about the Earth’s solar system.