App Up My Life
Over the past six years of my teaching career I have slowly started using more and more apps each day. The reason for this is that developers have created some of the most amazing resources possible, that make my job as an educator extremely enjoyable. In this post I am going to discuss all the apps that I use on my iPhone and iPad on a general day of teaching. As a teacher I do not depend on apps to teach, I could very easily get through the day without them, but with them I feel they add different qualities and ideas to my teaching.
The first app I use daily is Apps Gone Free. I check this fantastic app every morning while I am eating my breakfast at home. This is a must for teachers, as each day they provide between 5 to 10 amazing free apps. The apps are always different and each day there is at least one educational app which can be used in the classroom by students. Apps Gone Free has provided me with a number of free apps such as: Halftone to make comics for the classroom, Superburst to catch perfect action photos of students during practical sessions, Moves to count steps and movement patterns during the day, Tiny Scan Pro to take photos of documents and turn them into PDF’s to email and plenty more.
Then comes the social media and email applications. Like most people I use a number of social media apps to stay in contact with friends and also to connect with like-minded educators around the world.
Twitter – I use professionally to interact and share ideas with other teachers.
Facebook – I use for personal use only and to stay in contact with friends and family. I am also part of teaching groups on Facebook, which provide free resources and lesson ideas. These groups include PE Central and Relief Teaching Ideas, I highly recommend these groups.
Mailbox – I use to check my emails and reply before I leave for work.
Once I arrive at school I use a number of different apps to engage and energise students. Each day I like to start the day off with a class challenge. This is either through motion sensor apps or by performing brain breaks or class activities. The apps I use to start the day off are the following:
Bird Up!, Recurse, Pop Flux and Bit Breaker are all apps which use the interface camera on the iPad. These are all fantastic ways to get students up and about and ready to start learning. I normally place students in teams and add up the total points from each student. I project the iPad screen through my projector using an apple TV. This way the entire class can watch and cheer on the student who is playing the activity. If I had more then one iPad in the class I would get students to play in smaller groups so they could all have more turns. All of these apps are free besides Recurse.
I also use the app BrainBreak on other occasions. My class really likes the MegaBreak exercises. The class stands around the room, one student is in charge of the iPad, which generates over 50 different brain break movements that the class performs together for a three-minute period.
Once learning gets underway for the first session, I normally use podcast or iTunes to play music in the background.
On different days when we have practical and coaching sessions I use a number of different apps with the students.
Coaches Eye – This is the best video performance app on the market. Such a powerful tool to film the students performing movements, replay in slow motion to pick up areas they need to improve on. I also love getting the students to use this app for peer assessment.
BAM Video Delay – This is another quality app for assessing students technique and motor skills. BAM allows students to perform a skill, then go straight to the iPad and watch the skill they have just performed due to the delayed video footage.
PE Videos – I use this app when teaching student’s new activities and games. PE Videos has over 300 different activities over nine categories which is perfect for finding new tag, warm up and minor games for my class.
I often run class fitness sessions inside my classroom as well. Again using apple TV to project my iPad onto the white board. We use the following apps to complete short 10 to 15 minute fitness sessions together.
Teemo – It allows students or teachers to choose from 10 challenges, such as climbing Mount Everest for example and then sends students through a set of exercises to mimic an actual climb. It features short bursts of different exercises controlled by a timer and provides audio and visual prompts. It even allows you to play music of your own choosing while exercising.
Yoga Studio – It offers numerous videos to choose from and provides a demonstration of over 300 poses with detailed instructions. We simply follow the workout as a class.
Workout Trainer – It provides thousands of multimedia workouts that were created by expert fitness trainers. Exercises are demonstrated and have step-by-step video and verbal instruction. You can choose from several categories to focus on including weight training, running, yoga, and more.
The final apps I use are for class management and attendance records. I have tried a number of different apps over the past couple of years. Class Dojo is the best app for keeping attendance and maintaining records of how each student has performed in the classroom for the day. It is super easy to use and provides fantastic facts for reports, parent teacher interviews and your own personal records.
If students are late, out of uniform, swear or do something that requires a punishment I use an app called Decide Now! Students have to spin the app that has a list of punishments. Some of these punishments include 15 burpees, 30 second dance solo, 400 meter sprint of the oval, 3 minute wall sit and much more. I have found that the punishment wheel has reduced the number of issues I am having with students. It is also quite funny when one student has to spin the wheel in front of the class. The app Decide Now! can also be used for fitness, with different exercises been placed on a fitness wheel. Students simply spin the wheel and perform a certain number of reps of the movement the wheel has stopped on.
I could go on and on with hundreds of amazing apps. The ones I have just mentioned are apps I use daily. Give them ago and see the results you will have with your students. Below is the best two ways to project your iPad screen in class.
This is how to mirror your iPad screen through the electronic whiteboard. These are the best two ways to do this:
Apple TV – This is an amazing device. The apple TV uses the school’s Wi-Fi to mirror the exact image that is on your device onto the whiteboard. The best thing about the apple TV is that you can move around the room with the iPad, as it is wirelessly connected. You can purchase an Apple TV for around $100.
VGA Cable – This is the cheaper option, which allows you to plug the projector into your iPad and mirror your screen on the whiteboard. The only negative about this is you have to keep the iPad in the one place and cannot move around the room. The positive is it works great and is a fraction of the price. Click on the link below to find one to suit your device.
Hopefully you enjoyed this post, if you have some amazing apps that I have not mentioned above please let me know, @DaleSidebottom on twitter, or email email@example.com.
For a full list of my top rated apps check out the following blog posts I have completed earlier this year – App Reviews