English: SVG version of icon GeoGebra Português: Versão em SVG do ícone do GeoGebra Slovenčina: SVG verzia ikony programu GeoGebra (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I looked into the feasibility of using iPads in the maths classroom last year and concluded that the time wasn’t quite right. The ‘planets were moving into alignment’, with the direction of technological development leading towards the iPad being a brilliant learning tool in the maths classroom, but they weren’t there yet.
The lack of Flash compatibility was a big issue as sites like MyMaths and Manga High use it. Also, QuickGraph is an excellent free graph plotting app but I couldn’t find an app that also handles dynamic geometry. If only Geogebra had an app for the iPad…
There is a Kickstarter project to develop the Geogebra app for the iPad. They need to raise $10 000 to develop it which will then be a free download from the App Store.
You can read more about the project on the superb Math and Multimedia blog here.
The Khan Academy has just released a free app for the iPad. For people unfamiliar with the Khan Academy, it is a website featuring over 2500 free educational videos about a variety of topics including maths, science, art and much more. Salman Khan, the site’s author delivered a superb TED talk last year explaining his vision. Many people who are trying out a Flipped Classroom teaching style are using the Khan videos for homeworks.
The app is good. It is easy to navigate to any video in the Khan collection and logging in with your Khan account details allows you to save your progress. Overall the user interface is well designed and intuitive.
Today Apple announced iBooks Author, a brand new free app that makes creating textbooks as easy as drag and drop. I’m going to stick my neck out and say that what Apple have planned for textbooks is going to change everything. I think this could be a defining moment when the way we deliver content at school could change forever.
The software allows you to easily create interactive textbooks that run on the iPad which include endless multi-touch interactive features such as videos, interactive images, multiple choice questions, web-based widgets, 3D images that allow the user to spin things around and much more.
I think Apple have done it again. With big publishers on board like Pearson, there’s going to be a goldrush starting today to generate this kind of content. I can’t wait to see what the first maths textbook looks like when it’s available soon.
Educreations is a free iPad app that allows you to make educational videos for your pupils on you iPad and then distribute them easily. There are many things that Educreations does particularly well which fit together to make to whole process of creating and then sharing the video very quick and straight forward.
Easy to use interface for producing your videos
First download the Educreations app from the iTunes Store. The whole interface is very intuitive. The toolset is currently quite limited as you are just able to write (in 10 different colours) and import pictures from your iPad Photos app or your Dropbox. You can create ‘slides’ as you would in a Powerpoint presentation. Then recording your video is just a press of the record button and off you go. When you have finished it automatically saves the video to the cloud at www.educreations.com and gives you the option to share it through email, Facebook or Twitter using the generated URL link.
Uploading, resizing, rotating and moving around images is easy
It’s not without it’s niggles. The company is a two-man startup and the product is still in its infancy. One frustrating thing is that if you create a video and then send someone the link to it they cannot view it on an iPad! The player uses Flash which isn’t supported on the iPad. Viewing it on any other device is fine but it does seem a little silly that you can’t view the web-published versions of your videos on the device they were created on. You can of course view them in the app itself and everyone else can watch them online on any device except the Apple mobile i-devices. I have been in contact with the founders and they are working on a fix for this niggle which should be sorted soon. To be honest, for what I am using it for this is not a problem. All my pupils have access to computers even if they have iPads so they can watch the videos.
The playback quality of the video is high with the transitions being very smooth
Overall, the whole process really couldn’t be made any simpler. It’s by far the easiest way I have found of recording and distributing educational videos to my pupils and I strongly recommend it to you.
13/12/11 UPDATE: Educreations have confirmed with me and on their blog this evening that they have put developing a solution to the viewing videos in Safari issue on their development roadmap.
I found out that all the pupils in one of my year 11 class own a iPod Touch. This has got me thinking about how I can use these wonderful devices to improve the learning of my pupils. When surfing the web one night I stumbled across a graph plotting app called Quick Graph.
First impressions are very good and the app has lots of five star reviews. You can stick to plotting straight line or quadratic graphs if you like but it does also have the functionality of plotting in 3D too. The interface is very well designed making the app much easier to use than any graphic calculator I have ever seen.
I’m going to experiment using this app to teach various graph topics this year, letting pupils use this on their iPod Touch rather than using a graphic calculator. Homeworks using the app could also be an option which certainly wouldn’t be available with a class set of graphic calculators. I hope the pupils will find this much more engaging than a low resolution black and white graphic calculator and look forward to seeing their faces when I tell them to get their iPod Touch out in my lesson!
Screenshot of Quick Graph plotting the equation y = 3x + 5
All MathsMaster.Org’s videos are now available for free viewing/ downloading from the iTunes store! In addition to watching the videos through our website, your pupils can now download and watch the videos on their iPod/ iPhone/ iPad, mobile phone or any other electronic device they have which plays videos!
You can find the videos in the iTunes store by either:
Searching for “mathsmaster.org” in the iTunes store.
Following this link and clicking “View in iTunes”.
If you click “subscribe”, iTunes will automatically keep you up to date with the latest videos as they go live. If you find time to leave us a ‘customer review’ and a ‘star rating’ it would be much appreciated!
This past year I’ve found that mentioning any of Apple’s shiny wonder-devices really engages the pupils. It mustn’t be overdone but a couple of examples I’ve used include:
Designing questionnaires– imagine you have been asked to design the iPhone 5. You need to design a questionnaire to find out what people want in the next iPhone. Percentage decreases– the Apple Store offers discounts for students and teachers. I’ve got the pupils to calculate the cost of buying iPods, iPads, Macs etc by applying the percentage decreases they are entitled to.
I’m really getting into using infographics when teaching data handling topics. They are a great way to show the power of graphs and charts to communicate an important idea. The following infographic shows the selling power of the iPad. How about using this to engage pupils on a pie chart or a percentage topic?