Apps, Apps, Apps
megan taber, a social studies teacher, uses a number of apps and Web-based
programs during her lessons. as a daily warm-up, taber asks students to answer
some questions using a Google Form embedded on her website. “I can see my
students’ responses instantly in a spreadsheet, which allows me to monitor
completing and comprehension of material in a way I couldn’t before,” taber said.
taber also uses WorldWiki+, which takes information from the cIa Factbook website
and organizes it in a way that is easier to navigate than the main website. the students
use the site to look up demographic information on various south american countries.
the students also enjoy using countryQuiz, an app that lets them practice naming
the countries of the world. and gFlash is another popular app at culbreth. It allows
the teachers and the students to easily create a set of digital flash cards. the app can
display vocabulary words as regular flash cards do, or it can create instant multiple-choice questions. as students quiz themselves, the app keeps track of incorrect
responses and repeats the questions.
as you enter peter schwartz’s science classroom, it’s clear that he has found
numerous ways to bring science to life with apps and Internet resources. one of his
favorite apps is decibel, which monitors the noise level. “I have the students create
various noise levels to see how the decibel levels fluctuate,” schwartz said.
schwartz also uses Iapetus, an app that shows how pangaea formed and became the
continents we have today. the iseismometer demonstrates the different types of waves
produced by an earthquake. students shake their ipods to mimic ground movements.
and an app called Quakewatch shows earthquakes and their magnitudes as they
happen. It also maps where the earthquakes occur in the world. Last year, the students
in the class watched haiti’s major aftershocks happening in real time, which brought
this terrible tragedy to life for many students.
The first generations of iPod touches
did not include phones or cameras.
And without these two functions, two
significant distractions for students were
not an issue. Now that the iPod touches
have more capabilities, the devices used
in school must have cameras disabled.
The school tech specialist has also loaded
filters onto the iPod touches so that
teachers can choose to block sites not ap-
propriate for middle school students.
Reactions from Staff
These days at Culbreth, iPod touches
are part of the toolkit students find on
their desks, along with pencils, pens,
and calculators. When students need
the Internet, they no longer have to
wait. The students are highly moti-
vated and engaged.