Popplet – Record Student Thinking

Want an easy to use app that allows students to display their thinking on the iPad in a professionally looking way? Then Popplet may be the tool for you and your students. I have created a short video explaining briefly the app and demonstrating how it works. I rushed this presentation a little and missed a couple of functions including the ability to import images into the mind map and also hand draw in the app. Hopefully the video gives enough explanation to show you that it has some great uses in the classroom.

Just Google it!


It is now one of the most common things that we get our students to do, a Google search. It is certainly not uncommon to hear the phrase “Just Google it” as part of our everyday language. It is the most common search engine that our students use (although there are many others) and for something that is so commonly used in schools you would expect that teachers and students would be fluent in its use. Do we know how to access the full power of the Google search engine? For me the answer is no.

As part of my own professional development I have started listening to pod casts from The EdTechCrew. Listening to my first pod cast by these guys I heard them talking about free online courses around how to use Google search which, considering how often I use this tool, sounded really interesting. So after a quick search on You Tube I was able to find a range of videos made for one of these courses. I have put a selection of these videos on the blog, see the page titled ‘Google Search Lessons for Teachers’ at the top of the blog.

The videos range from 5-10 minutes and do not necessarily have to be viewed in order (although recommend videos 7, 8 & 9 are). If you don’t want or think you will get to all of these videos then I recommend videos 1, 4, 10, 11, 12. Learn how to filter images by colour & why this might be useful. Learn how to find specific text on a web page full of writing (without reading it). Learn how to use an image instead of text to find information – drag an image from your desk top into Google search and find out where it originated. This is one that really surprised me, you can even take a photo of an object and use that to create a search! Learn how to narrow a search by time and date or view the web at a point in time by filtering out anything prior or after a specific time. Finally video 12 will show you how to translate web pages written in other languages into English. Great for students wanting to get perspectives from non English speaking countries.


Interested in pod casts?


Pod casts (audio/video) – Get the podcast app on your iPhone/iPad/iPod and then through the app you can access pod casts to download onto your device to listen to at a later time.


What is 21st Century Learning?

The following video helps to describe what it is to be a learner in the 21st Century. The video highlights some shifts in focus which are perhaps more valued now in education than they were for the majority of the 20th Century. This is not meant to be a definitive list just a chance for you to consider how you teach your children, and what your classroom looks like in relation to the things listed and mentioned in the video.

  • Love of embracing change
  • Curiosity and a questioning disposition
  • Collaboration
  • Being reflective
  • Technology and specifically the impact of mobile technology
  • Skills for creativity.
  • Change of focus from students consuming content to students creating content using new media technology.
  • Learning happens everywhere. Traditional school strucutres and timetables are slowly changing to be more flexible in a world where we can communicate anywhere any time.

Student Research – Google and Google Docs

Would you like your students to use Google more effectively? Do you want to give your students an easier way to insert footnotes and references? If the answer is yes then here are two great videos from Bradley Lands. Among other things Bradley Lands is an ‘Apple Distinguished Educater’ and ‘Google Apps for Education Qualified Individual’. He has a great blog which you can visit by clicking here.

The first video is about how to Google search effectively. This is a must watch for any teacher who has ever asked their students to use Google as a search engine for research.

How to perfect your Google search

The second video is about how to use Googles Docs to write a research paper or issue study (common to most year 11/12 subjects). Watching this video opened my eyes to the benefits of using Google Docs over Word to write a research assignment.

Research tools in Google Docs

Do you have senior students interested in the health industry?

Check out healthheroes a Federal Government website promoting jobs in the health industry. This great looking website has a wide range of information covering jobs, training, financial support, resources and a quiz to assist students with what type of jobs they might be best suited to. There are also videos of young people who work in the health industry. They talk about what inspired them to take on a job in this area and what they like about their job.

Here are some images from the website.


Adding audio to a single image using FotoBabble

In my previous post I talked about an app called WordFoto which allows students to generate a word list and apply those words to a photo. The photo is then made up entirely of words (none of the original image remains). If you would like to view this post click here.

In this post I would like to show you how to take this photo created in WordFoto and add some audio to it using a second app called FotoBabble. After creating an image and applying a set of words to it in WordFoto this image is saved to the camera roll on the iPad. Open FotoBabble and import that image. Once the image is in FotoBabble students can add audio to explain the image and the concepts they have learnt.

The example below has been created by me but is a task my 7/8 Health class will be undertaking this term. The task will be to select an image representing smoking and create a word list in WordFoto and apply those words to the photo. Students will then save this image into the camera roll and import it into FotoBabble. In FotoBabble they will have to record an explanation of 3 words from their list that appear in the photo and why they have used them. My example is quite short for the purpose of this post, students work will be more detailed.

As well as adding audio there are a number of basic formating options within the app including: the ability to enhance the photo, add effects, add frame (free download in app), add stickers (very basic – in app purchase required to get more), rotate the image and add themed wall paper as a background.

Note: Once the audio is completed the image/audio needs to be uploaded to the Fotobabble website. For this to occur a class account needs to be created under the teachers name. Students then use the user name and password to log in on their iPad and upload their work. This works through our school wireless system and is fairly quick and painless.

Combine language and photos – WordFoto

Use the iPad app WordFoto to create an image made up of key words describing that image or the concept represented. The app is fairly simple to use requiring the student to take a photo in the app or import an image from the camera roll on the iPad. Once the image is in WordFoto you can apply a word set to the photo. The photo is then made up entirely of those words. Words are in different sizes, shades and colour to ensure the image is still recognisable.

The app allows the student to manipulate the following:

  • Put in your own word list (up to 10 words).
  • Crop the image.
  • Select from one of the 8 preset styles.
  • Select custom styles and modify background, foreground, shadows, highlights, brightness, contrast, saturation and fonts.

In health my Year 7/8 class are doing a topic on tobacco and alcohol. Two tasks I will be asking students to do are to look at what chemicals are in cigarettes and what are the impacts of smoking. To extend the research work students will do in these two areas they will be asked to take a photo of a smoking image (I have printed about 15 high quality colour images from the Internet) and apply a selection of words about the negative impacts of smoking and the contents of cigarettes, i.e. Death, Cancer, Rat Poison, Expensive etc. This is a quick and easy task to do that will help to reinforce some key words relating to smoking tobacco. The final product is professional looking and will be emailed to me so that it can be printed and put up in the classroom.

Below are two images that I created. The first picture is using one of the smoking images I have printed for students while the second is from a magazine for the purpose of creating an example for this post.