Ken Robinson: How to escape educations death valley

Ken Robinson’s talks are always entertaining and thought provoking. Watch this TED Talk in which Ken Robinson discusses the following topics:

  • Disengagement
  • Children are diverse
  • Education focuses on a narrow spectrum
  • ADHD
  • Broad curriculum
  • Curiosity
  • A creative profession
  • Standardised testing
  • Creativity is important
  • Individualise teaching and learning
  • Engage students
  • Teachers need discretion and autonomy

Make iPad books for your students – Book Creator

There are many uses for the app Book Creator including:

  • students creating narratives for English.
  • students create their own portfolios of work for a particular subject or topic. (Click HERE to see Jarrod Robinson’s video “Book Creator iPad App in A PE Classroom”)
  • students work in a cross age setting to create a book.
  • students present their knowledge of a topic for assessment.
  • students creating reports for science.

The use that I want to promote in this post is the ability for teachers to use Book Creator to create instructional books for students. This could be a more traditional text book style or a book that introduces students to a topic and provides some or all of the resources to assist with that topic.

The great thing about creating a book is that it can then be permanently stored in iBooks. It is then available not just for a single purpose but can be used by other classes or when you teach the unit again to another group of students. The ePub file can be stored on your PC so that if it is ever wiped from the iPad it can be reinstalled via the File Browser app.

It is also a simple process to upload the ePub file to a common area, i.e. a common drive on the school server and ask each student in your class to download your book using the File Browser app.


Augmented Reality – Aurasma App

I found this app a long time ago but it was really buggy and I didn’t have the patience at the time to use it. It now works better than it used to and although it does not work through our wireless network it will work through a smartphone hotspot. I have put it across the student iPads as it has the potential to be used by students if a teacher wants to use their phones hotspot for students to create ‘auras’ in the app. Note: an internet connection is only needed to create the ‘aura’ and trigger, once completed it needs no connection if the video is on the iPad/iPhone being used.

I decided to try it out with my 9/10 PE class who are doing volleyball this term. To make it easy I used my school iPad, my personal iPad and my iPhone so students had 3 devices to use in the hall during lessons. We have been using it this week and I think it has helped students to understand the serving skill (our focus this week) and given them a point of reference they can go back to without me having to be alongside a student helping them out. This keeps certain students engaged in a task while I can work with other groups in other areas of the hall. I can see potential for this app in any subject area  – imagine a student poster with images that when an iPad is held up to them turn into videos created by students elaborating on the content of the poster.

To understand what it is that I have been talking about watch this video it demonstrates how I have used it with my volleyball unit.

The next video is from Aurasma and gives a more detailed look at how the app works.

iPad iOS 7 Update

For staff who use the iPads I have updated the iOS operating system on them during the holidays to the latest iOS 7. This is a major iOS update. I have updated the iOS operating system previously but no one would have noticed, this time you will notice. The most obvious change is the formatting. Colours and fonts have changed and the Apple supplied apps like notes, photos, contacts, settings etc icons have all changed. Other less obvious changes (but frustrating if you don’t know) include:

1. The search function is not in the same place – put your finger on the screen and swipe down and the search bar will appear.

2. The Control Centre is at the bottom of the screen. Place your finger at base of iPad and swipe up to access music player, volume, airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, lock screen clock camera and brightness. AirDrop (see below) and AirPlay are also accessed in the Control Centre.

3. The photos app is much more organised than it used to be and can sort photos by date or by year.

4. Closing apps. On the old version of iOS you could double click the home button and hold down apps which appeared at the bottom of the screen until they wobbled and then closed them. On the new iOS 7 you still double click the home button which makes all the apps that are running in the background on your iPad appear but in a different format to the previous iOS. To close the app using the new iOS place your finger on the open apps screen (this will make sense when you see it) and swipe up.

5. AirDrop – this is new to iOS 7 and is a great feature. You can now transfer files including photos, video and written documents simply and quickly between devices running AirDrop. If you want an image on one iPad to be put across many iPads you can do this easily and quickly. You may want to collect a piece of written work off a students iPad, this can also be done quickly using AirDrop. Transfer using AirDrop can be done across iPhone, Mac computers and iPads.

(Really looking forward to see how AirDrop can help with transfer of documents (created in Pages and Keynote) between student MacBooks and teacher iPads/MacBooks and vice versa when we get our 1:1 MacBook program up and running)

Check out the video below demonstrating AirDrop. A quick tip is that both devices must have AirDrop enabled for the process to work.


These are some basic but important changes to know and if you are using the iPads with students. Hopefully this information will assist you to help the students when they first experience the new iOS 7 on the school iPads.