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.


Visual Poetry App

Richard Byrne has a blog called “iPad Apps for Schools”. He contributes regularly and reviews a wide range of educational apps. One of his more recent app reviews was for an app called Visual Poetry which I thought sounded useful for presenting student writing. The app allows the user to create custom word clouds with their text (not just poetry). The app is .99c. I would be interested if anyone would like to download it and see if they think it would be worthwhile putting it on the PBAS iPads.

Click here to read Richards review of the app.

Click here to visit iTunes to view the app.

visual poetry 1

Australian Curriculum Resources

Thank you to Trish Boschetti for sending out the following links to websites set up by the professional bodies associated with the following subjects areas: Arts, maths, science, English, history and geography. The professional associations responsible for the following websites are: Australian Association of Maths Teachers, Australian Science Teachers Association, Australian Association for the Teaching of English, Australian Literacy Educators Associations, Primary English Teachers Association, History Teachers Association of Australia, Australian Geography Teachers Association and Education Services Australia.

These sites have been developed specifically to link directly to the Australian Curriculum.


Arts -POP

There are five art forms specified in the Shape of the Australian Curriculum: The Arts. They are Dance, Drama, Media Arts, Music, and Visual Arts. Arts-POP shows how each art form makes a distinct contribution to cognition by drawing on each child’s senses and imagination. Each art form is valued equally within the generic learning area of the arts. Arts-POP website

About Arts-POP

Home page Arts-POP


There has never been a more exciting time to study geography, with it being a subject vital to the education of every young Australian in the 21st century. GeogSpace has been designed to provide materials to support primary and secondary teachers in implementing the Australian Curriculum: Geography. It has been developed by AGTA’s team of practising geography teachers, dedicated to ensuring all schools across Australia have access to a unique resource that reflects best practice using current technology and pedagogies. GeoSpace Website

Home page GeogSpace

AC History Units

AC History Units presents 8 units developed by the History Teachers’ Association of Australia to support teachers in the implementation of the Australian Curriculum: History (years 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10). Unit 1, Teaching History, is a foundation unit, providing a brief introduction to the discipline of history. It ‘unpacks’ the skills and concepts, surveys approaches to teaching and provides an essential framework for the other units. Units 2-8 focus on topics relevant to particular year levels and are designed to provide very practical support in the form of teaching programs, sample ‘learning sequences’, a wide range of resources and assessment ideas. AC History Units Website

Home page AC History Units

English for the Australian Curriculum

Materials here comprise 12 year-level units of work, with 12 sequences in each, written by teachers and educators from a range of states, territories and educational settings. The writers have been guided in composition and worked as a team to collaborate in producing some 850 new elaborations of curriculum content, all supported by digital resources and interactive worksheets. All materials have been reviewed by teaching and curriculum specialists to ensure the highest standards in a clear and accessible resource that exploits the Australian Curriculum and can help reinvigorate the teaching of English and literacy. English for the Australian Curriculum Website

Home page English for the Australian Curriculum

Science Web Australia

The Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA) in partnership with Education Services Australia (ESA) has prepared 15 units of work to support teachers in the implementation of the Australian Curriculum: Science as part of the Supporting the Australian Curriculum Online (SACOL). The units are designed for students in years F–10. These units have been written by experienced teachers using resources that are available online. Each unit consists of an overview, five lesson plans, and additional links and resources. Extension activities for gifted and talented students will be included for the units in years 7–10. Science Web Australia Website

Home page Science Web Australia

Top Drawer Teachers – Resources for teachers of mathematics

Big ideas   The big ideas that underpin the mathematics are explored and explained.
Misunderstandings   Some common misunderstandings and their causes are described and analysed. There is teaching advice, and activities, designed to avoid or correct these misunderstandings.
Good teaching   Key content is explained thoroughly. There are suggested teaching approaches and many suitable activities. You will find videos, slide presentations, worksheets, digital learning objects and more.
Assessment   Aspects of assessment are discussed.
  Activities   Student activities that appear in other parts of the drawer have been collected here. However, many of the pages contain further suggestions and ideas for other activities.
Downloads   All downloadable files, such as student worksheets, teacher notes, activity templates and video transcripts, are available here.

Pertinent professional readings are also included and accessed through the AAMT website. Where relevant, links have been made to the content descriptions of the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics. Top Drawer Teachers – Resources for teachers of mathematics

Home page Top Drawer Teachers – Resources for teachers of mathematics



Creating an eBook – Book Creator

To assist my year 12 students I decided to create an eBook using the Book Creator app as a revision tool for their exercise physiology course. The book covers some key aspects (not all) of the content I would like them to focus on as part of their ongoing revision leading up to their exam in term 4. It is not their only revision tool but is another tool for them to access. Ideally it would be great if all the year 12’s had their own iPads but I have had to settle for putting the eBook onto 5 of the student iPads.

One of the strengths of an eBook is the ability to include audio and video. Books have always included text and images but the inclusion of audio and video makes the eBook a much more powerful learning tool. Often a book/pamphlet may include web links to further resources like a video. My opinion is that students will often not use these links (independently) even if they are helpful due to the fact they have to do another step to get to the information. By using Book Creator the video is embedded next to the text allowing for instant viewing.

With the introduction of the File Browser app it is now a fairly simple process to get an eBook from Book Creator on one iPad to many iPads. I saved my eBook as an epub file on the P drive and then accessed it through the File Browser app to get it onto as many student iPads as I wanted to. You could save an eBook to the P drive and within 10-15 minutes (depending on file size) have your whole class reading an eBook created by you (or them).

Could you use an eBook to set up a topic for students? Could your eBook be the starting resource for your students when beginning a new topic? Could your students create their own eBook to present a topic for assessment or to teach another class? Great cross age tool?

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.

Keeping Running Records – Record of Reading App

I am not familiar with how Running Records are used to assess student reading but understand it is a widely used technique to assess a students reading performance. I have come across an app called Record of Reading which allows teachers to keep their running records on the iPad and then email the document as a PDF or JPG for filing. As I have mentioned I am not familiar with how these records are recorded so I can only recommend that if you want to use your iPad to do running records that you check out this app. I have added some blog posts from teachers who recommend its use if you are interested.

Reading assessment on the iPad (Australian)

Record of Reading App: Love this! (Australian)

Running records on the iPads (American)

Click here to visit the iTunes store to view the Record of Reading.

What does it mean to integrate technology successfully into your classroom?

Effective integration of technology can be difficult. So when I found the table below I thought it was a useful resource to share with teachers that helped to explain the difference between merely using technology and fully integrating it into your teaching. The table was created by Aditi Rao and posted on the website Teachbytes which can be viewed here.

I think that the way that this table explains the differences between ‘just using’ technology and ‘integrating’ technology is very relevant at PBAS now. Sure we have had ICT’s at our school for a long time but with the inclusion of the iPads I think we need to carefully think about how we use this new (new to our school at least) technology.

There is no doubt the iPads are engaging, so how do we integrate their use so that the engagement factor is taken advantage of while ensuring student learning is front and centre?

  1. This will take time as the novelty of the iPad means focus is on the ‘iPad’ – for a while at least.
  2. When the novelty wears off hopefully the iPad becomes another tool with a powerful impact.
  3. Staff development is important. Staff knowledge of how to use the iPad to improve learning needs to be developed. Sharing is important.
  4. Ensuring that we treat the iPads as a tool for learning and that when we use them it is planned and structured in a way that tells students the iPad is for learning. It is not there to keep them quiet or to keep disengaged students busy while we work with the engaged students.

I think the days of ‘visiting’ technology, i.e. a computing suite are numbered. They don’t allow for true integration of technology in learning. With the correct infrastructure mobile technology offers a much better platform to support student learning whether this is via Chromebooks, MacBooks, iPads or iPod’s does not matter. Mobile technology allows the learning to be front and centre because the technology is more easily accessible as opposed to visiting a computer suite which often then dictates the learning i.e. lets learn Power Point, lets make pamphlets, lets learn how to copy and paste, so we work the learning to fit with the technology not the other way around.

How do you integrate technology and how will you integrate the iPads so that they improve student learning? Will you have lessons that are iPad lessons i.e. every Tues and Thursday in lesson 3 we will use the iPads? Or will you use the iPads as they are required, not as the focus, but as the tool that will engage, challenge and support student learning?


How do I use my iPad/iPhone to make my job easier?

 There are a range of ways that I use my iPad to help in my role as a teacher. I cannot think of a device that has had a bigger impact on the way I work and learn as a teacher.

Calendar  app

I no longer have a paper diary. The Calendar app allows me to put in my timetable, notes for lessons, set reminders and then access this calendar across multiple devices including my iPad, iPhone and online if my iPad/iPhone are not available.

SkyDrive, Drop Box, Google Drive apps

Using these apps on my iPad gives me access to my files on a mobile device. No longer do I need my lap top with me to work on Word, Excel or PowerPoint presentation. Cloud based storage is convenient and to a large degree free! I have 3 accounts providing me with a total of 14GB of free storage. This is not huge but certainly allows me to manage my work documents and important information that I access on a regular basis. Being able to move documents from these apps into other apps on the iPad including Pages, Keynote and Quick Office Pro and then back again is an excellent function.

Educreations and Explain Everything apps

These white board apps allow me to create presentations to upload to the Internet or capture lessons live. Capturing lessons live then uploading them for students who were absent for that lesson is very useful. By giving students the links to these they can revisit information or catch up on information they missed. They are also good tools for students to create on.

iCabMobile app

This app is web browser and allows me to download video directly to my iPad. Unfortunately it no longer does it from You Tube (Apple won’t allow it) but it does from pretty much any other site using HTML5 video including sites like Daily Motion and Vimeo. This has short cut a process of downloading video on my laptop, putting it into a folder and syncing that folder to my iPad. The types of videos that I download are generally skills based to use in apps like Ubersense and Coaches Eye.

Easy Portfolio, Easy Assessment and Attendance apps

All of my attendance is done on the iPad and emailed so that the school can keep it on file. The ‘Easy’ apps allow me to have digital portfolios for each of my students which include video, photos, notes, urls, audio and documents. I can also create rubrics which can easily be used on the spot during lessons which allow me to attach notes, photo and video to those rubrics. Having all my students assessment data in one place is very useful.

Twitter/Facebook apps

These are technically things that can be done without an iPhone or iPad. Would I use them as effectively or as much without an iPad? The answer is no. As with many things the iPad makes them easier, quicker and more efficient. The portability of the iPad for a start means I have it with me all the time.

I use Facebook to communicate with my Stage 1 and Stage 2 PE classes. I provide resources from documents to videos, reminders about due dates, change of plans regarding prac and theory lessons, students can upload drafts of work and I can send it back to them the same way and it allows students to pose questions they are stuck on when doing hwk or leading into a test or exam.

I use Twitter for professional development. I have said it before in other posts and I’ll say it again – It is the best ongoing training and development that I get! I follow just over 400 educators.. The ideas and resources that are shared on Twitter are enormous. You follow who you want so that the information you get relates to topics you are interested in. For example a high percentage of the people I follow around the world are PE teachers, they provide me with thoughts and ideas on pedagogy and resources that I never would have considered had I not connected with them.

Class Dojo app

Class Dojo is a behaviour tracking app. You create your classes then enter your behaviours (positive & negative) that you want to monitor. This does not have to be the traditional behaviours like being on task, getting changed for PE, helping set up equipment etc. It could be that a JP teacher wants to track how a student forms letters, it could help you track any behaviour or skill! I use it with all my classes R-10 to track student behaviour but I have not used it to its full potential just yet. The data can be emailed to parents (or any email address you put in). Currently I am thinking of emailing it directly to my older students so they can see the type of data I am keeping on them. For the younger students it will help inform my discussions with them as well as their parents. It does need an internet connection to work and all data is uploaded to an online teacher account. I use my iPhone in PE as this is the only internet connection I have on the oval or in the hall. The phone is also excellent because of its size, it allows me to enter data quickly and then put it back in my pocket.

Note: The creation of classes and behaviours is done online in a teacher account on a PC (cannot be done on the iPad app). The iPad app is then used to collect the data during a lesson.

Music app

This app on allows me to stream music wirelessly in the hall from my iPad and iPhone through the Apple TV. I use music in the JP classes to initiate the beginning and end of some activities. To be able to do this while with the students and not have to run back to the stereo everytime I want to start or stop the music is excellent.

Notes app

This app allows me to take notes in staff meetings and at training and development days. I can keep the notes in the app or email them off the iPad.

Contacts app

This is not new as mobile phones have always had contact lists. However having my contact list on my phone and synced to my iPad is great.

Camera app/Dropvox app

Recording work samples and student learning through images, audio or video is a powerful way to help teachers assess students and ultimately provide more effective feedback about learning. I also use the camera and iMovie to create video to share with parents what is happening in their child’s PE classroom. Dropvox allows me to record audio and upload automatically to Dropbox. Great for recording conferencing processes with students.