Tag Archives: iPads

3 ways to use virtual bulletin boards

Padlet, Google Keep and Corkulous — oh my!


Padlet’s been a go-to for a number of our educators for a while now, based on both its easy drag-and-drop interface and the ability to add photos and video to individual boards. We’ve seen it used

Corey Smith, at Proctor Elementary School, uses Padlet to organize roles and responsibilities in group work. Check out how she organized this Padlet board so that students can clearly see and reference the responsibilities that go along with each role.

Made with Padlet

Additional resources:

2. Google Keep

For Google schools, Google Keep can be invaluable as a collaborative project management tool. Each Google account automatically has access to a virtual space where they can create post-its for data management. These post-its can be shared with other Google users, can include HTML and links, as well as images and — get this –drawings!


3. Corkulous

Meet Corkulous: a free iOS app and browser-based corkboard tool.

Sixth grade educator Joe Speers is using the tool for vocabulary development. The drag-and-drop format allows students to create one post on the board showing the word itself and a definition. Next they can bring in a picture that illustrates the definition of the word and physically link them together.


How do you use virtual bulletin boards with your students?


4 Earth Day lesson ideas with iPads

Study the Earth’s ecology with deep-digging tech tools

Earth Day lesson plans with iPads
“Earth Day 2010” by v-collins, CC 3.0

Earth Day is April 22, and if you’re looking for some ideas on how to dig deep into earth sciences with tech, we’ve got 4 Earth Day lesson ideas with iPads.

Already made Earth Day plans? These ideas will keep until the weather gets better and it’s really and truly time to run around outside.

Continue reading 4 Earth Day lesson ideas with iPads

The Weather and Vermont

Science Saturday, with Tarrant Institute research fellow Mark OlofsonIn Vermont, in the winter, we talk about the weather. A lot. Perhaps this is due to our agrarian roots and realities. Maybe it is an extension of how we look for each other. Or maybe it’s because it is really, really cold. Mars cold. Whatever the reason, it is a very common topic for discussion. Which makes it a great entry point for a STEM-centered lesson, unit, or project. And conveniently, there are a number of weather apps that serve as a great way to collect real-world data. Today we are going to consider bringing the weather into your classroom, or, perhaps, taking your classroom out to it.

Continue reading The Weather and Vermont

Taking the lid off technology

The unintended consequences of branded tech in the classroom

The unintended consequences of branded tech in the classroomIn this episode of The 21st Century Classroom, Tarrant Institute graduate research fellow Mark Olofson and I take a look at one of the premises of this article on the ill-fated city-wide rollout of iPads in Los Angeles classrooms, “Los Angeles schools need to think outside the iPad”.

A number of problems arose during and after the rollout that make valuable intellectual fodder for any school or district in their 1:1 planning phase, but the article’s author, Nathan Schneider raises an interesting point about how who makes the tech students use on a daily basis can shape their world-view.

So give episode #4, “Taking the lid off technology” a listen, and as always, we love to hear your feedback. This week’s music is by Chrissy Jackson, and you can find more of her Creative Commons-licensed sounds at her Soundcloud page.

You can subscribe to The 21st Century Classroom via iTunes or Soundcloud, or just keep tuning in here.

4 ways to use Flipboard in your flipped classroom

We’re flipping for Flipboard — and your students will too!

Flipboard is a free mobile app for the iOS, Android and Google Play tablets that allows you to “flip” content into self-curated magazines. Translation: you grab webpages, videos, tweets or images, and pull them together into magazines.

The magazines are the important bit. Haven’t you ever wanted to helm your own? Even if you haven’t, it’s a sure bet your students have and do. So how can you make Flipboard about learning?

Continue reading 4 ways to use Flipboard in your flipped classroom

Painless printing from your iPad

(without calling tech support)

Despite Apple releasing AirPrint waaaay back in the heady days of iOS4, printing has long been the iPad’s Achilles heel. Wireless printing in general remains a mysterious and arcane art whose magics are passed down from tech support to tech support only in oral storytelling form, or perhaps encrypted Ogham sticks. NO ONE REALLY KNOWS FOR SURE. But here’s a way to get truly painless printing from your iPad.

Continue reading Painless printing from your iPad

What you should know about iPad cases

Getting mobile devices into the hands of educators and students is the name of the game, but what happens after to keep those iPads up and running? In no small part, iPad longetivity comes down to the case.

Over the past three years, we’ve operated a lending library of 10-20 iPads for educators, which has so grown in popularity that this past year hardly a day went by when the devices were actually back at home base. They went to Danby, they went to Cabot. They went to Morrisville, and the Echo Lake Aquarium. They went to AMLE, VT Fest and the Middle Grades Institute. And all of them came back without a scratch. But this hasn’t always been the case, ha ha.

Continue reading What you should know about iPad cases

Get out! 4 ideas for using iPads outside (and away from Wifi)

Get out there!

It’s spring (unless you’re in the Antipodes) and IT HAS FINALLY STOPPED SNOWING. Yes, all those capital letters are really necessary to announce that fact. The sun is out and if you’re planning on doing some outside work with your students, here are four activity ideas for using iPads outside when there’s no access to Wifi.

1. The Basics: QR code scavenger hunt

Make and print some QR codes, tape them up outside, and have each code lead to an image with directions for an activity. Working on foreign language acquisition? Post the directions in the target language! Are fractions on the agenda? Have the QR codes lead to an equation whose solution equals a number found in the next location of the hunt! Vocab time? How about anagrams that unscramble to reveal the next location or a key part of the instructions! QR codes are simple, powerful and lend themselves to a ton of different activities. What would make it really powerful would be for the students themselves to create the questions…

This online QR Code Treasure Hunt Generator lets you create your hunt quickly and easily beforehand.
This online QR Code Treasure Hunt Generator lets you create your hunt quickly and easily beforehand.


2. App-smash with Dino Defend!

Students break into groups, pick a plastic dinosaur out of a bucket (blind pick) and then have to keep their dinosaur alive to the end of the trail. As they move through the landscape, they’ll need to complete and document 4 challenges related to their dinosaur. Challenges could have math, science and reading comprehension worked in, as well as compelling students to really think about the Gorge and evolutionary geology. So many apps could help answer the following challenges:
  1. Geography: What features of the landscape would prove beneficial/problematic for your dinosaur? Suggested apps: 30Hands, Notability 
  2. Famine/Overpopulation: What does your dinosaur eat? What could they eat in this area? Suggested apps: HaikuDeck, Notability
  3. Predator attack: What are some of your dinosaur’s predators? Are they or were they found in this area? Bonus points for teaming up with another group and enacting a pitched battle scene. Suggested apps: iMovie.
  4. Defamation! An upstart archeologist has written a tract all about how your dinosaur should go extinct already. Each dinosaur has been offered a 30-second video promo spot to respond to the allegations. How does your dinosaur explain its value to the environment? Suggested apps: Touchcast, iMovie

Please note: badgers, bears, frogs or any other type of animal can be substituted for the dinosaurs, as appropriate for your curriculum.

But it just won’t be the same without all those RAR noises.

"Predator Challenge! This diplodocus is about to be eaten by a giant Boston terrier. In 200 words, explain why this situation is implausible."
“Predator Challenge! This diplodocus is about to be eaten by a giant Boston terrier. In 200 words, explain why this situation is implausible.”


3. Collect & Reflect with Picture This

Colorado educator Anne Beninghof came up with the great idea of using the Corkulous app to let students assemble boards that feature audio, video, image and written reflections of their trek. Get creative, assign each group a different theme, area of the landscape or time period to work with. This could also work with LinoIt.


4. For the Math folks: AngleJam!

The FieldProjector app allows you to calculate the angles of objects captured with the iPad camera, as well as determining their scale in relation to other objects. Combine this with the QR codes to create a series of challenges around capturing different types of angles:

“It’s time for the annual AngleJam but sadly, no angles have shown up yet to the party! They’re too busy running wiiiiiiiiiiild. It’s up to you to go out and grab them. Head outside / to the jungle gym / to the trailhead, where you’ll find a QR code specifying how to bring in the first of your math guests.”

Bonus points for having students create the angles out of twigs, rock bridges, their arms, etc exactly like this Australian class did.

"The 90 has been spotted! Repeat: we have a visual on the 90! Invitation delivered!"
“The 90 has been spotted! Repeat: we have a visual on the 90! Invitation delivered!”

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m heading out into this beautiful sunshine to help a stegosaurus work on using less tail-spike in its rebuttal. Have a great weekend, everyone!


*This post grew from a discussion over on the iPadEd Google+ community. Joyful thanks to Lara Jensen, Karen Redmond, Peggy Matthews, Karie Carpenter, Anne Beninghof, Robert Payne, Lee MacArthur, Laura Mahoney, Jose Luis Gutierrez and Christopher Averill for the brainstorming.

Build your own iPad charging cart out of office supplies

Sixty dollars, a dremel and a dream

Build your own iPad charging cart out of office supplies

It all started with a post on the iPad Ed Google+ community.

Wait, I take that back.

It really all started with the 20+ iPads we loan out to educators. Those suckers are constantly in demand and constantly in need of charging. They’re each firmly encased in Fintie Kiddie cases, which, laugh all you want, those things can stop a bullet. And they stand up. And they recline, have carrying handles and come in neon colors, perfect for locating 20+ loaned out units during the chaos of an event, but that’s a whole other blog post.

Anyway, we’ve been loaning these iPads out in tote bags, and just tossing the chargers in higgledy-piggledy. Mainly because if you have done any shopping around for charging carts you likely have needed to be resuscitated at least twice when looking at the prices. The cheapest we could find that works with our beloved Fintie cases started at $399.00, and there was no guarantee everything would fit. We’ve borrowed another department’s iPad charging tray a couple times, but a) it cost them closer to $1,000.00, b) weighed close to 25 lbs and c) had no wheels, thus entailing that their tech guy** lug it four blocks each way.

The thing about the Fintie cases is that part of their magic durability is that they surround the iPad in thick molded foam rubber — perfect for tossing in bags and bike panniers (guilty!) but problematic for trying to buy a pre-made charging cart, as the slots in those are generally cut for slimmer, uncased iPads. Plus can we get back to the whole cost thing? Are school districts really running around with so much cash? I know I’m not.

And thus, with no more rambling, I present: How to Build Your Own iPad Charging Cart Out of Office Supplies.

Minor assembly required

Build your own iPad charging cart out of office supplies


  • Clear plastic storage tub with lid ($10.99 from Staples)
  • Cardboard magazine storage stand ($6.99 from Staples)
  • Two surge protectors ($16.00 from Staples*)
  • Rolling luggage stand with built-in bungies ($28.00 from Amazon)

Tools: a dremel with a hole saw drill bit, a metal file, protective eyeglasses (safety first!).


Stand well back, we are professionals

The way the whole thing works is by using the hard-sided magazine organizer to hold your surge protectors while simultaneously keeping the iPads snugly against the sides of the tub for transport. With the Finties, we managed to get 10 iPads in, but the resulting weight was a little surprising, so I might make two smaller charging tubs for the remainder of our iPads.

Method: Really the only thing that took methoding was drilling the holes.

You need one hole in the side of the tub to let the cords extend through. It needed to be big enough to admit, in this case, two surge protector cords and the hole saw drill bit cut through that plastic like butter. File the edges of the hole down because I managed to scratch my hand up the first time I tried to pull the cords through.

Build your own iPad charging cart out of office supplies


You also need a hole in the top of the magazine organizer, to pull your iPad cords through, although as you can see, they’re a little frantic-looking, so I think v2.0 will have channels leading away from the hole, so each cord has its own organizing channel. There’s definitely room for refinement here.

Uh, last step: pop the lid on and strap it to the luggage cart.

Build your own iPad charging cart out of office supplies


The small dog shown in the above image is included for scale and cuteness.

His name is Jeffrey.

Things I might do differently in the next version

  • Did I mention it’s heavy? Because it is, and unless you’re packing some kind of luggage rack with all-terrain tires, sooner or later you’re going to have to carry it up some steps or lift it in and out of a car. So I’ll definitely be investigating the 5-iPad tub option.
  • Cut cord-management channels in the top of the magazine organizer.
  • Not reach through the hole in the side before it’s been filed down.

Anyone else have a great way to build one of these? I’m definitely open to ideas. After all, I’ve still got to find a way to sync them all…



*Yes, TIIE admin Erin and I basically ran round the store measuring things and flinging them in the cart. Loudly. If the store had had an on-site dremel, we would’ve done the whole thing there, filmed it and thrown an after-party with bad 90s electronic music.

**Thanks Adam!


Essays on Rube Goldberg: capturing the scientific process with iPads

A tale of how physics can be successfully essayed on.

How one class of 8th grade scientists at Harwood Union Middle School used Google Docs, Schoology, and iPads to capture long-form essays about Rube Goldberg. Featuring everyone’s favorite tech-tastic science educator, Brian Wagner. As HUMS principal Amy Rex commented, “Exemplar teaching and learning — narrow the field and provide rapid feedback :)”

Use Image Capture to harvest videos off iOS devices

Has this ever happened to you?

use Image Capture to harvest videos off iOSYou’ve captured some amazing in-classroom video footage with your trusty iPad — a compelling student presentation or a display of truly superb educating, maybe just a lesson you wanted to re-watch and dwell on later — but when you try to move the video off your iPad, your wireless solution makes a weird choking noise, lays down on the floor and dies, because that video is way. too. huge.

Don’t panic. This is completely fixable.

Continue reading Use Image Capture to harvest videos off iOS devices

Authentic cell biology with Notability on the iPad

This spring, Nancy Spencer and her class discovered something amazing about their cheek cells.

The students discovered that by placing the lens of their iPad cameras directly against the eye-piece of a microscope, they were able to take photos of cells that had, until five minutes earlier, been a part of their bodies.

And Spencer discovered that by letting her students lead and giving them the freedom to experiment with technology in their hands, she could still be surprised by what they came up with.

Notability on the iPad

“It’s very exciting that, in all these years I’ve used microscopes, this is the first time for combining the microscope with technology on a personal level,” Spencer commented. “Sometimes I’ve had one in class where I’ve been able to project it onto the screen. But to enable the students to really capture the cells, and put it on Notability? I was able to have them label it and have them write the structure and function of that organelle.”

In this classroom, educator and students discovered that authentic cell biology was possible. It makes a difference when the data you gather is about yourself.

What they did:

  • Students swabbed the insides of their cheeks and prepared the cells on microscope slides;
  • Then they placed their iPads’ camera up against the eyepiece of the microscope and took a picture of the slide’s contents;
  • They used the Notability iOS app to mark the different parts of the cell on their digital image, write up the experiment and share it with the educator;
  • Finally they saved their Notability notes to their digital portfolios. The students had previously prepared and examined plant cells, so they were able to compare the cell structures of animal vs. plant cells.

Connect with them:

Mrs. Spencer’s 7th grade scientists would love to hear from any class who replicate their cell biology experiment.

If you and your students elect to take the cheek-cell-Notability challenge and are willing to share your experience with Mrs. Spencer’s class at Harwood (Skype! G+ Hangout!, Facetime!, just a blog post!) please get in touch.

iPad management in the classroom: Did this educator do the right thing?

From our tumblr, an unusual iPad management situation with one educator who confiscated a student’s iPad during class and added a math problem before giving it back:

A maths educator confiscated a student's iPad and added a maths lesson before returning it. What would you do?

What do you think? Was this educator in the right? What do you think the student learned from this experience?

What would you have done?

Leave us an answer in the comments below to be entered into a drawing for a Hammerhead 12W Dual Port Adapter, for charging your iPad, iPhone and iPod.

ARIS @ Echo

When last we left our trusty Edmunds Explorers, they had just defeated a horde of geometry-loving aliens who’d invaded the school, demanding triangles, circles and trapezoids. After that adventure, the two classes of 6th graders took to the streets of Burlington. Lake Street, to be precise, which led them down to the Echo Lake Aquarium and Science Center and the scene of their next big ARIS adventure.


A group of Edmunds 6th graders check out Echo's tidepool exhibit while collecting resources to build their own ARIS video games.
A group of Edmunds 6th graders check out Echo’s tidepool exhibit while collecting resources to build their own ARIS video games.



ARIS stands for Augmented Reality Interactive Storytelling, and it’s an open-source platform published by the University of Wisconsin to allow K-12 students to design and create their own place-based games for the iOS mobile platform. Museums across the country are starting to incorporate augmented reality to make visitors’ experiences more in-depth and authentic; where once students might’ve simply read a plaque about the lives of fur traders at the Minnesota Historical Society, now they have a chance to play the role of one, working through some of the challenges and hardships the life presented in order to advance through the tour.

And where Minnesota has fur traders, the Echo Center has frogs.




Meet Vinnie.

Vinnie is a native Vermont bullfrog whose life and habits were drawn directly from Echo Center exhibits by Burlington School District technology information specialists and TIIE to form the short ARIS game “Frogworld”.

Students worked their way through the Frogworld game by gleaning information from plaques in Echo’s Frogworld exhibit. They also documented resources from the Echo Center exhibits for later use in their own games. Echo Center staff also got into the act. Executive director Phelan Fretz used ARIS’ Notebook feature to contribute his own frog to the Frogworld game, then spent lunch taking suggestions from students as to what kinds of behind-the-scenes information Echo could provide to support students’ own ARIS games.


Phelan Fretz, Echo Center director, used ARIS' Notebook feature to add this commentary about one of the frogs in the Frogworld exhibit. Players can leave text, audio, image or video notes for all other players to read.
Phelan Fretz, Echo Center director, used ARIS’ Notebook feature to add this commentary about one of the frogs in the Frogworld exhibit. Players can leave text, audio, image or video notes for all other players to read.


ARIS is one of a number of augmented reality platforms the Echo Center is piloting with local schools.

Edmunds is incorporating ARIS into a yearlong place-based unit examining the Lake Champlain basin through environmental, cultural, historic and opportunity lenses. The Echo Center hopes to make the local 6th graders’ ARIS games available to visitors as part of the museum tour when they’re completed.




(Special thanks to the UVM College of Education and Social Services for their support of this project. )

The Parable of the Puppet Pals: integrating technology in religion class

Julia Melloni, the Middle School Religion teacher at Mater Christi School in Burlington, worked with her students on “blending ancient Scripture with modern technology”. She used the iOS app PuppetPals2 to promote student learning, collaboration, and creativity.
From Ms. Melloni:
The lesson addressed reading comprehension of Jesus’ teachings in the Bible as well as the depth of these moral teachings. Students worked in small groups to identify a parable that they wanted to explore. A script was written by students that included citing chapter and verse and dialogue of actors. PuppetPals2 was used for the students to act out Jesus’ lessons.

All the PuppetPals2 videos were uploaded to an unlisted class YouTube account and we watched them together as a class. A parables quiz was assigned with the videos as a study guide. Students were encouraged to watch the videos which were accessed through our religion home page. Students enjoyed the comical antics of their classmates acting out scenarios from the Good Samaritan, the Two Foundations, Weed among the Wheat, and more.

The final question on the students’ quiz was to offer feedback on using the app. The resounding response was joyful!


One of the students in the class commented, “I liked it because it let us use technology…it helped me remember what we needed to learn in a short amount of time.” Another said, “I thought it was a good way to express religion through technology. It was very fun to work with my friends.”


Thank you to Ms. Melloni and her students for sharing some of their videos!

A Google Drive lesson for iPads + iPad skill checklist

Meet Theresa White. She teaches 4th and 5th grade at Roxbury Village School, and this past summer, in preparation for her school going 1:1 with iPads, she took Susan Hennessey’s Emerging Technologies course, and as a result, shared this 5-minute lesson on getting up to speed with Google Drive on the iPad.



Bonus: she’s also shared her iPad skills checklist, for students (and teachers) to check off each new skill they master on the iPad. Thanks Mrs. White!


Having an augmented reality kind of morning

"Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill." --Charles Dickens, Bleak House
“Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill.” –Charles Dickens, Bleak House

Okay, so I’m a few months early but oy, this weather, #btv.

Brought to you by AR DinoPark, a free augmented reality app that lets you plunk one solitary triceratops into your real-world location. Such as the Tarrant Institute office.

Unfortunately, that’s all it seems to do. Your triceratops makes a little squeak and does a little dance, then you can read a paragraph of info about him. But there’s no way to create your own content or interact with said triceratops, and you have to pay for additional dinosaurs. But it’s a cool party trick.

How students are using Touchcast: welcome videos!

Westville High School senior Bailey Bruner asks viewers for help choosing a major next year.

As a follow-up to our post on how teachers are using Touchcast, here’s an example of how students are using Touchcast from Westville High School in Oklahoma: to create interactive welcome videos! Touchcast is a free iOS app where users can create interactive videos including linked websites, live polls, images and other videos. You can view and share your videos on a channel on your iOS tablet, or online with a conventional web browser.

Three of our favorites: Bailey Bruner (above) conducting a poll on what she should major in next year, Nick Hamilton (below) sharing his favorite music right in the browser, and Torrii Crittenden discussing an inspirational quote that motivates her love of softball.

What do your students want to share about themselves?




“The students showed me how it was done”: Students and colleagues as educator resources

A guest post by one of our partner educators, Jacki McCarty.

McCarty is an educator at Harwood Union Middle School, in Moretown VT.

“The resource I wish to share is THE STUDENTS and MY COLLEAGUES. Through encouragement by my colleagues I have taken risks with technology and found that the students can run with technology and use each other as resources. I, the teacher, can use them as resources. Here is what happened.

Jodie Curran and Jon Potts had told me about QR codes last year, but I never fully understood what they were until I did a treasure hunt with QR codes at a class last summer. I thought they were interesting, but never found a natural fit for integration into my curriculum.

While we were brainstorming about the Poetry Recitation project and iTraining, Sarah Ibson and I came up with the idea of having students record themselves reading poems (with images to compliment the poems also embedded in the iMovie) and make QR codes to put on their Recitation Poem Posters.

The poem posters consist of a handwritten version of the poem, and typed analysis of the poem, as well as an image that represents the poem. These posters will line the hallways at the final poetry recitation performance — the HUMS Celebration of Learning on May 2.

Here is a link to a student performance (they gave permission to share it and I used it as an example in my classes) which was made in Sarah Ibson’s iTraining class prior to my class project. The iTraining students acted as mentors during the recording and uploading experience — which was essential since I myself did not yet know exactly how to perform these actions.

The students showed me how it was done.”

Rob Gervais on going 1:1 with iPads

1:1 with iPads

Going 1:1 with iPads: lessons learned

In this 40 minute webinar, Rob Gervais, director of technology for Enosburg Town Schools, goes over the nuts and bolts of deploying a 1:1 iPad environment. Enosburg Town Schools were among the first schools in Vermont to go 1:1 with iPads, and Gervais faced a number of challenges in the implementation of them, including the need for upgraded school-wide wifi and a charging system. At the same time, he and the rest of the school were able to innovate some amazing tools for iPad management, including communications with families about the program.

Continue reading Rob Gervais on going 1:1 with iPads