Jan 312013

I use my iPad pretty intensively in the classroom, though as an Undistinguished Apple Educator, it tends to be plugged into the whiteboard via an old fashioned AV cable, streaming Spotify, rather than being deployed in high impact, outstanding feats of pedagogy. To be honest, most of the apps I tend to use have perfectly serviceable PC equivalents, though the iPad’s accelerometer does make it easy to replicate the function of a seismometer.


In a recent lesson I had introduced Charles Richter’s logarithmic scale for measuring earthquake magnitude. At this point, I’d usually reach for my iPhone, place it on the floor and invite the students to jump up and down in order to to illustrate how a seismometer works.

Today I used Seismometer 6th running on the iPad and plugged into the whiteboard. The app incorporates an alarm that can be set to different levels of vibration sensitivity. With the sensitivity  set to low, and the class gathered at the back of the room, the students found themselves unable to trip the alarm (as illustrated on the screen grab), no matter how much they jumped around. I let them take incremental steps towards the iPad until they were able to finally trip the alarm. This was an entirely unplanned discovery, but it worked well, emphasising the point that the closer one is to the epicentre of an earthquake, the greater the magnitude of shaking.

Another potential use of the app, is to monitor my old Shaker Maker activity to ensure that test buildings on a shaking table are subjected to similar amounts of vibration. It’s a great app for occasional use and at 99p is somewhat cheaper than the real thing.

bear house

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