Using Digimap in coursework projects

 ICT, iPad, Teaching resources  Comments Off on Using Digimap in coursework projects
May 052013

Digimap for Schools is a subscription service for OS maps. The service represents exceptional value for money and works seamlessly in all current browsers as well as iPad. With a range of very user friendly annotation and measuring tools and simple printing options, Digimap is far more than just a map viewer. It also comes with some excellent free teaching ideas by Alan Parkinson.

Here’s a short guide for students on how to make the most of Digimap in coursework projects.

iPad shaker maker

 iPad  Comments Off on iPad shaker maker
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

Extreme Environments: a free iBook

 iPad, Teaching resources  Comments Off on Extreme Environments: a free iBook
Nov 042012

I’ve been swiping, pinching and tapping my way around a well written and beautifully illustrated interactive eBook for the iPad, the result of a collaboration by Richard Allaway and Alan Parkinson.

The book has been written to assist students with revision of the Extreme Environments theme of the IB Geography Diploma, but useful for other syllabuses that include mountain, glacial or arid environments. Even if the content isn’t relevant, it’s worth downloading as an example of the potential of the iBooks author app to create engaging content for (or even better, by) learners.

A free download from the iTunes store.

Mar 262012

Poll Everywhere is a great way to collect opinions and votes in the classroom, and in combination with a mobile web device makes a brilliant free alternative to an expensive audience response system. I’ve found that students tend to spend a bit longer considering their responses when they are encouraged to use their phones. Today I finished a role play on the execution of Charles I today with this poll:

Students without access to phones were able to vote free of charge over the web using my personal iPad.

Poll Everywhere has lots of compelling features including Twitter voting, live charts inside PowerPoint, and downloadable results. The free plan allows for a maximum of 40 votes per poll, enough for a typical class. I’ve mentioned SMS Poll, in a previous post, which remains a good alternative.

The last weather forecasting post ever…

 iPad, Teaching resources  Comments Off on The last weather forecasting post ever…
Mar 192012

I’ve written a number of posts about backgrounds for student-presented forecasts ranging from my initial experiments with clunky HTML several years ago, Ian Ford’s much improved example to the ill fated Google Earth interactive background. Maybe Weather Pro for iPad, projected onto a screen, offers the best background of all?

The app costs £2.99 and an annual premium of £3.99 to access premium content. All the data students could possibly want is now at their finger tips.

At a simple level, students can locate named places on the Weather Pro map and describe current weather conditions from an exhaustive selection of data:

More able students will be able to make predictive forecasts that relate air pressure maps to other data, for example wind speed animations and rainfall radar.

I am unaware of a better web-based weather application.

Configurator: manage multiple iPads in school

 ICT, iPad  Comments Off on Configurator: manage multiple iPads in school
Mar 082012

Apple have released an essential tool to support the deployment of iOS devices in schools. Configurator is a free app that allows an administrator to set up devices, install apps, manage settings and personalise data for different users. First impressions are that it looks very easy to use, though I’ve stopped short of unleashing it on my home devices! More on Configurator at 9 to 5 Mac.

With the iPad 2 now retailing at £329.00 in the Education store, it’s a good time for individual teachers to be considering a dabble with an iPad. Configurator  will make the proposition of wider tablet use much easier to sell to sceptical network managers.