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My favourite Teacher Tech: my iPad!

I have always been the kind of teacher who integrates technology into their classroom, back when I first started teaching at a public high school in Oakville, Ontario I regularly signed out the Science department's projector cart & the Library's laptop carts for my classes. There are so many things that are just easier, more engaging or more efficient when you have technology to help you along. Luckily technology has now become a staple in most classrooms around the world and many schools have adopted BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) programs.

A couple of years ago I decided to save up my pennies to buy an Apple Pencil compatible iPad with the idea of using it to produce more digital resources for my TpT store and for my own use. As I am a career international school teacher I have realized the importance of digitizing my answer keys, exemplars and other resources so I can easily take them with me when I switch schools, countries &/or continents. This little iPad has become an indispensable part of how I assess, how I manage my classroom and how I make resources. I thought I'd share some of the tips and tricks and Apps I use regularly in my high school Science classes in the hopes that they can be equally helpful to you.

Tip #1 : Educreations for Exemplars & Scaffolds

One of my favourite parts of teaching is when I am able to help a student truly understand a concept they had previously been struggling with...that lightbulb moment is so satisfying for both student and teacher and I have found the best way to do that is to complete practice problems or work through examples in real time using think-alouds with the student by your side. Unfortunately with the demands on both my schedule and those of my students these opportunities are becoming fewer. Cue Educreations! This App is my favourite way to work through a Punnett Square, a Mass to Moles calculation or a free body diagram and with the Apple Pencil it's really easy to add a screenshot of some practice problems or a diagram then record. The App records both the marks I make using my Apple Pencil and my voice instructions in real time, it's a digital think-aloud that can be used again & again! Here is an example I made for Balancing Chemical Equations for my Integrated Science students.

Tip #2 : Keynote Remote for Scaffolding & Classroom Management

I am an avid user of Keynote in my lessons, I find that having notes, key ideas, images and instructions embedded into a presentation I am able to run my lessons smoothly. This gives me the mental space I need to check on my students rather than trying to remember which questioning strategies to use or worry about precise word choice... all that is already written into the lesson slides. The beauty of Keynote rather than Powerpoint for me is the ability to control my presentation from anywhere in my classroom using Keynote remote. As long as my iPad and my laptop are on the same wifi network I can easily present my slides to my students from anywhere in the classroom.

As any experienced teacher knows, proximity is an incredibly powerful classroom management tool and this allows me to collect constant formative assessment data, answer quick questions, check in on my high needs learners and make my presence known around the entire classroom while I teach a concept such as meiosis (pictured above). While this is more than enough of a reason to use Keynote remote I am also able to preview the next animation or slide & write on the slides using my Apple Pencil from anywhere in my room so that my students can see it on the board. Like many teachers I incorporate short practice questions into my lessons and we can take up the answers right on the slide, there is also a laser pointer function built in which can help to point out specific parts of a diagram with ease.

Tip #3 : Notability for Assessment & Answer Keys

When I first purchased my iPad I spent a long time trying out different Apps that would be the most useful to me in my classroom and I knew I wanted some way to give student feedback with my Apple Pencil digitally... enter Notability. Since Notability is able to handle any PDF or image file and sync with the Google Drive it is a winner for me. I use it almost every day to give feedback on student work, mark up rubrics or make answer keys that I can easily take with me to the next job.

I share my feedback with students via Google Drive and since it's a PDF file created by Notability they cannot make any my grades and comments stay intact. That being said, if I make a mistake and want to update a rubric it is very easy for me to do so in Notability and then re-share with my students.

Tip #4 : Procreate for Digital Diagrams & Resources

If you are a creative type and like to draw Procreate could be a great tool in your iPad teacher arsenal. I have used it to make cartoon faces for an evolution activity, colour-coded greenhouse gas molecules for a sort activity and even to label diagrams such as the heart pictured below (this can also be done in Notability). I also use Procreate for my own enjoyment, turning family photos into cartoons or letting my niece and nephew "colour" on it. This App is not free, but if you are interested in digital drawing it is very user-friendly and there are a ton of tutorials for it on YouTube.

Happy iPading & thanks for reading teachers, travelers & curious souls of all kinds.

The Roaming Scientist



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I'm the kind of teacher who is always trying something new, new labs, new Apps, new scaffolds and even new countries to live and teach in. I'm looking forward to share what I learn with you all through my weekly blog posts. 

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