iPad In Education

September 28th, 2011 at 9:47 AM EST | by Oliver VanDervoort

Apple Sends 9,000 iPads To Low Income Teaching Program

We all know just how much fun using an iPad can be. Whether drawing or writing or playing games, there are literally dozens of different apps that can hold our attention. With the newness of the device itself wearing off we have also seen developers go away with new entertainment uses and look to actually make the iPad a more functional device. While there are apps that provide educational resources, Apple has taken a big step in helping teachers with their new program according to a report in Fortune magazine.

Apple has announced that they will be sending 9,000 iPads to the Teach For America organization. This group focuses on putting recent college grads into low income school districts. This program is made geared towards making sure that kids who are growing up in poverty are still getting a top notch education. Apple’s iPads will go to the teachers for use however they see fit, but of course the organization hopes the teachers won’t simply use the devices for their own entertainment. One particular teacher has come up with a novel way to incorporate her iPad into her classroom. Katie Remington said that she uses her iPad as incentive. When students work fast and get their work done, they get “iPad time.”

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The program, which is currently active in 38 states received a portion of their iPads from people who upgraded to the iPad 2 and were encouraged to donate their old device. Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ wife Laurene Powell is on the board of Teaching for America, which most likely connects the dots as to why the company go involved with this program.


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September 15th, 2011 at 8:00 AM EST | by Oliver VanDervoort

Solar Walk 3D for iPad Lets You Stroll Through Outer Space

As the iPad is now well known among both users and developers alike, we are seeing more apps that take advantage of the full abilities of the tablet.  One of these newer apps that give you a combination of entertainment and education is Solar Walk 3D.  With this particular app you can navigate around the solar system with just the touch and drag of a finger.

When you open the app, you are immediately blown away as you travel through a sort of star tunnel to arrive hovering just outside a digital display of our entire solar system complete with all the planets as they are lined up, in rotation around the sun.  You can touch and drag anywhere you would like to better get a look as to where one planet is to another and how the diagram looks from up top, or below or at any other angle you’d like.  Of course this isn’t just a digital diagram.  Tapping on the magnifying glass on the bottom left of the screen will bring up a menu that allows you to look at a whole host of different interstellar objects.  Planets, stars, places and even satellites are all viewable with just a little scrolling.

Of course once you’ve selected a place or object to take a look at you can press the “I” button and get some very specific information on select places in the solar system.  The bottom right of the screen offers another menu and when you click on this you will find a bunch of other features to keep the app refreshing and new.  Through this menu you can choose whether to view objects to scale or Orrery (basically meaning you can zoom in or out.)  You can also arrange the screen the way you would like and then take a screen capture that can be placed on your Facebook, or Twitter or emailed to whomever you would like.  

The Starwalk 3D app also offers several animations that can do anything from showing you just how big or small one planet is to another to how the tides on the earth are affected by the moon and the surrounding planets.  All of this is set to a nice relaxing musical accompaniment that can be turned off if you choose to stare in awe in peace and quiet.  Of course because this is Starwalk 3D, we’d be remiss if we talked about the app without mentioning the 3D part.  

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August 23rd, 2011 at 9:44 AM EST | by Oliver VanDervoort

Kno's Textbooks App for iPad Adds New Features

Earlier we told you about how Kno’s Textbooks app for the iPad is one of the best apps that someone getting ready to go back to school could have. Now it appears the maker of that particular app is making it even better with the newest features being offered. While the textbooks that are available to purchase through the Kno app are generally 30-50% lower than they if you buy the hard copy, there are now some more reasons to go get the app and see what it can do.

When dealing with chemistry texts there is a new beta function of the app that allows students to view 3D pictures of the material they are studying. Of course because this new feature is incredibly new there are going to be some shortfalls here and there but so far it appears that being able to look at a 3D representation of the lungs or the heart on the iPad will only bring more students to Apple’s tablet.

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August 22nd, 2011 at 10:11 AM EST | by Oliver VanDervoort

With the approaching fall, most young people are getting ready to go back to school though unlike other generations they are able to be armed with a new device that can help them get through classes. There are several apps for the iPad that will help the average student get a jump on their classmates.

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1. iHomework ($1.99)

iHomework for iPadiHomework is sort of an a all-in-one app for the busy college student. The first feature of the app is a basic calendar for scheduling needs. There is also a feature that will allow you to quickly and easily input your class schedule. There is a task feature that will make it easier to keep track of what’s due in each class and even the ability to record the grades you receive on that homework in order to track your GPA. I wish we had this kind of program when I was in school.

2. iStudiez Pro ($2.99)

iStudiez Pro for iPadiStudiez Pro is quite similar to iHomework with different look and feels to the different functions. Whether you choose iHomework or iStudiez Pro you’re going to have an app that covers quite a bit of ground for you in keeping track of your homework and your day to day schedule. iStudiez Pro for the iPad can also sync to the desktop version of the program in case you find it easier to enter new data using a regular keyboard.

3. Evernote Peek (Free)

Evernote Peek for iPadThis app is really only going to helpful if you have an iPad 2, though if you have one it will be VERY helpful in assisting you when you’re studying for the big test. With the iPad 2’s Smart Cover you can make digital flashcards that will help you test just how much you remember from a class. With the “notebook” feature of the app, you can sort your “flashcards” by topic.

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June 27th, 2011 at 9:09 AM EST | by Kelly Kehoe

The old method for learning a new language usually consisted of boring vocabulary lessons, complex grammar studies, and diving into dictionaries. With Chinese, this was especially difficult, making the learning process that much longer for those who bothered to stick with it. Today, however, there are many fantastic apps you can get on your iPad to make learning Chinese at least a little bit easier than sticking to the traditional ways. The following five apps are great for both beginning and intermediate learners of Chinese to get started on the road to fluency.

The Top Five iPad Apps for Chinese Language Learners

Chinese Essentials (AccelaStudy)
This is one of the most popular Chinese learning apps in the App Store, with both free and $9.99 versions available. Offering over 2,000 translations to help you get started, along with an audio trainer, dictionary for easy look-ups, digitalized flashcards, and quizzes to help track your progress. With Chinese Essentials, you not only learn the translations for each word, but the Chinese symbols and pronunciations are taught as well. You only learn words that are actually relevant in everyday conversations, such as colors, numbers, questions, transportation, etc. If you’re not sure if you want to pay $9.99 upfront, then try out the free version first.

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KTdict Chinese-English Dictionary
A must for any digital-age learner hoping to cut their word-searching time in half, KTdict is a fabulous tool when trying to learn individual words and symbol meanings. It has over 70,000 entries in both traditional and simplified Chinese characters. There are free and $3.99 versions available (only difference is the paid one doesn’t have ads). To top it all off, it doesn’t require an internet connection, ensuring easy translations whenever and wherever you are.

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June 14th, 2011 at 8:14 AM EST | by Kelly Kehoe

Top 4 Benefits to Using iPads in K-12 Schools

With the latest round of educational funding cuts in many states and student failing/dropout rates still higher than what we’d like to see, needless to say: schools are in serious need of help. K-12 education is being hit the hardest, with countless teacher lay offs and no money available for new supplies being the biggest problems in many schools across the country. With schools desperately looking for ways to scrimp and save on their already limited funding, as well as engage the students in the classroom in order to keep them on the path to post-secondary education, it’s surprising that there haven’t been more schools adding iPads to their classrooms. While there is an upfront cost involved- as with anything in life- there are numerous benefits to be gained from moving past the traditional classroom and welcoming in the classroom of the future. The following are just four of the many advantages of using iPads in K-12 classrooms.
Develop Tech-Savvy Students
In a tech-filled world, forcing students to stick to traditional learning mechanisms such as hard copy dictionaries and handwritten essays is simply impractical. Yes, there are certainly downsides to moving more and more towards technological immersion in classrooms, however; it’s becoming more difficult to engage students who are otherwise more interested in electronic devices and online resources outside of school hours. To keep students interested in learning the material, it’s time for teachers to adapt to the changing world around them.
This will not only provide for an interactive learning environment, but develop more tech-savvy students who will later go into a workforce which requires at least the very basic foundation of tech smarts. Giving them a head start now is crucial to giving them adequate preparation for entering the globalized, technology-obsessed world beyond educational system.
Save Paper
Another major problem we can see happening in schools (as well as the environment) is the waste of paper. These problems can be solved with the iPad. For starters: ebooks. Schools spend thousands (and collectively: millions) of dollars per year on books and textbooks. Some schools have even started requiring that the students purchase their own copies of the books. Why go to so much trouble when students can simply click on a link and download the ebook right onto their iPad before the lesson begins?
What about essays and note-taking? Those can also be replaced by the iPad. Since they already come with a simple notepad program built-in, iPads are useful when it comes to taking notes in class with minimum paper usage. For bigger projects that require more advanced formatting, there is the option of purchasing Pages for the iPads. This will allow the students to complete assignments right at their desk, with no pencil sharpening or loads of paper needed. When they’re done, submitting assignments is just a click away. And with advanced syncing options, there’s no more need for “I left it at home” or “The dog ate my homework” excuses.
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