Apple Clips is a neat free video-creation app for iPad or iPhone. It lets you quickly combine text, music, graphics, recorded voice, images, and animations to create videos with ease. So if you are trying to find a way to explain a topic or a teaching point then you might find Apple Clips a handy way to create a visually engaging video. The inclusion of inbuilt graphics such as arrows, finger pointers and many more adaptable images make this really easy to highlight parts of photographs or video clips with explanatory text or spoken voice.
Likewise if learners in your classroom are trying to demonstrate their understanding of a topic being studied then this app can provide a great means for learners to illustrate their understanding of concepts.
We can usually speak far more quickly than we can type, so being able to get ideas on screen can be time-consuming. And we can also lose the flow of what we are thinking if the mechanics of typing get in the way. So being able to speak naturally as the text then appears on screen can both allow for ideas to be captured in text form, and this can then more easily be edited later.
Click on the Sway below to see how to enable and use the dictation tools on Apple, Android, Windows or Chromebooks. So whether it’s PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone your device will most likely have the facility to have speech to text. As long as there is a microphone and the device supports speech to text you should be able to then use the dictation feature to say your thoughts aloud and have them appear as text which you can then later edit.
When using dictation tools you need to say what punctuation you wish to appear in the text – whether comma, full stop/period, question/exclamation mark, or new line/enter.
Speaking close to the microphone, and as clearly and distinctly as possible, will aid the dictation tool to be as accurate to what you wish as possible.
If you wish to find out more about the benefits of using Dictation or Speech to Text Technology in a classroom environment then the following links be of interest:
Do your learners create graphs in your classroom? Perhaps after they undertake a survey, such as a traffic survey, favourite food, eye colour, or something related to an area of study in the curriculum? There’s a whole range of digital tools available to help create graphs and charts (have a look at this blogpost “Fun or fear? Spreadsheets for Problem Solving in the Primary Classroom – fun over fear!” for a host of ideas and links to digital tools for using spreadsheets in the classroom).
Microsoft Excel is one of the most well-known and widely used digital tools for creating spreadsheets, which can easily be used to create graphs and charts. Microsoft Excel Online is available to all Glow users in Scottish schools as part of Microsoft Office 365. Excel Online is available anytime, anywhere with online access so can be accessed at home or at school (it can also tie neatly into the desktop version and mobile apps for smartphones and tablets, so that information created on one device in one location, is accessible for editing and updating on another device elsewhere).
Excel Online can be used to create spreadsheets from the beginning (or you can upload an existing Excel spreadsheet from your computer to make it available to edit online thereafter). You can keep it private to you in your own OneDrive (the online cloud storage with massive capacity available to every Glow user in Scottish schools). Or you can, at any time, choose to make a Excel Online spreadsheet visible to other users of your choice – and you can choose whether to allow them to just be able to read it without being able to make changes, or you can give other users the access rights to be able to jointly edit the spreadsheet with you. If your class is using Microsoft Teams then a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet can be created in the shared files so that all members of the class can automatically collaborate without the need to find and add specific usernames.
Here’s how to create a table and bar chart for a class traffic survey in Microsoft Excel Online
Want to know more about using Microsoft Excel Online?
Microsoft Excel – there is a wide range of resources online using Microsoft Excel as the tool to put spreadsheets in a context suitable for use by pupils in a primary classroom. Some links have been provided below. Some of these provide tutorials in the use of Excel while others provide the ready-made files along with classroom teaching notes. Excel Online is available for free to schools using Microsoft Office 365 (all schools in Scotland using Glow can access Microsoft Excel Online as part of Office 365. It’s available in OneDrive or as part of Microsoft Teams for classes so you can either create spreadsheets individually or collectively so that multiple learners can collaborate on the same Excel Online spreadsheet at the same time on different devices from anywhere).
The Beginner’s Guide to Microsoft Excel Online – a handy guide by Matthew Guay describing with screenshot illustrations how to undertake a variety of tasks in Microsoft Excel Online, from starting a new spreadsheet file, looking at options in the menu ribbons, applying functions, adding charts and tables, using the survey tool, sharing and collaborating with others, using comments and more.
Users of Glow can access Microsoft Excel Online from within Glow by clicking on the OneDrive tile on the Glow Launchpad (from where Excel Online can be accessed from the 9-square waffle), or via Microsoft Teams Files tab (for Excel Online spreadsheets shared with the rest of the class Team) or directly from the Microsoft Excel Online login https://office.live.com/start/Excel.aspx entering the Glow email address – which is usually something along the lines of the form email@example.com which will then take you to the usual Glow login page.
Smartphones and tablets such as iPads have inbuilt cameras with a host of features beyond simply taking a photograph. Whether it’s time-lapse, slo-mo, burst-mode, video, panorama, zoom or a range of filters, quality choice or proportions.
How might these be used in the classroom to support learning and teaching?
Perhaps trying to show development of work over time in time-lapse mode for a creation process in writing, an experiment in science; or perhaps using slow-motion to more closely let a learner study techniques in physical education or music instrumental technique; or using burst-mode to capture a precise moment when observing minibeasts or animals.
Browse through the Sway presentations below to see how to use these tools on an iPad, as well as for some examples of their use in a learning environment.
When you want to get the best shot of a fast-moving activity you might try to use the ordinary camera mode but, as often as not, you’ll probably find that by the time you’ve got the camera ready and clicked to take the picture you’re either too early or miss the critical moment. So here’s where the burst mode comes into play – it lets you take a series of single images from which you can then select the one which captures the moment you wish to illustrate a specific moment in time.
MERGE cube – lets the teacher or learner move a 3D object as if it’s right there in their hand! A 3D viewer app (for Apple or Android devices) which can let you move the object round and over, letting you interact with it, all while viewed through a tablet device or projected onto a classroom screen. Whether it’s an inanimate historical object, which viewed in 3D lets you turn it round, look underneath, zoom in closer to examine details, or a simulation or game which lets you interact with the scene, changing what happens as you make choices.
You can use the MERGE cube with a wide range of resources created by others elsewhere (as can be found on MERGE Miniverse or shared in Co Spaces), or a teacher or their learners can create their own virtual 3D objects or environments using Paint 3D or TinkerCAD (once you’ve created a 3D object or scene in TinkerCAD simply use the save-as option to save as a stl format file, then upload this to your Miniverse account, from where you’ll be able to then share the code to view in the MERGE object viewer app, or Open your Tinkercad design, click “Send To”, then choose “Object Viewer for MERGE Cube”), or even use the Qlone app to scan a real object to convert it into a virtual object, all stored in Co Spaces online so that a user can access the shared virtual creation simply by entering the code and downloading to the app.
This getting started guide takes you through the same steps as above with additional videos as well as further information which may be helpful.
So how can a MERGE cube be used in the classroom?
There’s a host of places to have a look at how others are using a MERGE cube in a classroom setting. Click on the links below to browse to find something which might spark the imagination of your learners and fit in with what you’re planning to teach:
Supporting the development of literacy in the classroom with GarageBand iPad app
GarageBand is an iPad app which has a host of uses for recording audio, which can include music in a host of different ways. But here’s how GarageBand can be used specifically to support the development of literacy in the classroom.
The how-to guide below provides the steps for learners recording themselves speaking using the GarageBand app on an iPad. A teacher can vary the steps depending on the purpose of the activity – so learners may start off needing to write a short story, or a poem or a conversation between characters, a report, or whatever is undertaken in the class.
It may be that learners have to retain key information, and the process of working sufficiently with a piece of text in order to prepare for recording it, then going through the recording process, then manipulating that recording (refining or editing or adding backing tracks), then sharing and listening to that recording, may help the learner engage more fully with the text, absorb it and make it their own, so they may be better able to recall that information if required to support their learning.
The outcome is that this chosen piece of writing is to be made into an audio recording to be shared with others. Whether that’s simply played back in class or shared with a wider audience online as determined by the learners and their teacher.
Knowing that their work will have a wider audience than their teacher changes the dynamic for the learner.
The resulting recording can have unwanted silences or other sounds edited out as described below, before the audio recording is shared with others.
Or as exercise in listening one group of pupils might record the words of a well-known piece of text being studied in class, but with the words in the incorrect order for another group of learners to use GarageBand to move the recordings of the words around until they are in the correct sequence.
So how do you use GarageBand to record and edit the spoken word? Follow the steps below, and then adapt the activity to suit the learning needs.
Recording learners speaking using the GarageBand iPad app
1. Click on + at top right in GarageBand Recents screen to begin a new recording
2. Choose Tracks tab along the top
3. Slide from the screen left to right until you see Audio Recorder choice
4. Now click click on + at top right
5. On the next screen click to the right of Section A where it says 8 bars to change to automatic by changing the slider to show on position for automatic
6. Switch off metronome icon so it does not show blue
7. Click on the input settings icon to the left beside the word “IN” and slide the button to the right beside the word “Automatic” to switch this on
8. Switch the view to show the tracks by clicking on the icon to the top left next to the down arrow
9. Then click record red button, wait for the audible clicking and on-screen countdown before speaking.
10. Once you have finished speaking, press the white square stop button to halt recording.
11. Press the white triangle play button to play back what you recorded.
12. Double-clicking on the blue audio track will reveal a range of choices for editing that recording, whether cut, copy, delete, loop, split, rename or (from the settings option) adjusting the speed or even reversing the recording.
13. To edit out unwanted silence or noises between speaking then when you double click the track, slide the timeline arrow above the track to before the unwanted sound, choose split from the menu when double-clicked on the track, and pull downwards on the scissors icon which will appear. Repeat this to split after the unwanted part of the recording, then double click this unwanted section and cut it or delete it.
14. Using this process you can cut and paste sections, phrases or individual words or sounds and move elements around.
15. Click and hold any track and choose to redo if wanted
16. Once you’re happy with your recording then click on the downwards pointing arrow at the top left and choose “My Songs” to save this recording and return to the list of any other recordings
17. To name this recording simply hold your finger on the recording icon for the recording you’ve just made and choose rename from the menu, give it a new name and click done.
18. To share this recording elsewhere or with others then hold your finger on the recording icon for the recording you’ve just made and click on the sideways arrow until you see share as an option and click on that.
19. Choose “Song” so that this will convert the GarageBand file into an audio recording which can be played back by others without the need for the GarageBand app.
20. Select the level of quality you wish than click “share” so that you can then choose how you wish to share it, whether by airdrop to another iPad or saved somewhere else of your choosing.
21. You can even save it to this iPad just into iPad Notes so you can keep it beside typed text without having to have an internet connection to share elsewhere – you can still share this note and the recording later elsewhere.
Do you want to add background music to the audio recording of spoken text?
GarageBand has a host of inbuilt musical instruments available from which to choose to create a musical backing track to your audio recording of the spoken text. You don’t have to add this but it can add another dimension to the recording, especially if the recording is to be shared elsewhere. Also, as the musical background track is being added, the learner once more listens to the text to which the background track is added each time adjustments are made.
You don’t need to be able to play the chosen instrument, or know much about music, since GarageBand includes options for using neat auto-creation wizards. For this guide the steps will show how to add a guitar backing track.
How to add a guitar backing track to audio recording of spoken text
Open the audio recording of spoken text you previously created in GarageBand
Ensure you are viewing in track mode (click on the track icon to the top left next to the downwards pointing arrow).
Click on the + symbol to the bottom left to add another track.
4. Slide from left to right until the guitar choice appears on screen
6. Now click on the icon which looks like a volume control dial at the top right
7. Click on the “Autoplay” dial so that the choice dot aligns with number 4 (you can make a different choice as you wish).
8. Try out creating music simply by clicking in turn on each chord to hear how it might sound. When you are ready to record the music simply click on the red record button, wait for the countdown, and then start playing your choice of chord buttons – note that you will hear the previously recorded audio recording of spoken text played back so that you will be able to match your guitar chords playing with this recording, and click on the white square stop icon to finish recording.
9. You can click on this guitar track to choose from the menus as to whether to delete and try again, or split and cut elements. You can adjust the relative volume of this track by sliding from the left and adjusting the volume control there.
10. Once ready to save and share this recording click on the downwards facing arrow at the top left
Looking to learn how to use more features of GarageBand iPad app?
Click on the link below for a free online manual on the Apple support site which guides you through every aspect of using the GarageBand app on an iPad
The video below “Beginner’s Guide to GarageBand for iPad” on the excellent Technology for Teachers and Students YouTube channel provides an introduction to using GarageBand on an iPad, including a host of tips and suggestions for using different features of the app.
Apple Teacher classroom-specific guide to using GarageBand
Click on the link below to sign up for the free Apple Teacher programme. This comprises standalone modules, one of which covers the use of GarageBand in a classroom setting
PicCollage – much more than the name might suggest, PicCollage is a free app which works on multiple platforms including iPads, Android, Windows and Amazon devices. Yes of course it can create collages of multiple images but it can do much more! And it has uses to support across the curriculum in different ways.
At its most straightforward you can create a collage of multiple images in one single image to illustrate an aspect of learning in an overview.
And PicCollage provides a range of grid templates from which to choose. Simply open the app, choose “grids”, select your images from your device, select the outline shape/proportion from the size tab, then from Grid tab choose from the range of grid types – note that you can choose from overlapping freestyle or from different numbers of images and relative sizes.
In addition, for any selected grid template, you can click on any single image at a time and adjust the relative proportions/size of each image to reflect how you want the complete collage of images to appear.
The size of the gap between each image (the background), as well as the outline of the entire collage, can be adjusted by using the slider (you can adjust it so there is no background or gap between images). Click on the third tab, background, to choose the colour or pattern which will appear between images and around the outline of the collage.
The Tweet by @MPS_Primary6 used the app to select images to illustrate mood and diplay in a grid template and overlay with text
For any collage you can add stickers, from speech/thought bubbles to smiley faces to thumbs-up and more. These stickers can be handy if you have a need to obscure elements of an image, such as to hide faces or to blank out names or other text details. Once placed on a collage a sticker can be moved, rotated or resized.
You can add text to any collage, choosing from a range of typefaces/fonts. You can choose the colour of the letters as well as the colour of the text box (or choose to have no background colour or text box visible). You can choose how to align text within a text box if you choose to show the text box, and choose whether or bot to display an outline in each letter.
See the Tweet below from @MrsOrrCPS for examples of how this app has been used by learners choosing an image or background, then overlaying their self-created poetry text which the image reflects.
The doodle option lets you choose the size of the drawn line and the colour of drawing tool. Then you simply draw freehand on top of the collage. Once drawn this drawn image can then be moved, rotated or resized as required.
Selecting “animation” gives you the option to select from various animations, including moving from side to side or moving into the centre, wiggling or spreading and more. The animation applies to all of the elements of the collage. These animated collages can be shared online via website or social media where the animations will then be seen.
You’re getting old! This a an online tool where you enter a date, such as a birthdate, and the site presents a whole range of calculations related to that day by comparison to the current date and time.
The calculations presented include (if it’s for a birthdate) exactly how old at that moment in time that person would be in years, months and days, then presents that as a total number of days, as well as the total number since birth for that date of candles on a birthday cake, the approximate number of times that person’s heart would have beaten, total number of breaths, number of times the moon has orbited the earth in that time, and the number of people who were alive on earth on that birthdate compared to the number today.
As a bit of fun it has some entertainment value, but for a classroom it can also help introduce the concept of comparisons of time in history, or other curricular areas related to specific pieces of information (such as science when looking at heartbeats, breaths or moon orbits).
Another calculation included is in making a comparison to the length of time elapsed from the birthdate until today compared to something in history from that same birthdate but going backwards in time by nearly as far back. Thus as an example for a child in a class whose birthdate might have been 29 January 2010, thus comparison calculation on that date in 2019 would be “When you were born was nearer to the 9/11 terror attacks than today.” This can highlight something that to people who have that earlier event in their own lifetime perhaps reflecting the passage of time between people of different ages and their perceptions of how long ago something happened.
There are links to social subjects when it comes to comparing, for the length of time which has elapsed since the birthdate selected, how far a single location on the planet has travelled as it rotates, the distance travelled as the Earth revolves around the Sun, and more.
Then the site picks out selected historical events from the birth year, from early childhood, later years as appropriate. And it notes the dates on which that child will reach certain milestones – in a classroom context when numbers start to get large when you can no longer actually picture them in your mind, this site can be used to get children to try to guess the number of days until certain landmark dates before revealing the site’s calculations.
For birthdates of adults (you can use those of celebrities known to pupils) there are additional comparison calculations (they won’t appear for children’s ages since it relies on information comparing the ages of two other well-known people) – such as taking an adult’s age and showing it as the sum of two younger people (so that could be an older named actor being the same age as two other named child-actors.
One last comparison displayed is a pie chart showing the number of people born on the same birthdate as that selected and highlighting the number who are still living. This, like many of the other calculations, can provide the starting point for discussions for social studies subjects.
Making Magic move Animations to demonstrate learning – the iPad presentation creation app Keynote has a Magic Move tool which gives you the option to make objects appear to move around the screen when the presentation is set to play. So learners can readily create animated videos on an iPad using images which move, rotate, resize, rotate or change opacity – and these videos can be created to demonstrate a process or a sequence in any curricular area.
An iPad provides the facility to screen-record a video of whatever is shown on the iPad screen so that a Keynote presentation can be recorded as a video
Steps to using Magic Move in Keynote
Open Keynote app on iPad and create a slide where you’ve added objects
Click on the slide to which you are going to add a Magic Move transition, and click on the slide again, then click Transition.
Click on “Magic Move” and choose “Yes” when you’re asked to duplicate the slide.
Adjust the position, size, orientation or opacity of the objects on the duplicate slide.
Click on the original slide in the slide navigator, then tap “Magic Move” and choose “Options” to set the duration for the transition, whether to start the transition automatically or when you click on a slide.
Click on “Done” in the toolbar.
You can now preview your animation and adjust as required.
These support learning and teaching in literacy (letter and number formation, first sounds, first words, first blends, spelling using look, say, cover, write and check), numeracy (odd and even, counting to 10, number table, number sequencing, station of the times tables, addition and subtraction to 10 and to 100, telling the time, and handling money), touch-typinggames to learn keyboarding skills, and matching and memory games.
Each activity has a range of accessibility (whether keyboard-only users, mouse-only users and switch users) and a range of difficulty options.