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Core Apps and Extensions

While you do not have to become an expert in every application now readily available to you and your students in this digital learning environment, you need to equip yourself with enough experience and knowledge about specific applications that you will rely on for a successful rollout.

Take a stab at defining which apps & extensions will be the most important to learn about as you launch into teaching and learning in a 1:1 environment.  For example, Google Drive and the Google suite of tools will be used to support collaboration.  In addition, you might decide to use VoiceThread or Evernote as a portfolio collection and reflection tool, or use Snagit to create screencast directions and tutorials for your students.  

Here is an example of School-wide App Selection from Leyden High School:

  • "Apps & Extensions – We push out a base package of apps and extensions to all of our students to help standardize some of the tools and practices used in our district.  A few of the tools in our base package include the Google Tasks, Google Dictionary, and Readability extensions and the GeoGebra, Desmos Graphing Calculator, WeVideo for Drive, and Kindle Cloud Reader apps."


Use the following resources to create a plan for sustainable, on-going learning and sharing specific applications and software that meet targeted learning goals.  Review your work so far and determine which apps and extensions you will need to know to launch a successful 1st 8 Weeks plan.



Think:


There are a number of ways to search for specific apps to meet specific learning needs.  One of our favorites is  Apps from the Classroom from EdTechTeacher.




Visit and explore resources we've gathered based on the devices your students will use:

 iPad Resources Chromebook Resources

Discuss:

Consider the following questions:

  • Application Usage:
    • Have you explored and identified different applications that teachers want to use?
    • Have you tested these applications and ensured they meet required standards and comply with your educational objectives?
    • Are there existing projects that require teachers and students use specific applications? Some applications will not work on Chromebooks or iPads/tablets.
    • Have you decided on a set of core apps for important functions such as note taking, document distribution, book reading and more?
  • Professional Development:
    • Have you allocated sufficient ongoing time for staff professional development? It's vital that that faculty have regular sessions where they can learn and exchange experiences with each other.
    • Professional development often focuses heavily on "technology training". Make sure it also guides teachers towards best educational practices for utilizing technology (student centered, project based etc).
    • Have you looked into web sites and online networks for teachers to connect, collaborate and learn from other teachers and schools? 
  • eBooks:
    • How important and urgent is it for you to transition from paper based books to eBooks? Have you discussed and decided whether to move to the use of eBooks in courses or remain with paper books?
    • Have you looked into the availability of eBooks for your curriculum?
    • Are the available eBooks digital copies of their paper based counterparts or do they include interactivity and multimedia?
    • Have you looked into eReaders and specific course apps for using your eBooks?
    • Have you looked into annotation tools?


Act:

  •  Work with your team to learn how to use the apps/extensions well enough to introduce them to students (ex. if expecting students to create short videos during digital citizenship lesson, familiarize yourself with WeVideo for Chromebooks or iMovie for macs/iPads)
  • Create a sustainable team strategy for learning of apps.  Consider how 6th grade faculty at Edmunds Middle School used their PLC time to share resources and provided collective support EMS 6th Tech PLC spreadsheet.  Or creat a means to encourage team sharing of new learning with students and teachers with an App Exploration & Recommendation site 
  • Create a means to introduce these core apps to students & parents like this HUMS 7th grade youtube tutorial library created by iTraining students & potential googlesite to house them.

 







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