A couple of weeks ago I was challenged to provide inset for one of my regular schools to help them get more use out of their iPads. To be honest I didn’t get around to really thinking about it until the day before, and then it was a bit late to get apps sorted so I reflected back on how I thought I should be using iPads more.
Recently as a company we’ve been recommending Prowise interactive screens, as much for the software as the hardware. There’s one excellent feature of the software that seems a real game-changer to me and as it’s web-based, device agnostic and also FREE. It got me thinking on how I could use it more.
Prowise Presenter is fairly simple to use and quite feature-rich compared to many interactive whiteboard programs I have tried in the past BUT the clincher for me is ProConnect. This feature links your whiteboard to a large number of internet connected devices (iPad, smart phone, android tablet, chrome book, laptop, PC) via a simple code. Once the devices have joined you as teacher there is so much you can do. There is a free Proconnect app for iOS, Andoid and I believe Windows too.
You can ask a quick question, vote, use and create quizzes. You can also share your screen out to their devices and they can annotate or create content on the screen you have shared and then hand it back again for you to share on your board. For instant class engagement it is really efficient and easy to do.
That then got me thinking about other cheap or FREE options for class engagement using iPads:
Plickers is possibly the least high-tech (and so least technically demanding for schools). Each pupil is provided with a unique laminated QR code which they can hold up one of four ways. This enables pupils to show one of four choices (A, B, C or D). The teacher uses an iPad (or other smart tablet/phone) with the Plickers app to very quickly sweep the room and it records each person’s response. Quick and easy. Ask a multi-choice question and capture instant responses. Plickers is currently free to use.
Socrative is an app I looked at years ago and then forgot about or ignored. I think it has developed a lot since then, and I will be using it a lot more. Pupils need internet connected devices BUT again these can be anything (phone, iPad, chrome book, pc…). The teacher logs into their Socrative ‘room’ and the pupils use a unique code to join. The teacher can ask questions, set quizzes, take votes etc all with ease and instant capture to spreadsheet or PDF file. Socrative is free, though they now have a pro level you can purchase for a small annual fee.
Kahoot! is a fairly new app to me. It’s a teacher-lead game show where pupils race each other against the clock to answer questions. The quicker you answer the higher your score. There is a large bank of ready-made Kahoots to use, or you can make your own online. Again, at present, this is free to use.
There are lots of alternatives to the ones mentioned here, but these are the ones I ended up sharing with the staff at this particular school, and I will be using these more in the future!