New Year New Apps

 

Christmas is now behind us and the new year is fast approaching. We have little over a week left before we are back in the classroom so today I decided to get a head start on my new year resolution which is to become more comfortable using technology and apps in the classroom. I have spent some time looking up apps for my two main subjects which are history and religion and have decided to share what I found with others who want to make lessons more interactive. All of the apps which I will explain in more detail below are free to download and are available on iPad/iPhone or android.

The first app I found today is an English GCSE study guide. It comes in different subjects but each subject needs to be downloaded separately. This series of apps is called Study Buddies. I tried the religious education one today to see how useful they would be in the classroom. When you first download you must create an account to sign in. There are two parts to the app one is a quiz like feature. You choose the part of the course and the app will generate ten questions and give you a short quiz. The second element is a section from past exam papers. Students can read the questions but they cannot edit to insert answers. One downside to this app is that in the free version only a number of sections from the syllabus are available. The rest must be purchased. While I was impressed with the initial idea and design of the app I was disappointed with the restrictions.

This next app is for the History classroom and will come in very handy in January or February depending how far along the second year history course you are. This app is an interactive timeline of the American Revolution. The name is easy to remember it is called American Revolution interactive timeline. The timeline starts at 1750 and continues up to 1950. The timeline allows students and teachers to move up and down throughout the time period, view images of artefacts and click items such as an image of the Boston Tea Party to find out some more information about the event or item. Personally this is one of my favourite apps from today’s short search. It is simple but brilliantly designed for easy use and quick access to important information.

image

The third app I came across is called brainscape. This app is a flash card revision app. The main app allows a student or teacher pick a subject that they wish to study the app then creates flash cards to help you to study. The flags arc will show a question or a full in the blank the student decides when to reveal the answer. If they know the answer will then rate the question between 1 and 5. 1 means they know the information well so the app will not use this flash card frequently, 5 means they do not know the fact and the app will focus on this information more often. This app has also expended into individual subject apps for example History Brainscape which is purely for studying history. The free download has limited flash cards but for a small fee of 1.99 you can unlock all sections which in my opinion is very reasonable. I will definitely use this app in my classroom this year.

These three apps are only a small selection of the amazing things that are on offer for the classroom. I am looking forward to incorporating more and more apps and web technologies into my teaching in the new year. I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the holidays and good luck and happy teaching for the new year.

Advertisements

JCSP Workbooks 

The Junior Certificate School Programme is a national programme sponsored by the Department of Education and Skills and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. It originated in the early school leavers programme initiated by the curriculum development unit. The emphasis is put on active teaching and development of basic skills. Students are profiled and records are kept on progress, skills and achievements. Students follow the same curriculum and are assessed the same way but also recieve their student profile at the end of three years. This helps show students how far they have come since beginning secondary school.

The Professional Development Service for Teachers have an excellent collection of workbooks deigned for JCSP which focus on the numeracy and literacy development of students. While these books are designed for the English and maths teacher I have found ways to incorporate them into my history lessons. The English books which are called Exploring student workbook and Letter writing for students give templates for letter writing and diaries. These can be used for the people in history questions or key events in history. There are also research sections which help students with their investigation and critical thinking skills.

The books are an extra resource in any classroom and can be adapted to suit a wide range of lessons. They would also be a handy addition to any substitute teachers bag of tricks. A list of other resources for the student teacher can be found Here.

I will be incorporating these into my classroom in future.

Reminding Students History is Real!

History as a school subject can often be seen as boring and dull. It is about people from hundreds and thousands of years ago that we cannot speak to or hear from. Students can find it hard to engage with topics and events that happened long before they were even born. In my classroom I try my best to bring history alive. (Easier said than done believe me) I do this with images, videos, artefacts, diary entries etc. The hard part is trawling through the internet finding these resources. Today however I have stumbled across an amazing website filled with historic and modern day photographs. Yay!!! History Pin is an amazing website which has photographs arranged in topic form or by area. Students can go to a map of their local area and see photos published from the past and present. It gives students an insight into how life used to be and also allows them to compare to more modern times. Win win. I am definitely adding this page to my list of History resources.