Education app of the week: iMovie for iPad

Education app of the week: iMovie for iPad

Want to start creating video content in the classroom, but on the cheap? Armed with just an iPad, Apple’s iMovie app is supposed to let you shoot and edit video, add effects and audio, then share your finished project in a matter of minutes, all on the tablet itself. We thought we’d investigate…

What is iMovie?

If you’ve used the iMovie film-making software you get free in iLife on your Mac, you’ll feel right at home with iMovie (Apple, £2.99) on iPad, but it’s worth pointing out that it’s not just a mobile conversion. Layout-wise, it shares the same really intuitive interface of its desktop brother, with a few subtle differences. While you don’t get the extensive feature-set and range of effects (no green screen functionality, for example), that’s been balanced out by it being incredibly fast.

How easy is it to use?

iMovie lets you put together a professional looking video in minutes – seriously! Choose existing video samples or shoot straight from your iPad’s camera, put them in order, chop them up, add effects and audio, and you’re done! Where you’ll spend most of your time is in the main video editing screen, made up of your timeline (a graphical string of all your video elements), your media browser (which lets you pick any video, photos and audio stored on your iPad), and the video window where you play back your composition. Start by choosing clips from the media browser and tap to add them to the timeline – if you roughly know the order you want them in, it only takes a few taps to create a video sequence. You can then edit individual elements directly on the timeline by pinching to zoom in/out on a clip, and using the handles to remove any unnecessary bits or unwanted dialogue.

Once you’ve got your your video chopped and in order, you can start to add effects and type in your own titles. iMovie automatically adds transitions between clips to cover up any rough bits, which is great if you’re in a rush, but you can also apply themes from the Settings icon. For example, choose ‘News’, and all your transitions, titles and effects will be given broadcast-style titles and transitions. By tapping the media tabs in the browser, you can also choose to add images to your composition, which is great for adding images, diagrams and slides. Audio-wise, iMovie has a load of sound effects like sheep, robots, creaking doors etc, which you can simply drop on to your timeline, as well as pre-loaded theme music to choose from. You can even export your own music straight out of GarageBand into iMovie!

What’s the best feature?

One of the most useful things about iMovie is the fact you can record your own voice-overs directly within the app. This makes it great for evidencing processes, as students can collate all the diagrams, screenshots and photos they’ve put together during the course of a problem-solving project and organise them all into one video composition, complete with a voice-over to explain each stage. You could even use it in a similar way to add vocals, music and sound effects to a stop-frame animation.

So, should we get it?

If you’re looking for an easy way into video content creation then yes, definitely. iMovie makes it incredibly quick and easy for pupils to put together impressive video without needing a teacher to constantly intervene. As a fully-fledged video editing app, couple it with the decent camera on both iPad and iPad mini, and you get the full workflow of a traditional video camera setup without all the hassle of handing out cameras, shooting the video, exporting it to classroom computers, wiping the memory card, editing the footage, compressing the finished video. The whole process is all there in one app! It’s even really easy to share your finished project afterwards – save the video to your Camera Roll for emailing, or upload to YouTube, Facebook or Vimeo from directly within the app.

How much and where from?

iMovie isn’t free, but considering what you get in a single app for £2.99, we think it’s definitely worth shelling out for. To help sweeten the deal, you can even get a 50% reduction (£1.49) through Apple’s Volume Purchase Programme if you opt to bulk buy more than 20 instances of the app. Head to the App Store on your iPad, or get iMovie (Apple, £2.99) from iTunes.

– Catch up on last week’s education app of the week – our review of Skitch is here.

Want to know more about our favourite apps and Apple iPad for the classroom? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333, email learning@Jigsaw24.com, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page for all the latest technology in education news, reviews and articles.


Education app of the week: ClaroSpeak for iPad

Education app of the week: ClaroSpeak for iPad

There are plenty of reading and text dictation apps out there, but the best one we’ve found for dyslexia sufferers, SEN and pupils with reading difficulties has to be ClaroSpeak. With a load of customisation and import options, here’s why we’re recommending it to schools…

What is ClaroSpeak?

On the surface, ClaroSpeak (Claro Software Limited, £3.99) is a reader/text dictation app that will read out loud any text you import into it in what Claro call “human-sounding high-quality voices”. Where it gets interesting is the level of customisation – it allows you to import a text file, set up a wide range of font types and sizes, colours and backgrounds, and then have the text read to you, with each sentence highlighted in a choice of colours as it’s read. It also allows you to edit the text and then export it as text or as a spoken audio file.

How could it benefit the classroom?

The place we could see this making the most impact is with pupils with reading difficulties, be it SEN, dyslexia or even ESL – having English language text read aloud does wonders for those learning English as a second language. As you can customise the backgrounds and styles, you can make the text a lot less cluttered and busy, so that it’s easier to read, and the actual speaking voices are really quite accurate. There are male and female British English voices and, intriguingly, French and Spanish as well (with some more exotic languages available to purchase in-app). The ability to load a piece of French text, and have it read back in a good French accent, while highlighting the spoken text might make this interesting in Modern Foreign Languages too!

What’s the best feature?

One of the most remarkable features of ClaroSpeak is that you can open text directly from Dropbox. This might not sound like a massive thing, but many apps like Evernote require you to export from Dropbox, rather than importing from within the app. That means a lot less hassle when sharing documents with pupils, as you can send out files via Dropbox, then open them up within ClaroSpeak, without having to exit the app and open up the Dropbox app.

What’s also interesting is that Claro have just updated ClaroSpeak to make it read out loud in the background. Now, you can exit the app and get on with other stuff like taking notes, while ClaroSpeak still reads the document back to you from the dock.

Where can I get it?

You can download ClaroSpeak (Claro Software Ltd, £3.99) either from the App Store on your iPad or from iTunes. It’s not free, but if you’re buying more than 20 instances of the app, you can get a 50% discount under Apple’s Volume Purchase Programme, making it just £1.99. There are also a number of other languages available to buy within the app for around £1.50 each – Czech, Italian and Thai among them.

– Didn’t catch last week’s app? It was a cracker! Read our review of playpad pro for iPad here.

If you’d like to know more about our favourite apps and Apple iPad for the classroom, get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. You can also keep up with all our latest education news and reviews by following @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’-ing our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.

Education app of the week: playpad pro for iPad

Education app of the week: playpad pro for iPad

The playpad pro Music Theory Stave Instrument app is a very visual way of getting pupils to understand notation, and the relationship between lines and spaces and what they actually sound like. Here’s why we think it’s a great tool for music teachers…

What is playpad pro?

playpad pro (Musical Trixstar, £2.99) is basically an interactive musical stave which you can play by tapping on the lines and spaces. From the left hand bar, you can choose different clefs and keys, and even transpositions. The pro version has several instrument sounds (piano, electric piano, organ, guitar and electric guitar) and backing tracks pupils can play along with, and even record their performance. It’s an excellent example of how touchscreen devices can aid education, as there isn’t really any way you could intuitively link notation up with keyboard functionality on a computer.

How can it benefit the classroom?

I haven’t seen such a direct link between the notational stave and a playable instrument before playpad pro, and it really helps students to understand the relationship between played and written music. It takes music theory and makes it much more practical.

Music teachers will be impressed with the fact you can actually set the key, as well as treble and bass clefs, as this makes it really easy to teach what happens to the scale of notes in different keys. There are even transpositions for woodwind instruments within the app. You can also show or hide the names of notes too, so you can introduce pupils to where, say, C is, then when they are more confident with where notes sit on the stave, turn the note names off.

What’s the best feature?

playpad pro comes with a number of basic backing tracks and children’s songs pre-loaded to play along with and record, but also some more complex pieces in styles like the blues. This gets pupils used to what different styles of music, such as the blues minor scale, sound like. A nice feature I’ve noticed is that you can actually take any track from the iPad’s Music app and play along to it, by multitasking and having playpad pro open while the Music app runs in the background. This means music teachers could set exercises like recording a melody based on a chord backing track the teacher has created and shared to the pupils’ devices.

Where can I get it?

While there’s a free version of playpad, it’s quite limited, so we’d suggest going for playpad pro (Musical Trixstar, £2.99) from the App Store or iTunes. It’s also available under Apple’s Volume Purchase Programme (VPP) for Education, so if you’re buying more than 20 copies of the app, you get a 50% discount at £1.49 per licence. Bargain!

– Missed out on last week’s app? Check out our review of Penultimate for iPad.

Want to know more about our favourite apps and Apple iPad for the classroom? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333, email learning@Jigsaw24.com, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page for all the latest technology in education news, reviews and articles.


 

Improved security in Apple iOS 6.1 for iPad and iPhone

Improved security in Apple iOS 6.1 for iPad and iPhone

Apple have released the latest version of their mobile operating system for iPad and iPhone – iOS 6.1 – and there are a few interesting security features in there that should mark it out as an essential download for your classroom iPad deployments.

Firstly, if you are using cellular-equipped iPad devices, or have staff using iPhones, there’s now added LTE network support for more carriers across the globe. iTunes Match users get the ability to download individual songs from iCloud, and there’s an extra privacy setting – the identifier used by online advertisers to identify users can be reset. Siri has also been taught how to book movie tickets for you, but this feature is only currently available in the US. If you have an Apple TV in the classroom, you’ll also be happy to know the update lets it now support Bluetooth keyboards, which should make searching for media far quicker.

Improved iOS security

Deeper inside the system there are a load of welcome security updates in iOS 6.1 too, which are detailed here, but basically include improved Identity Services, International Components for Unicode, Kernel,  StoreKit, WebKit and WiFi security updates.

Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, explained: “iOS 6 is the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, and with nearly 300 million iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices on iOS 6 in just five months, it may be the most popular new version of an OS in history. iOS 6.1 brings LTE support to more markets around the world, so even more users can enjoy ultrafast Safari browsing, FaceTime video calls, iCloud services, and iTunes and App Store downloads.”

– You can download iOS 6.1 by heading to Settings > General > Software Update on your iPad or iPhone.

Want to find out more about Apple iPad for education? Call us on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. To keep up to date with what our e7 team are up to, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page

Education app of the week: GarageBand for iPad

Education app of the week: GarageBand for iPad

iPad’s multitouch gestures make it perfect for emulating musical instruments, which is probably why there are so many virtual instrument apps out there. Before you splash out on any old app though, I would really recommend this week’s favourite – Apple’s own GarageBand app – which not only includes loads of instruments, loops and effects for introducing students to instruments, but also the ability to record, add effects and even let students jam together. 

What is GarageBand for iPad?

I’ll just start by saying, GarageBand for iPad is a completely different beast from the desktop version of GarageBand you get in iLife. It isn’t simply a slimmed-down mobile version, it’s a fully featured app for making, recording and processing music directly on an iPad. You get a selection of playable instruments, with keys (pianos, organs and synths) and drums (normal live drums and electronic drum machines), a music processing app with a wealth of effects to add to instruments, automated Smart Instruments so even non-musicians can quickly create a backing track, and the all-important Record function, which lets students create multi-track compositions for sharing and assessment. And it only costs £2.99!

How can it benefit the classroom?

GarageBand is an ideal way for students to practise playing when space and resources are limited – for example, if you only have one drum kit, students can still get the benefits of using virtual drums on iPad. It’s also a fantastic introduction to a number of instruments for students who aren’t natural musicians. Using the Smart Instruments, they can simply tap a chord and GarageBand will automatically play a pattern based on the selected chord. Once you start recording compositions, GarageBand really comes into its own, though. Using the ‘transport’ buttons at the top of the screen, students can quickly start recording tracks (from the virtual instruments, iPad’s built-in microphone or an external mic like the IK iRig).

The Arpeggiator feature of the synthesiser instrument automatically creates arpeggios, which is great for teaching the basics of musical structure and scales. You also get a sampler, so you can record any classroom instrument (like a recorder), then use just one note to create a whole tune on the keyboard, as well as loads of great-sounding instrument loops and effects to add to each track.

When students have created their multi-track composition, they can share it straight to Facebook , YouTube, iTunes, email, iMovie for adding video or, most impressively, upload it straight to SoundCloud. This online service lets students post up their music for assessment, with the teacher being able to click the link to the SoundCloud page and make comments on each part of the track. GarageBand for iPad also syncs up nicely with the Mac version, so if any students wanted to take it a bit further, they could import their composition into the desktop GarageBand for more complex editing.

What’s the best feature?

Jam Session is by far the best feature of GarageBand for iPad. This relatively new update to the app lets up to four students connect their iPad devices over Bluetooth, so they can record together at the same time, ticking off those group work boxes in the curriculum. Tapping the little musical note symbol at the top makes GarageBand automatically search for and connect to other users nearby to add to your band. Each is given their own track for drums, guitar, keys etc, then everything is recorded onto the band leader’s (the student or teacher who set up the session) iPad, with everyone able to listen to everyone else’s parts on headphones the whole time.

Where can I get it?

You can download Apple GarageBand from the App Store or iTunes, for £2.99. We reckon that’s already a bit of a bargain considering all the instruments and features included, but Apple have also added it to their Volume Purchase Programme, so if you buy more than 20 copies for education, you can get it for £1.49 per app!

– Didn’t catch our favourite app last week? See our Education app of the week: Popplet for iPad here.

Want to find out more about great education apps and Apple iPad for the classroom? Give the team a call on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. You can also keep up with all our latest education news and reviews by following @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’-ing our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.

 

Education app of the week: Popplet for iPad

Education app of the week: Popplet for iPad

For a quick way to get students organising research, concepts and discussions for a project in one place, the Popplet mind-mapping app for Apple iPad is perfect. It’s just as quick as scribbling their ideas down on paper, far easier to share with classmates and teachers and the Lite version is completely free too! Here are a few other reasons we think it’s great…

What is Popplet?

The Popplet Lite (Notion, free) app works like a digital sketchpad, letting you collate snippets of research (‘popples’) like text, quotes and images into one place (a ‘popplet’). Students can rapidly get their ideas down, then organise them afterwards, so it’s great for planning projects. It’s also incredibly easy to use, and the finished popplets look great and are easy to follow, so they can easily be shared and understood. What’s not to love?

I’ve included a little example of a popplet I’ve made around music synthesisers below, including some research on audio wave forms, as well as a few quick diagrams to explain more. To make a mind map like this, you just double tap on the blank Popplet background to create a popple box. In this box, you can type text, change the colour, draw freehand sketches and even upload images from your iPad’s photo library, Camera Roll or even take a picture live directly from within the app. You can then resize your popple and drag it around the screen, creating other little snippets and connecting them with anchor points to link by theme.

How could it benefit the classroom?

Popplet is great for project planning, as students can quickly brainstorm all the information they find around a particular subject and organise the ideas afterwards. For example, they could go away and research the Somme, quickly put all of the ideas down,  then link related factors such as the politics, emotional effects etc into groups, organising their thoughts and concepts by dragging and linking Popples. They can then export the popplet as a PDF or JPG file to share with the class and teachers on any computer or iPad for evaluation. As an introduction to mind mapping and outlining, it’s simple and fast.

What’s the best feature?

There are a few mind-mapping tools available online, but where Popple really comes into its own is in how it works so well on iPad. Using multitouch gestures, you can zoom into specific parts of your Popple, and pan around all your ideas. It might not have all the complex features of other mind-mapping apps like iMindMap HD or iThoughts HD, which might be worth looking in to for 6th form level and above, but for an easy way to get all those ideas students have organised into a simple format, Popplet is great.

There is also a web version of Popplet which lets you do the same thing, but without the touch features. The web version doesn’t currently link up with the iPad app version, but support for that is coming soon, the makers say.

Where can I get it?

Popplet Lite (Notion) is free to download from the App Store or iTunes, or alternatively you could go for the full version, which comes with upgraded features and sharing capabilities. That will set you back £2.99 per download or, because it’s available under Apple’s Volume Purchase Programme, you only pay £1.49 if you’re buying more than 20 apps.

– Missed last week’s app? Click for our review of the Collins Big Cat reading app for iPad.

If you’d like to know more about Apple iPad for the classroom, get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. You can also keep up with all our latest education news and reviews by following @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’-ing our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.

How do I prevent my Apple TV from getting ‘hijacked’?

How do I prevent my Apple TV from getting ‘hijacked’?

Making sure your Apple TV hub can’t be hijacked – especially in an education environment – is an important, but easy, setting to make. Luckily the latest version of the Apple TV software – v5.1.1 – has an in-built, much needed anti-hijacking feature.

If your Apple TV unit is still running iOS 5 and Apple TV software v5.0.2, you’ll need to update it by running a Restore from iTunes. This will update iOS to version 6 and the Apple TV to version 5.1.1. An article explaining the procedure is here.

Once updated you have the option (Settings/Airplay) of adding an on-screen password, so that an iPad user has to use a four digit passcode which appears on the apple TV connected TV or projector. Not only that but if anyone tries to interrupt someone presenting on the Apple TV, they will see a warning on their iPad saying “Apple TV Not Available – Apple TV is being used by someone else”.

This means that students cannot use the Apple TV until the teacher has disconnected from it. Much better! Anyone who has an Apple TV can check which software version they have in Settings under the About item.

Got any questions about Apple iPad? Call us on 03332 409 333 or email e7@Jigsaw24.com. To keep up to date with what our e7 team are up to, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page

How do I annotate PDFs on iPad?

How do I annotate PDFs on iPad?

A teacher recently asked me how he could annotate PDFs which he’d opened in the iBooks app on iPad. It’s a good question, as basically that function doesn’t exist, but there are a few ways round this using one of a few of our favourite productivity apps for iPad – Adobe Reader and Goodreader.

As a bit of an explanation as to why you can’t annotate PDFs from within iBooks itself, the highlighting and notes functions are only available for ePub and iBooks format books, because they are stored in a separate bit of data which doesn’t exist in a PDF, or at least can’t be accessed by the iBooks app. So if you want to be able to annotate PDF files, you’ll need a different app, such as:

Adobe Reader (Adobe, free) is a free PDF reader app which allows you to annotate using highlighters, pens, text and text styles. When you’re done you can email the document or open it in another app, such as iBooks.

Goodreader (Good.iWare Ltd, £2.99) is not too expensive but can read most types of document. The annotation tools for PDF are superb and you can import and export documents from Dropbox, Skydrive, Google drive and more. If you have a computer on your WiFi network, you can move documents between computer and iPad using Goodreader too.

Got any questions about Apple iPad? Call us on 03332 409 333 or email e7@Jigsaw24.com. To keep up to date with what our e7 team are up to, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page

e7 team: iPad deployment at Conyers School

e7 team: iPad deployment at Conyers School

The e7 Project (that’s our free iPad 1:1 trial scheme) is in full swing now, and our team have been out in schools all over the country making sure teachers and students are comfortable with their devices before we let them loose for a whole term of mobile learning. Yesterday, I was at Conyers School in Yarm, Stockton-on-Tees, for a brilliant handover session.

The 40 iPad devices Conyers are trialling this term are going to be split between teachers, a handful of 6th-formers and a group of Year 8 students too. Working with the Year 8s was, I have to say, great, as they were all genuinely excited to be part of the pilot, and really interested in how iPad and all the iOS apps worked, so it will be great to catch up with them soon.

In fact, Conyers are going to be keeping track of their experiences of the iPad trial as the term progresses on their own blog, and we look forward to checking out how they’re getting on.

To find out how your school can be part of a free 1:1 iPad trial, read about the e7 Project here, call 03332 409 333 or email e7@Jigsaw24.com. You can also  keep up to date with all the e7 team’s iPad deployments by following @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’-ing our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.


Education app of the week: Explain Everything

Education app of the week: Explain Everything

Last week, we looked into how the Coach’s Eye app could help students and teachers analyse processes in the classroom, and we’ve gone for something similar this time around. Out of the many image annotation apps (Skitch being another of our favourites), Explain Everything is now emerging as the one we’d most recommend for both teachers and students – a ‘best of breed’ presentation tool for iPad.

What is Explain Everything?

Explain Everything (MorrisCooke, £1.99) for iPad lets you annotate images, record slideshows with voiceovers and then export the resulting presentation for sharing. The idea behind the name being that the tools on offer in the app will literally let you explain everything. You can start with a blank canvas, or import images from your iPad’s Camera Roll, Evernote, Dropbox or WebDAV – select the number of images you want to import, and Explain Everything will create slides for each. Using the simple tools, you can then add text and objects, draw over the images with the pencil tool and use the laser pointer to explain processes in realtime while you add a voiceover commentary!

[UPDATE, 19/02/13 – Explain Everything version 2 is now out, which allows the insertion of video so you can actually run a video and record audio commentary, highlight and annotate over the top. This is pretty huge in terms of being able to assess media evidence and with GoogleDrive (and Dropbox, Webdav, Evernote, iTunes) integration now included, workflow from pupil to teacher to pupil is pretty seamless!]

How will it benefit the classroom?

Great for teachers, Explain Everything lets you create explanation videos for students to take away and think about. For example, you could record a video explaining a complex maths equation just as you would using a whiteboard at the front of the class. It also works the other way round, letting students record their own explanations and show their working and understanding of a topic, which can then be sent to staff to be assessed.

What’s the most useful feature?

The reason we’re so interested in Explain Everything over other presentation apps is the sheer number of ways you can export finished files from within the app. Once you save your presentation, Explain Everything renders it out as an mp4 movie file ready to be exported to your Camera Roll for emailing, or to services like Dropbox, Evernote, Box or WebDAV (the app will also save incremental versions of your presentation, so you can go back to a previous version). WebDAV is a network share service that lets teachers drop work onto the server for students to download, edit and post back on the server for assessment. Explain Everything is currently one of only a handful of apps that support WebDAV, which we think is great as you can create your presentation, and give students access to it just a couple of minutes later.

Where can I get it?

Explain Everything is available for £1.99 from the Apple App Store and iTunes. Because it’s available under Apple’s Volume Purchase Programme, if you’re looking to deploy more than 20 licences of the app, there’s a bulk discount meaning it works out at £0.99 each.

– Missed last week’s app? Read why we love Coach’s Eye here.

To find out more about our favourite apps for Apple iPad for the classroom, call the team on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. And stay up to date with all our latest education news and reviews by following @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’-ing our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.