Education app of the week: Brushes for iPad

Education app of the week: Brushes for iPad

Every teacher I’ve told about the Brushes app for iPad has gone mad for how easy it is to use, how it can inspire students to get more involved in art lessons and the fact that it’s completely free too. It’s even made a splash with David Hockney…

What is Brushes?

Brushes (Taptrix Inc, free) is a painting app for iPad that, compared to others out there, is actually very complex and offers a variety of different brushes and techniques which usually cost quite a bit within an app. Now in its third version, it offers 14 different brushes with simulated pressure, huge brush sizes up to 512×512 pixels, adjustable brush settings (spacing, jitter, scatter etc), adjustable colours, hues, saturation and more. It’s also optimised for the incredibly high resolution Retina displays on the latest iPad devices, and has a wide range of sharing options via the cloud, email and social media.

World renowned British artist David Hockney is also a convert, and last year introduced a whole exhibition – A Bigger Picture, at the Royal Academy – devoted to paintings of the English countryside composed entirely using iPad and the Brushes app.

How can it benefit the classroom?

While the glut of features on offer may sound complex, Brushes is actually perfect for all levels, from primary up. Its bright, breezy interface is perfect for beginners, and it takes full advantage of iPad’s multitouch gestures so students can paint using just their fingers – zoom with a two finger pinch, toggle interface visibility with a single tap, tap and hold to access the eyedropper tool etc. In fact, one of our e7 customers Congleton High School have just started using Brushes in art lessons, and have blogged about it here. They said:

“This year I am trying to encourage all curriculum areas to get into mobile computing. One success is with art. They are now using Brushes (a free app) with their students […] The art teacher said that they all really got inspired and excited about using the iPads and software.”

What’s the best feature?

I love pretty much everything about Brushes, but one of the most useful bits has to be the redo/undo and versioning features. The app records every step of your painting, so you can quickly go back if you decide you don’t like the direction it’s going, and also watch the whole process back from your first stroke to your finished project. While this is very cool, it’s also a valuable tool for evaluating the processes students use, and assessing their progress in art classes.

Where can I get it?

Brushes 3 (Taptrix Inc) is free to download straight from the App Store to your iPad deployment, or from iTunes. If your students want to take their painting a bit further, there’s also an upgrade that lets you experiment with different layers, and that’s available within the app for an extra £1.99.

Want to know more about our favourite apps and Apple iPad in the classroom? Call us 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.

 

e7 resources: Design Day with iPad at Fernwood School

e7 resources: Design Day with iPad at Fernwood School

We were recently at Fernwood School, Nottingham, to lend them some iPad devices they could use as part of an upcoming Design Day event. This was a chance for staff and students to find exciting ways to use iPad for a wide range of creative subjects such as home economics and CDT, as well as get to grips with using iPad as part of a real lesson environment, before embarking on our free 1:1 iPad trial scheme, the e7 Project.

Handily, they filmed the whole thing, so you can check out how they got on below…

Want to know more about 1:1 iPad deployments in schools? See our e7 Project here, call 03332 409 333 or email e7@Jigsaw24.com. You can also follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.

Education app of the week: Talk Maths for iPad

Education app of the week: Talk Maths for iPad

Getting pupils to really engage with maths can sometimes be tricky, but our latest app of the week for iPad is a great solution. Talk Maths presents quite difficult mathematical functions in a fun, accessible way, and is suitable for a number of different levels.

What is Talk Maths?

Talk Maths (Pearson Education, £3.99) is an app for iPad that aims to “get children talking about maths and working together to solve problems”. It does this through four different fun games – Number Sums, where pupils have to balance sides of a triangle; the capacity-matching Dominoes; Marble Run, in which pupils must adjust a function machine to make the target number, and Mystery Number – a game where pupils need to find a missing number by using clues to eliminate digits. The app comes in three different education level versions (Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6), and each game also has difficulty ratings, from 1-dot to 4-dot.

How can it benefit the classroom?

Because Talk Maths is developed in the UK, it actually addresses the UK maths curriculum (as opposed to some American apps you might come across in the App Store). This makes it a great tool to use alongside your regular teaching, and also a valuable resource for revision in the lead-up to those all important Year 6 SATs, as you can set independent revision and know your pupils are hitting the curriculum objectives.

Having different difficulty settings means Talk Maths is also perfect for differentiation, as you can tailor the app to both pupils who are looking for an extra challenge, or those who may need a little more support.

What’s the best feature?

Maths wasn’t exactly my favourite subject at school, so I was impressed to see how the games in Talk Maths could present quite ‘dull’ subjects in a fun way. You can see this most strongly in Marble Run. The objective here is to solve calculations and give the correct formula to send a marble round a pipe. It’s a much more colourful and accessible way of learning about equations than just working through an old text book.

Where can I get it?

You can log on to the App Store on your iPad to purchase Talk Maths (Pearson Education, £3.99) Year 4, 5 or 6, or see more over on iTunes.

To find out 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.


 

e7 resources: Implementing Bloom’s Taxonomy with iPad

e7 resources: Implementing Bloom’s Taxonomy with iPad

Over the past year the development of iPad within education has been frenetic and incredibly exciting, thanks in large part to app development and the educators using them. Educational champions across the globe have been blogging and creating a huge bank of resources, and Bloom’s Taxonomy has been highlighted as a key way to map apps to learning objectives.

So what exactly is Bloom’s Taxonomy, and how does it help you get started on your learning journey with iPad? It’s basically a classification of learning objectives put together by a committee chaired by Benjamin Bloom in 1956, designed to help educators communicate and collaborate on education and examinations. It splits learning into distinct areas including remembering, understanding, analysing, evaluating and creating.

Of course, teaching has come on a fair bit since 1956, with the rise of mobile devices and digital media, and this has made it much easier to apply Bloom’s in the classroom. With that in mind, here are a couple of our favourite sites devoted to Bloom’s Taxonomy and iPad:

bloomsapps – A list of the best apps for Bloom’s Taxonomy and iPad in the classroom

They say: “Using Bloom’s Taxonomy in education is a highly effective way to scaffold learning for the students. With the recent popularity and pervasive nature of iOS devices in school districts it is essential for educators to understand how to implement Bloom’s in the classroom using the apps that are available.”

Langwitches – ‘World Language teacher, Technology Integration Facilitator and 21st Century Learning Specialist’ Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano’s hub devoted to developing the modern classroom

Want to know more about implementing iPad in the classroom? Read up on our free 1:1 iPad trial, the e7 Project, here, call 03332 409 333 or email e7@Jigsaw24.com. You can also  follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.
She says:

e7 resources: St John’s Catholic Comp’s adventures with iPad

e7 resources: St John’s Catholic Comp’s adventures with iPad

Before embarking on any new technology rollouts, it’s always good to check up on how other schools are getting on. One of our e7 iPad trial schools, St John’s Catholic Comprehensive School, have been blogging  their experiences with their new devices, so it’s a good place to start if you’re thinking about going down the 1:1 iPad route.

The school post about how students and teachers are finding using iPad, as well as addressing all those concerns you might have around a rollout – student safety, financing, mobile device management (MDM). Click the link below to read on, and check out these pictures from a biology lesson they let us sit in on when we were last down for a catch-up to see what kind of thing iPad can be used for!

Read St John’s Catholic Comprehensive School’s 1:1 iPad blog here

Does a free 1:1 iPad pilot scheme sound like something from which your school or college could benefit? Find out more about the e7 Project here, call 03332 409 333 or email e7@Jigsaw24.com. You can also follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.

Education app of the week: iMindMap HD for iPad

Education app of the week: iMindMap HD for iPad

We’re always on the lookout for any iPad apps that make learning more intuitive and collaborative, and with this week’s top app, I think we’re onto a real cross-curriculuar winner. Read on to find out what iMindMap HD is, why we love it and, most importantly, how it can benefit the classroom…

What is iMindMap HD?

iMindMap HD (ThinkBuzan Ltd, free), as you can probably guess, is a mind-mapping tool for iPad which works in much the same way as Popplet, letting students jot down and collate their ideas for any subject in a very visual way. It’s incredibly easy to use – simply drag a strand out from the middle starting point, type in the little box it creates, add another strand, add some more text, and so on. Unlike mind-mapping on paper, you’re not restricted by size, and students can move the strands around once it’s populated, making sense of their ideas and generally giving it a bit of a tidy up.

How can it benefit the classroom?

For any subject involving planning and research, especially history, iMindMap HD really comes into its own. Firstly, you can get students to enquire about a subject by going off and gathering information from a wide range of sources – websites, galleries, stories, eyewitness accounts – before collating it all as a mind map. Secondly, they can work on organisation and communication by selecting which bits are relevant, discarding the non-relevant bits and planning ways to communicate the information. This would also be great for researching geographical processes or planning experiments in science.

The 1:1, multitouch nature of iPad itself also makes it perfect for collaboration between students. Set them a group project, then they can assign each other their own research area, then come back with a mind map based on their portion of the project and share it with the group. iMindMap HD also lets you export mind maps so they can be shared via email and cloud-based services, but this is a paid-for feature. We found a quick workaround for this, though, is to simply take a screen grab of your mind map by holding your iPad’s lock button and clicking the Home button at the same time, then sharing from your Camera Roll. You can then stream it to your classroom’s Apple TV or use it in a presentation over AirPlay Mirroring, even.

What’s the best bit?

The real beauty of iMindMap HD is in just how intuitive it is – you simply drag a strand out from the middle starting point, and the app chooses a different colour for each strand, automatically colour coding and grouping ideas. This simplicity makes it great for every education level, from primary right up to higher education.

Where can I get it?

iMindMap HD (ThinkBuzan Ltd) is available on the Apple App Store or iTunes. While it is free, the basic version doesn’t let you export or share your mind maps with other devices – an in-app upgrade to iMindMap Freedom is needed if you want unlimited export and syncing options.

– If you missed it last week, you can catch up with our review of GarageBand for iPad here.

For more information about our top 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.


How do I combine books in Book Creator for iPad?

How do I combine books in Book Creator for iPad?

Preparing for one of my Apple training days at a primary school, I stumbled across the latest update to the Book Creator for iPad app, which allows you to ‘combine’ books. This is especially interesting for education, as it means pupils can create separate chapters of work, then the teacher can combine them all for marking and archiving.

You can also export the Book Creator format if you export via a sharing service such as iFiles, Google Drive or Dropbox. This lets staff edit the pupils’ books, marking their work with any notes and annotations and even recording their voice within the app for verbal feedback before sending it back to the students. All of that turns Book Creator for iPad (Red Jumper, £2.99) into a powerful tool for learning and assessment.

Once you have the most up to date version of Book Creator for iPad, here’s how you can start combining books, according to app developers Red Jumper:

“You can combine two books from the My Books screen. With the book you want to copy into displayed in the center of the screen tap on the + button and chose “Combine Books”. Then chose a book and tap ‘Copy’ to copy all of its pages to the end of your current book.

Please note: you can only combine books which have the same layout i.e. portrait, square or landscape.

Using Combine Books to import a template

“If you have a page layout which you want to reuse then ‘Combine Books’ can help. Just set up the layout in its own book, and then when you’re working on your main book, copy the layout book to your main book using ‘Combine Books’ as many times as required.”

Need any more questions answered on apps and 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!

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.

 

e7 resources: A teacher’s views on a 1:1 iPad trial, part 1

e7 resources: A teacher’s views on a 1:1 iPad trial, part 1

Tiverton High School have recently joined our free e7 1:1 iPad pilot scheme, and Modern Foreign Languages teacher Gemma Dobson is going to be blogging about her and her students’ experiences with the devices. Here’s how her first couple of weeks have gone…

It’s been two weeks now since we started our 1:1 iPad trial with Jigsaw24, with our Assistant Head of New Technologies leading on the pilot while I trial the iPads with two of my MFL classes. The sets that I’ve chosen are quite different – one of them is a year nine, very mixed ability class and the other is a small group of year eleven girls who voluntarily take GCSE French after school. I feel that these two classes represent the comprehensive nature of our High School very well – perfect classes for a pilot!

Learning taking shape
 
The pilot has gotten off to a positive start, and students are overjoyed to have iPads and parade them around the school with pride. Learning in the classroom is starting to take shape and I can already see glimmers of how brilliant I think this iPad trial will end up being. As with all new things, starting the trial has not been without its challenges, but as these challenges crop up we tackle them one at a time. 

I look forward to sharing the experiences that my students and I have over the next few weeks with our iPads – we all think it’s going to be a fascinating journey!

– Find out more about how Gemma is getting on in her next update…
 
About Tiverton
 
Tiverton High School is a mixed comprehensive in the market town of Tiverton, Devon. They teach just over 1300 pupils, aged 13-16. Visit Tiverton’s website for more information.
 
About Gemma

Gemma is a Modern Foreign Languages teacher specialising in German, French and Spanish. She is keen on using anything creative to get pupils interested in languages, and is curious about how iPad devices can impact on teaching and learning. She writes about her 1:1 iPad classroom experiences over at her blog, My 1:1 iPad Classroom.

Does a free 1:1 iPad pilot scheme sound like something from which your school or college could benefit? Find out more about the e7 Project here, call 03332 409 333 or email e7@Jigsaw24.com. You can also  follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.
 
 

e7 resource: Cottenham Academy’s iPad for Learning blog

e7 resource: Cottenham Academy’s iPad for Learning blog

Once the e7 schools we work with take receipt of their new iPad deployments, we’ve found many like to keep students, staff, parents and governors up to date with dedicated blogs, videos and more. Cottenham Academy, for example, have an iPad blog they keep updated with all the apps they’ve tried, learning ideas from students, technical and teaching tips, and more. Click the image and video link below to see how they’re getting on.

Their iPad trial is all about using the devices as tools for improving learning. They said: “Ultimately, we know that motivated learners get better grades and more from their education. We want to find out if a very simple to use personal learning device is effective in our school context.”

Think your school or college could benefit from a free 1:1 iPad scheme? Find out more about the e7 Project here, call 03332 409 333 or email e7@Jigsaw24.com. You can also  follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.