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Appealing Apps for Educators: Flipping iPad from Consumption to Creation Station

by Julene Reed

Creativity in the classroom is more abundant than ever as teachers and students are using iPads in amazing ways. Whether it is the process that engages your students or the finished product that is evidence of their creativity, the purposeful utilization of iPads can "Flip" your iPads from consumption devices to powerful creation stations!

The successful utilization of iPads allows students to have a choice of tools to express themselves, depending on their learning styles or preferences. With a plethora of apps from which to choose and the built-in, high-quality camera, opportunities for engaging and inspiring students are bountiful. While the products students create on the iPads are extremely impressive, the processes they go through as they create those products are also very powerful.

How do you "Flip the iPad" with your students? Below are some of my favorite strategies, integration ideas, and apps that can do just that! While I address just a few possibilities and apps in this entry, there will be more to come in the future!

Stop Motion Videos with iStopMotion ($9.99)

The creation of stop motion videos is one of my favorite strategies for creativity with the iPad. These can be used with almost any grade level and curricular area. Stop Motion Video is created with a series of still photos that are "played' sequentially, creating an animated type of video. Once students are given the opportunity to create "characters" for their Stop Motion videos using Play–Doh, Legos, small toys, or other objects, their creativity explodes!

Alternate App: StopMotion Recorder – $.99

Note: Recently our psychology teacher had seniors work collaboratively to create Stop Motion videos to “teach” other class members about social phenomenon. You can view the instructions for this project along with sample videos created by the students.

The Education Connection:

  • Stop Motion video can be utilized in almost any curricular area of study to showcase learning and provide creative ways of expression.
  • Retell nursery rhymes or scenes from fairy tales, stories, or books using Stop Motion videos. Have students collaborate in small groups to create their videos, then present them to their classmates, having the classmates guess the nursery rhyme, interpret a scene from a story, etc.
  • Some Stop Motion video apps allow audio to be recorded directly into the video, while other videos created with apps lacking that capability can be imported into a video editing program, and voiceovers can then be added to them.
  • Voiceovers for these videos could be done in a foreign language, strengthening the students' oral language skills.

Google Maps and Google Earth (both free)

Use Google Maps and Google Earth to have students explore the world, building global literacy as they create virtual field trips. With the ability to access street views and other panoramic views of famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Stonehenge, and the Roman Coliseum through these apps, students can explore the world from their iPads!

The Education Connection:

  • Students can take screenshots of the satellite views of a country, city, then drop a pin in Maps or access photos in Google Earth as they explore monuments and other pertinent landmarks, accessing the street and panoramic views where they can collect more screenshots. Those photos can then be used in slide shows in the Photos app, placed in Pages or Keynote, inserted into movies, or emailed for other uses.
  • Students can collaborate to create virtual field trips of different cities around the world, and then create presentations to share with the class, describing landmarks and other aspects of the locations.
  • In foreign language classes, students can use the screenshots in presentations or movies, describing the imagery in the respective language they are studying.

Comic Book Strips with Comic Life ($4.99)

This is the mobile app version of the computer software that has been popular for several years.

I used to believe that only younger children would be motivated with comic strip apps, but even upper school students get excited about using comic apps to creatively share knowledge and information. This is a great tool for writing and demonstrating. Real photos or clip art photos can be used in the comic strips. The playfulness of the comic approach mixed with this creative way to share information engages students in their learning experiences.

Alternate Apps: Comic Touch Lite – Free, Strip Designer – $2.99, ComicBook! – $1.99

The Education Connection:

  • Students can demonstrate the understanding of learned concepts by creating a comic strip showcasing their knowledge and understanding.
  • Students can retell a story such as Romeo and Juliet with comic strips.
  • Making comic strips that demonstrate figurative language concepts such as personification, onomatopoeia, metaphors, hyperbole, alliteration, and idioms provide students with other creative opportunities.
  • The utilization of comic strips to demonstrate the understanding of topics such as math equations and graphing as well as scientific ideas such as cell structure and the water cycle provides excellent creative activities. The possibilities are numerous!

Digital Storytelling

The power of narrative and storytelling is clearly evident in literacy, and many of the skills incorporated address several Common Core standards. Students of all ages are engaged when using multimedia to "tell their story." This can be done on the iPad with apps or simply with the camera’s video capability.

Sonic Pics – $2.99This is one of many different types of apps that can be used for digital storytelling. Selections may depend on the grade level of the students, curricular goals and purposes, etc. Most of these apps are flexible and adaptive to any curricular area or goal.

Additional Apps: StoryKit – Free, iMovie – $4.99, Toontastic – Free, Puppet Pals – Free, Explain Everything – $2.99

The Education Connection:

  • Students can interview community members and create documentaries. Consider recording the stories of elders in the community, war veterans, or other interesting constituencies.
  • Students can create a video story about "A Day in the Life" of a fireman, policeman, doctor, or other community member, harnessing the students' creativity to tell the stories.
  • Public service announcements can be created focusing on school, community, or global issues, making the learning authentic. Have students consider a creative way to deliver their message and make an impact.
  • Students can act out and retell stories, fables, etc. to addressing skills such as sequencing, inference, etc. in the process.
  • Puppet shows can be created to write, share, and publish stories.

Augmented Reality and iPhoneography – Creative possibilities abound with iPads and these activities. View my previous blog entries for more information and education connections on these two topics.

Creativity and ingenuity are key 21st century skills for our students. Providing them with the right tools and the inspiration to express their creativity in a variety of ways, they will amaze you with incredible creative expressions as you “Flip the iPad” and your classrooms from consumption to creation!


Additional Creativity Resources:

iPad Multimedia Tools for Creativity

The Best of iPad Apps, “Apps for Creativity”

Mrs. Wideen’s “My Top Picks for Content Creation iPad Apps”

“Why the iPad is Great for Content Creation”