Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Kids teach Kids with iPads!

Our school has decided to take part in Australia Post Kids Teaching Kids Week this year for the first time and so far it has been a great success. It is always exhilarating to see children enthusiastically explaining what they have learnt about something with other children, younger or older.
My colleague next door has written a great poem and a short play that her children are presenting this week to a variety of audiences. It is a fitting celebration of the learning we have been doing this term about sustainability.
Other classes have shared work that they have created throughout the year and this has been as beneficial to those showing the work as it has been for their eager audiences.
Students in my class have created (very) short videos using the iPads to showcase some of the ideas they have been developing about how people, pets and native animals can live together sustainably.
They worked closely with their Year 5 buddies (who are experts in writing persuasive texts thanks to their NAPLAN experience) to develop a short text to persuade people to do more to live harmoniously alongside native animals.
The Year 2s then used the iPads to create their videos.
The first app they used was Pic Collage (a new favourite) to create an image that would support their spoken text. Pic Collage is so simple to use. This was the first time many of them had used the app (although I have shown them how it worked a couple of weeks ago). They quickly worked out how to take their own photos, find images on the web, manipulate text and images, and change colours of backgrounds. The bright colours made their creations instantly appealing. With a bit of practice and a little guidance, I am sure they could produce some great work with this versatile app.
The other app they used was Sonic Pics (another favourite) to record their spoken text. I much prefer Sonic Pics over iMovie for use with my young students as it is so simple for them to use once they have used it a few times. They can talk for as long as they need and change pictures when it suits them which is easier than having to manipulate the length of play for images in iMovie. iMovie has lots of great features which allow users to do more exciting things, but for simplicity with young students, Sonic Pics seems to be the answer. It was also relatively simple for me to upload their recordings to YouTube so I could post them onto our class blog.
The next step for me is to create QR codes that link to the YouTube clips so that my kids can use the iPads to easily share their work with other students.
Check out a sample of their work in this video clip.
My future challenge is to work out how to cut out the background noise that emanates from our busy classroom. My iPad can record quite clearly in a quiet room and when I project voice clearly towards the mic, but seven-year-olds seem to have trouble with voice projection or suffer from stage fright, and try as I might, I can't seem to find a way to get the surrounding noise to a reasonable level for long enough, with 24 excited little people moving around a classroom.
I have yet to find a mic that will plug in to the iPad but I am open to advice from anyone with a solution because I would like to use the iPads a lot more for recording their reading and other assessments.

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