Image by Happydog

Image by Happydog

Although there are many apps currently being produced for iOS devices and teachers regularly recommend which of these they use in lessons, I haven’t always found it easy to discover a host of successful ideas for a particular academic subject, especially those which make use of an iPad in a senior school. Most educators collect bits and bobs about mobile learning in, Pinterest, personal blogs, wikis and other online applications and although these are useful, I find I’m often reading about managing iPads and how junior schools are using mobile devices successfully. As I’m familiar with using an iPad in lessons, I’ve tried to identify some examples of lessons or ideas which I think could be useful for a senior school English (or perhaps to some degree a language) classroom. The easiest way for me to do this was to use


1. How to create an eBook from online articles. Nik Peachey says: Create and share reading lists for courses. Create your own eBooks or of your students’ stories. Create your own collection of favourite articles, collect a reading list of articles to read when you don’t have an Internet connection.Webpages that you capture in this way can be much easier to read and of course you have all the eBook’s mark up and note taking functions which will store all your annotations on the eBooks you create.


2. Literary Analysis with iBooks. “This video clip shows how one can create your own ePub document using Pages and sync it to the iPad. iBooks allows one to use highlighting to annotate specific examples using color coding. It also has a note feature which is useful in describing the significance of a passage. iBooks even has an email feature so you can send your notes to a peer or instructor.”


3. Practical Teaching & Learning Strategies to Enhance Reading using the iPad. “…schemes of learning that create poetry anthologies, or newspapers, could easily be formatted as an iBook; with links to video introductions and explications, art work and music. These can become truly ‘real’ texts” (10 excellent ideas in this post – read on!)


4. Working with Words: the use of several different apps to help a student increase their vocabulary and fluency with words. “By collaboratively playing Words with friends and strategically placing letters to form words, finding the definition of the word used with, copying the word and definition into a text editor, the student has multiple opportunities to see and use the word. The student will create a crossword puzzle with Quick Crossword.”


5. Work collaboratively, identify ideas, themes and issues, enhance digital literacy skills. Using Strip Design as a comic strip creator, the BBC news app and Getty Images, the Victoria Department of Education has a number of ideas for developing students’ writing and other skills in English. (Click on the link for English to jump to the spot on the page.)


6. Writing about Current Events. “Students will gain a deeper understanding of current events by selecting a news article, researching it, and creating a document for the class or teacher that includes a visual component.”This exercise could be useful for encouraging students to write a news report.


7. From Point A to Point B. Learning to Give Good Directions. Encourage students to speak and then write with clarity. Use the Maps app and the Voice Recording app to record clear instructions and get peers to see if they can find their way as directed. Students can write this up as well.


8. Developing Story Writing and More. Simon Widdowson has done much work on using i devices for developing creative writing. Although a junior school teacher, his work could easily be applied to Key Stage 3. He first blogged about using the game Epic Citadel for encouraging writing and has recently written about using The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Here, Simon has numerous ideas for developing students’ creativity and story telling.


9. To Kill a Mockingbird. Teach students about perspective when studying literature. “Students can manipulate and interact with photographs and other primary sources in ways that shift focus and highlight different aspects of the story.”


10. Creating a Graphic Novel. Use ToonPAINT, ComicStrip and QuickOffice Pro HD to create a comic chapter of the novel the class is studying. (There are many digital storytelling apps out there. Choose one which works best for you and your students.)

I thought I’d add in a couple more links which I found. These are more general links to apps and ideas which could develop digital storytelling and creativity.


Engaging Learners through Digital Storytelling: 40+ Resources & Tips


Fostering Creative APP-titude using the iPad.

If anyone has ideas to add, or would like to comment on these ideas, please do so!

Further reading – with some great ideas for using iPads and technology in the classroom:


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