Monday, May 12, 2014

Go Sky Watch & iPads, Eric Currie, Librarian, Hitch Elementary Schools

I am starting to wrap up my first round of of using the iPads and I’ve learned a few things.  First, I’d like to discuss my purchased app, Go Sky Watch.  There is a free version of Go Sky Watch, but there are ads that are someone distracting especially for student use.  The app is 3.99 but if you purchase 20+ through the VPP, the app is $1.99 each.  I like that It allows the students to bring up a wikipedia article about the planet from within the app workspace.  The pitfalls of wikipedia aside, I felt it was nice for students to be restricted to that one tool within the app (or at least feel like they had to stay on that article).  I feel that it kept them engaged and allowed for students to gain surface knowledge about the topic, but then go deeper if they wished.  

The students and I also enjoyed the app because it gave them the opportunity to explore a lot more of space than they normally would be able to see within the city limits.  The app utilizes the accelerometer so it feels like the students are looking through a window to the stars.  

It’s quite funny to see the students trying to find their planet in this manner.  That said, exploring space in this way prompted some amazing questions like, “If this is how space looks from this spot, what if I’m somewhere else?”  Which was followed up by, “Does it look the same if you’re on another planet?”  It was an amazing inquiry experience for both myself and the students.

Another amazing experience I’ve had recently has nothing really to do with iPads at all.  Due to a shortage of funds and a need to secure multiple items in the building, my school purchased a cart to house the ipads and chromebooks.  Though not the fanciest of carts in the land, it served its purpose.  However, I wanted more.  I wanted to be able to charge all my chromebooks and iPads at once.  

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