Favourite Apps

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Here is my very partial take on a few iPhone apps you might find useful and enjoy. Most are either free or quite cheap.

Media:
iRadio UK (free and cheap prelium versions):
A fun little app that allows you to listen to any radio station in the UK. It has a few interesting features such as a Car Mode and a Sleep Timer which will close the application after a predefined time. Exists also for France, Australia, Germany, Italy and Greece.

Le Monde.fr: (free)
Enables you to read the famous French paper online and for free. No need to subscribe to read it.

Judaism:
Kosher OR Not:
Allows you to check whether a fish is kosher. Quite useful when in a country where you do not know the names of all fish. You ca write in English, Hebrew, German, Spanish and French.

Bedtime Shema (free):
Fun and interactive learning aid for Jewish children.

Dictionaries:
Merriam-Webster (free):
Very convenient app to check a meaning, spelling or a synonym. Can even be used without an Internet connection. I advised my older pupils to download it and am amazed to see how naturally they use it in the classroom. The premium version (which I have not tried) is cheap.

Urban Dictionary Definitions (free and very cheap premium versions):
Fun app to keep up with the latest swears, slang, and abbreves.

Miscellanae:
Pages:
User-friendly word processor. Works with iCloud, so your documents stay up to date on all your devices — automatically.

The Sonnets (for the iPad):
Offers an experience of over 150 of Shakespeare’s Sonnets read by the likes of Stephen Fry, David Tennant, Patrick Stewart and many performers from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company. Allows access to the Arden Shakespeare’s complete notes and discussion on each sonnet. Beautiful!

I still have to find a calendar/diary I like and even though Google Maps is back for iPhone users I don’t like the idea of signing in as a Google user to enjoy the full capacities of the app.

What are your favourite apps?

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IT in the Classroom: Looking Backward and Forward

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Four years ago I discussed the IT forthcoming innovations in our school and expressed my worries about some of these changes. In hindsight it is interesting that I was mainly wrong on the issue.

The school has tried different digital work environments but the ‘perfect’ tool is yet to be found and we do not use the one we have as much as we should have done when the new scheme was announced.

On the positive side, we fill in online term reports for each student, can read what colleagues have written and I now have a computer in my room.

Yet the digital school attendance system does not work, which is a shame since I could now do it at the beginning of each period from the classroom computer.

I have created and provided the dreaded email address. Contrary to what I had anticipated, I have received no email from angry parents – and none from ecstatic ones I am sorry to add! However a pupil sent a Thank You email after the latest Swedish exchange.

What I had not foreseen is that for my pupils email is the new snail mail; in other words, some of them have no email addresses and use their parents’ to write to me. Others have an email address but hardly use it, which means that if I write back the email is not read.

However what I had feared concerning constant connectivity is still a problem. Even if I use a different email address for work, it is difficult not to have a look at what fills this email inbox during my free time.

I now ask the pupils to record themselves and send me oral homework (or task) – the latest was an oral presentation where the year 11s were supposed to convince an audience that they were the best candidate for the TV show of their choice.

The next challenge is to make myself understood when I explain the technical side of the task. In other words, I need them to remember that mp3 is the only format that I can easily listen to on any of the device I use. This may sound pretty simple to you but, believe me, it is not that straightforward for all teenagers; only this morning I received an audio file in 3ga!

So if you have any tip, please share and you will make my day!