Sunday, January 23, 2011

Content Creation on the iPad: Portable Solutions that Work!

One of the complaints often stated about the iPad is the difficulty or inability to create content. Fortunately, the thinking is evolving as new apps appear which address content creation.

Why is that important for education? Two reasons.

First, students who struggle with output due to, for example, handwriting issues, generating ideas, organizing written ideas, or slow processing, need choices so they can demonstrate knowledge in a manner that helps them see themselves as successful learners. Have you ever worked with students who shut down? Were they were so demoralized by their struggles to get their thoughts expressed in a paper-based format? For some students, school is a daily reminder of everything that is difficult for them. It's in their face; they can't escape it.

Therefore, it's imperative we offer alternatives to tap into students' strengths. Some kids may prefer paper-based expression. Others may prefer a computer based solution using word processing software or online resources such as VoiceThread. Still others may benefit from the simplicity of the iPad and content creation apps.

Secondly, research proves the value of video modeling and social story creation for changing behavior with students on the Autism Spectrum. iOS Devices provide a portable method for improving behaviors and fostering social skill development. 

Given that more teachers are applying for grants to purchase iPads ( the need to promote appropriate apps to reach their learners increases.  Here are some
specific content creation apps you may want to consider:
  1. Idea Sketch (free) Map out your ideas here, converts diagrams to outlines (similar to Inspiration)
  2. StoryRobe (free) tutorials available here
  3. StoryKit (free)
  4. SonicPics (free light version, $2.99 full version) Video Tutorial
  5. Stories2Learn ($13.99) Video Tutorial The video tutorial also explains how to transfer pictures from your computer to your iOS device. Watch this video to see how one mother created a social story for her son using Stories2Learn
  6. Pictello ($14.99) 
If you have an iOS device, these are apps you will definitely want to explore in your classroom to address the needs of your students. Let me know what you think or if you have additional suggestions.

Additional Resources 
Digital StoryTelling with the iPad
Digital StoryTelling - Ten computer based tools


Watch Me Learn said...

Video modeling, social stories, and social coaching in a mainstream setting are great tools to teach social skills! I think the most important component is that children be exposed to typical children! Ther are existing videos out there that can do such - and can provide a means of teaching in the classroom, therapy and at home. Parents can feel guild free having their children watch tv. As the mother of a son with autism, I am aware of the awesome effects it has had on my son! Mary beth at - feel free to contact me!

Brian said...

Two words caught my eye about these 6 aps: story and pic. All content creation on an iPad can't be about, or using, stories and pictures. iPads weren't designed for content creation. If they were, it would come with a stylus. or some other more familiar writing type tool. Now, that's not to say this device may not eventually be great for creating content, but at present it is best for communicating, connecting, and consuming ('playing apps'). It can't take pictures, so it has trouble storing them. It doesn't take video either. So the moment you have to connect to some other device to get this content, you have a problem. Sure you can post photos on Flickr and get them on the iPad, but that requires another device. Educators are trying to force the iPad (and other similar devices) to be something it was just not cut out to least not yet. I see potential in this field, but a tablet (Windows) device is already better option if you are trying to really create mobile content. Educators should be evaluating the pros/cons of both iPads and Tablets so teachers and schools can make educated decisions. Not just get that which is shiny and new. For the cost of all the necessary content creation apps, you could simply be using just web based (many free) tools and sites (StoryBird, Voicethread, Yodio, etc.). I'm not anti-iPad or anti-Apple. I am just curious why the same enthusiasm for mobile creation does not translate over to netbooks and tablets. Teachers will have other issues connecting the iPad to a classroom projector, for example, where there is no problem with a netbook/tablet. Heck, I watched the video of the Stories2Learn app and it is basically jsut audio over pictures. You can do that for free with (and lots of other sites as well) on any computer then play it back on most smart phones. My point is: let's start learning how to use the tools at hand first, before jumping into uncharted waters where many people/companies are out to make a profit (the best content creation apps are paid versions).

Julie said...

I purchased the Pictello app and really like it - easy to use. Now, if there is a way they can add a text highlighting feature to this app I would be absolutely thrilled. Not sure if there is anything out there that can do that at this point.

Scott said...

Hi Karen!
One of the assignments for my class is to follow educational tech blogs and comment on the site... How funny is it that I randomly came across your site?! We need to make another appointment so I can catch you up on some of the resources we have been using. Not sure if there are apps for these, but recently I have used Prezi and Glogster which I found to be engaging and manageable. I think these are great alternative sites for students to express what they know in a more appealing way than the standard written assessment. My student teacher is actually preparing a Prezi show for our US History class this week. We're hoping it keeps the kids more interested in the lecture, leading to a better understanding. I may encourage her to allow the students to demonstrate their understanding with Glogster. Are you familiar with either piece of media? See you soon!