Steve Dembo: “iThink iNeed iPads in the Classroom”

Teach 42

According to Steve Dembo:

Sure they’re bright and shiny, but are they really learning devices? We’ll take a close look at how exactly these technologies are being leveraged in the classroom and what the best Apps are for educational purposes. We’ll also explore some creative ways that you can fund your own i-initiative!

Siemens STEM Academy: Register to join

Presented in partnership between Discovery Education and Siemens STEM Academy, this session has drawn a very global audience. Not at all surprised by the representation, or the numbers.

Before beginning, Steve reminded us that all STEM webinars are archived on the Siemens Stem website, as well as forthcoming webinars listed. Noting that iPads can become an addiction, Steve brought the question home, pondering his son’s use of the iPad. But Steve said the iPod doesn’t replace social time or play time, but rather zoning time. iPads let children control their environment via apps (a good 50 just for starters). There’s always something new and it almost always educational and brain stimulating.

If you want iPads for the classroom, you can always write a grant for Donors Choose. iPads are also cost effective: 60 iPads can replace 20 laptops. You need to leverage your iPad use by writing about it and promote the grants that funded you as well. Most of the grant action repeats itself, so each year you have an opportunity to resubmit. Network with other schools/teachers who share what they are doing and ask them where they went. Learn from others.

Classrooms also share resources. Learn from these people; don’t reinvent the wheel. The iPad is the perfect device for early childhood. It’s easy and intuitive and children gravitate to it. And then it’s just the right size–just right to frame your own face. And it’s inherently social, more than tablets and laptops. Ease of use is phenomenal, but battery life–10 hours–makes it the best device for school use. No need to find a laptop cart or a charger for a 1:1 initiative. 10 hours makes it through a school day, even if you begin early. Students and teachers put iPads to good use; both love to show and tell educational apps.

Discovery made a huge investment in the iPad and created a mobile app for the entire site, and they made it iPad friendly by retooling the website. If you log on, you will notice that the site is touch friendly, clicks easily, and mimics the way an iPad is used in its interface. A recent change is the addition of Flash but H264 is the most recent way of streaming. A multitude of formats let you choose the way you want to stream, and it’s perfect on the iPad. You can make quizzes and streamline them to your iPad. Apple doesn’t let you download from video from the internet to the iPad, but you an do it in apps.

You can use the camera connection kit for $29.99 and you can plug in your devices. (I have it and love it). Or you can email your videos from Discovery to your iPad. You can use different apps to view videos. Save your video to your camera roll. If you email your video, click on Reply and one of your options is to view the video. Then you can go to iMovie to edit the movie, if that’s what you want to do.

If you just want to watch the video, use the Road Show app. Road Show will check to see if there are any videos. When it finds the video, you can save it and view it. You can save multiple videos, but they are only available in Road Show; you can’t do anything else with them. is a great site that you can use to draw. To add creating to consuming, this website enables production. Now the Purple Crayon story comes to life. Pirate Scribble Beard and Kids Doodle are great apps that also enable interactive ownership of digital storytelling. Thousands of apps exist and at reasonable prices if not free. Comic Lite has a Keynote/Pages format, but the accessibility of control is astonishing. You can add images to your photo roll and then import the images to the app.

One of Steve’s favorite apps is ePub, which lets students download books but also create ePubs. Many other programs do the same thing, but this site lets students add multimedia to their iBooks. Very compelling. Hyperlinks, audio files, videos can be embedded in the ePub, and that really gives ultimate control to book building. Creative Book Builder lets you build a book on the fly with sights, sounds, videos…to your book. But you have to get your videos into your camera roll so you can pull them into your books. As for copyright, share with people who have the rights to access Streaming, cite your sources. Same rules apply as always. allows you to share via emails. The emails an post as a blog entry, creating a digital portfolio as you go along. You don’t have to worry about Dropbox or file formats; just send it as an email and create your own digital portfolio.

iFontMaker teaches the alphabet but lets you take your alphabet tracings and create a font that uploads to a website where you can choose to create in your own font. How awesome to add that to your digital book–your personal project in your won font.

Steve said that without a doubt, the iPad is the best book reader of all, and I have to agree. Also interesting is that certain things exist that could not exist without a touch format, both for audio and visual effects. The iPad adds a new dimension to the notion of art with value-added music. Things that did not exist before are kids’ creations today. Think Singing Fingers. iEar app is awesome. Appolicious and are sites Steve recommends.


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  1. Nancy said:

    RJ, as always you do a fantastic job of summarizing.

    Do you have a link for the ePub app? I wasn’t able to locate on the App store. Thanks!

  2. Ray said:

    Thanks for a great webinar yesterday. I am a little confused about getting a video on my iPad. I can’t find the m4v format on the videos that I am looking at on Discovery Streaming. We have a 1-1 iPad initiative going in our district, and being able to use video on the iPad would be very helpful.

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  5. BThallmayer said:

    Great resource. I also viewed the webinar and that was fantastic 🙂 I will be using those ideas for help my school. Thanks for sharing!

  6. SHS Insider said:

    I have confirmed that due to injuries that she has had since August, RJ is retiring from the school she has taught at for years. This would be the reason why she has curtailed her blog postings for this blog.

  7. Brenda said:

    My young nephew loves “all things tech” that make life easier. I encouraged him to start a blog, since he is so passionate about the subject. Yesterday he shared an article that says that the British Prime Minister plans to use an iPad to keep track of his country. LOL! iPads are everywhere, being used for everything. Here’s the link to that article in his blog if you’re interested in checking it out.

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