In the inclusive UDL classroom, accommodations are made to allow students multiple ways to share what they know and how they feel.

When using iPads with students, consider apps which allow students opportunities to create media which demonstrates understanding and lets them show what they know and how they feel. This is a very engaging, challenging, and meaningful way for students to learn and for teachers to understand and assess what their students comprehend.

Here are 5 iPad apps which help students create media in different forms:

 

Skitch (FREE) – Skitch is an image annotation tool which can access images from the camera, saved images on the device, a map location, or even a built-in web browser. Once selected, several annotation tools including arrows, shape borders, pen and highlighter, and a pixelation tool to blur out sensitive information, along with a cropping tool. The finished image can be saved to the camera roll or emailed.

Videolicious (FREE) – A voice-narrated photo/video slideshow tool. This easy-to-use, free app uses a step-by-step wizard to walk the user through the slideshow creation process. First, the users select the photos or short video clips they want to include in the slideshow. Next, the users narrate their slideshow (Teachers – have students pre-write or pre-plan this script). After narration, the users choose a background music sample (or no background music if they prefer). Finally, the video is saved to the camera roll. There is a one-minute maximum length of video, so students will need to be succinct and choose their words and images carefully.

Book Creator ($4.99 for 1-19 licenses, $2.49 for 20+ licenses) – This is an easy-to use eBook creator whose finished works can be read in the iBooks app. Insert text, images, video clips, and audio clips (built-in recorder) with ease! Users with a Dropbox account can export the .epub file to their Dropbox account for transfer to a computer or eventually to other devices.

Inspiration Maps Lite (FREE) – This concept mapping tool is created by the same company that created Inspiration and Kidspiration software for the desktop computer, and users will be pleased with the ability to not only quickly create and add to their mind maps (remember the ‘lightning’ button on Inspiration? or the outline views?), but also the ability to draw upon the dozens of pre-installed templates which students simply edit and add to. Images can also be brought in to the concept mapping software and colors and text can be altered. The finished concept map can be saved to the camera roll or emailed.

 
Postcard ($1.99 – no volume discount unfortunately) – This simple-to-use postcard creation tool allows users to edit the text and choose an image from the camera, saved images, or a map location. The finished postcard is saved to the camera roll or can be copied/pasted to a different application that can access the clipboard (such as Pages, Keynote, email, etc.). This app can be used by students to role play, speak from the perspective of a fictional character or historical figure, or choose a particular point of view to argue. The text space is limited so users must be succinct in their ideas, though the ability to create and respond with a postcard quickly and easily makes this app a nice option for schools.

 

Assessing these types of media projects is not always easy. Set the criteria with the students in advance, and use a scoring guide or rubric the students are familiar with.

Providing students an opportunity to share their media/knowledge with each other is an important part of the learning process. Teach students how to respond constructively and respectfully to their peers.

These five apps are just a sample of what’s out there (and what is surely to come) for media creation. As a teacher, understanding how to choose an app for media creation in your inclusive classroom is paramount. Ask questions such as:

  • Does this app allow my students multiple ways (images, voice, video, text, other creative elements) to communicate their knowledge and understanding in ways that challenge and provide success for all?
  • When my students create media using this app, what will happen to it? Do I need to transfer the media off the device? Do I want to publish it online? Does this app allow me to do this effectively?
  • Is the app easy enough for my students to learn to use?
  • Are there any privacy, copyright, or potential bullying/security concerns with the use of this app?

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano wrote a brilliant blog post (with a downloadable guide) on iPad app evaluation for teachers.

http://langwitches.org/blog/2012/05/27/evaluating-apps-with-transformative-use-of-the-ipad-in-mind/