App Differently: Reach for Redefinition {EdtechTeacher iPad Summit}


No longer does our old pedagogy match the changing world that is all around us.

Our students today deserve more. They deserve more time creating; less time filling out bubbles. They deserve more time collaborating;  less time sitting quietly at their desks filling out worksheets. They deserve more time communicating in ways they never imagined possible. And they deserve to be challenged to think critically about the world around them.

Some of the biggest critics of students using technology in the classroom visualize “zombie” children mindlessly clicking away on their screens. Well I am here to shout from the rooftops that when implemented correctly, technology integration can redefine how students learn in your classroom.

Take a look at Ruben R. Puentedura‘s SAMR model.

Or watch the simplified version of the SAMR model here.

In order to reach the Modification and Redefinition level, you need to take an honest look at how you integrate iOS apps into you classroom. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are the apps my students using “creative apps”?
  • Are the apps my students using primarily “skill review” type of apps?
  • To read more about the difference between these types of apps visit this blog post.

In my classroom, I limit my students’ use of “skill review” apps because they really aren’t too different from a worksheet. Skill review apps promote  more drill type of activities. However, I have many “creative apps” for my students to access so they can use iOS apps to create, collaborate, communicate, and to think critically (4 Cs of the Common Core). This is how you can move to the modification and redefinition of the SAMR model. In my classroom my students and I, App Differently.

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If you attended my session at Edtech Teacher iPad Summit session, you may feel a tad overwhelmed by the number of amazing apps that I shared with you today. So have no fear, I have included a list of all the apps I discussed in my session and a few bonus ones as well. Also, in my presentation, I included student samples so  you could see how these apps can be used.

Creative Apps for the Classroom:

Where do you start?

Mind Mapping:

Popplet and SimpleMind+ are mind mapping apps which can be used in a very substitution type of way. However if you think creatively you can use this app in a way that promotes critical thinking. I use this app for my students to document evidence from the text to support their opinions. In addition, these are great tools to use for students to plan bigger projects.

Digital Storytelling:

Sonic PicsStoryrobe, or 30 Hands for digital storytelling, storyboarding, and reading skills.

Puppet Pals is a digital puppet theater that creates recorded movies of puppet shows.

Mad Lips allows you to make any image TALK! See my Talking Book Covers post here.

Trading Cards by Read Write Think allows you to create trading card about historical figures and characters from stories. Another great one by Read Write Think is Word Mover.

Collaborative Reading:

Subtext is one of my favorite apps ever. My students love it too. With this app my students and I do collaborative reading connecting with each other and classes around the country.

Thinking Critically:

Hopscotch is a visual coding app that is a great tool to introduce simple coding skills. My favorite thing about this app is that my students practice essential critical thinking skills. One of my favorite students quotes regarding this apps is, “I failed so many times trying to make this script, but I kept going until I got it right!”

Communicate What You Know:

Explain Everything is an app that allows you to screencast. I use this app in my flipped math class. My students even create videos to show what they know.

Other apps that I love for screen-casting are: Doodle Cast Pro (paid) and Doceri (free). Both of these apps have the ability to save the screencast to the camera; a feature that I love.

Ask 3 takes screen-casting a step further! This app allows you to create a screen-casting collaborative community. As the teacher, you set up a group which your students join. Students can create their own screen casts that the other students can view and respond to. This app is FREE.

Create with Images:

The camera is perhaps the BEST tool on the iPad.

My favorite photo editing tool is Snapseed. This app is full of great tools to edit a photo for artistic expression. Get your students outside with their cameras. Send them on a quest to find geometry in the world around them. Then allow them to create beautiful images in Snapseed.

Annotate Your Images:

There are many comic type apps that will allow you to annotate images. Story Me,  Comic Story, and Comic Life are great for creating comic strips. I also use this app for reading strategy practice and for annotating pictures in science and social studies.

Pic Stitch plus Skitch to annotate images for any content area!

ThingLink creates a “touchable” image where students can type in information, place links, or videos right onto the picture. This is great for students to add to their blog posts.

Create With Video:

My favorite movie making apps are iMovie (paid) and Splice (free). iMovie’s trailers are a great tool for beginning videographers.

iStopMotion is an expensive app, but well worth the price! This app allows you to create stop animations and time lapse videos.

Vintagio is a wonderful silent moving making app. This is great for a classroom environment because students don’t have to worry about sound. Read my Vintagio post here.

Share and Celebrate:

Edmodo (or My Big Campus) are tools that allow your class to interact with each other. It is a “safe” social media for education.

My Big Campus is a learning management system my district has adopted. It has many similarities to Edmodo, except for some things. MBC allows threaded discussions and has a blogging feature built in.

Kidblog is a webpage and also an app. This is a blogging tool that will allow you to set up student blogs and monitor their posts and comments. You can have their blogs set to share with the world or only with each other in the class. Read my Kidblog poster here.

Google Drive is an excellent tool to use to save and share student creations. Many apps have a built in feature that allows you to upload to your Google Drive. Students in my classroom have their own Google account created by our district. This allows them the access docs and sites. In addition, it is a place for them to organize and store all of their iPad projects.


Thank you for attending my session at EdTechTeacher iPad Summit in San Diego. Please come visit my blog often as I love to blog about how iOS apps can redefine learning. Also, I will begin blogging more about Google Apps for Education.


My Pinterest Board about SAMR Model

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EF Explore America: What is 21st Century Learning? YouTube

Sarah Washam created in YouTube editor: YouTube

SAMR Model in 120 Seconds: YouTube

All images created by me.


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