Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Using iPads in the High School Science Classroom

Using the iPad in High School Science

When I first got an iPad back in 2011, I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with it; however, I knew that it had potential. Within a few months, I began to find uses for it that helped my teaching and student learning. It took nearly 6 months for it to fully integrate into my classroom teaching workflow, but I now realize that I could never go back to anything less. There are a number of great things about other classroom technologies, as well, and I'm not saying that the iPad is the best for everyone, but there sure is a lot of compelling evidence that suggests it might be.

Here are my top 50 uses for the iPad, as a teacher, from my first year using it to teach high school physics and chemistry. This list was compiled in 2012, after exactly one year of using the iPad in my classes to teach. Some of these uses are apps, many of them are free, and others are functions of the stock iPad system or built-in device actions. This post will soon be updated for 2013 to a version 2.0, but in the meantime, there are many great ideas for teachers who have an iPad to use with their classes. 

Bracket Maker App - to run and keep track of mousetrap car race tournaments
o Touch Sounds and Tone Generator - to create different tones and waveforms of varying frequencies to display using the laser or Ruben's Tube visualization
o SoundCloud, Meta DJ and Wave Pad - to show how waveforms graph the sound waves over time, and how waveforms are used in music production to visually cue the different sections of a song
o Meta DJ and GarageBand - to teach students about frequency modulation and effects production in music as it relates to modifying the equation for the sound waveform
o Camera and Photo Booth - to capture images and video from class to then post on Google+, Twitter, display on the board over AirPlay on the Apple TV, or to share using other applications
o Camera - to function as a mobile document camera or live feed camera to show what is happening in a lab experiment or demo on one side of the room to students on the other side of the room using AirPlay
o CloudOn - to manage, access and edit documents in a DropBox account using the Microsoft Office suite controls --> to edit and manage the standards based grading spreadsheet gradebook
o Numbers - to collect data on student performance, completion of tasks, field trip payments and permission slips --> allows for a star rating to collect data easily; spreadsheet can then be exported via email to merge with data master gradebook spreadsheet
o Paperport Notes - to write notes and create answer keys for in class use live over AirPlay or to export directly to Google Docs where class files are stored --> can open and edit a PDF document, uses graphing, lined, or blank paper
o Tuning Fork - used to teach about musical pitch and frequency of sound waves as well as to demonstrate the concept of beats
o Evernote & Evernote Peek - to create a Smart Cover flip quiz for chemistry vocabulary terms
o Splashtop Remote Desktop - to remotely control my MacBook (before I had an Apple TV) to use the iPad as an Airliner for the Smart Notebook software as well as control web apps such as physics simulations
o iMotion HD - to make stop animation videos of things that happened in the lab or in class (kind of for fun) and to post them on Google+ or Twitter
o Cinemagram - to make cool GIFs of things that happened in class and to post them on Google+ or Twitter
o Protractor - to measure angles in experiments, particularly ones done outside, e.g., rocket launching or banked turning angle of lean
o Video Physics - app for capturing video footage of objects in motion and analyzing their motion for its speed, direction, acceleration, and path
o SimplePhysics - a challenging problem-solving game for students to use their knowledge of various physics concepts to accomplish a building task, such as constructing a roof, staircase, or treefort, which has to accomplish a certain task (such as support a load of weight.)
o Mr. AaaaHh! & Angry Birds - an app for teaching about projectile motion and calculating acceleration due to gravity in a video game world
o Underground Basketball - a fun game to challenge students' knowledge of projectiles and motion in two dimensions. Students have to make baskets by changing the angle of trajectory for shooting a basketball
o Newton's Cradle - an interactive app that shows the conservation of momentum and transfer of energy in the Newton's Cradle toy
o Refractive - an app for calculating the angle of refraction and visualizing the refraction of light
o Quick Graph - graphing functions to help students visualize relationships in their data from lab experiments
o Calculator - calculations for lab data
o GoSkyWatch and Planetary - uses the movement of the iPad to match up to the star map and information on constellations in the app to view the stars that the iPad is facing. Planetary takes your music library and translates it into an outer space analogy display. Used to help students to think about the motion of the heavenly bodies.
o Skype, Google+ Hangout, and FaceTime - video chatting in real time for 1 on 1 or up to 20 persons (G+ only) -- used to allow absent students to view class, students communicate with project groups when they cannot arrange face to face meetings. Send students to collect lab data outside the classroom and report back to students in real time with lab partners in the classroom, or project on screen with Apple TV (like a roaming camera)
o TourWrist - 3D virtual tours of panoramic views from around the world
o Stick Pick - randomly select students to ask questions of in class; generates prompts for questions based on Bloom's taxonomy and keeps track of teacher ratings of students' responses.
o iReview - to make flashcards and quizzes out of Quizlet flashcard sets
o ShowMe - to create narrated whiteboard-style videos of explanations of homework or of class concepts. The videos get posted on the ShowMe website and shared via Google+ or Twitter
o Foursquare (with the mobile hotspot) - to run and manage a scavenger at Cedar Point
o Socrative - polling and quizzing application for audience (student) responses using devices or any web browser. Students can vote on surveys or polls, answer quiz questions, share ideas/hypotheses, or take a graded quiz. Works on any web browser and also has mobile device based apps (teacher version and student version)
o Skyfire and Puffin - web browsers that make web browsing more fully functional, e.g., to show flash animations, SlideRocket presentations from students, interactive applets, or embedded videos from a website. Also, to show YouTube videos that would be blocked on the school wireless, because YouTube is blocked on the school wireless entirely
o Music - to power the Ruben's tube, laser for music visualization; to power styrofoam plate speakers made by students in class.
o Web-Browser (Safari) - take attendance, reference information online
o Lino - an app for creating bulletin boards and sticky notes that can be collaboratively written on. Teacher can create a prompt and students can post sticky notes responding to the prompt. Students can take photos of something from their lab experiment and post the photo on the board. Accessible from the web or device apps. Saveable boards can be published. Can use like a display board for student work.
o DropBox + iBooks - storing, viewing and sharing documents from a scavenger hunt
o SyncSpace - students can collaboratively create a whiteboard to then display using the Apple TV AirPlay


  1. Its cool to see exactly what you use the Ipad for.

  2. This is very convincing and helpful.

  3. Yes i do believe that the Ipad did change the classroom

  4. This is very helpful when some people do not know about all the technology

  5. I appreciate the personal flare you added to your blogs. This blog is like a guide and the pictures and slide shows are really helpful. Keep up the good work!

  6. Although I have some of these apps on my phone, I plan to get more to help my learning of physics during this quarter. :)

  7. Its Kate Lechner here, I really liked how detailed your writing was.

  8. This seems to convince people who do not own an Ipad to purchase one. Very helpful.

  9. The description of the apps were very helpful.....

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  11. I like that you listed the apps that you use in the classroom and described what they are used for.

  12. overall it was good and helped me understand the necessity of a smart device

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. This is helpful because it shows you the apps used in the classroom.

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  16. The fact that you listed the apps was informative as it was helpful. I really should put some of these onto my own device for class

  17. It would have been cool if you had a link or movie to show one of the apps being used

  18. Very good!, very well organized. Being able to use iPad and phones in class is very revolutionary, unlike the other teachers which are completely objected to it! So i appreciate what your way of teacher.

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  20. Chem­i­Calc is another great iPhone/iPad app for stu­dents in sci­ence. It makes cal­cu­la­tions easy for prob­lems in chem­istry and physics class. Here is an iTunes link:

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  30. Nice post keep it

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