Today I taught a class of 5th graders how to use the app Educreations for their “Math Talk” time. We have just implemented Math Expressions in our elementary school and love how our students are really benefiting from the “Math Talk” time in which they explain how they would solve problems with a partner. After seeing the Educreations app I thought it would be a perfect use in math.
I went into the class after I had played with it for a bit, asked others on twitter how they used it, and even asked direction questions of @Educreations and was amazed by their super fast responses to help me (THANK YOU!).
First I showed students an example from the Educreations gallery, so they could see what a finished product looks like. I then hooked up an iPad to the SMARTBoard and walked them through the process of finding the app, getting started, how to login (with my account) and how to make a new lesson. Students were told to start thinking about what math problem they wanted to show/explain while iPads were being passed out. Once they got their iPads and got to the app, I walked them through the login process to have them login to my account. I was told this was ok and that their creations would then show up in my account. Unfortunately, this did not work to have everyone login at the same time. You can still work in educreations without an account, so those that didn’t make it in were just told to cancel and go back to the beginning.
I let everyone spread out around the room (since they would all be talking into their iPads) and told them to just take a few minutes to just play with the app–record something just learning each of the features on it. I had only shown students how to add text and use the colors, but was amazed by how fast several of them discovered how to take pictures (although they wished they could crop/edit the picture within the app) and add new pages when they ran out of space. Once they got the hang of it they had to start explaining their math problems. I know there are many that think the iPad is just a toy, but guess what these kids did for 30 minutes straight? Solve and explain math problems on their iPads! I could hardly get them to stop!!
I was a ping pong ball around the room helping show students how to save them (while trying to get some to login to my account then), delete them, start over, etc. They were SO into what they were doing that we ran out of time to have them swap with a partner to share or to share any in front of the whole class (which I had planned). As we finished up I did ask students how this helped them with math and what could we do differently next time. Here were their answers:
- I got to show my work in a different way and it was fun.
- When I listened to myself talk about my math problem I realized a mistake I made and started it over.
- I’m totally downloading this at home tonight to try!
- Can we PLEASE stay in at recess and keep doing our math on the iPad like this!!?? (I was on recess duty so I had to say no.)
- We have to talk quieter, because I could hear others when I listened to my creation again. Could you say “pause” before you say something to the whole class, because your next directions were in my creation? (That was for me when I started talking to the whole class)
- We could use our earbuds to make it easier to hear ourselves when we are reviewing them.
- Did we have the login issue, because everyone was trying to login at once? Any suggestions on how to deal with this?
- I had everyone logout at the end (for those that were logged in) and when they were in the app it still showed the videos they made so whoever uses the iPad next will see them. Why is that? If students from different classes use them and login with a different teacher’s account and then logout will all the videos still be on that iPad?
- Once you start recording, is there a way to rewind or back up? We only found that you had to just start over completely.
- When I login to my account on my iPad, I only see the videos I’ve created and not the ones students published while logged into my account on other iPads. When I login to my account on the browser/desktop, I do see their videos. Why aren’t they showing up in my iPad app?
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Really great to hear about your experience! And glad the kids took to the app.
I’m not sure why you weren’t able to log all the iPads in at once. That said, I’ve never tried to log in that many iPads to one account myself, so I also haven’t been able to debug it.
Right now, we’re working on better syncing. So even if you log out of the iPad after you are done, your lessons will remain on the iPad. If you want to prevent them from showing for the next class, you could log out and delete the lessons off the iPad (after making sure they’ve uploaded to our site) and then the iPad would be clear for the next class.
At this point, we only sync lessons from the iPad to your account on our site, but not the other way around. So you will only see lessons on your iPad that you created on that iPad. We do plan to enable two-way syncing at some point down the road.
We don’t have a way to undo audio, or fix mistakes. This is something we’re also looking at adding.
Hope that helps!
Wow, thank you Chris! See, I said @Educreations was awesome at getting back to me on support. I am totally impressed!
This is a great app. Thanks for sharing your reflections.
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