It is very easy to find a list of recommended apps for general or subject specific use. However, one of the iPads greatest strengths is its ability to help personalise learning for all. The following ideas are only a snapshot of the potential of the iPad when addressing the needs of each student (soldier).
‘Quiet, obedient and consistent, the Soldier charges into every assignment and stops only once enough damage is done to get the desired grade. Soldiers don’t show off. Soldiers don’t ask questions. Soldiers don’t complain. Soldiers just get the job done.’
Trademark question: “What will we be graded on?”
iPad Tip: Create an audio-note using Soundcloud so they can review instructions. The educator can make suggestions for extension tasks. It also acts as an excellent prompt if the educator can see the soldier doesn’t want to collaborate.
The Heavy Weapons Guy
‘The Heavy Weapons Guy isn’t the swiftest. To compensate, he unleashes a near-aimless fusilade of effort in class, at home, in office hours, on the newsgroup, over email and with the TA. The trademark behavior of these students is doing everything the hard way. The Heavy Weapons Guy usually grinds his way to a solid C.’
iPad Tip: Ask the student to create a Popplet as a plan for the assignment. It is so easy to use they can have a plan to stick to within minutes. Ideas can also be added by group members or the educator.
‘Nothing can satiate the Demoman’s thirst for knowledge. The Demoman is the student that aces all the assignments, nukes all the tests and earns all the bonus points. The trademark manoeuvre of the Demoman is blasting the curve into orbit, leaving behind only the charred remains of his classmate’s grades.’
iPad Tip: Ask the student to create an iMovie of the topic with photos and video evidence. The video can act as a starter or plenary and prompts access to higher order thinking skills.
‘Snipers excel at acing tests, but are almost nonfunctional for any other task. Since they lie virtually motionless for most of the semester, they tend to surprise the crap out of the instructor when grading exams.’
iPad Tip: Have the Sniper contribute to a weekly blog that is published and promoted on twitter. The topic is always based on subject matter but can be produced using video as well as text.
‘The Medic answers questions for classmates in the classroom, on the forum and in person. Medics usually get their grades bumped up by half or even a whole grade. When a Medic attaches himself to a Heavy Weapons Guy, the instructor is often so grateful that the Medic earns an A.’
iPad Tip: Ask the Medic to produce an Explain Everything presentation to share with the class. They should use pictures, text and audio. This will allow others to contribute more to discussions within the group.
‘Engineers create infrastructure that makes labs and assignments easier. Having a couple Engineers in a class improves everyone’s grades. In computer science, the Engineer corrects bugs in assignment specifications, provides test cases, builds testing frameworks, and gives away helper scripts. Like the Medic, the exceptional Engineer often bumps his grade by a half or whole letter grade.’
iPad Tip: Stimulate the Engineer by asking them to become a Digital Leader. They help fellow classmates with iPad use and it encourages them to discover different ways of creating/curating information.
‘Not really prepared for (or interested in) a difficult course, the scout sits in on the first week of several classes, and drops anything that looks it might require more than showing up and staying awake. Scouts that fail to identify and drop a difficult course end up charging ahead to map out the territory at the bottom end of the curve for everyone else.’
Trademark question: “Do you expect students to work hard in this class?”
iPad Tip: Augmented reality presentation can be a focus for the Scout. Watch with pride as their creations are praised by fellow classmates. Bringing the ‘subject to life’ will be their mantra.
‘The Spy, of course, attempts to cheat their way through. The redeeming weakness of the Spy is that students too stupid to pass the class are usually too stupid to cheat without getting caught.’
Trademark statement: “Oh, I didn’t know that was considered cheating.”
iPad Tip: Use regular Socrative quizzes to track progress of the class, but in particular, the Spy. An excellent Assessment for Learning tool, Socrative allows the educator to ‘quiz’ the class and receive instant feedback.
‘The Pyro loves to flame the instructor, the class, the assignments, the tests, the textbook, his partner and pretty much anything that isn’t himself. Pyros can and will complain about everything. Pyros will challenge every point lost on an exam or assignment. The only redeeming quality of the Pyro is that their unyielding sense of injustice drives them to turn in any Spies they uncover.’
Trademark statement: “It’s not fair to grade me on that.”
iPad Tip: Challenge the Pyro to produce a Voicethread that classmates can contribute to. Appoint as leader and allow the work to prompt a discussion with the Pyro on their progress.
The tenth tip would be to allow students to experiment with the iPad to enhance learning. It is amazing how they come up with different methods to present their work. The educator does not necessarily need to be able to use all the applications – students are fast learners!!
I would be very interested to hear of other personalised learning tips with the iPad.
With a huge thank you to Matt Might for his excellent descriptions of classroom soldiers.