‘An App a Day: Mark 2′ Online Forum – Day 6 – Finding Your Way Toolbox

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Welcome to Day 6 of the ALIA Schools Online Forum An app a day: Mark 2.

Day 6: Finding Your Way Toolbox

Today we are focusing on apps that can assist students with finding things out.

  • Please take some time to consider any ‘finding’ related apps that your school uses then reflect on how the app is used, what works well and perhaps what does not work well when using the app
  • You are then invited to comment here to share your experiences with other participants

Our moderator will check in throughout the day to approve comments.

We look forward to hearing from people across Australia and thank you for taking the time to participate and share your knowledge.

Image: CC Fickr by dougbelshaw


10 thoughts on “‘An App a Day: Mark 2′ Online Forum – Day 6 – Finding Your Way Toolbox

  1. The ‘finding out’ app that has taken our school by storm is Pinterest. It is used alot across all of our year levels. Our students have really taken to it and many use it as a starting point to gather images and ideas when brainstorming or beginning a new topic. I first started using it last year with two Year 7 History classes. Students were assigned an ancient civilisation and then used the app to gather images of their topic. It sparked such interest and lot of discussion among the girls. Then as they further investigated a particular aspect of their ancient civilisation, they became more selective with the pins they choose. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work but was blown away by the keen interest.

    Our eLearning Coordinator was instrumental in promoting this app so, she has been very happy with how it has taken off. We are now exploring the use of QR codes and we hoping that this app will also be recieved well by students and staff.

  2. We use QR codes on posters around the library and in the classroom to take students to to exact location in the school portal where the research guide or extended reading list is located. Sometimes clicking through all the menus to get to information stops students from going where we want them to go (In Google terms that could be called the “first page” syndrome). QR codes help them to drill to the place easily.
    You need to be careful which QR code generator you use though – some of the free ones are driven by advertising which sometimes takes people to places we don’t want them to go!

  3. One of the biggest problems in this world of information is how to organise it all. I often feel there is simply too much out there! Apps that assist are critical to help you save time and basically do the grunt work for you. I like Pinterest because I can sort information quickly and also because the infographics often encapsulate ideas so well visually. They can be great as topic summaries. There are also a lot of how to hints available. As Anne has said It is a great way to share and organise information.

    To manage the plethora of news I use FLIPBOARD and ZITE, both a great way to have the news organised according to your interest. I can see both being used in the classroom particularly for current issues as a way of collecting information and images, and as a way of students organising articles around research topics. Flipboard prompts me to listen to TED talks which I can miss in a busy programme.

    To be completely overwhelmed with choice have a look at this site which I have just discovered and not yet had a chance to really explore.

    And if you are investigating QR Codes have a look at Kathy Schrock’s site. She always has great ideas. I have seen QR codes being used as a link to reviews and comments on fiction books. Could be used very effectively to hook students in to reading esp if they were creating the codes.
    Which generators do you recommend Catherine?

  4. Probably the best way to find anything out is to use YouTube. Currently it is blocked at school for students, but this will likely be changed in 2015. Although the quality of some videos can vary, there are generally so many alternatives that the answer is there. The appeal to the visual makes it really popular too.

      • Hopefully this rubs off on our decision makers – the signs are good! This is what we want to do too. Making the ‘how to’ videos is great, but they need to be easily accessible and in a form the students will use. Hopefully next year we will have a school youtube channel, well populated with videos for students and parents!!!

  5. Pinterest is a great finding tool. The challenge at our school is that it is blocked for students, although it is available for teacher use. We are about to do some investigation into the best use of QR codes in our library so I was interested in Catherine’s comments about their use. Prismatic works really well on iPhone for news aggregation as it includes news items, related tweets etc to give a global perspective on one screen. The downside is that as far as I can see it will only work on an iPhone, so limits who can use it.

  6. At the end of last year I attended a Library Officer Forum where one of the topics was QR codes and how to use them in the school library. I returned to work full of enthusiasm and created QR codes linking to book reviews, author interviews and film trailers. I had ideas of bookmarks and QR code treasure hunts but as we are not a 1:1 iPad (or other handheld device) school the QR codes I created could only be scanned if a class came in with one of the school’s two class sets of iPads or if I managed to book a couple for the library. I excitedly told any teacher that showed a bit of interest about how QR codes can be used in the classroom and how they can turn an ordinary “boring” exercise into a new experience. With the limited access to iPads, my motivation dwindled and I have not used this app since Term 2. After attending this online forum my enthusiasm is renewed and I will promote the use of QR codes for use both in the library and the classroom. Thank you for all the amazing information shared here.

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