One such tech-based blank slate is Educreations Interactive Whiteboard. I have been working with a small private school on integrating iPads in their curriculum, and we chose this app as one to start with. Teachers are often tempted to use only apps that are filled with content; these engage students, for sure, but I am a big fan of working with students in a process to create, using the classroom content as a context. This process tends involves more planning, collaboration, and of course, language than does the use of content-based apps (which of course can be leveraged in their own way). Recently I made a short(ish) tutorial on Educreations that I thought I would share here:
Educreations is one in a genre that includes the free ShowMe and Screenchomp, and also paid apps such as Explain Everything and Doodlecast Pro. The tutorial above also includes a view of Flickr Creative Commons and how to save photos from that resource, which is important to consider in using Educreations. Though you CAN just save Google Images and use them in an Educreations project, because this app saves to the web, you SHOUD NOT due to copyright issues (that process is OK to use if the saved photo will stay on your iPad for instructional purposes and not be republished to the web). If you save photos from Flickr Creative Commons, a process that just involves a few extra taps and a statement of where the images came from (see this link for a step-by-step), you are following copyright guidelines. Of course you can skirt all that by using your own drawings and images, or using one of the paid apps in this genre, such as Explain Everything or Doodlecast Pro, that allow you to save to the Camera Roll rather than the web.
So, what can you do with this kind of app?
- Take any curriculum topic and break it down in simpler language. If having students do the creation, use an expository text structure-based graphic organizer such as those in Mindwing Concepts' Thememaker Program. Part of the process can include developing written language by writing a printed script to be used in the video.
- Record articulation or other speech production intervention sentences, using the audio for feedback to the student (and parents).
- Illustrate social concepts through Comic Strip Conversations (Carol Gray). Tara Roehl wrote a great post on how she uses Educreations for social instruction.
- Use a storyboard to develop executive function and help students plan, Sarah Ward-style, "What it's going to look like when it's done."
- Tell stories through sketches to develop narrative.
- Creatively speaking, go to town! This example of an Educreations video was a classroom's Hercule Poirot-style wrap-up of a "class mystery," using vocabulary about observation, with fewer people sitting about drinking in a drawing room and hoping they aren't pegged as the culprit.
What other ways have you used Educreations? Let us know in the comments.