I got an iPad this year and am unsure now how I ever lived without it. I wasn't sure that I needed it because I already had a computer, smartphone and an iPod touch but it is just so much more convenient than using any of those. So towards the end of the year I started to use the iPad in school and tried to figure out ways I could use it.
My goal for this year is to start using the app TeacherKit. I played around with a little last year (it was called TeacherPal then) but didn't really take advantage of what it had to offer. This year I want to start off the year using it because I think it has the possibility to make my life a lot easier and help me in a few of the areas I'd like to focus on improving in. So my intent is not to sound like an advertisement, but my hope is that if I talk about all the things it can do here, it here it'll force me to really use it as much as I want to. And if anyone else has an iPad maybe it can help make your life easier too.
I started tonight by setting up all my classes. My classes are pretty small so it's wasn't too difficult to enter them myself. In a larger class though I would have the kids take turns entering their own info.
How cute is this the main screen? I love it.
A weakness of mine is learning names. It takes me forever. With this app, I can create a seating chart that includes the student's picture. For now I used their school picture that was in the computer already, but I may give them the option to take a new one. Since I put all of them in today I have actually already started to learn them and I won't even meet them for two more weeks!
I think that I'm going to also use this app instead of the info cards that I've used before. I can have kids enter their e-mail address, their parent's e-mail address & phone number into the app so I can just pull it up when needed. What's also cool is that this is totally customizable, I can choose what info I want to ask them. I'll probably include things like what school they went to last year and a couple other random things.
Once I have that info in there I can use it to get in touch with someone if needed, but what's cooler is that the app can send out mass e-mails to all students or all parents. At the beginning of the year when I send home the course guide to be signed I plan to have parents opt in or out of the e-mail list. Since it uses the mail app, as long as I link my school e-mail to my iPad the e-mail will be coming from my school e-mail address which is good.
I also want to use this to take attendance. Kids can only have a certain number of absences and lates before there are consequences so I need to make sure to take careful attendance. With this app, I can set up my seating charts (that will include their photo instead of the cartoon) and then just take attendance by tapping the empty seats. What might be the best part is that I can easily track absences because each kid will have a notification by them with the number of times they've missed my class. Also really cool is that the absence codes are customizable, so you could also include late or things like the nurse in addition to just present/absent.
This app can also track behaviors, both good and bad. I like this, but I'm not quite sure that I'll use it yet. I'm trying to focus on one thing at a time. For now, it's easier for me to write that stuff down in my student record binder, but we'll see. Oh and there's a gradebook. We use an online gradebook program though so I won't be using the gradebook aspect at all, but it really seems like the app has a lot that it can do.
It's also free which is awesome. Completely free, not like a lite version where you will eventually need to buy the full one. I think this would be awesome to bring into a parent meeting. Instead of having to print out a bunch of stuff it would all be in there ready to pull up. I think that good record keeping makes meetings go really smoothly. Parents love details, they want to know exactly what is happening and I think this is a good way for me to do that.
Does anyone use this app by any chance? I would love to hear about how you like it.