Apple Teacher Program

Apple recently released the Apple Teacher program a self paced learning experience where you can earn virtual badges by displaying your knowledge of iPad, Mac and Swift Coding. Click on this link to find out more.  https://appleteacher.apple.com

Teachers can download fantastic iBooks filled with engaging multimedia and text through the iBooks Store. These iBooks will provide you with the knowledge required to earn your Apple Teacher badges as well as how to implement Apple technology better in your classroom including lesson ideas etc. The Apple Teacher iBooks are a great resource for teachers and school leaders who want to build their teachers digital technology capacity. This is a must for any schools with a 1:1 iPad or Mac program. Great self paced PD as well!!!

To find these iBooks search Apple Teacher in the iBooks Store. 

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To earn a Apple Teacher badge you must answer 4 out of 5 questions per category correctly. You can resit the quiz as many times as you like and the questions randomly change each time.

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Remember to document your time spent completing the Apple Teacher badges as PD for your

VIT registration.

Once you have completed all the badges you will be provided with the Apple Teacher logo which can be used as part of your email signature and "shown off" with great pride. 

Are You A Night Shifter?

What is Night Shift Mode?

Night Shift Mode was a released in IOS 9.3 and has escaped many including myself as a feature of some significance. Night Shift mode allows the user to adjust the screens brightness and colour temperature to cut down the amount of blue light emitted by your device.  

Blue Light

Blue light has direct links to some major health risks as mentioned below in the diagram. As educators it is important to make students and parents aware of these associated risks of exposure to blue light. Especially now that most schools are rolling out 1:1 devices the need to be educated about the effect of long periods of exposure to blue light should be a compliance all stakeholders are aware of and part of any school's 1:1 OH&S policy. 

On the Kelvin scale used to determine color temperature, an iPhone 6 display measures at about 7100K, while an iPad Air 2 display is slightly warmer at 6900K. On the lighting spectrum, 6900K and 7100K blue light levels are similar to the light you would see on a bright, cloudy day outdoors. Blue light is also harder on the eyes, especially in an indoor room that's lit with a dimmer yellow light.

Kelvin Scale

Kelvin Scale

Night Shift Devices

Night Shift is a feature in iOS 9.3, but as it turns out, it isn't a feature that's available on all of the devices able to run iOS 9. Night Shift requires a 64-bit processor, which encompasses the A7, A8, A8X, A9, and A9X. The iPhone 5s and later, the iPad mini 2 and later, the iPad Air and later, the sixth-generation iPod touch, and the iPad Pro can be used with Night Shift.

Night Shift can be scheduled to automatically turn on and off at what ever time you like including screen brightness. 

How to turn Night Shift Mode on.

How to turn Night Shift Mode on.

How to get Night Shift to automatically turn on each day. You can set the time and the brightness. 

How to get Night Shift to automatically turn on each day. You can set the time and the brightness. 

Best Coding Apps Primary School

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I often get asked what are the best apps for teaching students how to code in a 1:1 iPad environment. The following information is a guide to what I consider the best apps to teach students how to code in primary school.

YEARS F-2

FREE - App

FREE - App

BEE BOT

Bee Bots have been used by educators for quiet some time and they continue to be a great starting point for teaching students how to code. The Bee Bot app is no different I think it is a great beginner app and is suitable to be introduced at the jnr primary stages. Bee Bot is great for developing directional language and is supported with great resources. Bee Bot also have another app called Bee Bot Pyramid it has harder challenges and is a good progression from Bee Bot.


Free App

Free App

DAISY THE DINOSAUR

Daisy The Dinosaur is the next step from Beet Bot. The app has a free play mode and a challenged based game mode. Daisy The Dinosaur introduces students to sequencing and loops with drop and drag code blocks to animate Daisy. 


FREE APP

FREE APP

SCRATCH JNR

Scratch Jnr is one the great open ended coding apps available in the IOS market suitable for years F-2 however years 3-4 will also enjoy. Students learn to solve problems, design projects and express themselves creatively. Scratch Jnr is a great app to demonstrate students understating in literacy and numeracy through story telling.


YEARS 3-4

FREE - APP

FREE - APP

CODESPARK ACADEMY WITH - THE FOOS

The Foos crosses the boundary of being a really fun game that includes great computation thinking and problem solving. You can now create teacher, parent and student accounts to track progression and achievement. The Foos includes game based puzzles exploring the following fundamentals of coding; Sequencing, loops, events and conditionals. 


FREE - APP

FREE - APP

KODABLE

Kodable is a game based app to develop students knowledge of coding. Teachers can create classes and invite students to join via a unique code. Levels within Kodable provide experiences for students to learn about sequences, loops, functions, conditions, strings, instances. Students unlock levels of difficulty as they progress through the game. The Kodable website also has great teacher support materials and lesson ideas. I would suggest looking through online material before implementing this app in your classroom as it has some very good resources to introduce the app  and stimulate excitement around coding and the app itself. 


Free App

Free App

RUN MARCO

Run Marco is very similar to Kodable and covers a lot of the same principles of code. What separates this app from Kodable and Bee Bot  are that the challenges are slightly harder. Run Marco is also available in multiple languages making it a good choice for teachers with EAL (English as an Additional Language) Students. They will be able to participate in their native language.


$9.99

$9.99

TYNKER FOR SCHOOLS

Tynker For Schools is a flexible app for student to learn coding and suitable for all ages right up into secondary school age. Tynker For Schools has great coding games with walkthrough levels to build competence and difficulty. Once students are ready they can create and code their own projects including games, animations, art, music, story telling, physics games, apps, mod Minecraft, you can even program accessories such as Spheros and drones. In my opinion Tynker For Schools is an essential app for teachers wanting to implement coding into the curriculum. 

A free version of Tynker is also available however it doesn't have all the features and is limited. Tynker Free is a good starting point and you will be able to see the potential of this app and then invest in the school version at a later stage.

Tynker also has a free online browser supported version that is worth checking out if you don't have iPads. Teachers can create accounts and students sign up to join the teachers class. The free version is limited and a paid subscription is required to unlock all the course material and features. 


$14.99

$14.99

HOPSCOTCH FOR SCHOOLS

The next progression from Scratch Jnr when it comes to open ended coding apps. Let your students imagination and creativity go wild with  endless options and cross curricula possibilities. Hopscotch is one of the best apps available on IOS to demonstrate students computational thinking and coding skills. Students of any age will love this app.

There are two versions of Hopscotch a paid version called "Hopscotch For Schools" Which has all the features unlocked while "Hopscotch Free" has all the same coding features just not all the characters and objects available. 

Hopscotch For Schools also allows teachers to create a "crew" or classroom students can be invited to join via a unique code. Teachers will be able to view the projects of students who join their "crew". 


YEARS 5-6

Free App

Free App

TICKLE

Tickle is a great app for programming robots, drones and smart toys using a familiar drop and drag interface. I especially like to use the Tickle app for programming Spheros. Tickle is an app that would also be suitable for secondary age students.

However there is a feature not many use and that is the Orca. It is very similar to Hopscotch and provides great learning opportunities. It is definitely worth a look. 

The Tickle app also offers some online courses to assist teachers and students to learn how to program and how to get started. 


$4.49

$4.49

LIGHTBOT

Lightbot is a similar app to Run Marco & Kodable however the puzzles are more challenging. Lightbot includes all the same principals of coding including loops, procedures, sequencing and conditionals. There are over 50 levels and 20 challenges to complete. 

I also like that this app has the function to create multiple user accounts  on the same iPad. This makes is great for classrooms that share iPads.

Lightbot is also available in multiple languages making it a good choice for teachers with EAL (English as an Additional Language) Students. They will be able to participate in their native language.


Free App

Free App

CODE WARRIORS

Code Warriors has quickly become one of my favourite game based apps to learn coding. Students graduate through the ranks by completing challenges and demonstrating their capabilities. As students progress through the app so does the level of coding required.  Students learn gradually through playing the game with the final outcome being students writing code to execute their warriors battle plan.  This app is also suitable for students in secondary school years 7-9.


Free App

Free App

SWIFT PLAYGROUNDS

Swift Playgrounds was launched this year with Apples release of IOS 10. Swift is the language used to develop IOS apps and it at the core of how your iPad and iPhone operate. 

Swift playgrounds is the ultimate coding app available to students on their iPad. The Swift Playground community are providing excellent resources to support teachers and students learn how to code in Swift. I have been extremely impressed with this app and the endless possibilities it provides students, they will be creating engaging games and apps that will leave you awe struck!

Swift Playgrounds has a variety of tutorials from beginner to advanced which will assist your implementation of Swift coding into the digitech curriculum. Check out my blog post about the launch of Swift Playgrounds including the keynote of its world wide release. 

Please note Swift Playgrounds is only available on IOS 10 and iPad Air's and iPad mini 2 upwards.