The iPad and Your Soldiers (Top 10 Tips for Personalised Learning)

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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 followi…

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1:1 iPad Immersion For K-2


I just finished my first training for my school district on Thursday.  Marianna Husain and I tried to create a starting point for our teachers going 1:1 iPads this year.  It can be very overwhelming for teachers to start the year, and know that by September 30 that their students will all have an iPad.  We tried to ease them in gently.  Below are the links to the apps we introduced and had them create with.  I would appreciate any feedback on the list, or suggestions on other items we could have introduced.

We tried to be very transparent with what we were doing.  An introduction video of what a 1:1 iPad class looked like in our district last year was viewed.  We then shared our philosophy of keeping it simple, letting students explore, and slowly building a repertoire of apps over the first part of the year.  The final step was sharing the apps over the rest of the day.  We would share a student sample, demo the app features on the screen for all to see, then give them an assignment to create their own project.  We ended with an appy hour where all groups came up and shared an app.

List of Apps Shared for K-2 iPad Immersion

iMovie Trailers:  We started with iMovie trailers because they work for both students and teachers.  They are also incredibly fun to create, and look polished when you are finished.  Marianna had a great sample of a trailer second graders had made to sell friendship bracelets at her school.

Skitch:  Skitch is easily one of my favorite apps to use with students.  I have so many samples to choose from.  I also used samples that I got from @matt_gomez.  He left some nice slides on my iPad from when we presented together at iPadpalooza in June. A simple annotating app from Evernote, click the link and get Skitch…you can thank me later.

Snapguide:  Snapguide is a very simple app to use.  Create how to guides/books that are simple to export and share. You can add pictures/video and put 200 characters underneath per page.  My fourth graders created one on how to do lattice multiplication last year.  But you can check out the full span of our Snapguides right here.

Audioboo:  Marianna and I thought that we had featured some apps that highlighted the features of the iPad camera.  We also wanted to feature the iPad as a voice recorder.  I find Audioboo works very nicely for what students need in the classroom.  I also like to take advice from professionals, and Wes Fryer likes Audioboo.  That is all the recommendation I need.  We had teachers record an introduction of themselves and then used QR Stuff to create a QR code that linked to their recording to put outside their classroom.

i-nigma and Qrafter:  The last item was QR codes.  I get asked all the time which QR code reader is my favorite.  I think i-nigma is simple, quick, and free.  A bonus is that Tony Vincent has told me that he likes that reader.  Similar to the Wes Fryer comment above, always defer to the experts.  Tony is THE expert on mobile devices.

We then finished with our appy hour.  Our teachers are good, they found a few that I hadn’t heard of.  Here are their finds:

Word Wizard

Handwriting Without Tears

Spelling: Squeebles Words

Addition + Multiplication Number Bubbles

Arithmetic Invaders Express

I would appreciate any comments and/or feedback.  There are many of us going into the great unknown of having iPads in the classroom this year.  We need to stick together and share as many resources, successes, and failures as possible.  I know that I will.  Please follow me on Twitter if you don’t already.  Here is my online resume if you would like me to present to your school district or at a local conference:

iPadsammy –  Jon Samuelson   Page 9 has recent conferences presented at, and page 11 has many great resources and links that I curate.  Have a very APPY school year!!!

Memory Lane



There are so many things I love about technology.  If you know me, this is obvious.  Today I was breezing through my daily emails, as per my daily routine, when something hit me.  It was an email I signed up for to use with my fourth graders called Finding Dulcinea.  Normally over the summer I give it a quick glance and trash it.  The site gives you important things that happened on this day in history.  Some of them are lame, some of them are great conversation starters with your students.  Today they told the story from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and the bombing in Centennial Park.  I remember this very well, it was the day I finally moved away from Chicago for good.  I pulled in to my friend’s house in Las Vegas, home of my new teaching job, and watched the coverage.  We all couldn’t believe that this could happen in the United States.  I think that these types of emails can really help put things into perspective.  If you want one that delivers on a personal and social networking level, Memolane is great for telling you what you posted on Facebook and Twitter a few years ago. So I thought I would reflect a little on my teaching career and what the sixteen years have brought me.

1996- I started teaching a fourth grade with 37 students.  It was a year round school, and I learned how different teaching in Las Vegas was than teaching in Chicago.  I remember being very excited that there was going to be a computer lab with…..(gasp) internet service available soon.  We talked about buying Reader Rabbit floppy discs in the meantime.

1998- Hands down my worst year of teaching.  Switched schools and taught in North Las Vegas.  The reason you don’t hear to much about North Las Vegas is….because they don’t want you to know it’s there.  Used a program reading program called Success For All.  I had fifth grade resource students in with first and second graders to read on THEIR level.  The fifth graders found being in a class with little kids….degrading and acted out to set them off constantly. 

1999- Redemption!!  I was so ticked that my principal told me I would be moving with my class from second to third grade.  I had just almost quit with these kids the year before.  We now knew each other, I was shocked at well we did.  I also took a class in Positive Classroom Discipline at the end of the school year, which was a lifesaver.  I now had control. 

2000- My life changer….I opened a school in North Las Vegas.  I saw everything that went in to building from the ground up.  Our staff was tight, and focused.  It was a lot of fun that year.  A young teacher caught my eye that year…she would be the future Ms. Samuelson, but for now she was just Ms. Owens.

2003-2007- The Alaska Years.  Marnie and I decided to get out of Las Vegas and head to Anchorage, Alaska.  We worked there for four years.  Marnie worked at a different school every year, and I worked at a school called Willow Crest, but they changed my grade level every year on Labor Day.  I rolled with the punches and learned how to teach split grade level classes.  I even had a student, THREE YEARS IN A ROW.  I wonder where Jeff is now…he was an awesome kid.  Coached basketball and had some terrific athletes.  One of my fifth graders, Ronnie Baker, has been a Gatorade Kentucky Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year for the last two years. 

2007-and beyond – Finally finding a place to settle in Austin, Texas has been a blessing.  We will be a family of six as we start my seventeenth year of teaching.  I will also be able to teach to my true passion which is helping students and teachers use technology.  I am looking forward the challenge.

Take time every now and then to read your email.  A trip down memory lane may be waiting for you.  I am truly thankful for all the experiences good and bad.