Smarter phone! Teaching maths from an iPhone
“I use a small collection of apps on my iPhone to control various elements of my lessons when I’m teaching maths, always with the purpose of improving the levels of engagement of my pupils.”
North Shore Academy in Stockton on Tees uses Magellan for its staff, students and partner organisations, and you can see how well Magellan works for them in this video “Transforming education through ICT: North Shore Academy” We interviewed Chris Corcoran, Leader in Learning – Maths and Numeracy, in making the video and were so impressed by his innovative use of ICT to teach maths that we asked him to tell us more. You can read his blog post here…
I’ve been lucky enough to work in a school that has excellent technology. We have Wi-Fi throughout, are fully equipped with Macs and MacBooks and have a few class sets of iPod touches for the pupils to use to improve their study skills. Having all of this technology has revolutionized my teaching and has given me unprecedented levels of control and fluidity in the classroom.
The two most useful apps
The two most useful apps I have at my disposal for use in the classroom are extremely simple. Remote Mouse (http://www.remotemouse.net) turns my iPhone into exactly that. A track pad, with full mouse and keyboard functionality allows me to interact with my whiteboard, scroll through PowerPoint presentations, play embedded videos and generally use my computer as I would as if sat at the desktop. There is also, for the iOS version, a remote imager viewer which allows you to preview images on your phone display. I can use this app to completely deliver my lessons from anywhere in the school. Combining this with Impero (https://www.imperosoftware.co.uk) I can control several whiteboards at once, and present to entire year groups. (Impero also has an app which I have on my iPhone for lessons where pupils are using computers. The Impero app allows me to monitor and interact with pupils’ computers to ensure that they are staying on task and to help out if the struggle becomes too great.)
Library at my fingertips
I also use the built in Remote app for the iPhone to control music from the MacBook. I have my entire library available in iTunes and can access all of this from the app. This is useful in different ways. Firstly, I can set up playlists for certain types of activities; easy listening and classical music for calm, independent activities and faster, more upbeat music for pacier activities. I have also used this app as a behaviour management tool. Because I can choose which parts of my music library pupils can view, I can offer the choosing of a song as a reward for completing an activity or giving a particularly good explanation of a concept.
Magellan permanently loaded
In addition to the classroom, I have begun to use my phone to contribute to my wider school responsibility. Magellan from CSE (http://cse-magellan.co.uk) is permanently loaded on my iPhone and iPad, and is invaluable when I am out of school. I can use the file access function to load up any of my lessons that are store centrally on the school servers, regardless of where I am. I can then use Air Server (http://www.airserver.com) to stream to my MacBook or another PC and present the lesson whilst out and about. I have also used this to deliver presentations on initiatives that I have been using in my own school to people in other schools and organisations.
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