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Apple tools: The head-fake method for student engagement

By Team ISTE
April 9, 2015
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They're officially called Apple Creativity Apps. Unofficially, they are a suite of five tools included with all Apple computers and tablets that educators can leverage to build engaging learning experiences.

The beauty of the tools — Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie and GarageBand — is that they allow educators and students to create content, publish it and share it with others. You can use them to find robust ways to meet the Common Core and ISTE Standards via content creation and storytelling — two traits that appeal to students' craving for creativity and engagement.

You can also get fancier and expand the journey by adding iBooks Author and iTunes U to your repertoire.

" "Apple tools are a way to guide kids through an experience of learning rather than using the rote way textbooks provide. They provide a way to differentiate learning and create engaging content for students," " says Christine DiPaulo, instructional tech educator for String Theory Schools in Philadelphia.

For educators who get that queasy feeling in their stomachs at the thought of trying the tools, DiPaulo advises, " "Move toward the fear." "

Get started by selecting one of the tools and implementing it for a clear purpose or project. Keynote, Apple's presentation tool, is a good place to begin, but all the tools are pretty intuitive.

Here are several projects to help you and your students quell that anxious feeling and use Apple tools to create content:

Keynote. Create a lesson to talk about how the language of math is connected to everyday language. Then give students 25 math words to tell a story. Have them incorporate the words from their stories into a word cloud app, print the images and post throughout the room. Students can look at the word clouds and guess what each story is about.

Pages. In advance of a class field trip to a museum, have students use Pages to create a flier or poster about the museum. It's a head-fake way to get them engaged while they learn standards-based skills.

iMovie. With that same field trip on the horizon, ask students to use iMovie's trailer feature to create a one-minute promotional video about what the trip is about and what they expect to learn.

GarageBand. Cement students' memory of multiplication tables by having them use GarageBand to create a rap or beat-box song that includes math facts. It's a great way to differentiate learning for students who are having a hard time with memorization.

iBook Author. Create grade-appropriate books that act like mini-textbooks on specific topics tied to curriculum with iBook Author. You can cover topics like the human heart, bacteria or even World Cup soccer and share the books with students.

Double down on the learning by having secondary students create books on challenging topics for younger students. For example, have high school students create a book that explains the principles of geometry to third graders.

iTunes U. Use iTunes U to share the projects, lessons and materials you've created with the other Apple tools. With this app, teachers can create and manage entire courses, and students can experience all of the content. Content from other schools and leading universities is also available on iTunes U through a digital catalog of free education content.

DiPaulo will go deeper into using Apple tools in the classroom during her ISTE Learning Academy session, iTools for Educators, at ISTE 2015. This event is a daylong workshop prior to the start of the conference on Sunday, June 28. Preregistration and additional fees are required.