Recently, I had an e-mail from a follower asking for suggestions on websites and apps that could be used in a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) classroom. The teacher’s problem was that all of her students were working on different formats. She had some of her students on a Mac format – generally iPads, which don’t allow flash, but work great with apps, some of her students on Android tablets and Kindle Fires, which still don’t allow flash and don’t always have access to the same apps as iPads and then some of her students on regular old PC laptops, where they couldn’t get apps at all, but had access to lots of cool Flash based websites.
My suggestion to her was to get to know the resources out there. There are a few resources – like Edmodo, LiveBinders and Google Docs that work on all platforms. These resources are a good for projects where you want all of the students to create a nearly identical product or format – like Online Portfolios or published pieces from a Writing Journal.
For other resources, it takes time to build up knowledge of which apps and websites work on each different format. I suggest using Google Docs or a page on your class blog of to collect a list of great overall resources based on the three different formats. As you, your students and their parents find new websites or apps to meet the skills and content you are working on, add these links to this document that so that is available to entire class. In the spirit of collaboration, I have started my own collaborative Google Document with some of this information. Feel free to add to this document and/or share it with your students and co-workers.
For example, if you want students to use their device to work on math facts, you might want to use Flash to Pass on iPads, Timed Math Pro for Android devices and Mathmagician on laptops. All of these help students work on the same skill, in a similar format, but each works on a different type of device. If you want students to work on creating a video, iPad users could use Explain Everything, Android users could use Animation Desk, and PC users could use Powtoon.
Also, try to choose activities that already have differentiated technology built in – like my Internet Scavenger Hunts, which have Type On Versions, perfect for students who have a PC with Microsoft Word, Clickable Link PDF Versions, perfect for students with Androids, like the Kindle Fire, or PCs, that are not equipped with Microsoft Word or the ability to scan QR Codes and a QR Code Version for your iPad users who can easily download a QR Code App, but often have difficulty opening PDFs.
Do you have a technology in the classroom question that you’d like answered? E-mail me at hlraki (at) hotmail (dot) com and I will be happy to help you out!