10 apps that can enhance your lessons through UDL

This post is for a current course I’m taking for my Ed.D. program. So if it seems slightly more structured or a bit out of the ordinary, that is why.

Videolicious and Flexible Methods of Expression and Apprenticeship

Videolicious Collage
About the App: Videolicious is a video creation app that allows users to create videos using pictures and videos stored on the iPad. Then the user records their voice as they narrate the video. Music can also be added to the video. The video can be shared and saved to a variety of services, such as YouTube, Facebook, etc.

UDL Connection:As I look at how this app can be used to enable students multiple flexible methods of expression, I think about how the app allows the use of the images on the iPad and the voice of the student. I could imagine a lesson where a teacher looks to students to demonstrate some form of competency, say how to solve a problem. As the student solves the problem and begins thinking about how he or she could demonstrate that competency, he or she could either take pictures of how the problem was solved and then narrate it, or perhaps act out the way the problem was solved. This is taken a step further when a student uses or doesn’t use their voice to explain the process they went through, since using voice over is optional in this app.

iMovie and Flexible Methods of Presentation


About the App: iMovie is a great app for creating videos. While similar to Videolicious, iMovie has more functionality, such as the ability to add text to your video, which is why it is a great option for having flexible methods of presentation. Other features include access to the pictures and videos on the iPad, as well as the ability to record/capture new videos and images, addition of voice overs, and the capacity to rearrange images and clips into any order you’d like, which is a little cumbersome in an app like Videolicious. The video can be shared and saved to a variety of services, such as YouTube, Facebook, etc.

UDL Connection: The connection to UDL in this app is through the ability of a teacher or student to create a presentation through a number of different methods. For example, one way this app could be used is a student as part of a project needs to tell a story, say about the effect of pollution on the environment. The student could complete the presentation in a number of different ways using this app. A couple possibilities would be to take images of pollution in the local neighborhood and create a simple video with text explaining the effect that pollution is having on the surrounding area. Another possibility would be to use pictures saved from the Internet and narrate throughout the movie the different effects different types of pollution has on the environment. Yet another option would be to record live video about how to prevent pollution, such as through recycling. While the medium of the presentation is ultimately a video, the different ways the viewer interacts with the video can meet the needs of all learners through the use of video, audio, and text.

Skitch and Flexible Methods of Expression and Apprenticeship


About the App: Skitch is a drawing based app, but allows students to do much more. The features of this app include drawing with various colors and point sizes, drawing over objects such as pictures, text editing, and use of shapes. The app saves the image to the camera role, which can then be shared with other services.

UDL Connection: The key to this app being able to allow for multiple methods of expression lie with the ability to use images and being able to annotate over the top via drawings/handwritten notes, text, arrows, or other shapes. This compared with the ability to annotate on a blank canvas provide the multiple ways of expression. For many learners, annotating over a picture can help them demonstrate their knowledge easier, which some students are able to simple write, type, or draw on a blank canvas and have success. An Example of this in the classroom would be when students are learning how to plot curves on an xy intercept. Some students may find a graph paper image, while others may create their own using the arrows. Simple but effective.

Evernote and Flexible Methods of Expression and Apprenticeship


About the App: This app is primarily a note taking app, but it has the potential to change the way students are able to express themselves. The features of this app include the ability to type text, take pictures and save them to notes, create multiple notebooks, create audio notes, create audio notes with written text script, and the ability to share.

UDL Connection: This app really can create multiple methods for expression, because of the ability to do different types of notes. Through the use of one or more of the different types of notes, students can express their knowledge in a variety of ways, which means they are able to express themselves in the way that best meets their needs. For example, a student could save a series of pictures that show how they solved a problem, such as how to do long division. At the same time, another student could record themselves explaining the process they went through to solve the problem and include a picture of their work.

Twitter and Flexible Options for Engagement


About the App:Twitter is a social networking app that connects people together. The Twitter app’s features include the ability to share links, pictures, and videos in 140 characters or less. The app allows users access to all of their Twitter lists, searches, and other content on their Twitter profile.

UDL Connection: The connection to UDL here is with the variety of ways students can interact with other people through the pictures, videos, links, text, etc that users share with one another. Twitter, while a text stream in the most basic sense, can be much more when users post links to other content, links to videos, pictures, audio files, etc. For example, if a high school history student was interacting with a UNI professor over Twitter about the experience of sailors during WWII, the UNI professor could send the student links to primary sources, such as journals, official reports, video of veterans reflecting on their experiences during a depth charge attack. The list goes on. So by the virtue of being able to share content in a variety of ways, students are then enabled to interact in more flexible ways as they interact with others in the world. Simply ask and you may receive.

Facebook and Flexible Options for Engagement


About the App: The Facebook app is much like the Twitter app in that you can access all your content on Facebook through the app. Specific features include the ability to post content through text, images, and video. Users also have access to other users via instant messaging. Users receive notification when others interact with them. Users also have access to a multitude of content via apps, pages, and groups.

UDL Connection: Again, the connection to UDL is with the ability to interact with others in multiple ways. Here, however, students have the addition of instant messaging which isn’t entirely present in Twitter (although an argument could be made to the contrary). What makes Facebook different is the way students interact with the content, such as the use of groups and pages. For example, if I was teaching a US history course, I’d likely have a Facebook page for the wall where the students and I could share content and other information about what we are learning, how it connects to the real world, and have a place to ask questions. The content is grouped so as students come to the page, all the content about our topic would be in somewhat the same location on the wall, which means students have a number of different options to learn about the content with the freedom to choose the best option. This is all contingent upon developing a community that is willing to help curate that content in the course.

Prezi Viewer and Flexible Methods for Presentation


About the App: Prezi Viewer is an app where users can view or create presentations using the Prezi platform. In Prezi, users can upload documents, videos, audio files, images, and enter text. The presentation comes with the way the content is organized using the app. Presentations are linear if the number order system is used. However, they can be non-linear if the user does not use the number order system and just navigates to the areas of the presentation as needed.

UDL Connection: The UDL connection here is that this app allows student the freedom to create presentations in any way they feel is best for their learning needs. Students aren’t really limited in the kinds of media they can use to represent their knowledge. For example, a student could advocate for a change in local laws regarding youth curfews as part of a Government course using this app. The student could use a variety of images, videos, text, etc. to make his or her argument. However, another student making the same argument could stick primarily to text and image based content and make an equally as effective argument.

VoiceThread and Flexible Methods of Expression and Apprenticeship


About the App: VoiceThread is an app that allows users to communicate asynhronously with one another through the use of pictures and comments (text, audio, and video). Users can add multiple comments and pictures and can share those with others who in turn can add multiple comments and pictures. VoiceThreads can be shared with others and have the privacy settings restricted.

UDL Connection: The connection to UDL here is that students can express themselves through a variety of mediums, which is clearly seen if one searches the public VoiceThreads. For example, a class could create a VoiceThread around their American dream and each student could contribute a comment in any format and a picture that visualizes their American dream. In addition, the students could go into deeper inquiry with one another by commenting back to the original poster(s) of a comment.

Skype and Flexible Options for Engagement

Skype 2

About the App: This app is a audio/video conferencing and instant messaging app. Users can voice call, video call, or text message another Skype user. Users can also pay to call regular phone numbers at so much a minute.

UDL Connection: This app connects well with multiple options for engagement, because students are able to connect with others in a number of different ways. For example, say students in an industrial technology course were engaged in an engineering project and have a connection with a local engineer firm in their city who has offered to work one-to-one with students throughout the project. As students progress through the project the students regularly contact their engineer buddy through Skype using either a voice or video call or through a text message. The method they use depends on the type of question they have. Many times, students might just need to ask a quick question about a material and others they may need to show their engineer buddy their progress so they can identify why their machine doesn’t work. Yet again, the student may not understand a concept and the engineer offers to walk the student through the process in an audio call. At the end of the day, there are options for students and the users they are connecting with to make this app UDL friendly.

Screen Chomp and Flexible Methods of Expression and Apprenticeship

ScreenChomp About the App: This app allows users to demonstrate their knowledge by annotating on a white canvas or over the top of an image. While similar to Skitch, this app allows users to record their voice as they work through a problem or express a though. This app has some sharing features.

UDL Connection: The connection to UDL is with the different ways students can demonstrate their knowledge. For example, students could simply write their solution to bullying problems faced by a school or they could write a few talking points out and then go into more depth by recording their reflection of the bullying problems in the school and how they could be solved.

**BONUS: I thought I’d add a bonus UDL iPad feature because I think it can be very useful in helping student consume content in a more flexible way. On the iPad there are assistive technology options from zooming to screen reading. The feature I like the screen reader function. Once this is activated, all a user needs to do is highlight a section of text and touch speak. Then the iPad will read aloud the highlighted text.  This could be very helpful when students need to listen to someone else say what they’ve written. While the voice may not be the best, it does help identify poorly structured sentences.


iPad Literacy

Paper Weight iPad

A colleague of mine emailed me a link to this article and I thought it was very interesting in the approach the author took when developing knowledge about the iPad.  The author clearly articulates the frustration many have with the iPad as not being a computer, making it difficult for many people to find a meaningful use for the device.  She reference iPad Fluency and Literacy in her discussion, which makes a lot of sense given the high paced, multi-literacy world we live.  Traditionally, literacy was pretty straightforward and only meant one thing.  Now, literacy is very dynamic with multiple meanings depending on the context it is used.

Here is a link to the article.  It’s a great read with ten useful apps that may assist you as you develop your iPad Literacy.  Enjoy!

I wanted to share with you an article about becoming fluent on the iPad.  It seems as we as a society become more advanced in a variety of ways, new literacies are created that require us to re-think how we interact within the world we live.  The iPad, to an extent, has done this as well.  Many people, including myself at one point, found the concept of the iPad difficult to comprehend.  It’s not a laptop and not a phone, so what does it do?  This article does a great job of explaining how an iPad can function as a meaningful TOOL rather than as simply a toy or paper weight.  This article also has a list of apps that may help you develop an iPad literacy.  If you see an app you like, download it.  If the app costs money, let us know and we will pay for it out of TQP.