The teacher's toolkit

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Teachers today work in a full capacity, and keeping up with technology can feel like an extra burden. But if you are an educator who is interested in engaging creatively with students, learning your way around a few of the best available tools can be worth your time. These ‘S’cool Tools’ will definitely save you the hassle of day-to-day challenges and make your job more interesting.

Dennis GriceDennis Grice, Digital Literacy Coach at Concordia International School, Shangai has made great use of these best little known apps. Here, he shares just two examples, but don’t miss the chance to catch him live in action at EduTECH Asia where he’ll be taking you through many other tools that you may have never heard of.


Capture your moment

There is beauty in simplicity.  I appreciate those little tools that do one thing, do it well, and don’t try to be anything else.  Did you know that hidden in your Apps folder on your Mac is a little app called Image Capture?

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What does it do? It takes pictures or videos from a device (camera, iPad, iPhone) and lets you import them to your Mac and save them wherever you want.

That’s it.

When do I use it?  When I want to take a few images or video that I shot on my school iPad and copy them to my desktop or a folder on my Mac.  I DO NOT want to add these images or videos to my photo library.  I DO NOT want to sync the iPad or back it up.  I DO NOT want to copy everything.  I just want the pictures and videos I want, where I want them.  Image capture does just that.

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Sharing Digital Kits

As many of you know, Digital Storytelling (or rather, Storytelling with Digital Tools) is one of my passions and is a great way for students to reflect on their learning.  Getting the photos you want in the hands of students can be a challenge.

The Wrong Way

Don’t send students to Google and tell them to find pictures.

The Right Way

Provide your students with collections of images to use for their project.  These are often referred to as Digital Kits.


Our third grade students took a field trip to the museum.  During the trip, teachers, students, and chaperones took photos.  When the class returned, the photos were collected and the best ones were uploaded to a folder in the teacher’s Dropbox account.

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Here’s where the magic happens.  From Dropbox, you can right-click and get a link to that folder containing all your images.  THEN you can turn that link into a QR Code using a simple tool like  Print that QR Code and let students scan it with their iPads.  They now have access to all the images in that folder.

Students were then told to find and save 6 images that they wanted to use to tell their story about their trip to the museum.  Once those images were saved to the camera roll on the iPad, they could use iMovie, 30 Hands, or other storytelling tools to create their story.

Another Example

Second grade teachers took photos of a science experiment performed in class.  They captured the setup, the experiment itself, and the end results.  Those photos were put in a Dropbox folder and shared with students using a QR Code.

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Students then scanned the code, saved the pictures to the camera roll, and then used those pictures to create a story of their experiment using the 30 Hands app.   They needed to arrange the photos in sequence and record their voice explaining how they set up the experiment, what happened, and what they learned as a result.  Listening to these “video lab reports” teachers were able to get a clear indication of student understanding.

Technical Stuff

Don’t use dropbox?  You can use, Google Drive, or another app.  The key is to use something that lets you upload a collection of photos and share them with a link that can be turned into a QR Code.

We also found that many QR Code scanner apps for the iPad use their own built in browsers to open web links.  I found it helpful to go to the settings on these apps and change the default so it automatically opens links in Safari.  This makes it easier for students to save images by just tapping and holding on an image until the “SAVE IMAGE” option pops up.

Dennis together with his colleague Chris Carter will facilitate the ‘Ed-Tech In Action Workshop’ at EduTECH Asia.

Discover technology-infused lessons and activities that will not only help students meet learning goals, but also enable them to express their creativity, innovation, and critical thinking. Be sure to bring your ideas as well for a rapid-fire tool-sharing activity that they affectionately called “EdTech Speed Dating!

See you there!

Make sure you book before 15th July to take a advantage of the best price – SGD305 per person! This is a whopping 50% off the final price!


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