Our first graders love reading and writing. We spend a large part of time reading and writing everyday. Our classroom culture is based on the belief of student centric and student created content. As a class, we write and publish frequently. We write for a variety of purposes: personal stories, informational text, realistic fiction, reviews, the list goes on and on. As a first grade team, when we were looking at app to add to our 1:1 program, we wanted to ensure our apps aligned not only to Common Core State Standards but that they also aligned with our classroom culture of writing and reading for a variety of purposes. We wanted an app that was easy to use and was easily adapted across content areas. Most importantly, we wanted apps that are creation based and allow students to share their learning in an unique manner. Our search led us to two apps we decided to adopt: BookCreator and Educreations. Both apps offer slightly different benefits and we felt that both would be well utilized in our 1:1 program.
Educreations was the first app we adopted and worked heavily with. We selected this app for a few reasons. Educreations is a free or very low cost app, if you choose to upgrade to the pro account. It is very easy for students to write, draw, upload pictures into and narrate over. In this video, the student was working on learning the names of 2-D geometric shapes and using the shapes to create new shapes from the composite shapes (CCSS Math 1.G.A.2). There are some drawbacks to Educreations, students cannot go back and re record if they make a mistake. Additionally, without the pro account, students can only save one draft at a time, which can be problematic if you have students working on multiple projects at once.
BookCreator is an vast app in which students can write, add text, draw, add photos and narrate over books they create. These books are shareable to iBooks or can be shared easily by converting the book to a video that is easily uploaded to a variety of platforms such as youtube or blogs. Bookcreator allows students to share their learning in a variety of different ways. It provides student who may be impacted by the amount they can write a method of sharing their learning through voice over. A student may only be able to write a sentence but can speak a great deal about a topic. Bookcreator provides this outlet for students. Bookcreator has many features that my students were still discovering on the last week of school. In this example, the student used many features of Bookcreator to create a vibrant, full book.
Whatever app you decide to adopt in your own program, make sure that it has multiple input points for students to access and ensure it is easily sharable in some manner. High quality student work should be shared and celebrated!