Subscribe to SLJ
Touch and Go
Inside Touch and Go

APPlications: One High School’s Learning Tools

Daniel Greene is the Library Media Specialist at the U-32 Middle and High School in Montpelier, Vermont. I asked him about the population he works with, and the apps his upper-grade students are using. Here are his comments on some of U-32’s curriculum-related apps. Many of these apps are free.

“Serving five small towns in central Vermont, our district high school has approximately 800 students that come from a range of socio-economic backgrounds. We have a dozen iPads for students to use in the library and they are becoming increasingly popular.

Apps are used by teachers and students for classes, and for leisure reading and exploring. Special Needs students and their teachers have worked together with AutismXpress Pro, Intro to Letters, and Read2Go. Students curious about science have been exploring Molecules and The Elements to bolster their studying. Converse, Free Translator, and Google Translate have been in demand with world-language students. Dropbox and SoundNote are useful utility apps for many students. When working collaboratively on a project, they can take notes and record their discussions with SoundNote, then send the notes and audio to Dropbox. The shared Dropbox file might contain images, audio, text, and more. With print periodicals now offering a companion apps, we have begun downloading these. WIRED Magazine, Popular Science+, Rolling Stone (through Zinio), and other titles are often read on the iPads as the electronic versions offer interactive and additional content not available in the print format.

For science classes, we use a VGA adapter and hook up a LCD projector for displaying images from apps such as Molecules and 3D Brain on a white board. Projected in this way, the images are stunning. For another activity, students use their smartphones to discover QR-coded book trailers created by book publishers and converted into QR codes by the library staff. And for National Poetry Month, the library staff, working with a classroom teacher, converted well-known poems into QR codes and displayed them throughout the library along with a QR-coded quiz based on the selections. Students scanned the codes in order to read the poems and complete the quiz.”