Thoughts from the classroom

Using iPads in the Geography classroom: Reflections from @Shampoozil (Joanne Clarke)

A bit of background: why did I bother?

The greenhouse effect…notoriously difficult to teach! Some students have studied it at primary school, others in science and some have eco-conscious parents and then to add to the challenge, there are those who have been hijacked by the climate change deniers! Additionally, the accuracy and slant of climate change coverage in the media can create as many misconceptions as it does snippets of knowledge;  for example, the notion that the greenhouse effect is caused by a hole in the ozone layer.  Of course there is also the absolutely essential need to get it right since the students of today will be the solution of tomorrow.

Why did I choose the iMotion app?

I had seen QuickTime videos of students applying knowledge to explain processes in chemistry using the iMotion app and was keen to see if this strategy would work for the greenhouse effect. Some of these ideas are shown on You Tube:


For other subjects, this website shows a wide range of applications of iMotion both educational and otherwise (Click this link to find out more )

 How did I set up the learning?

As a first step I made a prototype to check that this could work. (I actually used this to teach a different class with successful outcomes in which students were able to accurately explain and draw the process in their exams). Secondly I taught the greenhouse effect using traditional ‘chalk and talk’ and textbooks (Interactions for the geographers out there) and as usual students had lots of misconceptions and challenges in remembering all the parts of the process and in which order they happen. The learning process lacked independence, application and ‘stickability.’

In the next lesson I showed them some of the student-created chemistry iMotion creations and they were immediately engaged by their use of Harry Potter characters!

Freedom and creativity in learning were one of my motivators in using the iMotion app. As a class we put together a number of success criteria for our greenhouse effect iMotion videos which gave students clarity of purpose and a framework as well as keeping the iMotion videos tightly focussed on the required learning as students knew they would be assessed against them. Students then prepared their resources in pairs and a single lesson was given over to creating the videos.

What were my reflections?

iMotion is super-easy to use; point, click, play. Students picked it up in seconds and I had no questions to answer but just gave a bit of advice about taking several pictures if you have a lot of text. One pair decided to branch out and use iMovie; geographically speaking the outcome from this was not as good given that annotations are a more geographical tool than captions although students still reported excellent learning outcomes.

My assessment was that the iMotion videos students created were creative and largely very accurate. Student’ engagement was very high and co-operation in the learning process helped with differentiation. The videos can be watched here. In subsequent assessments of learning students were able to recall fully and accurately  the process and also apply it to subsequent learning.

But what did the students think?

iMotion enabled us to do it bit by bit and now I know the GHE off the top of my head.

I could use my own drawings and words to help me understand it better.

It was a more interactive activity and it also was a lot of fun which made it easier to remember

It was exciting and creative. We all like doing the arty/technological stuff so put them together and it was great.

I am better with a visual memory so it helped me a lot

By making us work on the diagram ourselves we had to think about getting it right

If I had been told to just learn it for a test I would have forgotten it straight away but because we were doing it independently and using our imagination I will always remember it.

When we were watching out friends’ videos we were learning it all over again


If you would like any help or ideas for using the app email me on or follow me on Twitter @Shampoozil for other learning ideas I experiment with.

 From the Archives…

A French Class

From @basnettj I had the iPads with a set 4 class of Year 10 pupils. We had been learning how to talk about where we used to live which requires the imperfect tense and we had reached a point when we needed to introduce the idea of a mixed economy of tenses; both imperfect and perfect  read more…

#flipping the classroom in Maths…

@vallance_ian finally got his chance to trial teaching  with the class set of iPads with his set three, year 9 maths pupils.  He decided to flip the class….

Read more…


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