Saturday, October 27, 2012

The iPad & Educreations App in the MFL Classroom

If you have an iPad or have one available to use at your school, consider using it to make mini-lessons with the free Educreations App.

This school year, I have been experimenting with the Educreations App and other digital story-telling apps to record the stories that my students help me create in Spanish class.  I also made one mini-grammar lesson for my Spanish 4 students that insisted on a formal lesson on the subjunctive.  

Here is the story the students and I created on Friday. (The sound quality is usually better but I was sitting next to my noisy computer when I recorded on the iPad so I could read the script off of my computer screen.  I was in a hurry so I didn't take the time to re-record it.  Next time, I'll print out the script and move away from my computer!)


These are the steps I follow to make the stories:
1.  When I'm ready to "storyask" with my students, I ask for a volunteer to sketch as we create the story.
2.  I give my iPad to a student, give them a brief overall of the app, and tell them to sketch as the story develops.  
3.  I tell the student to make a minimum of 5 different sketches for the story.  
After I hand off the iPad, I usually don't check back with the student or see the sketches until the end of the class.  I'm not concerned that they're not verbally responding to my questions because I KNOW they're paying attention because they have to illustrate the story.  If they weren't paying attention to the storyline and what I am saying as we develop the story, they wouldn't be able to sketch it.
4.  Since the story was just created on the spot with the students, after they leave, I type it up on my computer because I usually give them a copy of the story to read the following day if we didn't write it together in class.
5. After the story is typed, I mark the typed version to indicate when I want to go to the next sketch on the app.  
6.  Then I record the story as one recording.  I think you are able to record each page individually, but with the script in front of me, it's no problem to record the entire story without pausing.  This way when the students view it, they do not need to click to the next page.  My goal is for the students to be able to understand the story by listening to the story, so I need to discipline myself to speak slower to make it 100% comprehensible for the students.
7.  After the story is recorded, I give it a title, save it, and link it to the class Edmodo page.  Then it is available for students to view at any time.  

There is never a shortage of students that want to make the sketches.  The following day, I like to use the story on the Educreations App as a review of the story.  Then the artist's classmates are able to see what they drew.

The Educreations app allows you to add text and upload photos.  

There are other apps that I have experimented with a little, with pros and cons for each of them.  The apps I currently have on my iPad for digital storytelling are:
- StoryKit
- Explain Everything
- Felt Board
- ZigZag Board
- ScreenChomp
- Educreations
- ShowMe
- Book Creator
- My Story

If you have a favorite app for recording lessons or stories, please share them with me.  I like the Educreations app but I know there are probably other apps that will do the same thing, maybe even easier to use, that I may not be aware of.


  1. Hello Sra. Hitz,
    Since technology is not my forte (but I'm giving it a go) is educreations only for iPads?
    not PCs?

    Thank you for sharing your hard work with us.

    1. Hi Reyna
      Educreations is for iPads and not computers. I can access my acct on my computer but I cannot create anything on the computer through Educreations.

      Before I had my iPad, I made a lot of short screencasts using this website:
      I also needed to download Jing from this website:

      With the screencasts, you can upload photos for short stories or make explanations on whatever you are currently working on. There is a 2GB free limit, but once a month they clear the usage stats and start again, without clearing your videos.
      Here is an example of a class story I had put on in the past:

      If you have more questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

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  3. Have you figured out a way that you don't have to start over if you make a mistake in the audio recording?

    1. Unfortunately, no, I haven't. One of my students said they first recorded their voices and then they went back and put in the photos and sketches. That way if they made a mistake they could record it again.
      However...other students tried this, but when they saved it, it didn't move from the first page. I'm not sure how the other students made it work but possibly they tried it and it didn't work so they really DIDN'T record their voices first. Sorry, I can't remember but I will try to remember to ask them about it.

      That is the biggest downfall to Educreations. Hopefully, creates something more user-friendly that doesn't require you to be perfect on the first recording.

    2. I e-mailed and they responded right away about the audio. You can restart a recording by double-tapping the Eraser tool. This will give you a menu which has a Clear Recording option. This means the kids can save their screen while only having to restart the audio recording. Hope this helps. And email them with questions, they are so quick to respond and helpful!

    3. Hi Ms. Zuluaga
      This blog post about Educreations was made over a year ago and, at that time, there was not an option to restart an audio. Some time earlier this year, Educreations added the Eraser tool and the ability to restart the audio. It was a much needed improvment.

      I haven't used the Educreations app on the ipads with my students since then, but coincidentally this week one of my classes will be making stories on the iPads using this app.
      Any chance you'd be willing to share one of your student's creations with me? I love getting ideas from other teachers.