In my search for independent reading activities for low-literacy level students, I tried many canned (apps with only premade content) reading apps and found them lacking in high-interest, low-level material for adult ESL students. My brother-in-law, who happens to teach remedial math at the college level, showed me a great app for creating your own lessons on the iPad. Teachers have generally used Educreations to create short lectures for hybrid classes, but the potential of this app does not stop there.
Educreations is a free app for iPads to create short, audiovisual lessons on a virtual whiteboard and easily share them across a set of iPads. The app starts with a blank slate with tools for writing with your fingers (or a stylus), typing text, and adding pictures from the web, a linked Dropbox account, or the local camera and photo roll.
|Adding pictures and text is easy|
|Saving the lesson -- automatic syncing|
|Choose how widely you share your work|
This tool is ideal for creating "audio books" for LEA stories that students can use to practice independently. The teacher can narrate the story at a pace that is appropriate for their level, and each student can practice the story as many times as they need. The teacher can check in with individual students to check comprehension and help with pronunciation problems.
|Watching lessons from a desktop computer's web browser.|
The killer feature of this app is that it is easy to create lessons and share them as widely as you please. Students can watch lessons on iPads or through a web browser. Teachers can easily create a whole library of lessons to scaffold independent reading time to give students the support and choice that they need.