Sunday, February 12, 2012

"Idea Sketch" Flow Charts

"Idea Sketch",  an app that I found on the iPad, has allowed me to abandon the usual paper flow chart I use in the classroom to have students make a flow chart in a system.  For example, I usually have students read an excerpt from a nature journal and have them make a flow chart of the food web that is written about. To make the flow chart, students get a piece of paper with the names of the organisms in the journal excerpt. Students cut out the names and arrange them on the desk or table.

Idea Sketch works so much better for this activity. I created an "idea" with the names of the organisms in colored shapes on the screen. I sent the idea to each of my students via email, and they could open the idea, move the shapes around their screens, put arrows between them, and send the idea or a jpg of the flow chart they made back to me via email. I can grade each individual's food web outside of class, and do this without paper!

I have also made ideas using this app for pollution production from various energy sources where students had to add their own shapes with different pollutants, and I will use it to help students investigate product life cycles, and learn the order of the steps in wastwater treatment. I can probably use this app in every topic I cover because so much of the content I cover is systems- or process-based.

I used a flow chart app last semester for the android, but there was no ability to communicate the flow charts among individual iPads. With Idea Sketch, I can create a flow chart template, send it out, and grade each student's final product easily.

I have used this app in the classroom for group work, and have sent them an idea to take home for homework.

As Curtis mentioned earlier, this app works just fine without wifi, so students can work on their flow charts outside of class. They only need wifi to get the idea from me, and send me their final products.

Can we have this app on the android, too?!?!