The first iPad application I have introduced to students in my 6th grade Social Studies classes has been the free reference application called Globe for iPad. The application is fairly straight forward; it consists of a globe, the world’s political boundaries, but has some functions that make it much better than a traditional globe or the class set of National Geographic student atlases I often use in class. Two useful functions of the application is the ability to enlarge the globe to pinpoint those countries that are super tiny on a regular globe or atlases and the ability to connect to Wikipedia and gather information on a country by simply tapping a finger on that country.
I introduced the Globe for iPad application to my students during our first lesson within our modern Middle East unit. The independent activity my students were to complete was the labeling and locating of a blank political map of the Middle East. As we began the independent activity I recognized some students were a bit discouraged or disinterested in labeling their map. I decided that one group in each class would test out this geography reference application.
At first I worried that the other students not using the iPad would be upset at not being in the iPad group but to my surprise it worked out very well. The one table that used the iPad worked efficiently in gathering the location and names of the countries in the Middle East. One student took upon the role as the leader and would move the globe around on the iPad in order to locate the many countries. The other students ensured they all had the same and correct information. It was great to see them focused, excited, and eager to be the one group in their class to use this iPad application.
As the class reviewed the countries that make up the Middle East, I knew I had support from my iPad users in locating the smaller countries that other students struggled with. They were eager to share and my other students were happy to know that their time and place would come when they would be the “special group/student” to use the iPad in my Social Studies class.
I will definitely use this application again and look forward to trying out different geography applications such as Google earth with my students in the future.