I heard Mr. Tillyer talking about his new app on Leo LaPorte’s “The Tech Guy” podcast and thought he might be interested in creating a guest post for Physics in Flux to help spread the word about a simple yet useful new application he’s developed. Mr. Tillyer gladly accepted my offer. — df
My name is Michael Tillyer and I teach kindergarten in Escondido, CA. Last year I wanted to use my iPod Touch to record student responses to my questions during direct instruction. I wanted to be able to go back and make small groups or pull individuals for individual help. I found a few apps that could do part of what I wanted but not exactly. I kept thinking about it and trying to find the app I was looking for. One of my coworkers suggested I make one. I thought that was crazy. I had absolutely no programming experience. But last summer when I was teaching summer school I decided to look into developing iPhone apps. I learned basic C programming. Then Objective C programming. Then some Cocoa and finally Iphone SDK. Then after several months of banging my head on the desk and battling with the App developer reviewers I finally have Pupil Picker in the app store.
Pupil Picker will randomly select students from an address book group. The teacher can then ask a question and record student responses as correct or incorrect. After the lesson, the teacher can send himself an email with the results of the lesson. I made the app as flexible and simple as possible. It can be used at any grade level and while teaching any subject. Older grades can even use it to randomly check homework assignments.
In the short time I have been using it I am amazed at the improvement in student engagement. My children are not raising their hands anymore but they are looking at me waiting for their name to be called. Even my little ones who try to hide in the back are looking up and listening to the questions because they know they might be the next one called. I am also just now starting to use the results to form my differentiated groups.
P.S. Please rate Pupil Picker in the app store.