Ed Tech Ideas

Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

Tag Archives: apps

5 Reasons to Teach Kids to Code

Here’s a great infographic from Kodable, which is an app I love to use when teaching Kindergarteners the basics of computer programming. 

5 Reasons to Teach Kids to Code

Best App for Making Your Pictures Truly Talk

yakitThey say that a picture is worth a thousand words, now with Yakit Kids, students can actually make their pictures speak. One of my favorite apps to help students bring any photo to life is called Yakit Kids. It’s free, has an easy to use interface, and kids absolutely love it! Students bring in any photo (either one they take, or any other royalty-free image) add a mouth, eyes, and other desired props from the app, and then record their voice. The mouth moves with their voice, and the pitch can be adjusted from low to high. The one drawback (which is not always a drawback) is that recordings are limited to 15 seconds, but being that you can save the videos to the camera roll, it is easy to combine multiple videos in iMovie.

Description from the App Store:

YAKiT Kids allows kids of all ages to let their creativity loose and share their creations with family and friends in a safe environment. Parents and teachers never have to worry as their children let their little imaginations run wild with YAKiT Kids.

• Make quick and fun animated videos with multiple scenes.
• Change the pitch of the voice to make it even funnier.
• Add expressive animated stickers to customize the photos – including facial features, props, characters, and special effects.
• Save the videos directly to your phone to send anywhere

Below are two examples from my third graders who are using Yakit to have geometric shapes explain their own characteristics :

Gifting Apps from an iPad or iPhone

If you ever gift apps, here is the fastest, easiest way to do it.

Gifting Apps to Your Child or Student

1-1 iPad management can be a real headache. Seriously. Believe me…

One of the ways that we’ve dealt with this issue is to have family managed iPads. Each of our students has an iTunes account associated with their school email, and are able to download free apps. We’ve instructed our parents on the process of gifting paid apps to their children, but this process, if you’ve never done it before can possibly be daunting and at times, intimidating.

Below, is a quick and easy screencast video explaining the process of how to gift iPad apps to your child’s iTunes account.

Changing the Default Image Size in Blogger App for iDevices

If you or your students use Blogger for ePortfolios like mine do, at some point, you’ll want to try out the Blogger App for iPad and Android devices. It’s very straight forward, simple to use and enables student to post on the fly!  One of the issues that I’ve noticed though is that the default image size makes the photos too big and they begin taking over the side bar on the blog.  Here is an easy way to fix that issue in just a few easy taps.

Blogger Image Settings

Open the Blogger App

  1. Tap on the gear icon
  2. Tap Image resolution
Open the Blogger App

Change Image Resolution

Set it to Large (400×300) and tap done.

Change Image Resolution

Create New Blog Post

  1. Add a post title (remember to capitalize)
  2. Write your post
  3. Add appropriate labels (ie: gr3)
  4. Take a photo by launching the camera app, or add a photo from the camera roll.
Create New Blog Post

Before and After

Notice the way the X-large image takes over part of the side bar.
The large image does not.

Before and After

ISTE 2012 Takeaways


The International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) national conference just finished up after several exciting, jam-packed days in beautiful San Diego, California. I’ve been to ISTE conferences before, but it’s been a few years. I had forgotten how crazy and exciting this conference can be. Several thousand educators converged on the convention center at the edge of the Gas Lamp Quarter, and, at times, it seemed like every single one of the attendees had the same workshop schedule as me. I learned so much during the 4-day conference (you can view my unedited notes here), but in the spirit of minimalism and efficiency, I am focusing this post on my big 3 takeaways:

  • ePortfolios
  • iPad Apps
  • Social Networking with Edmodo

https://developers.google.com/google-apps/sites/ePortfolios

I’ve been creating ePortfolios with my students for over 10 years now. I’ve done them with PowerPoint, various blogging platforms, and even FrontPage; but I’ve never been completely happy with the formats. During my time at ISTE 2012, I attended 2 workshops dedicated to using Google Sites along with a combination of Google Docs and Blogger for creating student ePortfolios. The first was called: “Student-Centered Interactive E-Portfolios with Google Apps” by Helen Barrett and the second was titled: “Growing Digital: Grassroots Google Integration for Staff and Students” by Peter Pasque and Kristal Jaaskelainen.

Focus

Student-managed electronic learning portfolio should be used as a persistent learning record to help students:

  • develop the self-awareness to set their own learning goals
  • express their own views of their strengths, weaknesses, and achievements
  • and take responsibility for them

The purpose drives the process and content.  http://www.peterpappas.com/images/old/6a00d8341d880253ef0120a7a4dd53970b-pi.png

Process

  • Step 1: Create a collection of work in Google Docsuse your mobile device to capture images, audio, video
  • Step 2:Reflection
    • Reflective Journal – blog entries over time
    • Taxonomy of reflection
  • What? So What? Now What?
  • Self-Regulated Learning
    • Planning (Goal Setting)
    • Doing (Capture the Moment)
    • Reflecting
  • Timeline
    • Level 1: Collection
    • Level 2: Collection + Reflection
    • Level 3: Selection and Presentation

iPad Apps

This coming school year, our school is increasing the amount of iPads in my division. This is extremely exciting with a huge potential for fantastic new learning for our students and staff. It also brings a large amount of up-front work for our teachers and IT professionals.  I’ve outlined several apps and tips from the 2 workshops I attended dedicated to learning with iPads. Special thanks to the presenters: Mindy Tilley, Jana Craig Hare, Tyler Fowler, Liddell Hobin, Alan Landever, Keith Mispagael and Geri Parscale who presented “21 Apps for Digital Age Learning” and Kimberly LaPrairie, with Daphne Johnson and Marilyn Rice who shared “Apps, Apps Everywhere: Top iPad Apps for Digital Age Learning”

21 Apps for Digital Age Learning

The presenters from USD 207 in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas shared their 21 favorite apps that provide digital age experiences in the classroom. You can visit their website here or view the apps being used here. Below are a few of their suggestions that I took note of:
  • Drawing Box: free app
  • Dot Project
  • Percolator App
    • you take a photo and it takes that photo and creates it with dots. Great for art class
  • Puppet Pals – use to re-create a story students have recently read
  • Show Me– Create quick instructional movies
    • Idea: Take a photo of a worksheet and then have students work out the problems while explaining their thinking.
  • Twitcasting
  • Storylines Promotes children’s literature and supports writers and illustrators
  • VoiceThread the App
  • Cover It Live
  • Sticky Board
  • BrainPop App – have the student of the week watch the Brainpop video of the week and give a summary for the class
  • ToonTastic
    • Create a toon by going through all of the story elements: setup conflict, challenge, resolution, etc
    • Record your voice as you move the characters
    • Adds music to go along with emotional feeling of current story element
    • Upload finished video to your toon tube acct. Cannot upload to your photo library.
  • Discovery Education App
  • Popplet

Apps, Apps Everywhere

It was very refreshing how the presenters from Sam Houston State University based their app selection around Blooms Taxonomy. I’ve seen this method used before from Kathy Schorck so it was nice to see others chiming in on the importance of focusing app selection based on learning objectives instead of cool factor.

Social Networking with Edmodo

I’ve seen Edmodo several times in various conferences and workshops I’ve attended, and have always been interested in learning more about how teachers use it and what kind of benefits it will bring to students, teachers, and parents. While there was no formal workshop at ISTE 2012 showcasing Edmodo, I made a point to stop by their booth in the exhibit hall and find out a little more about this social networking tool. There are some great webinars that Edmodo puts on which I will be attending later this month. Here are some quick tips I picked up on during my time spent with the fine folks at the Edmodo booth:

  • You can change the notification section to uncheck the alerts if you are getting too many emails
  • Create a group for each subject (RLA, Math, etc), or just for all grade 3 students
  • Once you create a group, it creates a code and give the code to your students
  • they then create an acct and join the group
  • You control the group, delete posts and make students read only as a type of timeout
  • you can also moderate all posts and replies
  • There is no private messaging between students, only through the group
  • You can post a question, a video, a poll
  • you can create assignments and quizzes and it adds it to yours and the students calendars.
  • With assignments you can grade them, annotate on docs
  • You can also email parents the parent code and they will be able to see what their child is doing.

Unedited Notes

If you’re extremely bored and enjoy reading gobbledegook, below (or here) are my notes from the 4 days:

7 Billion People – Free App Alert

Today you are one of 7 billion people. How will your world change?

Free for a Limited Time!

Explore your changing world with National Geographic’s 7 Billion app for iPad.

  • informative videos
  • interactive maps
  • in-depth articles
  • stunning photography

iPad Apps Recommended by Teachers

This year, there are several teachers in my division who are piloting iPad 2s in their classroom, and we meet bi-monthly to discuss our findings of uses and applications that we have discovered. Being that these are not class sets of iPads, the focus here is uses of the iPad as a teaching tool for productivity and organization. 

Evernote

Evernote is a great app for taking and organizing your notes. You can use it when you meet with students, at staff meetings when there’s something important to jot down, and at workshops and in-services. There are a couple of quirks with Evernote that could be fixed. The inability to copy and paste a table, and no multiple levels of bullets.

Price: Free

Confer

Confer is a note taking app that allows you to create classes, group students and take anecdotal notes as you meet with your students.

Here is a short video showing how to use Confer:

Price: $14.99

Flipboard

Flipboard is a magazinesque app that allows you to organize all your online reading. I flip through my Google Reader feeds, my favorite news sites, and Twitter feed in a smooth and easy-to-use interface. You can also share links via Twitter, Facebook, Google, or email with just the tap of a finger.

Price: Free

GoodReader

GoodReader is a PDF reader that allows you to mark up pdfs by typing, using sticky notes, hand-written annotations, lines, and free-hand drawings on any pdf you have. GoodReader also supports TXT, .doc, .ppt, .xls, iWork, audio files, and video files.

Price: $4.99

Dropbox

If you have a Dropbox account, the free app is a must have. The Dropbox app allows you to access all of your files anywhere you are. You can save any of your projects you create on the iPad into your dropbox account and  access them from other computers at work or at home.

Price: Free

TeacherPal

TeacherPal is a classroom organizer app that allows teachers to keep track of their students by taking role, manage timetables, take behavior notes, and more. One of our teachers had this to say about Teacher pal: “Can’t rave enough about TeacherPal.  It has been a life saver when it comes to keeping track of my 300 + students. I am able to see their smiling faces on the seating chart, add notes regarding behavior and keep track of their finished assignments. I can back up all the data in Dropbox. All pretty good for an app that is free.”

Price: Free

What are some of your essential iPad apps for your classroom?

PE Apps for Teachers

Who says you can’t use tech to get fit? Several of our great PE teachers at my school, along with Jarrod Robinson,  The PE Geek have compiled a great list of apps to help you on the road to a healthy and fit life!

Basketball Coach

  • Video analysis with slow motion
  • Can draw on video
  • Split screen with demo of skills
  • Overlay of image
  • Cost: $2.99
Swim Coach

  • Video analysis with slow motion
  • Can draw on video
  • Split screen with demo of skills
  • Overlay of image
  • Cost: $2.99
Tennis Coach

  • Video analysis with slow motion
  • Can draw on video
  • Split screen with demo of skills
  • Overlay of image
  • Cost: $2.99
 
Soccer Coach

  • Video analysis with slow motion
  • Can draw on video
  • Split screen with demo of skills
  • Overlay of image
  • Cost: $2.99
 
Burst Mode

  • 50 pics taken in 2-3secs
  • Breakdown of skill/technique
  • Cost: $1.99
 
IntervalTimer

  • Warm-up/station timer
  • Program your own voice commands or use apps
  • Your playlist music can be used
  • Cost: $0.99
Yoga Free

  • Yoga positions
  • Pose demos
  • Cost: Free
 
Footsteps Pedometer

  • Good pedometer
  • Use your music playlist
  • Charts/graphs
  • Moderate to vigorous exercise
  • Cost: $0.99
 
iFitness

  • Workouts
  • Cost: $0.99
 
Heart Rate

  • Measure heart rate
  • Cost: Free
 
Timer

  • Easy to use stopwatch/timer
  • Cost: $0.99
 
iMuscles for iPad

  • AWESOME APP
  • 360 View of Muscles in body
  • Exercises/Stretches
  • Cost: $4.99
 
iFirstAid Lite

  • First Aid Info
  • Cost: Free
 
First Aid

  • Basic First Aid Info
  • Cost: $0.99
 
TriggerPoints

  • Muscles in body and trigger points of pain
  • Cost: $2.99
 
Nike Training Club

  • AWESOME APP
  • Workouts with demo videos/your playlist music
  • Cost: Free
 
HealthStar Tracker

  • Possible for record keeping and assessments
  • Cost: Free
VCE PE

  • The PE Geek, Jarrod Robinson, created this for his PE classes.  HE IS AMAZING!  Check out his website at: www.thepegeek.com
  • Cost: Free
 
Calorie Counter by MyNetDiary

  • Pretty good nutrition/exercise diary.
  • Can scan barcodes of food labels to enter in app
  • Cost: Free
 
Livestrong

  • Nutrition and exercise tracking app
  • Cost: $2.99
 
Pranayama Universal Breathing

  • Basic breathing/relaxation
  • Cost: Free
 
iMapMyFitness

  • GPS for exercise and exercise record-keeping
  • Cost: Free
 
Fitness Class

  • Fitness Videos
  • Cost: Free
 
Tempo Magic

  • Awesome app if you want to speed up some of your music for faster beats in PE.
  • Cost: $4.99
 

Some of my Personal Choices

While I admit, I am but a mere geeky tech integrator, I do like to keep in shape and would consider myself an advanced weekend warrior, having competed and placed in several adventure races. Here are 4 apps that I use on a weekly basis: 

100 Pushups

  • Motivating app
  • Day to day workouts that build up your confidence and ability
  • Cost: $0.99
Run Keeper

  • Track multiple activities
  • Cost: Free
50 Pullups

  • Motivating app
  • Built in counter and timer
  • Ability to graph your workouts to see progress over time
  • Cost: $0.99
 
Men’s Health Workouts

  • Various excerises and workout plans
  • Choose area of desired focus
  • Cost: Free
 

What are your must-have apps for PE, health and fitness?

iPads in Education

Here’s a great resource compiled on scoop.it by Kyle Calderwood, for learning about the reasons to use iPads in educational settings. There are currently 81 articles about ways to use iPads in your classroom, must have apps, tips and tricks, case studies, and more.

Using iPads in Education

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