Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Free Math Manipulatives for the iPad

Here is a collection of free math manipulatives for the iPad.  A great tool box for many elementary math classrooms.

I'm going to define a math manipulative as a tool which allows users to explore mathematical concepts.  These manipulatives are not games, but instead used for open ended exploration.

  • Number Places - Ten Frames and more, include 5 frames, 20 frames, and even 100 frames.

  • Geoboard - Create shapes using rubber bands and explore many geometric concepts.
  • Number Pieces Basic - A basic set of base 10 blocks to explore place value, addition, and subtraction.
  • Number Line - Explore number line counting and mathematical concepts.

  • Geometry Pad - Explore all geometric concepts including lines, angles, shapes, and more.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Using Adobe Voice to Create Food Chain Videos

What I like about the iPad is the ability to work without connecting to the Internet.  This is especially true when you work with field study groups up in the wilderness.

At Outdoor School, 5th or 6th grade students spend 2-4 days experiencing the outdoors.  They get to sleep, eat, and learn up in the wilderness.  Part of their experience is rotating through hour long field study groups which could include learning about weather, creating survival shelters, or identifying plants.

In this hour long field study we start with a review of the food chain including producers, consumers, and decomposers.

The students then take an iPad on a scavenger hunt snapping photos of producers, consumers, and decomposers.  Since consumers don't stand and wait for a photo, we instruct them to take photos of evidence a consumer was here, like a nest or track.

After all the photos are taken, the students storyboard their movie choosing which photos to use and how to tell about the food chain they found.  We ask they include a scenery photo as the title slide and a selfie photo as their credits.

The finished product is created with Adobe Voice, usually 5-10 photos, a narration that tells the story, and background music provided by the app.

At the end of the hour we save the videos to the camera roll and repeat the study for the next set of students.  Then back in town we upload the videos to Youtube.  Here is an example from a group of 6th graders in North East Oregon and their food chain video.

NOTE: If you use Adobe Voice, be sure to login to the app while in wifi, then turn the iPad to Airplane mode.  As a backup iPad app we will use 30Hands in case Adobe Voice logs out.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Collect Amazing Interviews with StoryCorps

Having listened to NPR for years and catching occasional StoryCorps interviews I was excited to see that an iPhone and Google Play app was created to allow for everyday people to record great interviews from the community around them.  This free app walks students through everything needed to capture a great story.

 This app is simple to use, allows for 45 minutes of recording time, has a library of questions that students can choose and add to their own lists.  It prompts them with tips for good recording techniques and allows for editing or saving excerpts.   Students see their questions as they record and can move through the questions on the screen. The finished interview can be saved on the device, stored in the app, or uploaded to the StoryCorps website for public online hosting.  This makes for an easy way to share the students work with others through the sharing of the link from the website.

Last I checked, this app is in BETA mode.  As a teacher the ability to save the sound file outside of the app and use it in other apps or editing software would be a nice addition so I'm hoping that comes soon.  

Here is an example interview on the website of a student interviewing his grandfather about his ALS.    Projects in the classroom or for a community are endless with this app.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The World of Mobile Learning - at AcceleratED 2015


Objective: Participants will experience mobile learning activities, and discuss issues related to mobile learning environments, to strengthen their understanding of mobile learning.

Jigsaw Discussion Topics

1.  Your Vision as a District/School (What is your curriculum oriented goal, so what technology will be supporting that goal?)

2.  Community Conversations (Are parents, community satisfied all students are online?  How are you sharing with them?)

3.  Management/IT (What filters do you need in place?  How are you managing devices?  Are they going home?)

4.  Class Workflow (Are teachers asking high level questions, what classroom management systems will be supported, will you explore strictly online learning opportunities?)

5.  Digital Citizenship (What program is integrated to teach digital citizenship and at what grade levels?)

6.  Social Media (Will social media be allowed, what procedure is in place when creating student accounts, will the school/district be using it?)

7.  Professional Development (What professional development opportunities will be available for your staff?)

Monday, February 23, 2015

YouTube for Kids

YouTube Kids App released this morning.  This free app, available for iPhone or iPad, provides younger children full access to Youtube content appropriate for their age.  You will see Sesame Street, Bob the Builder, and Fireman Sam as examples.

Viewers have a few ways to find content within the app.  They can choose to search shows, music, learning, or the explore button.  Or they can click the magnifying glass and type their search.

While kids are watching a video, they have access to simple controls, or can navigate to other episodes within a particular channel.

When starting the app, by default background music and sound effects are auto enabled.  As a parent you can click into the settings and turn them off.  You can also set a time limit so the app auto turns off after a specific amount of time.

Youtube Kids App is a great resource if you want to allow free exploration of videos for any young child.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Seesaw - ePortfolios for Elementary Setting

There are many great ePortfolio options available, including Evernote or Google, however they can be a bit overwhelming for the students in primary grades.  Especially if you want to have them save exemplars.

Seesaw is a free iDevice app that is very simple to use allowing any student capable of using an iPad to take a photo to save an exemplar into their ePortfolio.

Instead of calling them ePortfolio's, Seesaw uses the term journals, both class journals containing works displayed by the entire class and individual journals containing works by any particular student.

The process is quite simple.  As a teacher you create your free account which will be tied to your classroom.  Set up all your students inside that class.

From there you can add either a photo, video, drawing, or something from the camera roll.

Once you upload an item, like a photo, you can add annotation, voice recording, or text.

Then you select which student is associated with the artifact.  You can select multiple students if it is a group project.

The app allows for student access as well.  The only rights students have will be to add artifacts. Students do not need an account, just scan a QR code and they are in.  While logged in as a student they will have the ability to view any artifact from within the class, not just their own.

Let the students do the work: take the picture, create a drawing, shoot a video, or select a project from the camera roll to insert into their own journal.  As a safe guard, before it is finalized into a students journal the teacher must approve the artifact from within their teacher account.

Seesaw allows for you to invite parents so they have ability to see only their child's artifacts.

If you have been looking for an ePortfolio type tool to use with K-3rd grade, this is a perfect fit.  Easy to use so students do the work, teacher has full control over anything posted, and parents have access to their child's work.  Also a great visual recap come conference time.