Monday, October 12, 2015

Using Common Sense Media to find Reviewed Apps

Common Sense Media has long been the go to for the K-12 Scope and Sequence for digital citizenship and so much more but often we forget about some of the other great features!

As a parent or a teacher it's important that we find quality apps to add to our devices in the classroom.  Using Common Sense Media's Review page, use search options to find and read about apps, websites, book, movies, and more.  I often find myself searching through the lists and being reminded of some great sites that I may have overlooked!

Choose options and see the ratings and level of learning (if choosing an educational app).

Read a brief overview and view screenshots before downloading it for yourself to check out.  

So if you are looking to refresh some options on your classroom devices, spend sometime checking out this resource!  

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.