Friday, December 18, 2015

Adobe Post - Enhance your photo with text

I stumble into the office this morning with a few tasks that need attended to, and then an opportunity to check out a new app comes across a feed. I am not the best at ignoring these opportunities, so I dive in and explore a bit.

The app is Adobe Post.  Released yesterday and currently available only as an iPhone app.

Adobe Post is a free, easy to use app, which allows you to add text to a photo enhancing the message you are communicating.

Imagine a student typing in a vocabulary word with a definition.  Or possibly they've typed in a sentence using the word.  In either case the text overlays a photo in a eye catching artistic manner.

As a teacher quickly share a photo on instagram of your students success stories.

Users can take photos, use pictures from their photo roll, or search online from free photos available to them via the app.

Remix a stunning graphic available from Adobe Post and turn it into yours very quickly.

When you like the finished product, the options include saving it to the camera roll, email, or any social media posting.

Creativity at your fingertips, just in time to capture your Holiday moments.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Google Classroom and iPads in a Music Classroom

I love being out in schools and hearing how teachers are using the technology they have available in their classrooms and it's even more exciting when it comes from a non-core subject teacher.

In one of our schools in out region we have a music teacher, Jordan Bremrose at Ione Community School, where students have one to one iPads. She reached out to figure out a workflow for using the pdfs in Google Classroom of music note activities that she uses in her classes.

As with any technology little glitches were occurring along the way.  We had to make sure students were logged into their network filter which was a common issue because Google Classroom would load and refresh even without logging onto the network but when they tried to open the PDF it wasn't viewable.   Next we worked through how to make the pdf open in another app.  This was an issue if the students were logging into Google Classroom through the browser and not in the app on the iPad.  

For pdf annotating we used TinyPDF.  It was free, highly rated, and very easy to use - just remind students they can zoom in and out when tying to draw notes on the staff with their big fingers! Then the last major step how to send it back to classroom or drive so that they could turn it in.   Lots of steps to us, but for the kids, they worked together and quickly figured it out.

While visiting, Jordan also shared that students turn in practice videos to Google Classroom.  Older students are allowed to take their iPads home and students are encouraged to record themselves practicing and upload them for homework.  This way Jordan can listen to students practice, as well as students being able to listen and watch themselves play.  As I left that day, we had a brief discussion on mp3 recorders on the iPad as well for auditions and other assignments.  

It's encouraging to see teachers embrace and think of new ways of using the tools they are provided with.

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.