Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Math Activities for iDevice Centers

Agenda for November 28, 2012 Training

Rover App to use with flash based online resources
GTKY Activity
  • Basics Settings to Review - Group Time 

Math Apps Exploration
Creation Apps
Exploration for ideas - Personal PD.
Online programs 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

iPads in Special Ed Agenda

           Username:  Wireless
           Password:   Access
LUNCH On your own!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mathemagician - Flash Based Games

Mathemagician is a nice online resource allowing students to practice math facts, similar to the Mad Math Minutes lessons.  Students are given a goal of so many problems in a time limit.  When the time limit is over they are provided with a percentage of how well they did.  Students can choose from different operations at different levels.

Here is the catch with using iPads, Mathemagician is a flash based site.  Thus, you need a different app to use in order to interact with this site.  The app we've been using is called Rover.

Safari for the iPad is a better web navigator than Rover  so try navigating to the correct website in Safari, then copy the URL and paste it into Rover.  This way Rover takes you directly to the game and you are ready to play.  You may want to experiment with bookmarking the games into Rover as well.

The creators of Mathemagician (Oswego City School District) also have many other online practice games to choose from.  Click here to get to their table of contents.  Try playing any of the Speed Grid games, like Speed Grid Multiplication, and see if you can complete their task in the specified time limit. These games are reviewing math facts, but instead of supplying the answer you must determine a problem for a given answer. Another series of games to explore is Stop the Clock, for younger children learning to tell time.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Screenleap - Easily Share Your Desktop

Screenleap is a website that allows a person to share their desktop for viewing with any device with an internet browser. Great for districts allowing BYOD!

The first thing I think of  is sharing presentations out to the devices in the students' hands for easier viewing.  For students sitting in a large classroom, trying to take notes from the board, having the capability to snap a screenshot of the slides of a presentation to refer to later is a great tool.

A middle school math teacher in our region recently used this app with students in her class.  "I have the clickers out and students are working on problems and sending in answers.  It has been wonderful. Students are watching their iPad screens while I'm using Activeinspire and writing without any problems."

Ease of use for this site is great - no sign up required.  Once you choose to share your screen it gives a 9 digit access code.

Students access your screen on their device by going to the same site ( which could easily be added as a bookmark on their home screen.  They then enter the same 9 digit access code to view what the teacher is doing on their screen.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Just Books Read Aloud

Here is a great website you can use with an iPad or iPod, called Just Books Read Aloud.  There are over 100 books, a small sample shown below, available for read aloud.  All free and easily accessible, with great stories.

This would make for a great link on your iPads or iPods if you are using them as learning centers in a classroom. And with an audio splitter, you can have two students sharing one iDevice.

Another online resource for beginning readers that can  be used on an iPad or iPod is called Tar Heel Reader.  Books are designed with one sentence per page accompanied by some image. You can filter your search by topics to find books of a particular interest.  Below is an example choices from the category "Books from Alphabet". 

This website offers a collection of a few thousand books with options to have books read to the student, where you choose the voice.  Since the books at Tar Heel Reader are written for all beginning readers, most of the content is perfect for younger readers, though some of the books might be more appropriate for older students. Find the most appropriate category for your students and save a direct link to those books on your iPad or iPod.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Kindergarten and StoryKit

It's always great to see the fun things that our teachers in the region are doing with their iDevices.  Even better, when we get feedback at how the iDevices have changed the way students learn and how we teach in positive ways!  Here is a video recap of a kindergarten class that used the app StoryKit to practice identifying the beginning, middle, and end of the story The Grumpy Bird .   

Students identified the three parts on paper.  Then in partners they took turns taking the photo, typing the sentence, and recording their voice in StoryKit.  Ms. Evans explained that the students were engaged, excited, and worked very well together on their project.  

And to think these were kinders only three months into the school year!  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Augmented Reality: an Alternative to QR Codes?

Over the past year we have seen QR Codes make a mark in the classroom as an easy way to send students to a site, make interactive book talks, share information with parents at Open House, among many other uses.  But what is augmented reality (AR) and how does it match up for classroom use?

augmented reality - noun - an artificial environment created through the combination of real-world and computer-generated data.
String - Free for iPhone and iPad 

Proto - example from String 
My first experience (other than on TV) was seeing a couple of our teachers play with String at our Regional Ed Tech Cadre.  This app works by printing images, called targets, already made by the company from  This is a showcase app for the company but is a great way to demonstrate to students what AR is and the possibilities. Of the four examples, the targets demonstrate some of the more advanced features and capabilities that AR can do. Print a few out and try it!

After seeing this, it lead us to spend time experimenting with a free app called Aurasma Lite.  Aurasma allows you to view ARs in a visual browser - including ones you make yourself with the app or ones that appear with their big A on products, newspaper ads, etc.  More information on Aurasma can be found on their website.  

Aurasma Lite - Free for both iPhone and iPad
Making my own was pretty fast and easy.  The app includes some preloaded (and fun) 3D animations,  but for the classroom the biggest tool was being able to make a target show a video that I created.   While practicing, I made the power outlet in my room into a train depot (from the preloaded choices) and the room number on our door be a target for a video that I had created on my ipad.

Advantages to AR was that I could create a target and upload my own video all within the one app and device.  I didn't have to have an external place (like youtube) or print out my QR code.  I just used the pictures in my room.  AR is more limiting than QR Codes for what I can make it display - only videos and slideshows - unless you have time and expertise to create 3D diagrams and animations.  Possibilities though to add a new intractability with the students' surroundings: 
Interactive word walls with video definitions?  View video instructions at classroom centers?  Reading Rainbow book talks with book cover as target?  Any other ideas?

Check out how students and teachers are using AR:
Augmented Reality in Education:  Shaw Wood Primary School  
Bringing Augmented Reality to Life - in the classroom and the workplace

Other AR Experience Apps:
AR Flashcards - Animal Alphabet   For iPhone and iPad  $0.99 (print off 26 animal flashcards to use with app)
The Amazing Spiderman AR - For iPhone and iPad Free (interacts with targets from their website) 
AR Soccer - for iPhone and iPad $1.99  (play with a virtual soccer ball)