Monday, April 22, 2013

GroupMaker - a Great Teacher Tool

GroupMaker is a free iPad and iPhone app that allows teachers to upload class lists and organize them into groups quickly based on various characteristics, such as gender or academic level (based on a 1,2, or 3 rating). 

Once your students are uploaded, adjust and regroup as needed.  The ability to add photos for quick reference is great and by using the PICK! feature let the app choose a group or student to answer, discuss, or present first!     

Group sizes can be one to twenty.  Create as many Group configurations as you would like and save them within the class for quick access! 

GroupMaker is an easy app to add to your teacher toolbox.  

Friday, April 12, 2013

Create, Build, Explore, Problem Solve with Creatorverse

For all the future engineers in the classroom, Creatorverse is the app for them!  
This is the perfect app for exploring physics.  
From bouncing balls to creating creatures, the free version of Creatorverse has plenty to create a sandbox for students to explore the effects of gravity, friction, density, and much more.  I love the vocabulary and ability to adjust each object and view the results instantly make this an addicting app!  Upgrade to the advanced tool box for $4.99 and have access to rockets, magnets, and many more tools.  The wide range of possibilities and tools makes this an app that can move from primary through adult.   

Create contraptions! 
Play with the pull of gravity

Adjust characteristics of each object

Create Movable Images

Explore other shared creations to see the possibilities!
Pinball machines,  moving creatures, trigger mechanisms, input/output...
there is so much to explore!
The opportunities with this app are endless, critical thinking, creation, collaboration.... all in one great app! 
Tutorials on the different tools and more information on the app can be found at their website:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

My Script Calculator

My Script Calculator, a free app, is a unique calculator that interprets the mathematical expression you write returning a calculated answer.

One teacher is having students use this for multiplication fast practice up to 10 x 10, where student A writes a problem and student B must provide the answer before the calculator returns the solution.  They keep tally back and forth to see who can get the most right.  Note, you need to be fast returning your answer as the iPad will be rather quick.

Check out the video to see some examples, but most of all try, experiment, and have fun.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

iPad vs Paper

Can the iPad replace everything?

Of course not!
 There is a time and place for manipulatives, paper, paint, clay, etc...

 it's about the learning and not the tool. 

 So don't throw all the paper out!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Word Clouds on the iPad?

I've always enjoyed doing word clouds with my students.  
A few of my favorite uses were to hang a name cloud outside my door at the beginning of the year with all of our students' names or have my students create a word cloud about their experience at Outdoor School, in the shape of their mascot!
There are many great sites online to make word clouds, but most require flash, java, or other add-ons that make those sites incompatible with the iPads and iPods. 

Here are some app options to explore:

WordSalad (Free Version with option to pay $0.99 to get rid of ads and watermark)

Core Features:
-Import any text from iOS clipboard with a single tap  (create your own by making a list in your Notes app or any other word doc app that allows for copy/paste) 
-Customize with 8  fonts-Color with 8 color palettes -Feeling creative? WordSalad gives you 5 layouts to position your words-Save your salads to camera roll for later reuse and export them to pdf

Cloudart ($0.99) iPad Only 
Core Features: 
-no ads or watermarks
-23 fonts, 7 layout styles, and 19 color palettes
-Share by email, pdf, save in app, or save to camera roll
-tap on the word cloud to add more words
-create straight from a webpage by pasting in the address

Need ideas for word clouds in the classroom? 
  • Take a news article, blog post, famous song, or short story and create an easy visual of key themes or points being made.  
  • Cut and paste reflections to a piece of work from all students and see what the common words were
  • Collecting Data  (input a list of what students ate for a week and see what they ate the most!)
  • Beginning of the Year Ice Breaker "About Me" Activity 
  • End of the Year "Highlights" Activity 
  • and ....

For more word cloud resources, check out these sites:

WordSift - Play with Words! from Digital Drifting 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I'm Loving the New Flipboard Update!

One of the most used apps on my iPad is Flipboard.  If you haven't tried flipboard yet, you are missing out!  

Flipboard is described as being your personal magazine.  I think of it more as a curation tool to pull all my favorite blog feeds, twitter hashtags, and social media sites into one place.  In the picture below you can see some of the twitter hashtags that I subscribe to.  

But the best part of this app?  The interface, I can flip through it like a magazine, reading brief snippets and tapping on articles I want to read.  
Great place to collect information in one place!

 I used this app ALL the time, and if I found something great I might send it out to twitter or email it myself for later reference (or to anyone else I thought it would be useful for).  A few extra steps, but it was such a great professional tool to find useful information, it was worth it.  

But now with the newest update to Flipboard, keeping all the articles that I really like in one place for later reference just came easier.  

To me, it's like Pinterest - only instead of boards, I can add articles, videos, pics, etc to my own "magazine" that I can name as I please.  
On the right, you can see now that I have my "subscriptions" and now I also have my "magazines".

    To add an article to a "magazine" of your choosing, simply choose the + button in the lower right hand corner.  From here you can "flip it" into a pre-existing magazine or create a new one.  On the right you can see that I have a few magazines created, Writing, iPads in Education, and Digital Citizenship.    
Do understand that by default all your created magazines are public, though you can switch them to private when you are setting up the magazine.  

So here is one of my magazines (above).  I gave it the name "EdTech Thoughts" and put articles that I was finding on anything around the theory, future, expectations, or opinions on Educational Technology. 
I can add this magazine now to my Cover Page (the page you see when you are on the Home of the app) by choosing the "Subscribe" at the top left corner of the magazine.   
I can also share my magazine with others, similar to Pinterest or ScoopIt.  I can email a link to someone, tweet it, or post it to facebook so other people are able to subscribe to anything I add to that magazine.  
You can view my EdTech Thoughts magazine at this link (you will need Flipboard on your iPad to view).

Flipboard also added a bookmarklet that you can install on the iPad or iPhone Chrome Browser so you can "flip" anything to your Flipboard app to curate yourself!  
Have Fun Flipping!  


Have you wondered about what it means for a product to be generic?  How about whether or not Fairy Tales can be true?  Do you wonder if tics can make you sick?

Wonderopolis is a free app that provides you with a Wonder of the Day.  This wonder begins with a "Did You Know" section which contains an explanation of the inquiry.  This is great non-fiction reading source for students. For instance, generic products began appearing on shelves as white boxes with black lettering.

The second section is "Try it out".  This is where there are exploratory experiments designed to allow students to further their understanding of a wonder by completing an investigative activity.  For instance, an activity is suggested to go with a parent to the grocery store and compare brand name products with generic products.

The Wonder Words section provides a list of vocabulary words key to the topic.  Some words in the generic wonder word list include brand, product, aisle, staples, generic, and prescription.

Wonderopolis is a great, clean app providing students with interesting topics to read.  If you want to investigate further, please check out the website, where there are videos and more that correspond to this resource.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Use Kidblog to Get Your Students Writing!

Kidblog Website 
There are many uses for blogging in the classroom.  
iPad App Link 
With kidblog teachers can create classroom sets of individual student blogs  and give students an audience to write for, as well as a handy tool to help meet new CCSS writing standards for example:      

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.6 With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

I love websites that create app versions of their site.  Regardless of whether you have three computers and two iPads or one to one iPads in a classroom, students can post from anywhere.     

Setting up your class is easiest via the website.  On the kidblog website, teachers can moderate, edit, and/or delete posts and comments by students within their classes. Within settings, teachers are allowed to adjust who can read, comment, or are notified.  The teacher dashboard gives quick ability to moderate and view who and what was written.       

The kidblog app for both the iPad and iPod Touch allows students to log in and post their entries, upload video or photo projects, and comment on other students' posts.  Its a great way to allow students to share their projects that they have created on the iPad.  Here is a link that is readable to the public of a piccollage project we did in a recent training:

Working towards allowing blogs to be  public is a great way for students to share their writing with their parents and other family members, allowing for a larger audience.  It is also another platform for teaching about proper commenting skills, reflection, and internet safety.  If students are posting projects, it's also a tool for teaching about copyright rules and expectations.  A great resource for working on Digital Literacy and Citizenship in the classroom is Common Sense Media K-12 Curriculum 

If you've wanted your students to blog, this is a place to start.  It's a fun way to get students writing and sharing!