Thursday, May 24, 2012

Doc Scan HD

Doc Scan HD is an app that allows you to take a picture of a document with your iPad, and create a PDF file. How this comes in handy for the teacher is that they can take a picture of a worksheet or project directions of which they normally make numerous copies, turn it into a PDF, and finally send it out to the students so that they can digitally complete it on their iPad or iPod.

Great apps for the students to use to write directly on the PDF are: Type on PDF and Paperport Notes. You can find a review of Paperport notes here.

Here is a quick video on how to create your own PDF files using the app:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHhmISGBMxk?rel=0&w=640&h=480]

K12 Timed Reading Practice Lite

What is the simplest way to help a student improve fluency? Have them practice read a piece multiple times to make sure that they are accurate and can read smoothly. K12 Timed Reading Practice Lite provides 25 leveled texts for K-4. (There is also a full version that provides 250 texts.) The idea is that students practice reading the piece while the timer runs. When the student is finished reading, they will receive a report with how many words per minute they read. A simple and easy app for students to use.

[gallery columns="5" orderby="title"]

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Socrative

Last January, Zack and I attended the FETC conference. There we were able to gather lots of ideas and brainstorm ways we can better serve the teachers in East Noble School Corporation, as well as any teacher that happen to pass on through while on the internet. One of the things we found humorous was that many vendors at the conference were pushing clicker systems. Sure clicker systems are great, but my question was why invest the money in a clicker system when you can have a class set of iPods, iPads, or computers (which do much more) and use Socrative? The only reason I could think of is that clicker systems are cheaper, but you are also very limited by them.

Socrative is an awesome way to get students to become engaged in a class discussion because it gives them a voice. You can pose an open-ended question or create a quiz for students to respond. (Students especially love open-ended questions.) Think about being in the midst of your read aloud, and you throw a question out there. The students could type a response, have it pop up on the screen, and then students can even vote for which answer they think is best.



Socrative also allows you to save and share quizzes! You have the option to save a multiple choice or open response quiz to their site, receive a code, and give that code to your colleagues for sharing. This allows you to quickly gather data within you and your colleagues. Those quizzes will also be waiting in your account for future use.



Socrative even provides reports in Excel spreadsheets. If you mark your multiple choice quizzes with correct answers, it will even grade them for you by color coding correct answers in green. These reports are available for download anytime from the app as well as their website.



Lastly, Socrative is available on all platforms. You can have a mix of devices all connecting to the teacher device. Students can log into it by using the iPod/iPad app, or going to www.socrative.com and clicking on the student login button. This is handy because I found a little problem with using the app a few weeks ago in a fourth grade class. As it turns out, my version of the app was different than the student's. For whatever reason, this caused the students to not be able to receive my questions when I launched them. If I had them go to the website to login, they would have had the latest version and had no issues connecting. So if you are using an iOS device, it might be better for your students to create a home screen button to www.socrative.com instead of the app. It will function exactly the same way.

Originally, I had created a video tutorial, but I had come across this one on Youtube. Since this lady has a much better voice than my Midwestern accent, I decided to use hers instead. :)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mgMDEShsVI?rel=0&w=640&h=480]

Nearpod

Nearpod

If you are a 1:1 technology school with iPads or iPods, Nearpod is an absolute must. Imagine creating your lessons with presentation slides that your students view on their own device. Imagine it only going to the slide you send to them so that they cannot flip forward or backward. Imagine being able to add in questions for them to answer by handwriting, drawing, multiple choice, typing, circling, or underlining and having the responses all go to your iPad (in alphabetical order to boot) with their names and responses side by side. Imagine being able to take one of those responses, send it out to the student iPads (or iPods) for them to view so that you can discuss it. Sounds pretty engaging for students, doesn't it?

Check out this video to get a better picture:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOhwDAC-aok?rel=0]

The link I included for you is the teacher version. The students have their own version and that can be found by clicking here. The students must have the student version to connect to your iPad. To get an account, you must get it through your iPad. Once you have done that, you can download existing presentations. However, to create your own, you will have to go to the Nearpod website with a laptop or desktop computer and "upgrade your account." I think think the reason they do this is to make it clear that you have to create your own presentations on their website, not on your iPad app.

Here is how you can create a presentation:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rV10wYjL1Q?rel=0]

Lastly, here is a video for you to see students and teachers using the app in the classroom. The testimonials are very accurate as I have attempted to use this app myself on a couple of instances. This app can replace the need for paper and pencil assessments as you can easily incorporate questions in a digital manner.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkO5T5MOXN4?rel=0&w=853&h=480]

The ENSC Elementary Edline Template

I recently created a template for Edline. I also put together a video on the process of getting the template to work on your website. (Don't worry, you have not been given access to your site yet.) I also go through a little preview on how to navigate through the template and make changes to it. I hope that it will be as simple as I think I have made it. Let me know what you think. Do you have any recommendations? Do you think it will meet your needs as a teacher? If you are not from East Noble School Corporation, what things do you find necessary on your own teacher website?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XL1IgVZJMDg?rel=0&w=640&h=480]

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pic Collage in the Classroom

Yesterday, I was in Mrs. Savage's third grade class using the Pic Collage app on the iPad. (It is also available on the iPod.) I reported about this app in the Presentation Tools section of the blog awhile back, but this is the first that I have had the opportunity to try it out in a classroom. The activity was to put together a collage of pictures that  Ms. Savage had taken over the year and to write a caption for those pictures. The students found the pictures directly from Ms. Savage's website; this helped to avoid using Google images or finding inappropriate pictures. The students saved them in their camera roll and then were able to access them in the app. The students were able to quickly put together a collage, and I think they had a lot of fun doing it. Ms. Savage had the wheels turning in her mind as she realized that she could apply this app to almost any learning experience. It would be a quick and easy way for the students to produce a piece of work to demonstrate what they learned.

However, there was a downer to the moment as we suddenly realized that the students could find background images directly from the internet if they typed in a search. None of the students searched subjects that were completely out of line, thankfully. I did test it myself to see how it worked on the East Noble filter; for the most part it seems to filter the bulk of inappropriate content. It is vital that I keep you informed when situations like this occur. I apologize that I had not caught it earlier in my first evaluation of the app.

As I have traveled amongst the five elementary buildings this year, I have been so impressed with the teaching staff of East Noble School Corporation. We have some excellent teachers, and Ms. Savage handled the situation just like so many of the teachers in this district have. She made it clear to her students that when they use Pic Collage, they need to only use pictures that are in their camera roll and backgrounds that are already available instead of doing a search for new ones. Her reasoning was because she wanted to see the text and the pictures they posted, and not be distracted by a picture of Alvin and the Chipmunks (or other pop culture icons). I was so impressed because a lot of times our natural response is to dismiss an app or use of the internet due to the potential danger. Setting clear expectations and guidelines is the key because apps like Pic Collage hold so much potential for the students to demonstrate their learning in a quick and creative fashion.

To top it all off, I started to get emails that afternoon asking about Pic Collage due to Ms. Savage sharing the experience. Keep spreading the word to each other as you come across great digital learning tools. Don't forget to share them with me too! Share them here; then more people can benefit from your advice!

Here is a great collage one of  Ms. Savage's third graders created:

[caption id="attachment_773" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Using Pic Collage could be an easy way for students to record their thoughts or learning about any subject.[/caption]

 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

PhysicalSci

PhysicalSci is an interactive study tool for the topics of matter and energy. It provides simulations, videos, vocabulary flash cards, and a glossary for all the topics covered. It is like having the textbook with animated experiments for the students to observe. Much of the material is geared more towards upper elementary, middle school, and high school. However, as a former fourth grade teacher, there are plenty of resources I would use within this app for teaching science. As I am looking through the Indiana science standards, it would supplement the physical science as well as the science, engineering and technology standards for third and fourth grade well.

[gallery]

Rocket Speller

Rocket Speller is a free app for both the iPod and iPad. It is geared more towards the primary levels. The thing I like most about this app (other than it being free) is it does not allow the student to put the letters in the wrong order. It does sound silly that I am making a big deal about that issue, however, many of the spelling apps I have come across allow the user to put the letters in the middle or end of the word in first. When teachers give their students spelling words to practice, we expect the student to spell the word left to right. App designers should have the same expectation. The app features four levels of difficulty. The first two levels have the letters already in order; so the students just have to match the letters together to spell the word correctly. The last two levels do not have this feature, which will make it more appropriate for your more advanced spellers. As the students spell the words, they are able to get parts to a rocket. Once they get all the parts, they are able to launch the rocket and collect as many stars as possible during the flight.[gallery columns="5"]

Google Search Education

Google has provided Google Search Education for teachers, and it is a great opportunity. It is, however, geared more towards upper elementary through high school, but many of the concepts could be adjusted accordingly.  Almost everyone uses Google, but most of us (including myself) do not know of all its capabilities. This site provides lesson plans and webinars on how to be more proficient searchers. It talks about the tools Google has to offer within the search, how to analyze sources, and issues of copyright. Check it out for yourself.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9yZco8bwI8?rel=0]

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Whiteboard Lite as a Collaborative Writing Tool

Click on the picture to see the app in iTunes.

I came across this blog today of a teacher using Whiteboard Lite as a collaborative tool. I think some good lessons have been learned by this teacher as she allowed her students to find solutions for her. I am curious to see how well this would work with students within East Noble School Corporation. This would be a great opportunity to collaborate here with comments about how to organize it and/or factors we may need to consider before making this happen. One factor I can think of right now is: Will this work over our network?

http://blog.discoveryeducation.com/blog/2012/05/08/poetry-slamming-with-ipads/

 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sushi Monster

[slideshow]

Sushi Monster is an addition and multiplication app that requires more thinking than just your basic recall of facts. The player has to figure out which order to choose the numbers to reach a target number (top-left corner of the pictures), and if not done correctly, will not proceed to the next level. Early levels are fairly easy and basic recall of math facts. Later on, however, it includes much more difficult mental math work. The levels are also timed; this affects the student's ability to progress to the next level. Quick thinking, fact accuracy, and problem solving skills are necessary to feed the sushi monster. Your students that need a challenge will love this!

Reading the Ruler

Image

Image

Reading the Ruler is a great resource for attempting to introduce the Standard Unit of Measurement, and the Metric system. It features the first two inches and also the first three centimeters. The student can slide his/her finger along the ruler to see what each mark equals. This will provide students with an interactive reference which would especially be helpful with those tricky fractional portions of the inch. Let me know how helpful this app is to your students.

(Click either picture to view in iTunes.)

Geoboard

Geoboard

Those of you that have attempted to use geoboards in the classroom know exactly why this app is useful. Now, imagine the kids not flipping the rubber bands. Also, imagine the kids being able to clean them up with a push of the trashcan icon. This is available for both the iPod and iPad. (Click the picture to view it in itunes.)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Little Writer

Little Writer is one of those free apps that you know the day is coming that it won't be free any longer. This app is great for students that need to work on letter formation. It features accurate animation that is easy for the student to understand. So often, it is hard for students to understand how the letters are to be formed, but the letters that require a change in direction will stop at those points so that the expectation is clear. The app features capitals, lower case, numbers, shapes, and also word writing.

[caption id="attachment_240" align="alignleft" width="225"] The animation continues as the letter has a change in direction.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_239" align="alignleft" width="225"] Only animates the first motion. The moves the animal towards the food.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_241" align="alignleft" width="225"] You can also add your own words with your voice and a picture.[/caption]

Thursday, May 3, 2012

kidblog.org

Blogging in the classroom can be a powerful way to motivate your students to write. They can write about what they are learning, an exciting event at at school, share about a book they are reading, or even as a place to publish their writing. One of my biggest struggles was finding a blogsite that would work well for me as a teacher...without paying money. As I was scouring the internet for resources, I came across this gem: kidblog.org. It is built on the same engine as Wordpress or Edublogs. If you are familiar with those, this is a more simplefied version that includes some of the really good features that you usually can't get unless you pay money.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaVXfHVddHY?rel=0]

How to get the Wordpress app to work on your kidblog can be answered here.

Virtual Field Trip Extravaganza - TOMORROW!!!

I apologize for the short notice, but I didn't come across this until today. Tomorrow, May 4th, there will be four virtual field trips. There are as follows:

In order to participate, you just need to visit the following link: http://www.lifesize.com/social/earthday2012

You will need to make sure your students will be able to view it by plugging your laptop into a projector and having plenty of sound. I am curious if the video feed would work on the student iPods/iPads. If so, you may want to have your earbuds ready!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Nature Explorers

http://www.naturegrid.org.uk/children.html


If you are looking for a website on the environment that is easy for students to use, look no further. Nature Explorers is a free website that will meet the needs of a wide range of learning levels and abilities. It provides lesson plans, online activities, and field guides for multiple age levels. It will meet the needs for you as a teacher and the student when attempting to tackle our natural environment in the classroom. Have the students connect our natural world with the digital realm.


Here are some of the topics it covers:




[caption id="attachment_68" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Basic plant model that works on all platforms."][/caption]



    • animals


    • plants


    • grasslands


    • woodlands


    • ponds


    • watercycle


    • rivers


    • recylcing





[caption id="attachment_69" align="alignright" width="300" caption="After students click on the part of the plant, they get a short description of that part's role."][/caption]