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15 Sep 2011
Comments: 1

Clever Carnazzo's Cards

Meritorious Motion

Appy Alliteration: With an affinity for alliteration and all things Apple, I set out to congratulate Carnazzo on her creative use of cards with her class. Julio Barros, the iCardSort app developer, was kind enough to send us a few priceless promo codes for the full incredible iCardSort version. I forwarded one of these codes to Ms. Carnazzo in recognition for her savvy use of Songify and received another c-app-tivating lesson:

Meritorious Motion: Her class had been studying motion in science and had recently completed an empirical experiment to see which type of motion different items would show. After students completed the appropriate activity, she used iCardSort to group items to see what properties (e.f. bounce, spin, slide, roll) items in each group had in common. Students wanted to show that some items could be cleverly classified in more than one group so some are on the lines overlapping 2 groups. Students then brilliantly brainstormed other items that they thought would fit in the different groups. The pretty bright pink cards are their additional ideas.

 

If you are interested in replicating this lesson with your studious students, visit the iCardSort public decks in the next few days for the deck.

Noteworthy Newsletter: Also check out E-string‘s noteworthy newsletter which includes the original techchef4u HOTS Math Vocabulary lesson and some app-tastic Vimeo videos that highlight how to use iCardSort and how the app can be used in a lovely literature circle.

 

 

 


12 Sep 2011
Comments: 0

Carnazzo's Class Creations

Sums of 10 with Talking Heads

One of the most fulfilling parts of my jobs is to know that the technology recipes I create and present in my techchef4u blog are not only well-received but utilized to impact student learning. Ms. Carnazzo, a second grade teacher at Longs Creek in NEISD, has been such a wonderful inspiration for showcasing how these recipes can be used in an elementary classroom. It was a little over a week ago that I received her first email highlighting how she used Songify with her second grade class to practice short vowel sounds. This morning I received yet another email with a link to a “sums of 10” project she had her students complete with the free versions of the talking heads apps. Needless to say, if she keeps concocting these app-tastic lessons, I may just have to create a section for her on my blog entitled: Carnazzo’s Class Creations.

Carnazzo's Class Creation

Intrigued, I wanted to gain a little more insight in to her classroom and project management for the device. With only one iPad for her classroom, here is how she structured her latest creation:

  1. Students worked with a partner. They were given time to practice their portion prior to recording.
  2. While Ms. Carnazzo worked with the partners in a “quiet spot” to record their individual songs, the large group was playing a Tens Go Fish game
  3. When recording, one student would sing the first part and the other student would sing the response
  4. After all of the students had recorded, Ms. Carnazzo emailed the videos to herself and compiled them in iMovie to create one complete song.

 

While the students LOVE using the iPad any time, they are so proud of their products and always want to know when they will be posted online to share with their parents. What an app-laudable way to keep parents informed and to highlight student products while integrating technology to impact student learning!

Thanks to a generous PuppetPals Director’s Pass code donation, Ms. Carnazzo’s class (and a few others in the district) will be concocting a puppet show creation in the near future. Stay tuned for app-erific greatness!

The apps discussed here were highlighted in our

“appy hour 4 u”: surprisingly educational apps show.


05 Aug 2011
Comments: 1

Take a Chomp out of Your Learning Goals

Challenged and inspired with the task of designating my own professional learning goals, I retreated to my iPad kitchen to reflect upon which appy ingredients I had in my pantry. What would be the best app to share these goals? After running into ScreenChomp in TCEA’s Twitter feed last night, I was eager as ever to take a bite out of the new app. Indeed, it did not disappoint my appalicious taste buds.

  • Intuitive & Cost-effective: The app is free and user friendly.
  • Flexible backgrounds: Users can either use an image from their camera roll (which opens up the many possibilities as most apps will save their products as images: cartoon strips, mindmaps, notes, etc…) or create their recording using a blank whiteboard as a background.
  • Built-in Image Editing: The app also allows you to move, zoom, and rotate images from the camera roll so portrait and landscape orientation do not become an issue.
  • Chomp into Color: Once you have chosen your background, simply press record and you can annotate while you talk with the three provided markers or customize the color of each.
  • Sharing: Once your recording is complete, you can share it in multiple ways (e.g. email the link, copy the link, or tweet it).
  • Downloading & Publishing: When you access the link, you will then be given the option to download the video as an mp4 (which could be added to any iDevice or uploaded to YouTube as I have down with mine).

What a fantastic tool for student discussions/presentations, problem-solving/mathcasts (ala Khan Academy), highlighting apps, or conducting professional development (similar to Atomic Learning mini tutorials). Can’t wait to incorporate this into an appy hour! Consider the many ways you would use this app in your classroom or with your students.

As the focus of this post was learning goals, let’s close on that note. Setting goals for personal or professional learning is the only true way to be an agent of change in your classroom and with your students. As I ponder what tools I will need and what trainings I will seek out to meet my own needs, I propose the same task to teachers on my campuses so I am able to tailor the resources I cook up to better serve their palette for technology learning.

 


20 Jul 2011
Comments: 4

Spaces and Places: Part 2: Setting up the Instructional Space

Classroom Architect Tool Layout @ 4Teachers.org

Inspired after a great meeting of the minds, I brought the spaces & places concept to a middle school math curriculum planning session I had been invited to at one of my campuses, Ed White Middle School. The idea itself was originally intended to create assisted and unassisted learning zones and literacy work stations that support student learning and independence in the preschool and elementary classroom.

While the concept was not intended for the secondary classroom, our middle schol math teachers teach in 90 minute blocks which lend themselves to stations, mini-activities, and learning centers. With the big push to integrate technology and utilize existing campus resources (e.g. iPads, iPods, computers with interactive sites, document cameras to record student work, etc…) to foster engagement and achievement, the idea of creating a student-centered secondary classroom is not so far-fetched. I realized that not every teacher would feel comfortable with removing his/her teacher desk from the classroom and allowing someone to have creative control over the initial setup. Nevertheless, a risk-taker and change agent, I tossed the idea out there and surprisingly was met with eagerness and willingness from one teacher in particular, Ms. Scalia. I jumped on the opportunity and we scheduled a date to work on the room.

Since the rooms had been cleaned over the summer and most teachers had to pack up and move out, the classrooms were pretty much a blank canvas. Working with an older building, technology truly has to be the driving force in creating the space. I noticed we had 5 internet drops on one wall (not including two drops on the teacher raceway) and two on the opposite wall. Before moving furniture, we decided to take inventory of the current pieces we had and the locations of drops and outlets. From there, we sketched a crude blueprint and began assigning each piece a home.

We moved a table to the front right of the room to create a Teaching Station which would house an Avermedia document camera and laptop dock with the intention that it would be accessible for the teacher during direct teach time and the students during guided practice or reteach. We then opted to use a teacher’s desk as a computer station on the end of the far right wall. The drawers to the desk could easily be used for daily supplies, manipulatives, and activities for the day or computer supplies like headsets and wipes. Another table was moved between the original table and the teacher’s desk (now a student computer station) and created a place for two student computers. As we were running short on tables, we left a place closer to the front open to house another two computers.

Scalia had two filing cabinets available. Not feeling too confident in moving them ourselves and not wanting to scrape up the freshly waxed floor, we asked a custodian to help us move them on either side of the student computer station. This provided a divided workspace as well as a place to have task cards & activity menus, or a Magnetic Center on the front and sides of each.

From there we moved the four mobile student tables in the center of the room and added 8 student desks on each side (2 rows of 4). This arrangement provides enough seating for 24 students (not including the newly created computer work stations) and gave us an opportunity to remove some of the broken and graffiti’d desks from the classroom to give it a more uniform and fresh look. Scalia already had 6 stools that could be used as seating for the student tables and a few chairs for the computer stations so we placed those as well. Removing the 2 teacher desks (one was an inclusion teacher’s) not only freed up at least 20-30 square feet of usable instructional space, it changed the focus of the room to a more student-focused environment.

Skeleton Classroom

All in all, the whole process took about an hour and a half. Before we left, we made a list of the other items we would like to add to the room: 5 more desktop computers, 2 more student tables (and perhaps a kidney-shaped one to work with small groups under the dry-erase board in the Proof Place, and a few more stools and chairs. Ideally, she would like to have all student desks removed in favor of the mobile tables but we are still in the process of hunting these pieces down. We even discussed how she could use one of her cabinets to house teacher supplies, trays to turn in work, and other classroom trappings that students would have access to on a daily basis but would typically be cluttering a table top. Using the Classroom Architect Tool layout, I compiled the existing pieces and layout with the additional requested items to show what the finished classroom layout will look like.

I am looking forward to returning and seeing how she has organized the student cabinet, created interactive bulletin boards, and added her own personal charm and warmth to the space. Perhaps she will even create a Scalia Store (or Shop) and a Practice Plaza. While Scalia’s classroom was once a theater room and boasts a 6 inch raised stage platform (purple square rug) with a SMARTboard (green rectangle) mounted where the curtains might have been, I am confident that she will take a more “guide on the side” role rather than a “sage on the stage”.

Check out some of these sites for further info on learning stations for secondary students: Using Learning Centers in High School (also some great MS info), Launching Learning Centers in the Middle Grades, Learning Centers in the Middle School Classroom (loved the idea of reciprocal teaching), TeacherVision Learning Centers (highlights different types of centers: enrichment, skill, interest and exploratory, and how to set up the parts of a learning center), and Problem Solving Learning Centers in Mathematics (consider using the computer stations to create a multi-step cartoon to solve an algebraic equation).

Also see Part 1: Removing the Instructional Clutter


06 Jul 2011
Comments: 0

iPad Consumption vs. Production: the Great Debate

Outdated Infographic

Less than a year ago, my initial infographic (compiled from info from various blogs and articles on the topic of what the iPad can and cannot do) consisted of this very debate: consumption vs. production. Many of the first iPad lessons that I created were written to use the iPad for consumption: research, collecting data, writing prompts, virtual tours, and inspiration for upcoming projects. The suggested final product or writing assignment was to be completed with a Web 2.0 tool or available peripheral.

Consumption vs. Production

Flash-forward (pun intended) ten months or so and the iPad2 with camera and video capability as well as an ever-evolving prolific store of apps (which I get lost in for hours a night) has rapidly morphed the way I use my iPad and how I promote its use in the classroom. Yes ArounderTouch and Tour Wrist are phenomenal apps for virtual 360 tours, but why not create a tour with Photosynth or DerManDar. There are thousands of ebooks and interactive book apps available for all ages, but now you can create your own with Calibre or by simply saving a document as a PDF or ePub and dragging it into iBooks. You can watch a puppet show about Tortoise & the Hare or a 60second Recap of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but why not create your own with Puppet Pals or Sock Puppets.

I will say that I am biased (being a Mac User, iPhone Geek, and iPad enthusiastyes, I own and often appear in all of these Apple-related fashion items) towards the iPad as the tablet for education because I do find it to be so intuitive and I have some brand loyalty. Above and beyond that, whatever tablet or device you choose to implement needs to be used as a learner-centered tool for communication with multimedia and as a global consumer. After reading much of the lively discussion on iPads in Education and how they are used in the classroom, I believe many of the contributors would tend to agree that it is truly not about the tech but the teach:

  • What are we asking students to do with the device?
  • Has our pedagogy changed?
  • Are the devices being used to foster learning and innovation while providing a platform for differentiated instruction or are they being used as a lighter version of a textbook?
  • Furthermore, are we teaching digital and media literacy and producing critical consumers?
  • Are students able to evaluate the information they consume?

Stepping down from my soapbox, I am confronted with another issue. The campuses I support have not initiated a 1:1 ratio and the iPad was never truly intended to be a multi-user device. While it is sometimes appropriate to have students surf the internet to research a topic, launch an app to track earthquakes, or reshuffle their deck of vocabulary words in iCardSort before the next user, it often presents an issue when you desire to have students produce rather than consume.

While I use my iPad to produce videos, photos, and mindmaps on a regular basis, logistically this presents a hurdle when you want to mass produce these products class period to period.

Multi-User Production

  • Image Products: If you are using free apps (which I am inclined to do so due to the VPP being a tad bit convaluded and time-consuming for educators), you may only be able to create one product at a time like in Popplet Lite which means students will need to either save the image to the photo library or email it. If you have enabled the email feature, how did you create the email? Is it a school email or a department email? Who will be responsible for checking it (especially if this is not a class set of iPads and is meant to be used on a revolving basis with the department, grade level, and/or team)? If you intend to pull the photos off the devices at the end of the day, who has the syncing computer and will it be an issue that students will have access to other students mindmaps or products in the photo library before creating their own?
  • Video Products: Most video products are either saved to the video library on the device or must be uploaded to YouTube. Again, will teachers wait till the end of the day to pull off all of the video products when they sync each device or will they allow students to upload products to Youtube? If students are uploading to Youtube, who’s email account are they using and is this process highlighted in the Acceptable Use Policy for the district?
  • Annotations: I love the idea of annotating PDF’s and books. However, this process was meant to be done as a single-user. If you highlight and take notes in a book in iBooks in period 1, the same notes will be available to the user in period 2. If this were to be an ongoing project or the annotation process was to be similar for each class, this presents an issue. While you can email the notes, is it realistic for each student to do this each period as the notes will compile and be duplicated? Do we open a PDF in Doodle Buddy instead? Or do we morph the project to accommodate the device? Will one class period highlight and annotate based on character traits, another on theme, and another on setting and imagery? If so, this is a welcome change, but a change nonetheless to how we deliver instruction and how students communicate.

Though I find it easier to use a Neo2 with Google Docs capabilities in conjunction with the device or a Google Docs account on the device for word-processing and collaborative writing, other products do not have such a simple solution. I am in no way trying to be a Debbie Device Downer or trying to deter teachers from implementing the devices in their classrooms. On the contrary, I want to encourage and promote the use of the devices to fundamentally better pedagogical practices, instruction, learning, and education at its core but at the same time I think this is a worthy valid discussion:

  • What are the logistics involved with using the iPads as multi-user devices in schools for production?
  • How are the devices managed?
  • Do we connect them to a wireless printer, create email accounts, set up class Dropboxes and YouTube accounts?
  • How do we manage the submission of products at the elementary and secondary level?
  • Will/should the plan differ from elementary to high school?
  • Does every product have to be submitted or can teachers deploy another way to grade and evaluate student creations?

As with anything, I am sure that my qualms will be distant post as soon as the iOS 5 and iCloud capabilities are launched and fully realized. But in the meantime, it is worth pondering as we integrate these devices into our daily life and classroom.


06 Jul 2011
Comments: 0

Spaces and Places: Part 1: Removing the Instructional Clutter

In an effort to reclaim my garage and remove the instructional clutter, I began clearing out old teaching materials. I haven’t been a classroom teacher in over four years, but still held on to the trappings of one. While many materials are timeless (e.g. counters, unifix cubes, fraction tiles, rulers, pencil boxes, & even project-based books or lessons), others needed to be kicked to the curb (e.g. transparencies, TAKS manipulatives and workbooks, outdated classroom handouts and textbooks, etc…). The whole process took me a couple of hours but was well worth it. I was able to clean out two whole bookshelves and an entire storage cabinet.

Why is this relevant or useful?

Purging Clutter: What Made the Cut

  • Beyond the idea of reclaiming space, I wanted to purge for a cause. My first item of business was to gleen new and nearly new items that could be donated to Help A Teacher Out program and local preschools. I was surprised with what I came across: dictionaries, binders, file folders, index cards, pencil boxes, rulers, protractors, foam letters, and classroom posters (“Gallon Man”, you will be missed). With budget cuts and strains to education, I wanted to do my part to help local teachers… which ultimately benefits the work that they do with and for our children. (I had also planned on purchasing other items on their “back to school” shopping list).
  • The second reason for my madness was to model the process of “removing instructional clutter” to prepare for learning. My rule of thumb was pretty simple, if the materials were outdated or the task could be better accomplished with a piece of technology (mainly the iPad & iPod… or other tool you have access to in your classroom), then I trashed the manipulatives, flash cards, workbooks, etc… I won’t lie, parting with numbered baggies filled with laminated TAKS chart activities and equation mats was a little painful. But it was more in knowing how many man hours it took to create the activities, xerox them, laminate them, painstakingly cut them out, and sort/package/label them then it was in the concern that they may actually be used again or that I would miss them. I did come across a few I wasn’t willing to entirely part with, so I opted to keep 5-10 sets versus the complete set of 30. Odds are if I ever did use them again it would be for remediation with a small group or in a station and not for whole class instruction. All in all, I had 2 garbage bags full of trash and a trunk full of instructional donations.

What do I keep?

Many teachers have packed up their classrooms for the summer and some are even moving to a different room/space or campus. Before you unpack the clutter and restrict the space you have to teach and your students have to learn, consider removing the instructional clutter as you unpack. (In my case, I wasn’t taking up instructional space in my classroom by storing the outdated clutter, but simply garage space. Regardless, in doing so I was able to clear space for a more productive environment… a work bench area for my husband.)

What will you do with what you unpack and how will you make the best use of the space that you have?

Stay tuned for Spaces & Places: Part 2 where I will post my journey with a few willing teachers from planning their space to arranging their room for optimized learning (including planning for technology and creating stations and centers at the secondary level).


26 May 2011
Comments: 1

HOT APPS for HOTS: Puppet Pals

Puppet Pals Activity

Puppet Pals is a fantastic app for any age level to create a show (a video) for almost any topic. While I have purchased the Director’s Pass upgraded version, the app itself is free. The Director’s Pass has 13 actor sets (each with 5 to 11 characters) with 3 backdrops for each actor set. The Director’s Pass is a one time fee and you will have access to all of the current sets as well as any future ones – a fantastic deal, if you ask me. The free version only furnishes a Wild West theme with 6 characters, 1 prop, and 3 backdrops.

When I first started planning this lesson, I was really stumped, how do you build a lesson (other than studying the gold rush, cliche cowboys, or the Wild West) around such a specific theme? Then it hit me! It wasn’t about the theme but the content. Puppet Pals Lesson (PDF Lesson)

So I put together this sample (and rough draft) video to highlight how the free version could be used to support the study of figurative language also seen below).

I have included the Henry & Henrietta.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Iy7GonCFg8&w=425&h=349]

After creating the video, I have a few “wise words of wisdom” (pardon the alliteration):

  1. Plan & Storyboard: Lay out your story in a storyboard or graphic organizer.
  2. Dialogue & Stage Direction: Make sure your dialogue is written and clear as to who speaks when (also what voice you will use for each actor), what actions the actors need to perform (e.g. move off screen, come closer, walk, appear on screen, turn, appear smaller, etc…), and what actions need to take place between scene changes (e.g. rearrange actors, have an actor move off stage or into the background).
  3. Group Assignments: If you are working in a group, you will want to assign parts and actors and plan accordingly. Not everyone may have an actor assignment. One person may be responsible for the changing of the backdrop or prop.
  4. Dress Rehearsal: Once your story is written, parts are assigned, and dialogue is rehearsed, you are ready to perform. I would suggest doing a dry run before recording (like a table read).

Slide to Perform: The Basics

  1. How to Select Characters: Tap “Press to Start”. Select actors by tapping on them (a green check mark will appear in the bottom of the actor when it is selected). Tap “Next”.
  2. How to Select Backdrops: Select backdrops by tapping on them (a green check mark will appear in the bottom of the actor when it is selected). Tap “Next”.
  3. How to Change Backgrounds while filming: For full screen image, change the orientation of your iPad to landscape (held horizontally).
  4. How to Turn Character, Change their Size, or Move them from the Stage: Tap & drag a character to move, pinch out to enlarge, pinch in to reduce, and double-tap to change direction. Tap & drag actor out of area of backdrop to remove them from a scene.
  5. How to Record, Pause, & Stop: Tap Record (red circle). You can Pause (2 vertical parallel lines) in between scenes, Tap Stop (white square) when finished. Click Play (green triangle) to preview. If you are satisfied with the quality of your show, you are ready to Save.
  6. How to Save: Tap Save (looks like old-school 3.5 inch disk). Type a title in the space provided. Tap Save.
  7. How to Export: When you launch the app, tap “Saved Shows”. You will be presented with an option to “Export”. Your show will be saved in the video section of your camera roll, photo app that looks like a sunflower.
  8. How to Upload to YouTube or Email: From your camera roll, locate the video. Tap the rectangle with the arrow in the upper right hand corner. You will have the option to email the video (many videos may be too large for this option), send it to YouTube (will have to sign in to an account), or copy the video. If none of these options seem to work, you can always pull the videos off the device when you sync your iPad to your designated computer.
Screenshot from PuppetPals

Possible Topics for Puppet Pals (without Director’s Pass)

  1. Illustrate a vocabulary word, math problem, or scientific concept
  2. Recreate a story in a different setting
  3. Apply today’s government and economic structure to that of the Wild West
  4. Create a news story (interview a character or a witness)
  5. Illustrate a poem (include various elements of figurative language: simile, metaphor, personification, alliteration, onomatopoeia, hyperbole, idioms, cliches) or practice rhyme scheme & meter
  6. Write a story using a certain number of prepositional phrases, adverbs, adjectives, etc…
  7. Create a story to illustrate humor or another emotion or depict sarcasm or irony (verbal, dramatic, situational) or even a paradox
  8. Create a story to illustrate word play & literary techniques (spoonerisms, wellerisms, rhetoric,puns,
  9. Create a story to narrate conflict or climax
  10. Create a story that is a biographical retelling of a historical figure from the era (or a historical fiction account) – check out Time Warp Trio for some great extensions and ideas (also has an Old West section) to spice up your show.
  11. Create a talk show to have various characters share their story or debate a topic.

Tech Camp Assignment: Choose 1 of the following show ideas:

  • Option A: Create a Puppet Pal Show using the existing characters and backdrops that highlights at least 3 idioms, 3 prepositions, 1 metaphor, and 1 simile. Export your show (as a video) so others can see it.
  • Option B: Create a Puppet Pals Show using at least 2 one-syllable rhyming words, 2 two or three-syllable rhyming words, 2 idioms, and 2 alliterations.

You may use the resources highlighted here to assist you with your show: Idiom Dictionary, Idiom Site, Rhymezone, Ryhmer, The Preposition, Your Dictionary: Alliteration, Your Dictionary: Similes & Metaphors, Buzzle.com: Metaphors.

Director’s Pass: If you have the director’s pass, you not only have a plethora of characters and backgrounds to choose from (Arthropod Armada, Christmas, Entertainers, Fair Weather Friends, Fairytale, Monsters, On the Farm, Pirates, Political Partay, Talk Shows, Thanksgiving, Wild West, and Zombie Attack) but also the ability to add actor(s) and background(s) from your photo collection (either images you have taken or images saved from the internet). These images can be cropped to create your own puppets.

Check out other apps like it: Toontastic

There is also a great children’s book series that is useful to illustrate idioms: More Parts and Even More Parts by Tedd Arnold (Say What You Mean Please Lesson). Teachers may even want to have students create a table of figurative & literal idiom meanings prior to the activity.

©2011. Lisa Johnson. All rights reserved. Permission to reproduce for classroom use granted.


18 May 2011
Comments: 0

Part 2: The App Review

Now that you know what you can and can’t do with an iPad and have a reserve of educational ideas for use, let’s take a look at its applications (apps) and how they can be reviewed.

Let’s Review the Types of Apps: Compatible (these are iPhone/iPod apps that can run on an iPad but will appear in compatibility mode and can be resized by selecting 2x), Universal (will run on any device), iPad Only (only run on the iPad).

Within these app categories, we have free, lite, and paid. Consider what your purpose is for the app before you commit to purchasing it.

  • Free: these apps are offered at no cost. Many are the full full version (some are only free for a limited time)
  • Lite: these apps tend to not have all of the features or may not be the full app (they are great for testing an app prior to purchasing it or to use as a starting point for a project)
    • Bard’s Dream Lite: This is a graphic novel for MidSummer Nights’ Dream. The lite app only features the first act. Students can use it as an alternate version to compare/contrast/critique against the original text as well as an inspiration for creating graphic novel or cartoon versions for the following acts.
    • Shakespare in Bits:”This version provides all of the features and functionality (complete cats & analysis information) of the full version, but only contains 2 Scenes: The Act 1 Prologue and Act 1 – Scene 1.” Students could still use the app for the cast and analysis info in conjunction with reading the entire play. They could then review the prologue Act 1 – Scene 1 videos to serve as an example for creating their own videos for the following acts.
    • Not all Lite apps are created equal: Pecos Bill Lite is the full version of the book and still allows users to record their own narration – it only lacks Robin Williams narration & Ry Cooder soundtrack. On the Flip side, Titanic Dog to the Rescue is a free app that really should be considered “diet lite”. It has a few pages to get you into the story and then prompts your to purchase the full version to finish the book.
  • Paid: these are full versions

Is an app worth your time or money? Use several indicators to make an informed decision:

  1. Ratings: Don’t rule out an app by rating alone. There are some great apps that I have found with 2 & 3 star ratings. You have to look at the app and how it can be used for your purposes in the classroom.
  2. Screenshot: Typically the screen shots will help in deciding if an app merits a download. If an app has only one screen shot or the screen shots are vague, I don’t waste my time with the app.
  3. Description: If I am still unsure about the app after the ratings and screen shot, the description may clear up the confusion. The more descriptive and detailed the description, the more likely I am to download the app.
  4. Review: The reviews can be quite useful. If there are more than 2 or 3 really bad reviews, I move on. However, it is important to note how recent the poor reviews were posted as some apps may have received a bad review and then made changes and released an update to rectify the issue.

If it has passed all of these indicators, I will download it and give it a test drive. If it met my needs, I will add it to a content folder. If not, I will delete it so I don’t mistake it for one I would like to use. Keep a running list of inappropriate or inadequate apps and a brief description why. This helps to not waste time downloading an app you have already reviewed & rejected again.

http://linkyy.com/ipadOnce you have downloaded an app, spend some time reviewing the functionality & robustness of it, ease of use, proclivity for ads, and inappropriate content (which may not always be obvious). I have found a few that:

  • linked to inappropriate ads or had too many pop-up ads
  • had hidden inappropriate content (rhyming dictionaries with profane terms & poetry generators with quotes and/or poems with adult content)
  • will need in-app purchases turned off on the device so students do not purchase advance features or become redirected to other apps and sites
It is, however, worth some time teaching students how to navigate apps and how to handle occasions when they do encounter inappropriate content to reinforce the idea of creating digital citizens and informed/critical consumers for the next generation.

TCEA has also provided evalipad & TCEA App Rubric(s)

Now you are ready to locate your own apps!


11 May 2011
Comments: 1

Appy Hour: SS/History App-Teasers

Appy Hour will provide you with a fast-paced introductory approach to FREE apps that are appropriate for secondary students. App-teasers for Social Studies/History will be sampled. After this class you will think beyond the concept of an App as simply being a game – you will leave with a menu of appealing concrete lesson ideas you can serve as soon as you are back with your students! An iPad with all required apps will be included for use during the duration of the class.

©2011. Lisa Johnson. All rights reserved. Permission to reproduce for classroom use granted

 

APP HAPPY SS (Menu of History Apps Sampled)

10 Educational History Podcasts to Subscribe & Listen  (Check out History on Air Podcast)

Check out More Podcasts for History