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05 Sep 2011
Comments: 1

Give Your Classroom a Voice with Songify

Appy Hours 4 You: As I mentioned in my Fakebook post, my passion is locating, assembling, and creating resources and lesson ideas to support existing technology (whether it be Web 2.0 tools or iPads). Starting our blog talk radio show was one more way that I wanted to support teachers in the district. While we offer multiple face-to-face courses for the iPad, I still have many teachers ask me what you can do with the device. Even a list of suggested apps can be cumbersome if teachers don’t have a goody bag of ideas to accompany the app or an explanation of how products can be removed from the app or device (e.g. emailed, synced from the photo roll, uploaded to Youtube, downloaded from a random url, etc…).

Thus the reason I felt such a calling to create our “appy hours 4 you” talk show and the portable format. While the show does air live, the intent was for it to be streamed later in the day (e.g. during lunch or while folding laundry at home later that evening) or downloaded to iTunes and listened to on the way to work or at the doctor’s office. Lesson to Go… if you will. Supporting our intent to create a portable learning tool, the vast majority of our listens have been to archived shows. As I do not have information as to the actual listeners of the show (just how many have listened), I am always curious as to who the users are and what they have done with the information shared.

2nd Grade Songify Project

 

Where is Short U? created with Songify

Songify: On Friday, I had to look no further than my inbox. I received a enthusiastic email from Ms. Carnazzo, a second grade teacher in the district, who had been using my blog resources throughout the summer. This was her first year to have an iPad in her classroom and she wanted to share her Songify class project with me. Overjoyed, I clicked on the link she sent me and found a beautiful Glogster EDU page with pictures of the students (she had full internet permissions for each child) decked out in colorful boas and sunglasses posing with a microphone and their iPad. As if that wasn’t adorable enough, she had five different short vowel songs posted (with a text box above each for the lyrics). Each of the songs were created by recording the students singing using Songify (one of the apps we highlighted in our first episode).

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What’s Next for our Appolicious Elementary Stars and their Teacher? Not only did the students love the project, Ms. Carnazzo has decided to have students complete a similar project with Talking Tom and a math song. As she wants the song to be one piece, she has decided to record each excerpt separately and then piece them together in a video editing tool like iMovie.

As my intention for the radio show was to instruct, inspire, and instill an autonomy for building lessons with the iPad that supports student learning and engagement, I would love to hear from others who have used or adapted the lesson ideas we have shared on our show.

Please email or comment with your lesson summary and apps used.


29 Aug 2011
Comments: 2

Everything Explained: Devour Deluxe Screencasting

In the techchef4u kitchen, ingredients and tools tend to be free… but I am making an exception…

Explain Everything: Screencasting App

I am typically quite skeptical when I come across paid apps that do the same thing as free ones. That being said… I have been looking for an advanced screencasting app for some time and was quite elated with the features, design, and potential Explain Everything promised. While I am still partial to Screenchomp (as it is free, simple to use, and offers the ability to download an mp4 video file without having to upload it to Youtube), it only offers simple color annotation with no shapes or arrows and will not allow you to annotate over documents, presentations, or multiple images. While this is perfect for elementary and Khan-esque videos, secondary students, teachers, and the tech world need the advanced functionality that Explain Everything offers.

In corresponding with the Explain Everything app developer, I discovered the reason I truly love this app. As you will see it is easy to use with profound functionality, but the real “you had me at slide to unlock” moment was the innate educational value and potential the app possessed. With this said, I wasn’t at all surprised that a Director of Educational Technology was behind such a polished gem.

So without further ado… let’s delve into the features of Explain Everything:

Explain Everything features:

Explain Everything: Screencasting App

  1. Multiple ways to access your documents: Begin with a blank project or import from photos (similar to Screenchomp) as well as import from Evernote and Dropbox. While there are a few files that were not compatible for import, I did like the fact that you could import a group of photos rather than one at a time.
  2. Slide Sorter: If you have imported multiple pages/images, you have the option to change the order of the slides (or images) and delete them (much like in PPT). Users also have the option to add a blank side in the beginning, middle, or end of a presentation.
  3. Annotation: You can write/highlight and add shapes, lines, arrows, and text. Within each of the annotation drop-downs, you have options to change color, size, transparency, font size, fill color, etc… (Note: the drop-down menu features accessed during your recording do not appear in the final recording).
  4. Insert images: You can insert and edit images (crop and rotate) from Dropbox, Evernote, Camera, or Photo Roll. (Note: The process of importing and editing the image will not appear in the video – recording automatically pauses during this process.)
  5. Layers: You can layer images as well as resize them on the canvas. (This is a slick feature!)
  6. Undo: You have the option to undo/remove a whole object rather than have to erase it in sections (Note: this is selected in the “preferences”: drawings become objects.)
  7. Save: You can save within the app.
  8. Export Images: Images can be exported to the photo roll, emailed, or saved to Dropbox or Evernote.
  9. Export Video: Videos can be saved to the photo roll, emailed, uploaded to youtube, or saved to Dropbox or Evernote. Projects can be emailed or saved to Dropbox or Evernote (they appear to save as an xpl file).
  10. Help menu: Though the app is extremely user-friendly and straight-forward, they do offer a wonderful help section with screenshots and further directions if needed. (If that wasn’t enough, they offer a video and print guide on their site.)

Problem-Solving Explained: While I created the first video to highlight all of the features available in the Explain Everything app, I wanted to model how the Explain Everything app could be used as a vehicle for instruction and learning in the video above. I had previously created this story problem with Prezi to model how the tool could be used as a problem-solving piece in mathematics. In hindsight, I truly believe Explain Everything is a far more useful tool for this purpose as teachers can create instructional videos and students can compose a rich problem-solving process in mere minutes.

  1. Students could create their own story problems with Doodle Buddy (free), Comic Touch Lite (free), or Cartoon Studio Free images saved to the photo roll. (Consider using 123 Charts (free) to produce more advanced data for word problems and critical-thinking projects.)
  2. Teachers could also create images in a Web 2.0 tool and save to Dropbox.

The idea of narrating, presenting, critical-thinking, problem-solving, story-telling, analyzing text, and creating screencasts/tutorials can be adjusted and modified in any content area or grade level to meet the diverse needs of teachers and students making the Explain Everything app a staple in any school setting. (Visit Explain Everything’s site to see the showcase of user examples and submit your own.)

 

Note: Stay tuned for an update in the next few weeks. I have been informed features to be released are:

  • *PPT, PPTX, and Keynote files now auto-separate into slides (like multi-page PDFS)
  • *Added a new Draw Tool pen tip option (a “hard” tip in addition to the default “soft” tip)
  • *Option to export the MP4 file without the audio track
  • *Option to save a copy of the movie to your iPad photo roll when you do an export to YouTube

While the app doesn’t currently allow for the ability to import and annotate over a video due to current iPad processing and memory specifications, the developer suggested using Explain Everything products in conjunction with the iMovie app, so you could get very creative and make a production using video clips, Explain Everything exports, and iTunes music.


24 Aug 2011
Comments: 0

Inspire and Ignite Political Debate in the Classroom

Container Ban on River Passes

As a local New Braunfels resident and an educator, I thought the current river ban debate would make an excellent post for a research and persuasive paper assignment. It is also is a nice pairing with my recent Fakebook post as there are Facebook pages both for (“It’s Time to Protect Our Comal and Guadalupe Rivers“) and against the ban (“The River Belongs to Us Not City Council” & “Sign the Referendum to Recall the New Braunfels Container Ban Ordinance“). While I would not recommend using the actual Facebook pages for research as some of the comments have proven to be heated and inappropriate, teachers could glean both pages for arguments and direct quotes from both sides to provide a point of reference for the debate.

Last night the New Braunfels City Council by a vote to 5 to 1 banned disposable food and beverages from waterways within the city limits. This ban has ignited the interest of many residents who may or would not have been active in local government and want to have a voice… and a vote.

River Video taken August 15th, 2011 after a clean-up. 

Ignite Debate: Such a hot topic also proves to be a great fodder for classroom discussion and a wonderful vehicle for debate. Trying to say as unbiased as possible, I decided to build off of my previous Fakebook post:

New Braunfels City Council Meeting

  1. Teachers could create a simulated discussion to highlight basic arguments from both sides (by pulling quotes and posts from FB).
  2. Students would then get a RAFTS  assignment. (Consider all of the the parties (roles) that the ban will affect and all of the vested entities: NB City Council, NB Police, locals, residents on the river, river-oriented business, NB businesses, tourists, the media, state politicians). See Reading Rockets RAFTS info and templates.
  3. Based on their given or selected role, students would research arguments, statistics, and facts/info that would support their stance on the issue. The recent article from My San Antonio provides a great start.
  4. Students would complete a graphic organizer to record their findings before finalizing their project.
    1. Web 2.0: ExploratreePopplet, or HOLT Interactive Graphic Organizers
    2. iPad: Popplet or T-Charts (123 Charts for stats and data)
    3. iPod: T-Charts (123 Charts for stats and data)
  5. Students could then present their persuasive argument in multiple formats:

    Created with T-Chart app

    1. a news broadcast (using Videolicious and images from the council meeting and river)
    2. an letter/email to a local Congressman (When writing a letter/email, remind students to: know their facts, state their purpose, be personal, stay on message, don’t be partisan, be courteous, and request a response). Researching voting records and public stances for multiple congressional figures may help students locate Senators and Representatives that would be more sympathetic to their cause.)
    3. a website (Glogster EDU) or brochure/flier with all information gathered for or against ban that could be presented to locals and/or voters
    4. a persuasive essay
    5. a debate (live or virtually with Edmodo)
    6. a song/rap/poem (quick songs could be completed in using Songify)
    7. a proposal to provide alternate solutions to the ban or a revised law
    8. a 30-second commercial for or against the ban (check out Photostory)
    9. an interview with a RAFTS stakeholder

 River Video taken after Memorial Day, 2011 used in the media to support the ban


14 Aug 2011
Comments: 1

Surprisingly Educational Apps: iPad Blog Hop Host

In honor of the launching of Techchef4u’s Blog Talk Radio Show “Appy Hour”, I decided to cook up my first ever iPad Blog Hop Contest (the winner will receive a $20 iTunes Gift card!). The rules are fairly simple:

 

  1. Compose a blog entry on your blog with the title “Surprisingly Educational Apps”.
  2. Select one free iPad/iPod app: Apps can be covertly educational like Talking Tom or Songify or somewhat transparent like U.S. Quarters and Magnetic Alphabet Lite. The task is more to shine a light on these gems and highlight how they would or could be used innovatively for educational purposes. Please hyperlink to the app’s iTunes page.
  3. Highlight how it could be creatively used in the classroom (the app must not contain inappropriate material). Please include a screen shot or video (so others will fully comprehend your vision) with your apptivity description. Screenshots of apps can be pulled into Doodle Buddy, Popplet Lite, or ScreenChomp to be easily annotated. Chosen App can be used in conjunction with another app. 
  4. Include recommended age group and content area for your apptivity suggestion(s) within your post.
  5. Finally, include a link back to the iPad Blog Hop’s host site (www.techchef4u.com).

 

More info: The U.S. Quarters app is not innately educational like Number Line (activity-based) or Khan Academy (instructionally-based). Other than supporting the U.S. Congress’s mission to honor the federal republic and “promote the diffusion of knowledge among the youth”, the app itself doesn’t truly teach or produce anything more than basic facts about the fifty states (e.g. motto, date ratified, and symbols). Thus, it is up to us to create a surprisingly educational experience with this app… in a middle school mathematics classroom or elementary social studies… perhaps. I decided to showcase the app to teach mathematics vocabulary and proportional reasoning (scale factor)I will be including my full post on U.S. Quarters and the other apps we discuss before the 25th.

The winner will be determined by a group of Instructional Technology Specialists from NEISD and announced on my first installment of Appy Hours 4 U with my Co-host Yolanda Barker: Thursday August 25th at 10am. Submissions will be judged on creativity/ingenuity, supporting materials (screenshots, videos, etc…), and appropriateness for the classroom.

The winner will receive a $20 iTunes Gift card!



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.

 


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.


01 Jul 2011
Comments: 0

Cool Tech 4 Kids to Beat the Heat: Part 3: Interactive Books

In an effort to provide my audience with more bite size morsels of technology, I have divided my interactive books section in to two parts. As students are out of school and many visit the library for pleasure reading books to fulfill their reading list quota, it only make sense to consider the iPad to fulfill the need and desire for literacy.

Ebooks for Kids on iDevices

The authors listed below are my son’s favorites from the bookshelf and the iPad. These are not books that were created solely for the iPad. Rather, they are interactive versions of the original (and beloved) work of art published for the new generation of digital learners. (All apps listed are paid.)

  1. Dr. Seuss (universal app): Who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss? Truly? Now you can read Dr. Seuss’s classics on the iPad with a few more bonus features:

    Image Edited with Rollip

    "Lots of good fun that is funny"

    1. read to me/read to myself/auto-play options
    2. highlighted text as it is read
    3. picture/word association (e.g. words zoom up and are spoken when pictures are touched)
    4. background audio (e.g. car motors, talking underwater, train whistle)
  2. Berenstein Bears (universal app): My 4-year old son has loved these books (as well as the corresponding videos) so we were delighted to find them available on the iPad. It also has all of the features the Dr. Seuss books offer.
  3. Eileen Christelow: “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” (universal app): My son has loved the Five Little Monkeys series for years and these interactive books stay true to the joy and engaging story line that each book provides. They also offer the same features as the Dr. Seuss & Berenstein Bears ebooks do.
  4. Mercer Mayer: (universal app): Not only do these Little Critter books offer the same features as Dr. Seuss, the Berenstein Bears, and Eileen Christelow, they also include a “find the creature mini-game”.
  5. Sandra Boynton: “The Going to Bed Book” (iPad only): These books are so humorous and fun to read. This book goes far beyond the other ones listed as it offers more interaction with the characters and objects (e.g. you can touch, turn, and pull) and allows to tilt your device to watch things tilt and cascade. The ebook also features two reading modes:
    1. “The Big Guy Reads It”: Billy J. Kramer narrates with word highlighting
    2. “I want to read to myself”: Your little one reads at their own pace and can hear individual words pronounced with the tap of a finger

Stay Tuned over the next couple of weeks for upcoming Part 3: More eBooks and Part 4: Storytelling. Did you miss Part 1: Imaginative Play & Games or Part 2: Virtual Vacation?

If you missed Summer Technology 4 Kids on Social Geek Radio, you can now download the episode in iTunes.

Please comment with your favorite children’s ebooks and authors?


21 Jun 2011
Comments: 0

Cool Tech 4 Kids to Beat the Heat: Part 2: Virtual Vacation

Travel the World at the Drop of a Pin

Virtual Vacation: As heat, inflated gas prices, and the economy deter us from travel, consider a staycation via a virtual field trip. Consider taking a free trip to Paris, the National Zoo, Ellis Island, or the Taj Mahal without paying a cent or leaving your wonderfully climate-controlled abode.

iPad: Aroundertouch (by far my favorite… can’t believe it is still free), Tour Wrist (totally my new favorite: your iOS device becomes a portal to the world. You really have to see it ti believe it!), Fotopedia Heritage (also has a website) & Paris, Atlas of the World, GTTZoo Lite, Pocket Zoo Free (has live webcams of penguins and polar bears as well as videos of other animals), World Book’s World of Animals (free through 7/10), Cooper’s Pack Seattle or Alaska (both paid), Kids World Map, Library of Congress Virtual Tour, Explorer: The American Museum of Natural History

Web 2.0: Fraboom (interactive online Children’s Museum for ages 6-12), Google Art Project, 360 CitiesScholastic Global Trek, National Zoo Webcams (Switcheroo Zoo: Make & Play with Animals at this virtual zoo), 100 Virtual Trips, 7 Panorama Wonders of the World, A Walk in the Woods (Spanish), Ellis Island, Virtual Space

Virtual Tourism Lesson

Have your child send a postcard from the destinations they visit: Post Card Creator (Web 2.0) or Animal Greetings, Flat Stanley (paid app), or Card Shop (paid app). Consider creating a travel journal using the apps iDiary For Kids or MaxJournal (both paid) or Catch Notes (which allows you to capture ideas and experiences in text, voice, images, and locations). Collect thoughts on summer travels and anecdotes for a future scrapbook. Compose a top ten list of places they would like to visit.

Wanna have even more fun? Create your own panoramas using Photosynth (also a website ** with multiple examples), AutoStitch Panorama or Panoramatic 360 (last two paid). Share your panoramas at ViewAt.org or Photosynth. (If you plan on actually traveling this summer – what better memories to keep than 360 tours of some of your favorite spots.)

Even consider creating your own geocache treasure or scavenger hunt using an iDevice and Google Maps and/or Google Earth (both have app and website counterparts). Did you know Google Maps now has street view? Put on some ambient music to set the tone (check out NatureSpace), order some ethnic cuisine, and it is almost as if you were there.

Landa Park 360 Tour with Photosynth

For all of you Voracious Virtual Voyagers, check out Google’s: What Do You Love Site (as seen on Mashup) to locate more information (e.g. articles, photos, blogs, books, discussion groups, videos, maps, and debates) on any of the places you visit that spark your interest.

Google: WDYL (Eiffel Tower)

Stay Tuned over the next couple of weeks for upcoming Part 3: Books & Storytelling and Part 4: Scrapbooks, Timelines, Arts & Crafts. Did you miss Part 1: Imaginative Play & Games?

Tune in: Thursday June 23rd at 8pm to Social Geek Radio where I will be a guest discussing cool technology for kids (apps and Web 2.0 tools) that they can utilize on these hot summer days.

**If the virtual tour doesn’t work on your computer, you will need to download Silverlight. It is quick and painless and it fixes the issue once you exit and reload your browser.

Please Comment with your favorite apps (and Web 2.0 tools) for virtual trips and tours.


20 Jun 2011
Comments: 0

Cool Tech 4 Kids to Beat the Heat: Part 1: Imaginative Play and Games

As we are already in triple digits and haven’t even celebrated the 4th of July, many parents are opting to stay indoors rather than brave the blistering heat. While we will make the occasional trip to the Children’s Museum, Magik Theater, and Schlitterbahn, my focus has been trying to come up with alternatives to playing in the heat.

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ImageChef.com Poetry Blender

If you are like me and have two young boys (or children of any age for that matter), you are probably looking for something to keep your kiddos busy… indoors. If I am not prepared, activities around the house may be as simple as block day (where we dump all of the Mega Bloks out on the floor and build various structures) or city day (which consists of pulling out all of our Fisher Price toys…airport, barns, zoo, cars, people, etc… and arranging them into something that resembles a metropolis of sorts).

These activities are fun but given some more time to prepare, I like to arrange activities that bridge the gap between fun, technology, and instruction. The activities listed are broken up into categories and are accessed via the iPad. (Upcoming posts in the series will focus on both apps and Web 2.0 tools).

As I am also a bargain app shopper, the majority of apps suggested are… FREE (or moderately priced)!

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Imaginative Play: Many of us remember tea parties and puppet shows so the idea of using technology to foster imaginative play is not so far-fetched. While Toca Tea Party may only appeal to preschool and elementary age children, Puppet Pals & Sock Puppets will bring joy to all who are young at heart.

Tea for Two or More

Need ideas for your next Puppet Show? Check out Three Little Pigs, Three Billy Goats for some great examples of puppet shows (both are paid). Plums Rhyme and Tortoise and Hare Puppet Show (includes step-by-step video workshop for how to make puppets and create a show) are both free!

Legos, Board Games, and Puzzles: Cure Boredom!

Let Your PegLight Shine Brite!

Create Your Own Wordventure

Have an overcast day or an early morning? Check out 225 Kid Outdoor Games (games for ages 2-16 from around the world – paid app).

Don’t have an iPad? Consider creating your own board game (Tools for Educators) or dusting off Uno and Connect 4.

Stay Tuned over the next couple of weeks for upcoming Part 2: Virtual Vacations, Part 3: Books & Storytelling,and Part 4: Scrapbooks, Timelines, Arts & Crafts.

Tune in: Thursday June 23rd at 8pm to Social Geek Radio where I will be a guest discussing cool technology for kids (apps and Web 2.0 tools) that they can utilize on these hot summer days.

Please Comment with your favorite apps (and Web 2.0 tools) for imaginative play and games.


09 Jun 2011
Comments: 0

Magic of the iOS 5

Check out the New iOS coming this Fall! It makes me shed happy tears. Appsolutely Amazing! Now I know how it felt to follow the Beatles. Nothing short of greatness!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYx4S8K0IMs?rel=0&w=560&h=349]

Also Check out the iCloud capabilities for iTunes.

If you are a total iPad Geek like me, check out this Magic of the iPad Video. Wonder if the iOS6 will have these features:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAhP-yLJJ9s?rel=0]

Am very curious how the texting and cloud sync will be integrated into classrooms and education…


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