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20 Feb 2012
Comments: 3

Gratitude & App-reciation

During our TCEA 2012 workshops and seminars, Yolanda Barker and I handed out cards with promo codes on them for the following apps. I would first like to say that we do not endorse apps or products that we do not APP-SOLUTELY LOVE and USE. We would feature and mention the apps regardless of their appy donation(s). That being said, I would like to take a moment and thank the app developers for their gracious donations to our TCEA 2012 participants. I know everyone APP-RECIATED the schwag.

App-reciation Collage created with Turbo Collage app


  1. Puppet Pals Directors Pass: This app is a main staple in the techchef4u kitchen and can be utilized to create animated videos to support any content area at any grade level. (See Samples).
  2. To me By me: This “surprisingly educational” app allows users to write a letter to their future self to be delivered on a specific date. The app is perfect to practice letter-writing and goal-setting.
  3. Tacky Wales Create: This app is fantastic to teach parts of speech and creative writing. (See Samples).
  4. iCardSort: This app is a MUST for any classroom. It can be used in multiple settings (e.g. individual, cooperative pairs, small groups, stations, whole group) and has so much functionality (users can customize the background and decks in a variety of ways as well as wirelessly beam/blast decks to other users) and versatility (can be used in multiple content areas and grade levels). (See Samples).
  5. Explain Everything: This is by far the best paid app for screen-casting! You can import documents and presentations from Dropbox and Evernote and then annotate and narrate over them. Explain Everything also offers multiple export options that do not require logins! (See Sample).
  6. La Di Da: Created by the makers of Songify, this app allows users to speak a selection and transform it into a song. Clearly “surprisingly educational“, users can practice foreign language, speeches and soliloquies, and create innovative media to support any content area’s project. (See Samples).
  7. Root-1: Root-1 donated the cool “Begin Your Quest” eco-friendly shopping bags and have created the “surprisingly educational” app, StoryLines for Schools. The app is a modern day telephone game. Users choose a vocabulary word or quote or generate their own, pass the device to another student who must draw a representation of the word/quote, and pass it to yet another student who must decipher what the drawing is. The app can be used to support vocabulary, themes, events, and concepts in multiple content areas. Root-1 also makes a few other wonderfully free and educational apps: Word Joust K-5, Word Joust 6-8, xWords, and Word Kung Fu in beta (coming soon).
  8. Inspiration Diagrams: Inspiration Diagrams donated an iPad cover for each of our 3 workshops. I had the pleasure of being a beta tester for Inspiration Diagrams. The Lite version will be released in March and the full in April. The possibilities for support and integration of the writing process are endless. The current version of the app has 11 templates ranging from Cause and Effect and Book Report to Fiction Reading Notes and Chronology. The app still mimics Inspiration software in the outline and diagram views but boasts new features such as Send to Dropbox and iTunes. I am very eager to see what the final product will look like.
  9. Matt Barker: This is Yolanda Barker’s husband. He graciously donated his CD to our participants. While his music is copyright free and he welcomes those who seek to modify and integrate it into their own projects, I am sure he would love to hear how it is being used in the classroom or other settings (share your thoughts with him). Matt is also the artist behind “appy hours 4 u” intro, outro, and voice over and plays live at a few local hangouts in San Antonio.
  10. Coach’s Eye: This was a late edition to our schwag. Coach’s Eye is from the makers of ScreenChomp and Camtastia and offers countless classroom integration possibilities. The name is a bit misleading as it was originally created for coach’s to instantly review and analyze their player’s videos. The app allows users to record or import video, slow it down, narrate and annotate over it, and even export it! Imagine recording and reviewing a science lab, public speaking event or debate, or even  weather patterns on a field trip.


Please give these people and app developers a nice round of APP-LAUSE! Thanks Again!


13 Jan 2012
Comments: 0

Your Voice Makes a Difference


"Outcome: Voice = Change" created in Story Lines for Schools App

Story Lines (“a game of ‘telephone’ with pictures”) was one of the apps that was included in the second edition of “Surprisingly Educational” Apps. I typically email app-developers prior to the show (or after… if I get behind) to let them know we will be discussing their app. Many times they are curious as to what we have to say…especially as we are not just reviewing the app but discussing how it can be utilized and integrated in the education realm. When we first discussed Story Lines, we shared how it could be used to illustrate terms and concepts in multiple content areas:

  1. English/Language Arts: vocabulary words, quotes, themes, character inferencing
  2. Math: vocabulary, equations, expressions
  3. Science: scientific concepts, chemical reactions
  4. History: historical events, historical figures


We also mentioned that the Facebook login option and suggestions feature which offers quotes (some of the quotes were not appropriate for all ages or a classroom audience) were elements we were not as fond of. We realized that these features are typically inherent to edutainment-based apps and suggested ways in the show to integrate around them (as listed above).

This evening I received an email from the app developer notifying us that Storylines for Schools has been released based on our feedback. The app has “vocabulary and language concepts that are grade-appropriate, and spark(s) your creativity in a safe, enjoyable manner.” The suggestions section now has four options: Quotes, SAT Words, Elementary Vocabulary, and Intermediate Vocabulary.

Story Lines Comparison created with Sundry Notes app


Without going in to a long speech in which I highlight all the ways “you can make a difference”, I will say that we have a very unique opportunity as educators, parents, and app consumers to shape and mold the future of app development for our children and students. Please don’t ever think your voice and reviews don’t matter.

Thank you Story Lines for producing such a wonderful product…and then duplicating and

polishing it into a truly educational gem!


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