2016 Must Have List of Apps for IDevices

I can’t believe that it was February, 2015 since I came out with a list of Apps that every school should consider having on their idevices. Anyone who has been to the App Store will know all too well the number of apps represent a mountain of options. How do we choose our apps for “THE LIST”? While exploration has its place, we assess all apps against a criteria. I wrote about this process on another blog post. We like a tight list as it leaves plenty of space on the idevice to do actual work, speeds up the efficiency of the device and is easier for staff/students to learn. Besides, who needs 10 audio, image or phonics apps?

The following is an updated list (you will notice that some have survived the test of time, while others have been replaced).

app_googledrive Google Apps for Education (Google Drive +) (free) – Risen to the top of our “go to” list is GAFE (includes the core suite of productivity softwares for education [Docs, Slides, Drawing, Forms, Sheets], which allow for writing, collaborating with teams any time, anywhere, commenting in real-time (think formative assessment), and an accurate speech-to-text synthesizer (imagine having those words magically appear on the page as you speak). Contact your Learning Technologies team for more information. (You need to apply for a GAFE account > FORMS. We do the rest to set up your classes.)

app_wordpress WordPress (free) – This is extremely handy to upload content direct from your  idevices. You can write and save drafts for later editing. Or publish immediately. Apply through our FORMS page for your own sd41 blog to connect with your community (including students).

imagesize_ap Image Size (free) – This easy to use app resizes images taken by the camera so they can be uploaded to websites. A definite ‘must have’ if you plan on doing something with those images!

videoslimmer_ap  Video Slimmer ($3.99) – While there are many in this category, this one is worth the price. Shrinks most video files while keeping the quality. Simple editing tools include trim, merge multiple videos, rotate, customize. Great if you want to upload the video to a website or send by email. An absolute must-have for those who like to create video (eg. from camera, iMovie, ChatterPix, Tellagami, your fav app…)

app_voicerecordpro Voice Record Pro (free) – A professional voice recorder that saves in standard formats. Exports  to anywhere including camera library, YouTube (as a movie), Vimeo, blogs. This is a phenomenal app to support reading fluency self assessment or formative assessments or oral speech or think radio talkshow host or musical review. Export products to multiple locations to use in other software.

app_tellegamiedu Tellagami-Edu ($6.99) – Create a custom talking avatar to share story, lesson, teaching. Includes  backgrounds, draw your own or take a background picture. Products can be saved to the camera library. Great for oral language development and speeches, explaining processes (records up to 90 seconds). No in-app purchases needed. There is a free version that save 30 second videos. (Hint: use other apps to stitch the ‘shorts’ together.)

app_chatterpix_kid ChatterPix Kid by Duck Duck Moose (free) – Take a photo of anything and make it talk. Teach a lesson, share a story,  sing a song, do a rap. You’re only limited by your imagination. Share it on our class blogs. Stitch a few videos together to make a longer video. Or keep to “shorts”. There’s something to be said for brevity in 30 seconds.

app_explaineverything Explain Everything 3.0 ($5.49) – screencasting and interactive whiteboard to annotate,  teach, narrate and animate. Exports to/from anywhere which makes this incredibly flexible. New feature – collaboration!!

app_bookcreator Book Creator ($6.99) – Create stunning ebooks that can be saved, uploaded, or saved as pdf.  Incorporate images, video, audio, music, text. Import your ChatterPix, Tellagami, or Explain Everything files. Turn the pages and see the magic unfold before you. A great tool for a portfolio-esk presentation.

piccollage_ap

Pic Collage (free) – Photo editor and collage creator with some template effects. Make your images sparkle with stickers and comicbook bubbles. Export to a blog or pop it into Book Creator to create an ebook – so many options to share your thinking. Merge this with an interactive image (eg. Thinglink) and you have an added layer of depth.

mathtappers_ap MathTappers Family (free) – Find Sums, Subtraction, Multiply, Geometry… These activities go beyond drill designed to help make sense of math concepts. No internet access needed. Individuals can save own work to reflect on their personal strategies for problem-solving.

app_greenscreenGreen Screen by Do Ink ($3.99) – Take any green coloured background and turn it into your own green screen. (Yes, this is how newscasters do it.) Tell a story, teach an  idea, share a research project, be a newscaster and include an interactive weather map or video behind you. Consider how this might access oral speech, critical thinking, sequencing, design, dramatic skills.

What are your most “can’t live without” apps? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear about them.

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Hour of Code

This week (Dec 7 – 13) starts an international phenomenon – The Hour of Code. In celebration of Computer

via Code.org https://studio.code.org/hoc/1
via Code.org https://studio.code.org/hoc/1

Science Education week, this worldwide event (more than 4400 in Canada and across 180 countries) offer an opportunity for teachers and students to dabble in computer coding and demystify the basic workings of video games and computer processes.

Technology has infiltrated almost everything in our lives. From Gameboy and Wii consoles to FitBits, wearable technologies that sing to you and artificial mini heart pumps, it all starts with a little bit of problem solving and logic. More specifically introductions of directions like “walk 2 spaces, turn left” to conditional logic “if this happens, then do that..” Reminds me a bit of writing those “create your own adventure” novels. At its very core are the foundations of problem solving, logic and creativity. Yes it takes creativity to give a character a set of possibilities beyond the gameboard. What about soft skills like risk-taking, persistence, cooperative learning, collaboration, conversation, self regulated learning, experiential learning – all part of the journey deeply embedded in authentic practice. Who hasn’t gotten caught up in Candy Crush or Angry Birds?  Code resides under the larger umbrella of Digital Literacy. It is also part of the new curriculum (embedded in each curricular area) with its own framework K-9 Applied Design, Skills and Technologies (draft).

Come join us this week or spill into next week. Our focus goal is ‘purposeful play’.  Here are some resources to get you started (and NO you don’t always need computers):

Please share your stories with us or scribble a comment here. We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

App #9 of “10 Apps to Countdown Season”

App #9: In our effort to highlight the SAMR Model of integration of technology, we’ve been considering what activities might fit into Redefinition (technology that allows creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable). What activities might have significant impact to student outcomes? The “tell your story” concept remains one of the powerful ways we have to teach others, to increase audience, to learn new processes, to share expert knowledge in safe ways (consider also that shy student in your class). app_tellagami

Animations are live and well. While many are found in game environments, why not connect our learning outcomes above to the creation of animations – and no, you won’t spend a ton of time learning software! Tellagami is an app for ipad or android (love that) and produces animated characters (much like Voki or other avatar programs) that can be saved to the camera library, imported into other apps or uploaded to a blog or other website. tellagami_screen Have students create a teaching session or speech (in another language like French, Spanish, etc.) and create a gami to deliver the content.  How about the significance of a historic event via a gami? Complete a biography of a personal hero? Tell a story from the first person perspective. Or how about in Special Ed, where a student might need lots of practice in speaking.  Capturing and “freezing words in time” offers a great way to reflect upon both speech and ideas.
What makes this app a ‘cut above’ are several things: ability to insert own backgrounds (including drawings), ability to save to camera library and no wifi needed unless you wish to upload to a site.  This allows for so many other possibilities to import to other apps like Explain Everything, iMovie or transferred to a computer (mpeg4) – now we have to talk about workflow.  (Stay tuned for more on this in later posts.)

What can you use Tellagami to do, to learn, to share?

App #7 of “10 Apps to Countdown Season”

app_haikudeck

App #7:  How do you present information from research projects?  Usually we default to PowerPoint.  Another option is Haiku Deck for all platforms. I wrote about this app for the iPad before (click here).  The presentation software offers a beautiful, yet simplistic way to to share information.  Each slide offers options for layout, format (bullet points), images (including charts).  While images can be imported from drawings or camera photos, a search of the web will pull up images that are copyright free (licensed under Creative Commons).  [This would be a great time to practice the value of refining search terms.]  And now you’ve struck on the secret of powerful presentations – spectacular focused images that resonate with emotion and bring words to life. It is images that the brain gravitate towards and remembers.

haikudeck_pptOther features include a Notes section where you can record additional information as a memory jogger for your speech (very handy as this doesn’t show up on the projector screen when you present). Of course we can’t forget the multiple ways that it can be published (on the iPad, synced to the web, as download, email attachment, or opened in another app.  And double yes – it is device agnostic, meaning that the program can be created on any device. As a teacher I won’t need specific programs on my computer to launch the student created decks, just access to the web.

How can you use this in your work or in the classroom?