Friday, May 31, 2013

WeWantApps: The Free-Be App List

WeWantApps is an iPad app available for download from the Apple App Store. This is a great tool for easily filtering through the App Store to find the perfect app for what you need. First, go to the App Store on your teacher iPad. Search for WeWantApps! in the store. It will look like the image below. Install the app. When you open it, you will need to create an account. I have never been asked to log back in again, but you need an account to run the app.

Once it opens you can begin your search.

Category:  choose the type of app you are seeking.

Age:  select the age (or more than one age) that you are searching to use an app with. 

Language:  choose the language you want the app to be written in.

Platform:  you can use both iPad and iPhone.

Price:  select free.
When you do the search, on the right you will see all the apps that fall under your filtering.  At the bottom there will often be “More…” to tap on.  This will load more found apps.

Download WeWantApps! from the App Store to get started.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Tech Tip: Educreations

Tech Tips
Issue 23

This Tech Tip will look into a great record-able white board tool.  Educreationsis a great way to record lessons, re-teach concepts, and have students create student-made assessments.

What is Educreations?
Educreations is an iPad app that turns your iPad into a record-able whiteboard. This app allows for whiteboard drawing with recorded audio to help explain concepts and ideas. You (or students) can easily create a tutorial video to explain a math concept, a science term, an artistic movement, or anything you can draw and talk about. It is easy to use and a great re-teaching tool for both teachers and students. 

What can Educreations Do?
·      Help students with homework by working through example problems.
·      Record and replay your voice, writing, and drawings.
·      Add text and photos from the iPad camera, Photo Albums, Dropbox or the Web.
·      Share your lessons with teachers, students, and parents.
·      View already created Educreations content from others.
·      Embed your video lessons on your blog or website.
·      Allow students to create videos explaining concepts to be used as assessments.
·      Collect student sample work in your teacher course.

As a teacher, this is a great re-teaching tool as well as a student assessment tool. Teachers can have students log into their Educreations account and create a short video of them solving a math problem.  Teachers can then see student actions on the screen and hear them talk the problem out. When teachers have students enroll in a "course" all their videos are available to the teacher to view from any computer for review or assessment. Educreations is Free and a great classroom tool. Download it from the iTunes App Store and get "Edu-"creating!

Create an account and get started:

Friday, May 24, 2013

DROPitTOme: A Great Way to Collect Student Work!

DROPitTOme is perhaps one one the slickest add-ons to Dropbox that I use.  It is a great tool for collecting student work, parent images, or peer documents out there.  There are a couple of steps you need to set up before you can begin using this great collection tool.

What Is DROPitTOme?
This is an add-on to your excising Dropbox account that will allow you to have others "Drop" files to you.  Instead of all those emails with attachment  your students/parents/teachers can go to your personal DROPitTOme web link, browse for the file they want to send you, and upload it. It will then sync with your Dropbox account and be an all devices using that account.  Email...without the email!  There are only 2 things those others need to know.

  1. Your DROPitTOme address
  2. Your DROPitTOme upload password.

Collecting files form others just got easier!  Go to to begin.  You must first have a Dropbox account to link this to.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Google Drive iPad App for Student Portfolios

I love using Google Drive with students and staff.  The collaboration and ease of sharing is great for the education setting. I have been blessed in my personal life to always be on an Android system until this year our school went Apple. The iPad and Google Drive, be put it nicely...just don't get along well. The Google Drive app for the iPad has improved this year allowing collaboration with documents and spreadsheets, but it is still very limited on productivity. I just wish the app was as complete as the web based version of Drive. I saw a posting by Richard Byrne that showed how the iPad Google Drive app can be used to create student portfolios. Below is Greg Kulowiec's how-to video explaining the Google Drive used for Student Portfolios.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Tech Tips: Moodle

Tech Tips
Issue 21

This Tech Tip will look into an easy classroom management system called Moodle. Moodle offers many quizzes, activities, and organizational components to run classroom management online. I LOVE Moodle and don’t know how I could teach without it or a similar system.

What is Moodle?
Moodle is an Open Source Course Management System (CMS), also known as a Learning Management System (LMS). In order to use this program it needs to be installed on one of your school's servers. Moodle is great as an online class environment and as assessment tool. I have been using Moodle in my 4th and 5th grade classes for over 5 years.  To be honest  I do not know how I could organize and manage my online content with such a program.

How Can An Elementary Teacher Use Moodle? 
The primary use for Moodle is for assessments (multiple choice, matching, short answer, essay, and fill in the blank). It is very easy for 4th and 5th graders to log in (accounts must be set up at the admin level) and take these assessments. They are quick to do and the best part...most are self-grading! This was my initial thought and purpose of initiating Moodle in my classroom.

My use of Moodle has changed over the years. I am now using it as a "landing spot" for everything class related.  I post links to web sites, Google docs, YouTube videos, and online activities in my Moodle. I also post PDFs, MS Office files, and anything I want the students or parents to have access to (study guides, test practice, challenge problems, Quizlet Flash Cards, Educreations clips, etc...). Moodle is more than just online assessments, it has become the core of my classroom organization. I try to think of it as a "Gated Community" where only my classroom students (and their parents) have access. I no longer have to invite each individual student to those Google Documents I want students to work on. The link is in Moodle and only those with access to the link have access to the document. 

Moodle is free and relatively easy to use. It is basic and can assess, organize, and protect classroom activities. It is an essential part of my elementary classroom!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Nearpod Update: Student Paced Viewing

Nearpod just released a new update with a great new feature: Nearpod Homework. Now teachers can share their Nearpod Presentations with their students via email, and students can review them at their own pace by simply swiping through the slides.

Once at home, or even on the go,  students can launch the presentation from their own devices and interact with it by reviewing videos, slideshows, and webpages. Students can also submit responses to teacher-made Q&As, Quizzes or Open-Ended questions. Teachers can later run the corresponding report to access all homework data and assess each student’s performance.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tech Tip: Padlet (The New Wallwisher)

Tech Tips
Issue 21

This Tech Tip will look into an online wall making tool called Padlet. This is a great way for groups or classes to collaborate ideas together. Padlet is a great tool to work online to share ideas, collaborate research, build content understanding and develop shared projects. Below are some ways you can use Padlet in the classroom.

Padlet as a KWL chart:
Padlet can be used to create a KWL chart that students can contribute to. Create a wall, make it public, and ask students to share what they know and what they want to know about a topic. This can be revisited and added to as the unit continues. 

Padlet for Group Research:
Padlet can be used as a data collection spot for a group/class research project. As students research and find information, they add text, web links, or video links to the wall. Then all other students have access to the information and can use it. When the data collection is complete view the wall as a class and learn all that others had found

Padlet for Teaching Vocabulary:
Padlet can be used as an Academic Vocabulary learning tool. Introduce a new word or concept and have students add student friendly text definitions, images, or drawings that define the term.  Look at the wall as a whole concept for the new term and discuss as a whole class. This can give students a new perspective to the terms. 

Padlet for Displaying Student Work:
Padlet can be a project display launch pad. If you are having students produce online presentations, audio, videos, or other linkable projects have them stored and displayed in one spot. Have students link online projects on a wall so they are all accessible for all students from one central location.

Log into and build a wall.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Tagxedo: An Even Better Word Cloud

This is a great site to make Word clouds with an added twist.  You can make the words themselves form shapes.  If you have ever used Wordle for this you know that the limitations were always that it made a rectangle shape image.  With Tagxedo the text itself can create a picture.  Below is this blog in the shape of a handprint. 

There are many uses for Tagxedo.  Any time you create a Wordle, you could use Tagxedo.  I used Wordle each time I made student groups.  They would make one to illustrate what they have in common to create a cohesive group.  I also had students copy any Google Document they were working on just before they claimed they were done.  They would look to see if words like “very”, “good”, “then” and so on were used too much.  The larger the word, the nore often it was in the writing.  This helped students to identify repetitive words and use Word Choice better.   Below is my class policies handout in the form of the Gull Lake logo.

Tagxedo can be used any time you might have normally used Wordle or a word cloud.

Visit Tagxedo to get started: