Friday, April 13, 2012

Media Creation Apps for the Classroom

This morning I went to a talk by Jon Samuelson (, a teacher in Austin, TX who presented on methods for integrating the iPad into the classroom. He routinely uses his iPad in his lessons, introducing about one new app per week.   I found it cool that he was using Keynote on the iPad for his whole presentation - sure saves  a lot of switching when you need to showcase your apps!  He kicked off his workshop with some initial advice on how to integrate iPad apps into the classroom: 

  • The lesson should not be about the app. 
  • Teacher should try the app before the lesson. 
  • You can work with multiple appps for better results. 
  • Don't be afraid to make mistakes, or not be the expert.
Here are the apps he discussed:
  • SnapGuide: a free tool designed for creating mobile, step-by-step guides.   It's best to have a class account.    Students can use pictures and/or video and share their book via tweet, pin, or FB.  The navigation is super and fits the iPad well, and the stories can be commented by others.  
  • iMovie: a paid app ($4.99) for creating great looking movie trailers by mapping segments of footage onto a template. 
  • Skitch: a free app for annotating images.  His students used it in conjunction with SnapGuide by importing a SnapGuide slide, annotating it, exporting it back out as an image, and putting it back into SnapGuide.  I saw a great skitch that a student did on polar bears.
  • TypeDrawing - app for creating word art or captions for your images.
  • ScrapPad - used for scrapbooks, but can be made for Flash cards.  The files can be put into Animoto or Comic Life.  Great for extra activities after students have finished their work. 
  • VideoPix: Video Frame Capture & Slow Motion Player
Other apps he mentioned include the following:
  • Animoto
  • Album F/X
  • Screen Chomp
  • Turbo Collage
  • Comic Life
  • Comic Strip
  • VideoPix
Another tool he showed us is, which is a cool bookmarking tool for storing your apps.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cool Math Apps for the iPad

Below are some app reviews which come straight from the discussion forums of the Geometric Measurement course we ran in Salem.

NRCC Games APP: This is a game to practice skills for factoring. Players must identfy the binomial factors of trinomial equations. "Game uses logic to develop cognitive math skills". A student must solve 10 equations and receive a socre of 80% or higher to move onto the next level. A problem is given and a keyboard pops up so this is good for kinesthetic learners. I like how this APP is set up because it explains trinomials and bionmials in a short tutorial with examples. This kind of progression is excellent for Special Education Students. After the level is complete the student is moved to the next level. Additionally, there are some sounds effects and those students who like cars would enjoy this game because everytime a corerct answer is made, the car moves forward and car sounds are heard. Blooms Taxonomy: Remembering and Applying.

Kahn Academy App: I know some of you are already using this app, but I thought I would mention it because I can definitely see the benefits of this one for my Special Education Students. The topics are grouped into Linear equeations, Inequalities, graphing lines and slope and Y intercept. These are topics my students do not usually understand right away and I can see this APP as a reinforcement to previously taught material. The screen shot here is an example of the tutor talking and writing and showing a step by step approach to the kinds of problems my students struggle with. Blooms Taxonomy: Applying and Understanding.

Algebra Touch App: a good tool for many students who need the practice with Addition, Multiplication, Negative Numbers, Like and Unlike Terms and Order of Operations. I think kids would enjoy it because it is fun to move the numbers around and there is instant feedback as to whether you are right or wrong. I also like that the app has a feature at the bottom. You can choose EXPLAIN or PRACTICE and it also reviews in words how to as an example: order doesn't matter or order does matter in the displayed problem, etc.
So this app's purpose is reveiwing and reinforcing or even remediating.   A student can control what category to practice and if they want to change to a different category they can easily do this or just stay where they are at. A student can also repeat or go back if they want to as well.  The learning under Bloom's Taxonomy is Applying and Evaluating. I can see my students using this to review or practice for a test or a quiz coming up.
-Debora Ibanez, Salem HS

More on the Algebra Touch App: I though this Algebra Touch app was a good tool to use in an Algebra class. It covers a variety of algebra topics from adding numbers to order of operations to solving equations. Rather than just being an app where problems are given and students are expected to give answers it lets students move around answers and play with things. For instance in the order of operations sections students click on which operation should be done first if it is correct the app will perform the operation if not it lets you know that you are incorrect.

One of the parts I really enjoyed is in the solving equations section where you can actually drag numbers so they are together or drag them to the other side of the equation. Although it does not really show the idea of balancing I think it is important for students to see how by doing on thing to one side makes it go away while on the other side the number comes up in a slight different form (its added instead of subtracted etc.)  I think students would enjoy working with this app for the visual aspect of it to play to some kids more visual learning types.

This app primarily works with the Knowledge level of Blooms Taxonomy but since it does include explanations and varied examples it is beginning to head to the Comprehension and Application level.   I see using this in class mostly as a review of concepts than an introduction to concepts or a practice after the introduction of a concept.

-Kelly Pendergast, Salem HS

Scratchwork App: a 21st century way for students to show their work! It engages students in showing their work by allowing them to use technology to do it. While the app may take a bit of getting used to, once immersed in the app, students will be hooked on using it to demonstrate their knowledge of math. It is a simple app that can be used daily with different problems. initially students will probably be more likely to show their work using an app like this because it is something new, but overtime it may require some revamping of the activities by the teacher to keep students engaged in using it. The app allows students to insert photos, graphs, objects and writing in order to show their work and also allows them to email, print or create PDFs with notes of their work. They can sketch or write as they work with their problems. Students are evaluating their work while using this program and demonstrating their knowledge through evaluation. It's a simple program, but could result in more students engagement. It could also assist in some remediation, especially with graphing since students can just type in the equation and the program will show the graph to them.

-Mary Kate Adams, Salem HS

On The Spot: the app itself cost $2.99 and $0.99 for each lesson that I purchased after.  Each of these lessons contained fifteen lessons within.  This app is sort of like watching a Khan Academy video.  There is a professor teaching you the content, a transcript of the video in either Spanish or English, the key objectives of the lesson, and lastly a lesson tutorial that are all on the screen simultaneously.  After you have purchased the lessons you can favorite certain ones or create playlist of multiple lessons to create customized lesson plans for your students.  However, there is no interactive practicing with this app so that would have to be supplemented by the classroom teacher.  Overall I think that this is a good app to use inside and outside the classroom especially with all of the research being done on the “flipped classroom”.

iFactor: this app falls under Bloom's knowledge level. Students are able to enter coefficients of a trinomial with the form Ax2+ Bx + C, then the app tells them its factors, or if it cannot be factored. I see limited value for this app other than checking homework answers. Hopefully the students would not use it to actually do the homework problems. Math Ref Free offers formulas, figures, and examples on a variety of math topics. This app falls under Bloom's comprehension level. Students could use this app as a handy math dictionary. I also explored multiple game-type apps where students could practice their basic math facts. These apps all seem to fall under the knowledge or comprehension level of Bloom's Taxonomy.