Tuesday, April 24, 2012

App Smackdown Vol. 7

I admit it.  I have been a bad blogger lately.  Something about the nice weather makes me want to leave the blogosphere and just be outside.   The good news is that I am back in action and ready to blog.  It is STAAR testing week here in Texas and in between my role of "break giver" I am ready to share some apps I have been obsessed with recently!

1.  Toontastic - This comic strip creator app is a great way to support your students as they learn about story structure!  Using the story arc, students can plan out the setup,  conflict, climax and other key peices of their story.  Simply select your characters and setting, hit record and move your characters around while talking through key parts of your cartoon.  What a great way for students to work on sequence of a story and more!

2. ScribblePress - This iPad app lets your students create and publish eBooks!  Books can be added to your iBooks library for easy sharing and reading. This is an easy way for your students to create and share for Writer's Workshop and beyond!

3.  Destiny Quest - A GREAT database for researching on our regular computers, CISD now has access to the Destiny Quest app!  Students can login to their school's resources, find great kid-friendly websites and even link to Safari Montage videos for viewing.  Just like in regular Destiny Quest, kids can build and keep a resource list.  This app is iPad only, but can really assist your students when researching.  See your Librarian on campus for more details!

4. Follett eReader - CISD also now has access to the Follett eReader app, which lets you and your students login to have access to a whole database of eBooks! See your librarian for more details!

5.  Wonderopolis - I am so excited about this!  One of my favorite websites now has a great new app!  Wonderopolis features a "Wonder of the Day" complete with a guiding discussion question, activities to support learning about that "wonder" and kid-friendly explanations.  I have heard of teachers using this as part of their daily calendar and for using "wonders" to support and enrich units of study!  This app makes it even easier to engage students in real-world learning.

What apps are you using in the classroom?  I'd love to hear and use your recommendations for the next App Smackdown!  Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Alli's App Smackdown Vol 6

It's been a busy week as everyone is working hard to prepare for Open House and make it to Spring Break! That said, my App Smackdown only has 4 apps, but they are apps that can be used in many ways!!

1.  StoryBuddy - A great digital storytelling app, StoryBuddy lets you create a book one page at a time.  Create illustrations, write your story and save your book into iBooks! This app is great because it can cross many subjects and grade levels.

Click here for an example of one of our Kinder kids using StoryBuddy (Thanks, Mr. D for sharing!)

2. Comic Touch Lite - Most of my Creekside friends have seen this one as it has been my obsession ever since my iDevice hero, Tony Vincent came to train Denton Creek in January. Basically, you use your photo library or take pictures with the camera  to create your very own comic image.  It is easy enough that our younger grades can create comics easily, while the older ones can do a series of comics to bring together for their own comic strip. I have seen it used in Math for depicting Geometry vocabulary, Language Arts for modeling personification and Social Studies to illustrate what students know about landforms.  A VERY versatile app!

3.  Pic Collage - Simple to use, Pic Collage lets your students create photo collages with captions and different backgrounds. They then can save the new image to the photo library on the device for use in presentations, movies or slideshows. Great for building creativity skills and for making a visual reflection of a concept or idea.

Please do not judge the app solely based on my non-student example above...the kids create so much better than I do!! ;)

4.  Pocket Zoo - Got animals?  Pocket Zoo does!  This app is great for animal researching.  Not only can students watch videos and read about different zoo animals, they can also watch live streaming animal cams and hear each animal's sound! This app would also be a great discussion starter for habitats and adaptations.

ENJOY!!!  Have you tried any of these?  How are you using them?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spring Cleaning CISD Style

'Tis the season for Open House, pre-testing jitters, and my favorite, Spring Break countdowns!

It is also time to do some spring cleaning and in Coppell ISD's case, that means it is time to clean out your H drive!  Our goal is to get all employees down to 4GB or less.

Not sure how big your H drive is right now?  Check out this screencast by my awesome teammate, Technology Toni!


Happy Cleaning!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Alli's App Smackdown Vol 5 - TCEA

Hi!  Just a quick post from Edubloggercon in the TCEA Web 2.0 Lounge.  My nerdiness is official now.  I am sooooo excited and inspired by what my collegues are sharing!

I'll be quick, but here are my top 5 Apps I saw today!

1. Aurasma - Your students take a pic, this app takes them to a video you have preselected! Great for scavenger hunts!

2. Educreations - Another awesome screencast/show me what you know app!

3. Action Movie - Add stunts and effects like car crashes, explosions, and falling rocks to your video productions!

4. Sock Puppets - Tell a digital story with these sock puppets!

5. PhotoTangler - Take a bunch of pictures and meld them together to make a photo collage.
IDEA: Have students create a brace map of a topic. (ex. parts of an apple)  Then, using the brace map, ask the students to take a picture to represent each part they wrote about (ex. seeds, stem, fruit, etc). Use this app to "meld" the photos together, label it and post it next to the brace map!

2 Disclaimers:

  1. I have not tried these yet - I literally learned about them a few minutes ago! If you try them, comment to me to let me know what you think!
  2. These aren't on Creek Devices yet...see #1 for a reason why!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Alli's App Smackdown Vol 4

This Monday was an amazing day for me and (hopefully) the teachers at Denton Creek.  The only thing that would have made it better was if the Cottonwood Creek teachers could have been there.  My mobile device hero, Tony Vincent came to present a full day workshop on ways to integrate iTouches and iPads in the classroom. He shared many great apps and ideas!

That said, it was hard to select my top 5 apps of the week!  Here are some that excite me right now!!!

1. Skitch (iPad only) - Use drawing tools to annotate screenshots, websites, pictures and more.  Great for students to practicing labeling, locate text features, etc. Students can save pictures with annotations to the camera roll of the device for later.  Simply plug in the device to save pictures to the network or use Bump to send the picture to someone else's device.

2. Tour Wrist - Use this Map app to go on virtual field trips, discuss landforms, observe different kinds of rocks, etc.  Great 360 panoramic views!

3. Splice  - Film videos, edit, add transitions and titles all on your device with this app!

4. Socrative (Student) and Socrative (Teacher) - Think you need clickers for student response?  YOU DON'T!  Socrative is a response tool that can be used on any device or computer to poll, question, test and discuss concepts with students.  Login as a teacher to create your "room" and post questions, exit tickets, quizzes, etc.  The students then can use the app on an iPad/iTouch or navigate to the room on a desktop or laptop to answer! Learn more at www.socrative.com/ or ask me for a quick demo.  :) You have to see this in action!

5.  Sparklefish - This Madlibs-style game teaches parts of speech using audio. Students can create funny stories and then listen back to them!

Happy Apping!

Tips and Tricks for Blogger

Today I am blogging live from TENOR ITS, a regional technology integration group meeting.  The presenter right now is covering some tips and tricks for using Blogger.  Some tips are new and some may only be new to you, but here are some great tips and tricks!

  • Threaded Commenting: Now it is easier within the comments of Blogger to reply to a comment on a blog. Prior to this, all comments were "lumped together" under your post.  It was difficult to see if someone was commenting on the post or on another comment. Now, your readers can comment on each others' comments in a more organized way!

  • Connect with Google+: If your Blog is linked to your Google+ account, you can then send your blog posts to people within your circles.

  • Custom Mobile Templates: You can now customize the way your blog will appear on mobile devices. Many times all of our hard work spent customizing how our blogs look is wasted when our readers are reading from a mobile device.  Now you can set up a special "mobile look" for your blog.

  • New Blogger Interface: You may have noticed a link at the top of your Blogger dashboard that allows you to "try" the new blogger interface.  This interface will eventually be permanently updated for all blogs, so now is a great time to try it out!

  • Stats Available: The stats page has been updated.  You can now see where people are viewing your blog and from what type of devices.

  • Blogger App for iOS:  Have you used the Blogger app?  It makes it easier to post on the go!  I could see students blogging live during class from an iDevice simply by logging into this app.  TIP: Check your photos - sometimes the formatting gets thrown off when posting photos from the app.  You may want to go in and check your posting on a desktop or laptop to be sure photos and formatting "look" right.
Need help using any of these cool features?  Let me know!!