Friday, August 31, 2012

10 Apps for "iLearning" with iPads

This school year brought an influx of iPads into our district. Teachers were given the summer "assignment" of taking the iPads home and just exploring.  Enter the beginning of the school, and we have a wide array of experiences and expertise among staff with iPads. How exciting as a tech coach!

The daunting selection of some half-a-million-plus iPad apps out there may seem scary to some just beginning to explore the potential of iPads as instructional tools.  To help staff get off the ground using iPads in their classrooms, I've compiled what I would consider a "slow roll" start of apps to try. Note that most are free, but the ones with costs are well worth the price tag.

(or Twitter)
1.  Twitter (FREE) or Tweetbot ($2.99) 
Microblog, expand your professional learning network (PLN), connect. Twitter is free; Tweebot offers a few more features like multiple timelines and smart gestures. Completely worth the three bucks.
2.  Zite (FREE)
Zite is a free, personalized social magazine that automatically learns what you like to read and gets smarter every time you use it.

3.  Evernote (FREE)
Evernote is a cross-platform, multiple device tool perfect for taking notes, recording audio and capturing photos and is searchable from anywhere you have web access.

4.  Skitch (FREE)
Annotate photos or create something new and share your sketches through email or Twitter, or save it for later in your Evernote account.
5.  EduCreations (FREE)
EduCreations turns your iPad into an interactive whiteboard to create great tutorials for students with voice, animations or photos. You can also share your creation via email, FaceBook or Twitter. Or, better yet--have students create their own lessons and share with one another!
6.  inClass (FREE)
inClass is a great app for students to get organize their schedules, share notes they take in class and stay on track with assignments in the calendar. 
7.  AppShopper (FREE)
AppsShopper keeps you up-to-date with the newest App Store apps, sales and freebies. Organize apps in a Wish List and find out when they reduce in price or become free!
8.  Common Core (FREE)
Common Core Standards app is a great reference for students, parents and educators to easily read and understand the Common Core Standards in math and English/language arts K-12. 
9.  Pages ($9.99)
Pages does cost a bit, but it's worth every penny! Create, edit and revise dynamic flyers, posters and other documents that are automatically up-to-date and easily shared using iCloud.
10. Diigo (FREE)
Diigo is a curation app that allows you to bookmark links, annotate webpages with highlighting, save notes or to-do lists and upload photos and save them in your library.  Everything you save is easily searchable with tags, titles and highlights assigned by you.  You can also share libraries that you create with others!

WHEW! There are literally thousands of apps that have potential in classrooms. What are your favorite apps? Please comment and add to the conversation!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Exploring Symbaloo

I've recently been exploring Symbaloo, a web-based organizational tool that saves bookmarks. I like it for many reasons:
1.  Its look. It looks very much like the face of an iPad, iPhone or iPod, but it is not affiliated with Apple (that I know of, anyway). I like the visual ease on the eyes.
2. The sharing aspect. You can search for webmixes in the Symbaloo gallery to gather resources that others have found ahead of you. Likewise, you can share your own webmixes via social sites like FaceBook and Twitter, in a website, email, or in the Symbaloo webmix gallery.
3.  Simplicity. Ideas that come to mind for integrating this tool into your classrooms abound. Students could create their own collection of favorite bookmarks, research sites, useful classroom tools, etc.

I am currently creating webmixes for staff to use with their students in their classrooms.  I'm also able to see what subject-specific webmixes already exist, and I encourage all educators to explore those webmixes that best fit their area of expertise.  I actually think this may be a more efficient way to share free web resources than posting lists on this blog.  That said, expect to see many more Symbaloo-related posts as the year progresses!

Here is my general EdTech Integration Tools Symbaloo Webmix. It's a perpetual work-in-progress, so stay tuned for additions as the year goes on, and check out Symbaloo for yourself. Just think of the ways you can use this with students!