Mid November Reflections – Voices

It’s mid November and the leaves have displayed their Fall colours (either still hanging onto trees or splashed across the landscape). We truly live in a wonderful part of the world. 

One of our concentrations is to provide a written voice for every student. Six teams of classroom and LSS/ELL partnerships from six schools launched, each with their own set of laptops or ipads. These teams are using a variety of tools to support voice: Google Apps for Education, student blogfolios to reflect, Solo software (focused on CoWriter offering word prediction) or ipads with DoInk green screen, Explain Everything and padcaster. As part of the journey, the teams meet together to share and push their learning as well as document their ongoing story. Lessons learned and nuggets of connections will be shared here on our Teams page. Even better – ask them yourselves:

  • Maywood – Satpaul, Jason, Halina; 
  • Edmonds – Hayley, Angela;
  • South Slope – Grady, Deb, Jennifer A; 
  • Chaffey-Burke – Carlene, Alan; 
  • Suncrest – Balbir, Joe;
  • Parkcrest – Sheila, Scott;
  • UHE – Kristina (year 2);
  • Marlborough – Ann (year 2) 

We’re looking forward to strengthening our strategies. 

Must be App Smash Time – List for 2016-2017

app_world_people250

Seems like the world of apps is constantly shifting with an abundance of tools that promise just about everything except make coffee. I imagine that will happen soon.  Here is our updated list of apps and ‘yes’, we like to keep the list to under 20 (leaving lots of space for saving creations). Again, some of our best have stayed and new ones added that have proven their consistency. This time we’ve connected each one to the core competencies.

 Audio -*Communication Competencies app_voicerecordpro  Voice Record Pro (free) – A professional voice recorder that has a visual feedback to show how loud your voice is recording. Possibilities for use might include supporting reading fluency,  self assessment, oral speech, radio show, embed in video. Save in standard formats and export to multiple locations including the camera library. 
 Audio/visual –*Communication Competencies  app_chatterpix_kid  ChatterPix Kid by Duck Duck Moose (free) – Take a photo of anything, draw a line to represent your mouth and record your voice. Teach a lesson, share a story,  sing a song, do a rap. You’re only limited by your imagination. Share it on your class blogs. Stitch a few videos together to make a longer video. Or keep to “shorts”. There’s something to be said for brevity (30 seconds or less).
  Audio/visual –*Communication Competencies  app_tellegamiedu   Tellagami-Edu ($6.99) – Create a custom avatar to share your story, lesson or learning. 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.
 Image Editor – *Communication, Creative Competencies  picmonkeyapp   PicMonkey ($1.38) – Worth every penny especially if you use your ipad to take pictures. Our favourite web tool is now an app! Use it to resize your images before uploading, and edit using a range of effects. Personalize any image and use in your presentations, photo albums, eportfolios, posters, infographics.  (*Free on phones – capture, edit, upload from your phone) 
 Draw/Sketch –*Communication, Creative Competencies  app_drawingpad  Drawing Pad ($2.79) – Everyone needs an art/sketch app to give possibility to your creative self. Use photo-realistic crayons, markers, paint brushes, coloured pencils, stickers, roller pens. An entire box of tools is at your finger tips. Products are saved in the camera library for export or upload. Use to enhance artistic voice, upload to eportfolios or blogs, presentations or smash with other apps like ChatterPix. 
  Draw/Sketch –*Communication, Creative Competencies  app_paper   Paper by FiftyThree (free) – Sketch notes are all the rage now. This app gives freedom to design, take notes, create diagrams in detail. A stylus pen is helpful but not necessary. More complex than Drawing Pad. 
Video –  *Communication, Creative Competencies  adobesparkapp   Adobe Spark Video (free) – Create stunning videos with voice, music and images. Add cinematographic motion and share your product. Saves to camera library for easy export. As if this wasn’t enough, use this to illustrate ‘work flow’ in organization. *Requires login.
Design/Video –  *Communication, Creative, Thinking Competencies  app_greenscreen   Green Screen by Do Ink ($3.99) – Take any green coloured background and turn it into your own TV studio. (Yes, this is how newscasters do it.) Tell a story, teach an  idea, share your research, 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.
 Design/Video-  *Communication, Creative, Thinking Competencies  app_explaineverything   Explain Everything 3.0 ($5.49) – “They know when they can teach it.” Communicate learning by screencasting and using an interactive whiteboard to annotate,  teach, narrate and animate. New feature – collaboration! Incorporate products from other apps. Export to/from anywhere, which makes this app incredibly flexible. 
 Design/Compile –  *Communication, Creative, Thinking, Personal Competencies  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 like a book and see the magic unfold before you. A great tool for a portfolio presentation.
Productivity tool app_compressor   Compressor (free) – While using the video camera on an iPad is great, what happens if you want to upload the results to a blog, eportfolio or other web presence? iPads are notorious for huge file sizes. This app compresses a video file size using a target slider – what could be easier? Saves to camera library ready for you to upload to any other site. 
Productivity tool  videoslimmer_ap  Video Slimmer ($3.99) – While there are many in this category, this one is worth the price if you use video a lot and would like to upload the results to a web presence (eg. from camera, iMovie, Adobe Spark, Book Creator …). Shrinks video files while keeping the quality. Simple editing tools include trim, merge multiple videos, rotate, and customise. Saves to camera library. 
Productivity plus –  *Communication, Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Personal Competencies  app_googledrive   Google Drive (free) – Still at the top of our “go to” list. This suite of tools include Docs, Slides, Drawing, Forms, Sheets allowing for writing, collaborating with teams any time, anywhere, commenting in real-time (think formative assessment), 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. The educational suite is G Suite. (*To apply for a G Suite account > click FORMS. We do the rest to set up your classes. An authentic place to practice digital citizenship and collaborative communication!) 
Math practices – *Thinking, Personal Competencies  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.  

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

2016 Must Have List of Apps for iDevices

I can’t believe that it was February, 2015 since I started 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 in a previous 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). I’ve also started a new page titled: Assistive Software, found under > SOFTWARE.

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. A great place to practice digital citizenship!)

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). Another great place to practice digital citizenship.

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.