The Best Free Android Apps for your Classroom

By Alex Marketing for iBallz on April 23, 2013   /   50languages android android tablet andromedia anydo Apple vs Android apps 4 kids apps for kids Apps in the classroom audioboo big fat canvas classroom apps Color Note Drop Box Ed tech edmodo Education Apps eduport Evernote Free Apps google docs google maps google nexus 7 how to draw mindjet minus mobile learning one note samsung galaxy skitch socratica sync space Tablet tablets in the classroom take a talk top free android apps tweetdeck vocalyze wave recorder web talks wifi file transer    /   0 Comments

 

Recently deployed Android tablets in your classroom?

Here at iBallz our universal nature lets us bridge the gap between Android and Apple - we fit on both!  We know many of our readers use Android tablets in their classroom, so when we found this awesome resource of great free educational apps for teachers and students (http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/02/list-of-great-free-educational-android.html), we just had to share.  

This is a well curated list of "must haves" for any teacher with an android.  Each slide describes one of these most loved apps and includes a screens shot and links for download and to a longer review.  The apps featured are:

1) Evernote - Allows users to organize photos, to do lists, web pages, notes and reminders into searchable notebooks
2) Dropbox - shareable cloud file storage
3) Color Note - Notetaking app that looks like colored stickie notes
4) Edmodo - Allows educators to create a facebook like environment for just a specified group or class
5) Vocalyze - Provides written web content in an audio format
6) Google Maps - Like the web version, you can navigate and find places all over the world
7) Tweetdeck - Twitter organizer
8) Sync Space - A whiteboard app that creates documents and drawings
9) Skitch - Great for annotating pictures
10) Audioboo - Record audio clips and share them with others
11) Apps 4 Kids - Provides kid safe apps
12) Socratica - a web service that provides a wide range of educational apps covering everything from Greek mythology to arithmetic
13) Take a Talk - Another great audio recording app
14) 50Languages - One of the best apps for students learning new languages
15) Wave Recorder - a more robust voice recording app
16) AndroMedia - Easy to use video editing
17) How to Draw - An app for practicing drawing
18) Web Talks - Reads RSS feeds out loud
19) Minus - Allows users to upload and share files between android devices and computers
20) Big Fat Canvas - a great drawing app
21) WiFi File Transfer - allows users to transfer files to anything else on the wifi network
22) AnyDo - Dictate your to do list into your phone
23) Mindjet - An app used to create mind maps and diagrams
24) EduPort - Connects you to a library of educational videos
25) One Note - Great for taking notes quickly on the go
26) Google Docs - Create, edit, upload, and share documents and files

Are you using these top free Android apps in your classroom?  Let us know which are your favorite in the comments below!

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Is an iPad or an Android Tablet Best for Your Classroom?

By Alex Marketing for iBallz on April 17, 2013   /   Android Apple Apple vs Android Blackberry Drop Protection Educators Free Apps Google Nexus iBallz iFan iPad iPad Deployment Microsoft Tablet Tablet Drop Protection Tablets in the classroom universal USA Today    /   0 Comments

 

Here at iBallz we're huge iPad fans - after all we thought up our legendary drop protection on the day the iPad was announced!  Check out our posts on iPad Deployment and a list of free iPad apps for educators earlier on our blog.

Despite being inspired by the birth of the iPad, we certainly don't play favorites - after all we fit on almost any tablet on the market, be it iPad, Android, Blackberry or Microsoft - you name it!  Not sure whether Apple or Android is right for you?  Check out this informative rundown of the differences between the two in this article by USA Today Educate aimed at students: http://www.usatodayeducate.com/staging/index.php/opinion/opinion-which-works-best-for-students-apple-or-android-tablets

Already made up your mind?  Are you an iFan or an Android devotee?  Let us know in the comments below!


And don't forget to keep in touch with iBallz by "liking" us on Facebook and following us on Twitter!

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Top Note Taking Apps, Organized by the Feature You're Looking For

By Derek May on October 12, 2012   /   apps for disabilities aspergers autism EdApps EdTech Education Apps elearning Evernote flipclass free apps free education apps iBallz iPad iPad organization iPadEd iPads in the Classroom mlearning Notability note taking apps note taking apps for iPad organizing app Paperport Notes Pinterest Simplenote Sound Note SoundNote SpringPad    /   0 Comments

The most ubiquitously popular of the bunch: Evernote – Free – The most well known of the bunch, Evernote allows you to capture text notes, audio recordings, photos, and web clips and arrange them into neatly organized notebooks.  Evernote offers a host of organizing features, including tagging notes with keywords and notebooks can be synced and accessed through an iPhone, iPad, or desktop app, or through their site.  This app is great for those that want a scrapbook feel (great for bringing in information from a variety of sources) with high organization.

Most robust free app for taking lecture notes: Paperport Notes – Free – This great free note taking app allows you to annotate over imported documents or documents from the web, type or write freehand notes, highlight sections, and most notably dictate notes to text.  You can sync notes with Dropbox, Box.net, and other apps for easy access and sharing – not bad at all for a free app!

The most visually pleasing layout: SpringPad – Free – Pitched as an Evernote-meets-Pinterest app, SpringPad gives you much of the functions of Evernote with the visually oriented layout of Pinterest.  SpringPad lets you add photos, to-do lists, links, locations and more to board-like notebooks via a button on your browser or manually through their iPhone and iPad apps or web portal.  You can share specific notebooks with other people or add them as co-creators, allowing you to share content on a specific subject to a specific person rather than the whole shebang.  The app also has loads of other robust functions (for example if you import a location, it adds details like address and open hours), and is great for allowing teachers to share robust informational content with students, or for student paper and project collaboration, but would fall flat for students attempting to use it as a means for lecture notes.

The best inexpensive app for recording lectures while taking notes: Notability – $.99 – The most standout function of this app is that it allows you to record audio and take notes via handwriting or typing simultaneously – great for recording a lecture while taking notes.  Notes can be organized by subject or category and exported and synced through Dropbox.

The best app for recording audio while taking notes period: SoundNote - $4.99 – A hefty price by app standards, SoundNote takes the audio recording function to the next level.  This app not only allows you to record audio while you take notes, but you can click on a piece of text and replay the audio that was recorded while it was written.  Oh if I had only had this while I was in school!  Autistic, Asperger’s, and other special needs students find this app particularly useful.

For those that like to keep it simple: Simplenote - Free – As the name suggests, this is a very simple, unobtrusive, user friendly notetaking app, with well working basic functions.  Only drawback here is that notes can only be exported as email text.

Keep in touch with iBallz for more tips on tablet education Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter


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5 Amazingly Versatile FREE Apps to Download for Your Classroom Now (With Video Demos!)

By Derek May on September 11, 2012   /   Creation Apps EdApps Edmodo EdTech Educreations elearning flipclass free apps free creation apps free education apps iBallz iPad iPadEd iPads in the Classroom mlearning Nearpod Prezi Technology in Education Toontastic    /   0 Comments

1. Nearpod - Free (with subscription-based access) - Nearpod is a combination student/teacher app that allows you to turn your lessons into interactive multimedia presentations (think interactive powerpoint lessons in the student's hands) and is an amazing way to engage your students further while lecturing in class.  Besides having a copy of the lesson presentation in their lap, Nearpod lets teachers include polls, multiple choice and extended response questions, pictures for students to draw on, and gives the option of immediate individual feedback from teachers for each students' work.  Check out the video below to get a better idea of what this awesome app can do.

 

2. Prezi - Free - Prezi is a cloud-based presentation app that allows you to create visually engaging presentations on a single zoomable canvas.  Prezi is a great tool to give over to your students to make an energetic presentation that forces them to think about the content their presenting in a new and energetic out-of-the-box way.  There's tons of bell and whistles with Prezi that students can dive into and there's a definite "wow" factor for students viewing presentation in this new format.  Take a look at the video below to get a feel for what a zoomable single canvas presentation can look like and click here if you want to see a Prezi on the app's use as an education tool.

3. Edmodo - Free - Meet students where they live by turning your classroom into an online social networking community.   With Edmodo you can create a Facebook-like stream where you can post topics/questions/surveys for your class that your students can comment, respond, and vote on.  You can also post assignments and due dates and have students submit their work (and access their grades) and post additional videos or resources for students who want to delve into a topic further.


4. Educreations - Free - Educreations is an easy to use video tutorial creator app that's great for making dynamic video lessons for teachers to share with their students.  Instructors can make multipage lessons, import images and move or resize them while recording, and narrate the entire thing all along the way.  Educreations hosts the videos on their own site (great if your school block YouTube) and you can share the videos with a select group of students (or embed them on your blog/Facebook/Twitter) or publicly with the Educreations community.  This app is also great for having students create tutorial videos for each other!


5. Toontastic - Free for one background/theme- Turn your lesson or your students' presentations into a cartoon with this fun, free app.  This app is a great way for students to summarize a novel they've just completed, show their understanding of a historical event they're studying, or share stories of their own creation.

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10 Things You Need To Know About Bringing iPads into Your Classroom: Tips for iPad Deployment

By Derek May on September 04, 2012   /   Apple Configurator Creation Apps Edmodo EdTech Educreations free apps free creation apps free education apps iBallz iPad iPad Deployment iPad Roll Out iPad Rollout iPad Settings iPads in the Classroom Prezi Restriction Settings Technology in Education Volume Purchasing Program    /   1 Comment








The grants been granted and you're approved to bring iPads into your classroom.  Now what?  Here's 10 tips you need to know about bringing iPads into your classroom!

1. iPads alone won't improve your students' classroom experience or academic achievement 

New technology is only half of the journey to taking student learning to the next level.  The best way to use iPads in a classroom isn't to fit the new technology into the "I have always taught it this way" curriculum, but to rethink the curriculum entirely, redefining your lessons and practice with the new technology in mind.  What are the goals you have for you and your students with the use of iPads?  What can you do in your classroom with these devices that you wouldn't be able to do otherwise?  Keep the answer to these questions in mind as you rethink the way you teach everything, devising new lessons and an entirely new practice.

2. It is the Teacher's responsibility to keep the iPad's usage constructive in the classroom

Make sure there is structure and oversight from you as the teacher to keep iPad usage constructive and not a distraction – this means setting restrictions in the settings, setting rules in the classroom, and applying certain organization within the iPad, such as grouping apps by usage.  It's important that it is clear to the students when the devices are to be used and when screens are to go dark and often a verbal cue (like "screens dark now") is helpful for letting students know when it's time to put the device aside.

3. Password protect, and set settings carefully to have the most control over the device when in students hands

Turn on Passcode Lock in the General menu within Settings.  Next turn Restrictions to On in the same menu and go into Restrictions and turn off Deleting Apps and In-App Purchases, as well as Multiplayer Games and Adding Friends within the Game Center section on the same page.  The latter two is to keep strangers from reaching out to students from the Game Center app.  You can also choose media ratings for Movies, Apps, Music, etc on the Restrictions page.


4. Set-up both Find my iPhone and Find my Friends app for each device to keep track of iPads

Find My iPhone and Find My Friends are essential tools for keeping track of your classroom iPads and should set-up as soon as possible!  Find My iPhone tracks individual devices and allows you to remotely display a message or play a sound on a missing iPad and Find My Friends lets you track all of your classroom devices on a map in realtime!  Both Apps are free will you give you a serious leg up when it comes to keeping track of your iPads.

5. Invest in Only Free Apps in the beginning

It's tempting to load your new iPads up with tons of apps, but it's best to get going with the iPads and test the waters so you have a better idea of the best Apps that will help you use the iPads best in YOUR classroom.

6. Creation Apps > Content Apps

Content apps (apps that have built in content for the students to learn from) are limited and have a hard line standard of what the student can learn from them.  While they are great up to that limit (and there are many excellent ones to choose from), your time and budget is much better spent on open-ended Creation apps, that allow your students to process and present information that they input in new and exciting ways.  We will delve further into Creation apps in a later blog post, but for now check out free apps Educreations, Prezi, and Edmodo to get a feel for what a Creation app is.

7. Many useful Apps come with the iPad right out of the box!

Since we're on the subject of apps, there are a number of great apps that come with the iPad right out of the box.  Reminders (simple reminders and to-do lists), iBooks (and excellent ebook reader with features like search, highlighting, note taking, and bookmarking), Newsstand (a newspaper and magazine app which stores and organizes periodicals), and the Calendar app are extremely useful and should not be forgotten!


8. Purchase Apps through Apple's Volume Purchase Program

This program allows Educational Institutions to purchase apps and books  in volume and distribute them to students, teachers, etc.  Enrolling in the program will also allow you to purchase apps tax-exempt (if your institution is tax-exempt) and access special bulk pricing offers from app developers.

9. Use Apple Configurator to manage your fleet of iPads and keep the data student specific

Apple Configurator is a free app that will help you update, back-up, and install apps on a small fleet of iPads.  This app will save you from the time-killing headache of downloading apps individually on each device and the app is also a great way to synch data on the device with individual user profiles so that students can access all of their data regardless if they're using the same iPad from day to day.

10. Don't forget to budget for headphones, Apps, Charging Carts, and iBallz!

Classroom iPads need accessories to get the job done.  Once you get your new iPads you are going to need a charging cart, headphones, and iBallz to keep your tablets safe from spills and drops!  Don't forget to include those expenses as you budget for your new learning tools.

Bonus tip!

Bringing in new technology to your school classroom is going to be a process of trial and error.  If something doesn’t work, change it up – don’t be afraid to try new lessons and new practices and don't be afraid to ditch them if you don't feel they're working!  Get feedback from your students on their experiences with the iPad and keep refining your new practice as you get the feel for all the possibilities this exciting technology can bring to learning!

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