on April 23, 2013 /
Recently deployed Android tablets in your classroom?
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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on November 09, 2012 /
It’s a new school year with new students, new challenges,
and maybe even a little new technology!
Right after you settle into the new term but before you settle in for
the holiday season comes a bevvy of Ed camps, conferences, and summits. We were fortunate enough to get to jump in on
a few here in California and had a blast meeting all the movers and shakers in
First we hit the Google
Apps for Education summit in SF, which got us very inspired about
apps! Google really has a lot to offer
educators and students. Since the conference we have been working with
the EdTech Team (http://www.edtechteam.com), recently supporting their donation of Google Nexus 7
tablets to classrooms. More info at
Additionally in SF we attended and sponsored the integratEd SF conference. At the conference we got to attend group sessions on BYOD program implementation, using social media to engage students and parents, and an amazing iPad 101 workshop presented by Mark McWhinnie (www.markmcwhinnie.com).
Next we hit the road to beautiful Napa for the CUE Fall
Conference, which we helped sponsor. We
towed the iBallz camper up north and set up shop in the courtyard of the
beautiful American Canyon High School.
What incredible facilities! The
school is beautiful and pristine, complete with a field of solar panels guarded
by a friendly group of sheep which came right up to greet us. At the conference we got to hear workshops on
everything from Twitter for Teachers by the ultra informative Bill Selak and we
learned all about Design Thinking and it’s many problem solving
applications. We were amazed by all the
creative educators at the conference, fearlessly experimenting with new and
innovative models of teaching!
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on October 12, 2012 /
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.
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
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.
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on September 25, 2012 /
When my kids gave me an iPad for Christmas in 2010, I was
really jazzed about my new toy. I could
take photos and videos, play music and Angry
Birds. My grandson could use it for watching videos and playing simple
learning games. I could use it to teach
my nephew (now 22), who has autism, how to play Scrabble.
At the time, I had no idea what a wonderful tool it would be
for teaching and learning for kids with Autism/Asperger’s and similar
developmental differences. After just a
few weeks, though, I started reading blog posts by parents of kids on the
spectrum describing the amazing stuff happening as their kids started using
iPads. Yes, they were learning new skills, but even more surprising, they were
becoming more engaged with their parents and siblings. Teachers were noticing the same things.
One teacher friend of mine uses the iPad and the app Sound Literacy to work on word-building
with her students. Before, they would get frustrated trying to move small tiles
around to make words. With Sound Literacy, the tiles stayed in
place and they could focus on spelling rather than picking up dropped tiles. For younger children, apps like Tozzle and Wood Puzzle allow them to develop visual-motor and
visual-perceptual skills while minimizing the need for fine motor expertise. No
more spilled puzzles all over the floor!
Speech, language, and social skills are important areas to
work on for kids on the autism spectrum.
This is one place where the iPad really shines. Apps such as Conversation Builder and Question
Builder provide opportunities for the back-and-forth communication that is
so important. With Pocket Lexi and Language
Forest, specific language needs can be targeted.
One of the most significant advances is the use of
communication boards for those who are nonverbal. I used to create communication books and
social stories for my students. Having unending possibilities at your fingertips
with the iPad is just an incredible improvement. Most of these apps can be customized. Stories2Learn helps the parent or
teacher create child-specific social stories, including using your own pictures
and recording your own words. Others, such as Easy Board and Picture AAC
use predetermined picture cards to create communication boards. Sosh is an amazing app for older teens
and young adults that helps develop coping skills in different situations (and
Over the course of several months, my nephew progressed from
needing help with choosing every word in Scrabble
to beating me in some games. In addition
to improving his spelling, he started using the dictionary.com app to find out the meanings of words I played. I noticed him using some of those words in
texts that he sent me.
When he wanted to tell me the stories he had locked in his
head, I discovered apps like Sound Note
and Storyist (more on that in a
future post). He had been struggling for
months to master math facts, particularly division. Operation
Math came out and he took off. He
loved the spy mission theme, the subtle word plays, and winning badges. He actually passed eight levels of division
without any help from me.
Being able to read books on the iPad is another advantage. As we progressed through one, The Magic Thief, he was able to use the
highlight feature to mark similes and metaphors (of which there are an
abundance in this series!). If we
wanted to, he could have also used the note-taking feature to type short comments
about what he was reading. I had a
couple of Walter Mitty stories in a
book, and after reading those, he used my iPad to find an animated video of
one. We could have used the computer,
but the iPad was handier!
From the ABCs to spelling, from pointing to pictures to
holding conversations, from reading books to writing them, the iPad is turning
out to be “all that jazz” and more for kids on the autism spectrum, their
families, and their teachers. It certainly
went beyond my wildest dreams back on that Christmas day in 2010.
Nancy Barth is a retired special education teacher. She tutors children and adults with autism and dyslexia in the Fresno area and also remotely via Skype. To learn more and join the discussion, visit her blog where you can find posts about iPad apps, reading, writing, handwriting, math, processing disorders, social skills, organizational skills and more.
Be the first to know about new offerings, specials, and other fun stuff: Sign up for “The Spark” on her blog and you’ll get a complimentary copy of the eBook "The Wonderful World of Apps for Educators of All Levels."
Many thanks to Nancy for guest posting! Keep in touch with iBallz for more tips on tablet education - Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter
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