Category Archives: Apps

APPitic

The website describes its purpose best:  APPitic is an directory of apps for education by Apple Distinguished Educators (ADEs) to help you transform teaching and learning. These apps have been tested in a variety of different grade levels, instructional strategies and classroom settings.”

On this site, you can browse for apps by: Preschool, Themes, Multiple Intelligences, Bloom’s Taxonomy, and Tools.

Each reviewed app of the over 1,300 gives a thorough description, and many have personal comments from the Apple Distinguished Educators who have used them in their own classroom settings.

APPitic is a good resource for teachers, especially when used along with some of the other app review sites mentioned in my Educational App Reviews post.

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Educational App Reviews

As we begin to incorporate more mobile devices into our classrooms to engage our students, the question becomes, “What apps will be appropriate for the needs of my students?”  Sorting through the apps available on sites such as iTunes in the Education category can be very time-consuming.  In the past few weeks, I have come across some websites that try to make the job of finding meaningful apps for children easier for teachers and families.
Proshas 4 different platforms to choose from: App Store, Android, YouTube and Computer, allows users to add app reviews, can filter categories, levels, price, and language, can sort by new, recommended, review, or alphabetic
Consmust register (for free) to suggest apps, does not have a large selection yet
Pros:  can choose App Store, Android, or both, can filter by free, paid, highest rated, most popular, or APProved, can browse by category or age group, seems to have a large catalogue, gives a lot of information – both objective and subjective – about each app
Cons: not specifically designed for educators, although it does have an Education category, does not appear to have any teachers as reviewers (the site is designed for families rather than educators)
Pros: can choose category, can choose specific grade level, trying to work with developers to increase the quantity and quality of educational apps
Cons:  seems to be mostly App Store offerings (I didn’t see any Android apps), does not allow to filter for platform or sort by ratings, price, or popularity (though these should be coming soon), still limited on number of reviews (just starting out)
Pros: lots of meaty suggestions for using apps in the classroom with examples and links, written by an Instructional Technology Specialist in N.E.I.S.D. (shout out!) in San Antonio who was a former classroom teacher, very creative ideas for integration, most ideas have been teacher-tested
Cons: due to the high quality of each post, there is a lower volume of reviews than you will find on the other sites, limited to App store

WordFoto

WordFoto is an iApp ($1.99) with a lot of potential for creative minds.  The app allows the user to either take a picture or load a photo from the device’s Photo Gallery.  Once loaded, the designer can then crop the picture if necessary.  The main appeal, however, is adding words to the picture.  There are sets of words already provided, or a creative mind can provide his or her own.  You can also choose the style by selecting from different themes or creating your own.  In addition, there are some fine-tuning tools to tweak things a bit more.  Below you will find an example of an original photo by one of my 4th graders, and her interpretation using WordFoto.

Original Photo
WordFoto Version

Thanks to Laura Moore, who first brought this app to my attention in her blog!  Be sure to check out her post for ideas on how to use WordFoto in the classroom.

Bubble Ball

Bubble Ball is one of my favorite iDevice apps.  It is a free download, and has 48 levels.  You can purchase more after you finish the 48  for  99 cents.  The purpose of this game is to use the various materials that appear on the screen in each level to direct a ball to roll toward a flag.  I don’t usually like to recommend game apps for the classroom, because students seem to get enough of those at home.  But this Physics challenge encourages problem solving and creative thinking.  Many of the levels have more than one solution.  This could be a fun center in which the students could take screen shots of their solutions and explain them using the free Screen Chomp app or other methods.  It would be interesting to compare the different solutions groups develop, and have them explain their thought processes.  Of course, I highly recommend that you play around with the app yourself – just to get familiar with the levels, of course 😉

Bloom’s Taxonomy for iPads

This recently appeared in the Langwitches blog, and a fellow teacher shared it with me.  It is similar to the Bloom’s Taxonomy Tech Pyramid I posted awhile ago, but this one sticks to iPad apps.  Of course, there are new apps every week that would also be great to use at multiple levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.  This, however, is a great jumping off point, particularly for teachers who are just beginning to implement these devices in their classrooms.

Surprisingly Educational Apps

Pictorial” is a free app.  I envision using it with an iPad in a center.  The app is a great way to practice spatial skills.  However, the user can choose even harder puzzles if or she finds these too easy.

The puzzles show a series of dots.  By sliding your fingers around the screen, you can manipulate the dots until you see lines connecting them.  The darker the lines become, the closer you are to creating a picture.  Once you slide the dots into the correct place, an image will appear, such as the ice cream cone in the picture to the left, and a prompt appears for the next puzzle.

A student could be asked to solve a puzzle, then identify the picture.  To increase difficulty, a student could be directed to write a sentence with the picture, or even a story.  A high level user could have the additional challenge of connecting several pictures together within a story.

A screen pic and Screen Chomp (another free app) could be used by students who have difficulty writing.  Or each student could be directed to add the title of their picture to a class brainstorming map to use for writing or creative thinking. Another possibility would be to have students add the pictures to a class mind map to be used for vocabulary and/or spelling practice.  Creative students could try to find as many ways to connect the pictures as possible or use the pictures artistically in drawing a scene.

I think this app would be appealing to students in K-5.

For more ideas on how to use apps in the classroom, please visit www.techchef4u.com, another great resource for teachers!

Stick Pick

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Stick Pick is an iPhone/iPad app with great potential as a teacher tool. The teacher can add one or more classes within the app. To each class, the teacher adds individual student names, determining the type and level of questioning to use for each student from the following categories: Bloom’s Taxonomy, Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy, or ESL. Once all students are entered, their sticks appear in a cup from which the teacher can randomly or purposefully choose names. As each student is chosen, a list of question stems from their particular assigned level appears on the screen. This is a wonderful way for teachers to customize impromptu questions based on ability.