Category Archives: Apps

My Favorite Strategy/Problem-Solving Apps

I thought this might be a good time of year to summarize and emphasize some of the most valuable resources I have reviewed so far.  Today, I would like to offer my Favorite Strategy/Problem-Solving Apps:

#3:  Solitaire Chess Free – I reviewed this as a tangible game provided by www.mindware.com, but it is available as a free app as well.  This is a great way for children to learn how the chess pieces move, and to train themselves to think ahead.

#2:  Isle of Tune – You can play this for free on the web, or you can download the app for $2.99.  As it is a music app, you might question why I include this app in the Strategy/Problem-Solving category.  But, I think there is a lot of problem-solving involved in trying to figure out how to use the tools to compose your song.

#1 – Bubble Ball – This is the most requested app during Center Time or indoor recess in my classroom.  It is fun to stand near a small group of students who are playing this app as they discuss the strategies for getting the ball to the flag using the different tools provided at each level.  I still can’t believe this app is free, as it has provided endless engagement for my students at every grade level.  Another thing that I like about the app is that every level has several solutions.

Here are my original posts on each of these:  Solitaire Chess, Isle of Tune, and Bubble Ball.

QR Codes and Art

I like patterns.  This week, I started by sharing some QR Code Countdown Calendars.  Yesterday, I chose to share a link to Countdown Calendars.  So, today, I will focus once again on QR Codes.

I found an article on the Langwitches blog that gave a wonderful idea for using QR codes with art.  You should read the article here, because it gives great details.  To summarize, it explains a project in which the students created magnificent artwork.  They then made individual recordings about their artwork.  These recordings were uploaded to the web, and QR codes were generated for each link.  The QR codes were then adhered to the artwork.  Therefore, anyone who passes the artwork that is being displayed can use a “smart” device to scan the code, allowing them to listen to the student’s narrative about the art as the surveyor looks upon the masterpiece.

This generated so many extension ideas for me when I read it that I could not even begin to list them.  Think about the power of attaching another media to a bulletin board display of any type of work.  It could be an audio narrative or music.  It could even be a video!  Imagine the electronic portfolios your students could create that would co-exist in the both the “real” and “virtual” worlds!  I can’t wait to try it myself!

Countdown Calendars Continued

The past few days have included posts of various different QR Countdowns that I’ve created.  One of my favorite bloggers has collected probably the largest amount of technology-related Advent links that I have ever seen at iLearnTechnology.  They include his own Web 2.0 calendar as well as an Appvent Calendar.  The one linked to the image above will take you to the National Museum of Liverpool calendar, which will reveal a piece of art from the museum each day.  I recommend that you check out his links if you plan to do any kind of counting down in December!  I will be eager to see what his Web 2.0 calendar reveals…

BrainPop’s GameUp

Many educators already know about BrainPop, a subscription site that offers animated videos on a variety of educational topics.  It includes quizzes and downloadable handouts, as well as ideas for lessons.  BrainPop is also available as a free app for iOS.  For free, one can watch select videos.  Recently, BrainPop also made their subscription videos available with this app, so you can log in to that as well on your iDevice.  The new feature some of you may not know about, however, is “Game Up“, which is the BrainPop games area.  Partnering with a few other websites, BrainPop is continuing to add interactive games which tie in to their videos.  They are also offering resources for students and teachers to develop their own games.

Solitaire Chess Free

Solitaire Chess Free is a challenging app for iOS.  I also mentioned the boardgame that can be purchased at Mindware in my last post.  In both versions, the object of the one-player game is to capture all of the pieces on the board until there is only one left.  Every move has to result in a capture.  This is a nice way for kids to learn the appropriate moves for each of the chess pieces, and to practice thinking ahead.  There are increasing levels of difficulty, which means that students can quickly move to the level that best fits their needs.

Talking Tom and Ben News for iPad

You are probably familiar with the “Talking” apps.  There are a variety that are available for free, and work on iPhone, iTouch, and iPad.  This particular one is only compatible with the iPad at the moment, and is free (though there is an offer for an in-app purchase).  My Multimedia club students had fun playing around with the app to deliver some Thanksgiving Jokes on our school news, which is a video broadcast.  They recorded the jokes, then sent them to the computer, where, once the MOV file was converted to WMV (with a little help from Zamzar), we were able to add music and subtitles.  If you are not crazy about all of those complicated steps, don’t worry.  You can just record and e-mail it.  We have not had a chance to use one of the coolest features of this app, which allows you to insert a video from your iPad on which Tom and Ben can comment.  This offers a lot of learning opportunities in which students can explain some of their own homemade videos.  (Example:  Imagine, “This just in – Allison figured out how to solve 13 times 14!”)

Here is a sample of our jokes from our video club:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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.