Tag Archives: app

Word Dream

Word Dream is one of those apps that I downloaded because someone mentioned it on Twitter –  and then I forgot to try it.  It is free for iOS, but there is also a paid Pro Version and there are in-app purchases to unlock all of the “goodies.”  I actually did fine with the free version, but had a gift card balance left on iTunes and decided to splurge for everything.  Now I can give my text a 3d appearance or add a fish-eye bulge to it, among other things.

I started playing with Word Dream because I read A.J. Juliani’s post about the “7 Mantras” he is displaying for the year and wanted to make some of my own.  I have a Pinterest board full of favorite quotations, but sometimes I discover an inspiring piece of text that hasn’t been graphically designed by a clever person yet.  Therefore, I wanted to try my hand at making a few of my own.

Word Dream allows you to choose a background from Pixabay or one of your own images.  Then you can add your text using numerous different options for the layout, color, and effect.  It’s not a unique idea, but I found Word Dream very easy to use with plenty of choices for design without too many to overwhelm me.  If Word Dream isn’t quite what you want, here is a list of 20 Alternatives – many that I’ve tried but deleted for one reason or another.

Here are a couple of samples I made while learning the app.  I’m not sure if I’m going to include them in my set of mantras, yet!  The black dog, by the way, is my daughter’s puppy.  (She was a bit more cooperative than my bulldog when I asked her to look adoringly at me.)

Photo Aug 30, 5 52 55 PM

betheperson

bethepersonsilly

Blippar

I briefly mentioned Blippar in a post last summer about the Augmented Reality magazine, Brainspace.  A tweet from last night reminded me that there are other educational uses for the free Blippar app.  In this post by Rob Stringer on Blippar’s blog, you can find some great uses of Blippar for science activities in the classroom.  I’m ready to try the solar system one tomorrow!

At Diary of a Techie Chick, you can find lots of AR activities.  Using Blippar’s sunflower trigger and a couple of other resources,  @KatieAnn_76 offers a free lesson plan full of rich ideas for learning more about plants.

To learn more about Blippar for Education, click here.  If you are interested in seeing more Augmented Reality activities, here are some I’ve collected over the last few years.

Blippar Volcano

 

Using Canva for Reflections

My students went on a great field trip two weeks ago, and lots of photos were taken.  We have a class blog but I thought it would be nice to use the pictures for more than that.  I decided to try out Canva for a reflection tool.  I have exactly 18 students in my 5th grade GT class.  With 10 iPads and 8 laptops, Canva was the perfect choice because you can use either the app or the website to create. There are lots of free templates and text options to choose from, and the students also enjoy trying to different filters on the photos.

I have one class account for Canva that all of the students use.  This makes using the app easy because they can stay logged in.  Another bonus is that I could upload all of the field trip pictures taken by the group to that account from Dropbox, and the students could choose any pictures from the uploads to create their photo collages.

The students were assigned to find pictures that completed any two of the following:

  • One way the field trip connected to something I learned in GT was…
  • The field trip inspired me to…
  • My favorite exhibit was…

They could use any combination of pictures, and they needed to use some sort of captions to relate the photos to the above statements.

Here are some of their final products:

Every photo collage was different, and I really learned what was important to the students from doing this activity.

If you are interested in using Canva, you can sign up for free!

If I Lived in a Snow Globe, I Would Wear my Bike Helmet to Bed

Screen shot from BumbleVille
Screen shot from BumbleVille

UPDATE 1/18/15 – I just added a post that gives more details about using augmented reality with this lesson.  Go to “Outside My Snow Globe” to learn more!

Earlier this year, I posted about a short video called, “BumbleVille.”  This cute animation would be fun to show your students at this time of year.  You might want to show them part of the film, then stop and ask them what they think is going on.  Chances are they will respond like mine did: “earthquake”, “aliens”, “volcanic eruption”.  You will enjoy their reactions when they find out the true cause – that the characters are inhabitants of a snow globe which just got shaken.

In my first BumbleVille post, I gave some suggestions for incorporating Kaplan’s “Multiple Perspectives” into a lesson using the film.  Since then, I’ve also thought that it might be interesting to think about the “Rules” that might be important for living in such an unpredictable environment:

  • What special rules would they have for buildings in this community?
  • What do they tell the students to do at school when such an event occurs (similar to earthquake or tornado preparedness)?
  • Are there certain objects that should not be allowed in this community?
  • Are there certain actions that should be against the law?

When I first posted BumbleVille, I happened to be reading Not Just Child’s Play, and came across a recommendation in the comments to read The Snow Globe Family, by Jane O’Connor.  This book ties in very well with the BumbleVille video – giving perspectives from both inside and out of the snow globe.  I found this free Snow Globe Family packet on Teachers Pay Teachers by Anita Bremer that asks the students to make a text-to-self connection, which is great.

There are tons of “Snow Globe” resources on the internet – including Pinterest ideas – for crafting your own.  You can create real ones or facsimiles.

If you are interested in a digital version of a snow globe, there is a free app, called “iSnowdome” (available on iTunes only) that allows you to place a photo of your own inside a snow globe, then e-mail the video of it.  (From what I can tell, this is the only app that will e-mail a video instead of just a screen shot.) This could be a cute combo writing/augmented reality project – have students write about what it is like to live in a snow globe, use iSnowdome* to make videos of themselves in the snow globe, and upload the videos to Aurasma Studio with the screen shots as trigger images.  Voila – an interactive, winter-themed bulletin board for your classroom!

*(The iSnowdome video includes an instrumental of a Christmas song in the audio, which some families may not prefer.  You could easily mute that in a video editing program, though.)

Morfo

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 6.26.34 PM
Morfo is an app that was probably designed purely for entertainment, but some creative teachers have found a way to make it educational.  Because it can be both, I decided to use it for this week’s Fun Friday post.

Morfo is a free app on iTunes that allows you to basically animate a still picture of a face.  After you give the app some direction, the eyes on the face will move around, and you can add a recording that will play as the mouth moves.  You can even change facial expressions.

I was trying to make an example for you, but gave up after I goofed up five recordings.  Fortunately for me, the internet was right at my fingertips.  I found this delightful video that not only explains how to use the Morfo app but, by applying it to a picture of Henry the VIII, gives it the educational tweak that I was trying to achieve.  In addition, the narrator has a lovely accent that sounds much better than any recording I could ever make! Here is the link in case the video does not play: http://youtu.be/N4geZwqZ-Lg

Dinner, Not Art

image from: http://www.dinnernotart.com/#home

Dinner, Not Art is both a website and a free iPad app.  It’s delightfully silly, but also encourages creativity and charity.  Every noodle that is used in the virtual art will result in 10 noodles being donated to the charity Feeding America by Kraft until the end of this year.  This is similar to the concept found at FreeRice.

Be sure to watch the short video on the website to learn about the reasoning behind the creation of this app.

In the app, the user can choose the shape of the macaroni noodles as well as the color to paint them.  You can place them however you like and even change their size.  You can also draw things on the rest of the page.  Once you are finished, you can “glue” your pieces to the paper, and hang your art on a virtual refrigerator.

Kids young and old would enjoy this app.  To deepen the conversation, students could do some research on Feeding America or some math to figure out the amount of macaroni art that needs to be done to create a real meal.  Maybe they could research other companies that have offered deals like this and find out “what’s in it for them”.

H/T to Cool Site of the Day for bringing this app to my attention!

Isopod: The Roly Poly Science Game

If you are like my daughter (9) (and , to be honest, me), then you went through a stage of fascination with “roly poly” creatures, also known as “pill bugs”.  Isopod, a new, educational iPad game banks on that curiosity and takes advantage of one of the unique aspects of iPads – the accelerometer.  Players of Isopod are given instructions to try to roll the isopods into other creatures and avoid ones that will decrease their “health.”  While playing, the user can learn about different creatures in that environment.  I played it for 5 minutes, and I was hooked.  I could see students 8 and up really getting value from this game.

There is a free “lite” version of the game, as well as a full version and a teacher version.  The game description on iTunes gives the details about each version.  I highly recommend, though, that you also visit the website at http://www.xylemandphloem.net.  There, you will learn about the extensive features of this game, which include a downloadable curriculum with loads of activities for students and a Pinterest link to related pictures and videos that support this game.

Although I dislike the idea of having to pay for the teacher version, I am very impressed with the supporting resources that Xylem and Phloem offers for free along with Isopod.  Unlike many of the apps labeled “Education” on iTunes, Isopod is one app that truly delivers for that category.