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.
Shape Collage is a free app for iDevices that allows the user to use photos on the device to create collages in different shapes, such as stars, paw prints, puzzle pieces, etc… You can even type in your own text, and the photos will conform to the words. Once you have created the collage, you can save it to your Photo Album, or share it via Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail. If you do not have an iDevice, there is a similar program online called Loupe. The biggest difference between the app and the website is that, on Loupe, you are loading your pictures from an online sharing site, and do not have the option to load them directly from your computer.
Shape Collage is a great app for Creating, the highest level of Bloom’s New Taxonomy. Students can create collages that conform to shapes related to what they are studying, or the shape of a text that gives a meaningful message. The collages can be another way for students to express themselves poetically with pictures.
“Our Wish for the World” is a creative art idea using the iPad app WordFoto. Tricia Fuglestad posted about this lesson for third graders on the Pop Art of Robert Indiana. Her post includes more pictures and links to an Artsonia gallery of images and a handout. WordFoto is one of my favorite apps for creating, along with TypeDrawing. Ms. Fuglestad’s lesson could easily be differentiated for different levels; for example using the same idea along with Six-Word Memoirs for older or more advanced students, or having younger students use Word Wall words.
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.