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 id=Video.15704637&w=425&h=350&fv=%26rel%3D0%26border%3D0%26]

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.

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.