Friday, February 14, 2014

Some of My Favorite iPad Apps

The teachers in my buildings have the opportunity to apply for a set of 10 iPads for their classrooms.  I am so excited to get these iPads out into our classrooms.  Since this is a new endeavor for our schools, I thought I'd highlight some of my favorite apps for the classroom.

Evernote -- Evernote is one of my favorite apps both in and out of the classroom.  I use it to take notes at all of my meetings, and I love that I don't have to carry a stack of notes with me anymore.  They are all on my iPad...or on my iPhone...or on my laptop.  I have access to them everywhere!  In the classroom, Evernote is a great place to create student portfolios.  You can set up folders for each of your students, and then can send work directly to your Evernote account.  Once again, you aren't dragging portfolios home with you.  Everything you need is right there in the app!  Evernote can also store links, photos, voice recordings, just about anything!  Oh, and it's FREE!

Educreations -- Educreations is a great interactive whiteboard app, perfect for students to generate their own content.  One of my favorite ways to use this app is to have students record their solution to a math problem and explain how they came to their answer.  Educreations records what the student is writing as well as what the students in saying.  This is a great way to create your own classroom Khan Academy!

TocaBoca Apps -- I absolutely love all of the TocaBoca apps, especially for early childhood and primary grade students.  Toca Band, Toca Hair Salon, Toca Kitchen, Toca Builders...I really do love them all.  The Toca Boca apps are wonderful free play apps.  They allow children to explore and be creative versus a lot of other apps that force children to play the game in a specific way.  We know that play is the work of childhood, and the Toca Boca apps are a great way to play!

Puppet Pals -- Puppet Pals is an awesome storytelling tool!  Students use characters, backgrounds, and themes to narrate a story.  This is a great app for students who want to retell a story, share a book they loved, or bring a story they've written to life.  Here's a video of my preschoolers doing a group retelling of Pete the Cat last year: 

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to iPad apps and what you can do in your classroom. I've put together some pinterest boards with even more apps that I've been adding to every day:

Creation Apps
Early Childhood Apps
Elementary Apps
Apps in Spanish
Apps for Teachers
iPad Classroom Resources

Friday, February 7, 2014

Five Tech Things on a Friday v.10

Does anyone else feel like this year is flying by?  I spent most of January busy with Lesson Study, reading, or hiding from the crazy cold and snow.  I need to get back into the blogging habit!  Here are my Five Tech Things on a Friday for this week...
  • One of the things I love most about instructional technology is that there are so many wonderful tools to support teachers in their professional development.  Personally, I love being able to carry my PD around in my pocket, access it when I have time, and know that I can find exactly what I need. Check out EdReach's Top Apps for Professional Development to get started.
  • I stumbled across this list of 30 iPad Apps for Music Teachers while I was on twitter the other day.  There are some wonderful app here, not only for music teachers, but for classroom teachers as well.  Personally, I'm a big fan of Soundrop -- a free app that uses lines to create music.
  • February 5th was Digital Learning Day, and Edutopia put together a ton of instructional technology resources for teachers.  One of my favorite resources was the Technology Integration Research Review.  There is so much out there on instructional technology that it can be overwhelming trying to find quality research and content.  I think this resource pulls much of the research together nicely.
  • Another great resource from Edutopia is the Social Media in Education Resource Roundup.  I think social media can be an extremely powerful tool for teachers and students, but there are a lot of things to consider before diving in.  Check out these resources, and let me know if you are thinking about starting social media use in your classroom.  I'd love to chat!
  • Finally, here's a video from the Tech2Learn series with elementary students using technology to create tutorials, share personal narratives, and even share poetry: