Mobile Phone WhiteBoard app

WhiteBoard app4DSoftTech has a free WhiteBoard app which is so easy to use on a mobile phone. I would not even have considered a WhiteBoard app as an option on my phone but this one has good functionality and is easy to use.KidsBoard I actually like the KidsBoard. I think it is wrongly named! I use this aspect of WhiteBoard a lot because there are so many good features if you want to put something together. The WhiteBoard site explains very clearly what it can do and gives some good visual information as well. It is exclusively an Android app at this stage. There are other apps on their site you might like to investigate.

Assembly app

Assembly app is one of the most productive and professionally presented apps I have seen.  I got information about it via @uxigers on Instagram. The great thing about it is that the free version has plenty of tools and resources to work with. You can then have the option of  purchasing in app extras to further enhance what you are doing. The video gives a good overview of the sorts of things you can do. It is focussed on design and layout so it does have the snap to grid option which you can enable as you wish. The app also comes with a sound tutorial suite so that you can learn how to use different aspects of the app and set yourself right when it comes to using the app. It makes excellent use of the attributes of tablets/smartphones and so has brought us into the 21st century in its approach and intention. The more you know the better you are with this app. It teaches you to refine and improve your skills and create something of good quality. The Assembly app site is well laid out with plenty of information to help you get started. You can download it here from iTunes. There is a review here on Stuff which looks at it and then gives you other ideas of how to use it. Assembly is intelligent design because it functions well and anyone, no matter their level in graphic design can enjoy using this app. It means you can create and customise your own pictures, you can create layouts for apps and web pages, you can just use it as a sketch pad and playground for your ideas. It really is a productive, helpful, well thought out educational app.

Lots of quizzes

quizI was looking for quiz apps and the only one I have found which I can’t really use for school but it works well out in the wild is the Trivial Pursuit app. Like its paper counterpart it’s a good social game. You can play it as a single player too. When I was looking I found the Files32 site which not only has a lot of software download information nicely gathered into headings, it has so many quiz makers, quizzes to do and quiz generators. Some are pricey, some are modestly priced but most of them are free. I have bookmarked the site because I know I have had trouble trying to find electronic quiz makers and I am more than happy to make them on my computer. I may just find something here. There seems to be something for everyone.

Explain Everything

explain everything Explain Everything is not free but it comes at a very modest price. It is a cut above the free Educreations which is an app I really like for its flexibility. Explain Everything is iDevice compatible and works best with Apple devices. I have the app on my Macbook and my iPad. It is something which can be used for presentations, for teaching and recording that as you go along. You can use a stylus/finger or typed next. I made a montage in Fotor, imported it and then added what I wanted. you can save the work as video, image and to various places like Dropbox (my preference) or you can email the work to yourself or someone else. It really is very flexible and worth investigating for you and your students. Excuse my appalling drawing skills.

Work with them

house planner

Runs in several languages

Image: Home Design 3D app

I walked into class with a pile of cartridge paper under my arm. This will be interesting, I thought. I was neither let down nor disappointed. My year 8 students know we cannot use a computer room because of the rebuilding program. We have had to be inventive and flexible. A pile of cartridge paper seemed like I had gone back into the dark ages before I knew I could do something to save the planet. I brought in the iPads. We were about to start learning house vocabulary in French. I normally use floorplanner.com and smallbluerpinter.com and it’s an assignment the students love and they learn their vocabulary quickly. I have taught these students all year and so they know that sometimes we have to be clever and pool our ideas to get the best learning out of the tools and situation we have. I started from my board. I put up a picture of a house and they had to match the words up there to the labels on the house. This was different. We hadn’t even learnt house vocabulary. I told them to use their brains and really think it out like a puzzle and that would pronounce it as we went along. There was silence. They were looking at me and then at the board. You can do it. Just look and think ! We got the first word, then the second, then the third. They muddled a couple and then we had all the labels done and we pronounced them all again and I gave them a quick oral test to see if they could remember. They could. I could then move on and say we were going to do paper dream houses and not the computer houses we could see pinned up from last year. The prize would be a lovely new school and we would just manage this bit. We got to work and some students still had their iPad conversations from last week to show me on the iPads. This is the next generation of students. They love working in pairs and they love showing me things on their phones and iPads. It makes them very enthusiastic and they are in their element. Two of them had a great conversation they had made with Puppet Pals but it had voice sythesisers. They had used iTranslate and so tomorrow they are going to show me just exactly what they did to make that conversation. They love showing me and I love learning something new. In the meantime other students had been busy and two more came out to show me apps they had found and would I please download them because they were free. They would be like the house planning sites I had written up on the board that we had used on the computer last year. Already the students were looking for the tools which would solve our problem. The apps were great and so now I have iPad versions of what I use on a computer with a class. We have choices! Two students in front of me had found a fantastic website on their iPad which would help with house language and wanted to show me. It  really was fantastic. I put it up on the board so they could all find it if they wanted to. We have to find the vocabulary to be able to create our paper houses this year. The iPads have made it easy because they are more dynamic than a dictionary. They know I have plenty of resources to teach them about houses and that our lessons will be practising this vocabulary and creating our dream homes. What keeps them focussed is they know they can share the really good things they find and that I will share that with the class along with my own resources so we are a constant pool of content sharing and information passing. Create content, share and get feedback. We work as  a team to keep that going. So now we have the work arounds. The younger students want to be part of the process and want to be able to use computers and devices to show and share. My job as a teacher is to lead the way and organise the information coming in. Love it!

Josefine Grimm-Blenk

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