Offtime app

The Offtime app might be worth exploring if you are trying to find the elusive work-life balance and find your phone distracts you. It is free but there are in app purchases which you might want to explore before you download the app. Basically, you can turn your phone off for a certain amount of time but can allow certain people to contact you in that time. It’s an app from Germany  and has been around for about 3 years now. Tech Crunch has a comprehensive review of it here. You can download it here. It has had sound reviews across the net and is probably worth at least considering . The official Offtime site explains it all very clearly. The iPhone version appears to be paid and not as versatile as the Android version.

Flipagram

Flipagram is a cross platform , video social media site. It has been designed to mesh with Instagram and give Snapchat a run for its money. You can make a one minute video or video photo montage and add music to it. These sites are designed to support the notion that everyone has a story to tell and as such they validate what you do in life. It’s a belief that everyone’s life has great things to celebrate. Celia Werner explains in the video how to use Flipagram but Flipgram has extended the time to 60 seconds now. Instagram allowed 15 second videos but has now increased that to 60 seconds. If you look at the Flipagram channels there is not one for education and yet a 60 second video would be perfect for class use in lots of ways and the fact you can choose music rather than a voice over. It would be a different way of engaging with students and a different way for students to share what they are achieving. Since Flipagram is a relatively new kid on the block people are still trying it out to see what it can do or not do. People have the chance to grow social media platforms by innovative use. There is an education review of it here on learningworksforkids but you get the impression that Flipagram is just photomontage, slide shows. It can be videos too. It’s an app which encourages creativity, involvement and thinking. It is actually quite a challenge to get a one minute video together. You can share these videos on Flipagram and elsewhere. As Flipagram continues to grow it will find its home in our lives. As yet a lot of people haven’t heard of it.

The free Apple version is here

The Android version is here

ukpcmag reviews it here.

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.

VocApp – first look

VocApp is certainly different in its approach and new generation technology for mobile platforms. My holidays are next week and I shall explore it better because, already, I can see some advantages. I have explored the VocApp site and was surprised to find that one of the things it does is explain the unexplainable to students of a language and explain word functions so it is not just for learning vocab lists. It supports an understanding of how languages function. I also liked the notion I would be able to create vocab lists from texts and that my senior students would be able to do that as well. It is something we do on a regular basis using graphic organisers and lists. vocappIt would be a  big step into the 21st century if we could make up our own multimedia flashcards from a text. One of the other advantages is shown in the video. You can make custom vocab lists by using voice recognition software. This is the way forward and I can see that  as having  both classroom and workplace value. There is school support for the app which I shall look into and I downloaded the app onto my iPad but have been using the free materials on my computer as well. You can get the Google Play version from the Play store. The app supports a number of languages and has been successful in its promotion of developing multilingual learners. If you go on YouTube you will see it has some credible endorsements of this aspect of the app.

Curate and aggregate

ZiteYou have choices! You can outsource your curating and aggregation to things like Flipboard and Zite or you can do it yourself with things like Pinterest and Springpad but aggregate and curate you must because we live in a world that is churning through information and where the technology changes are coming rapidly. Building a habit of curating and aggregating information means you always have new ideas and trends coming your way which keep you current. As a classroom teacher you need to stay current. Our technological society is developing at a rapid rate now in the same way we did after the industrial era start up. We just have to keep moving. Resistance is useless because we need to be able to observe and manage the changes. We are teachers. We have sound critical skills and we know how to be discerning and can then influence sound aggregation and curation choices. So, outsource or DIY? I say both. Zite is one of the newest, trendiest aggregators which will bring you news and information from all sorts of interest areas. It is up to you to decide what you are interested in and then Zite will aggregate it for you in a very user friendly way. It is well suited to tablet use but in no way dilutes the content. SpringpadSpringpad is more like Pinterest or Livebinders. You can find things of interest on the web and store them in your note books and share them. Like Zite, it is very tablet friendly. You are working on your own resources but are automatically part of a sharing community. You can follow other people’s notebooks and benefit from their curation. Your research can grow exponentially. As a teacher you are probably familiar with Evernote and if you are not, it is well worth investigating. Evernote is not the same but it does serve the purpose of saving and curating information. it can serve a bigger educational purpose which is explained well here at lifehacker. There are all sorts of curation and aggregation apps to suit your needs but Flipboard, Pinterest, Zite ,Livebinders and now Springpad are the most widely known and used and so will help bring you the most information and choices.

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