Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Thing 23

#23 Evaluation

What I found most helpful in the 23 Mobile Things project was work within the Infographics and Presentation Things. We are moving away from traditional PPT presentation (Yes!) and these Things offered very good presentation options.

I really didn't connect with others during this project; struggled just to get them finished in time.  23 Mobile Things was set aside in favor of other work and activities.  Visiting other blogs didn't fit my time frame.  Maybe this should be one of the Things next time - or a requirement to comment on a few other blogs each time we complete a task.

I would say not much has changed for me as a result of this experience, but that does not mean it was not effective.  I feel in tune to what is happening with mobile activity at a time when in the blink of an eye one can feel behind tech progress.

This learning experience has introduced me to relevant uses for mobile apps and kept me updated in the ever-changing world of mobile technology.  I am more connected to what my students are using and ready to try new technology because of 23 Mobile Things.

Please commit to creating another 23 Things Program!
Thank You!

Thing 22

#22 Discovering Apps

Apps-Gone-Free has been helpful in finding some apps - And They're Free!  Checking the app hasn't become a habit yet so when I do look often times apps I would have liked have expired. Given most apps offered are under $2 I don't feel too bad if I miss one.
 In the best interest of time management I prefer sites that offer vetted apps for education.  Richard Byrne's site has proven a worthy resource.  The apps he evaluates have been used and reviewed.  Byrne also offers suggested uses in the classroom and other apps you might enjoy related to the featured app.

The site offers many options for support from video creation to Google tutorials.  This site is a winner indeed!

Thing 21

#21 Free-For -All

Too Noisy Pro 

I use the Too Noisy app for grades K-6 and all grade levels respond positively to it, i.e., they are controlling their own noise level in the classroom.  I pd. for the app because the "Pro" version has more alarm, timing, and scene options, and the ability to record our own alarm.  
  • I simply set the noise level appropriate to the work in the classroom. 
  • Students earn audible "stars" at intervals set by the teacher.
  • If noise level is too high the glass "breaks" on the screen and one star is lost.
  • Celebration music when specific number of goals are reached.
  • I would project the app but have not yet figured out how to connect my iPad mini to a mounted projection system.  

Pic Collage

Pic Collage offers a quick and easy way to display pics with the option to use fonts, stickers, and frames.  It is user friendly and a great way for kids to quickly compose and present experiences in and out of the classroom.

Thing 20

#20 Games

Games are an area I have explored very little (not an Angry Birds fan - like the "Tetris" style games better) and found some I default to regularly.  Games are a good outlet after a stressful day.  I think there's a place for them - balance...

Here was my progression:

Word Warp
Word Abacus
Candy Crush Saga
Pet Rescue Saga

 My New Favorite:

Farm Heroes Saga

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Thing 19

#19 Hobbies

Discovering new music and searching archives for some of my favorite tunes is my hobby; #2 behind reading. Spotify has been a great resource for supporting my hobby.  I regularly discover new music with their updated selection and easily find songs to create playlists appropriate for the library.  This is my most-used app.

Recently discovered was the Forgotify app - an app created encouraging people to play songs that are on Spotify and have never been played. (Apparently that's 20% of the songs on Spotify!)

Thing 18

#18 Education

I became a bit lost in this Thing - so many apps; so little time!
The 3D-Brain app was easy to use and I see applications for younger and older students.  How interesting for students to manipulate and see the function of each portion of the brain - much better than a textbook indeed.

The artCircles app was categorized well.  I am not an art connoisseur so my judgment might be a bit simple.  I really enjoyed scrolling through the wheel; even view art based on color.  I think art classes would benefit from exploring what this app offers.  I'm going to use it in the library as we study the Caldecott titles.  Even though this is also an app for purchasing art it serves a relevant educational purpose.

The Bill Nye app provides exploration in a variety of topics. I see relevance in using this app with students. There is a great section on optical illusions with the scientific explanation behind each one.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Thing 17

#17 Connecting to Community

I tried the Star Tribune "Going Out" app and might be using it this summer to seek out a few new places.  The categories are clear but a bit difficult to browse.  I think going online without using the app is more efficient.

I have used the MPR app and appreciate streaming it in places where a good radio station is difficult to find.

Finding a relevant app for seeking out a "rails to trails" biking routes was difficult.  The TrailLink app allows one free map and then the purchases begin.  This app is created by the non-profit Rails-To-Trails Conservancy - so the in-app purchases are tax deductible.

Thing 16

# 16 Audio

 A number of our classroom teachers use Audioboo to track student fluency.  The example of students using this app, combined with QR codes, to create quick book reviews is a good one.  I'm going to give this a try with our MHL books next school year.

Voice Record
In search of an app we could use to record some quotes from parents and students at our junior high graduation events, we stumbled upon Voice Record.  It was extremely easy to use and the recorded quality very good.  The length of voice memos is unlimited and memos can be converted and exported to many places: Facebook, SoundCloud, YouTube, etc.  

Thing 15

#15 Infographics

I downloaded the Viz app and struggled a bit with it shutting down numerous times as I progressed through the infographic construction.
Visualize will be a good presentation option for students; helping them move away from the habit of reading from a PowerPoint presentation.
There are many possibilities given the camera access on student devices.  I can picture students using an app like Visualize  after a nature walk - identifying and "counting" what they have seen, or presenting experiment results from a science experiment.

In the end I found this app easy to manipulate but a bit cumbersome - especially when trying to fit text into frames. A sample:

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Thing 14

#14 Videos

Exploring Vine has been entertaining, and I discovered some friends who have been using the app which made it all the more interesting exploring what Vine can do (or what people DO with Vine).
I'll experiment with this a bit more.  I like the archiving feature of the vine shorts.  It is also well-organized into categories.  The DIY section proves to be a bit challenging - explaining much in 6 seconds is a bit tricky; which would be why not much published in that category is DIY!
I won't be using the app in the classroom anytime soon - an educator account would help with content filtering for our young students.

Thing 13

#13 Presentations

I found Haiku Deck  very easy to use and available in iPad and Web formats.
The tutorials on their homepage are helpful and relevant.  We had a group of students in need of an easy way to present an end-of-year project and this Haiku Deck recommendation came at just the right time.
A little experiment with this tool:

MN STATE BOOK AWARD - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thing 12

#12 Books, Books, & More Books

It is nice to have free access to audio recordings.  In this app I appreciate the "Popular Books" tab with illustrated book covers.  The quality of recording varies but what a good resource for students and adults who want free access to the classics.  Something like a portable public library!
The new feature for Modern Books in this app is nice; "...featuring all of the books published after most of that in the public domain." (I didn't find a title in that category yet) The bookmarking and highlighting features are handy and helpful.
I like the many search categories, and the map option is helpful. I see this being a good app for connecting books with teen readers.  This is a well-designed tool.  I'll be spending some time here.

Thing 11

#11 Library & Reference

Our school library does not have a mobile app.  I'm impressed with the apps posted and plan to explore that option with Follett.
We do make use of the ELM site mainly with our JH students when they are researching.
I am curious about the Student Interactives on the site and if many schools are using the tools for online literacy learning.  We find useful tools/curriculum for online literacy with Commonsense Media.
Personally I use Overdrive from our public library on my mobile devices.  It is easy to use and many titles are available in electronic/print and audio formats.  Our school has not yet offered access to electronic books.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Thing 10

#10 Sharing Photos

Instagram and Snapchat are by far the most-used apps for photo-sharing among our middle school students.  
Professionally I can see uses for Instagram - creating hashtags related to reading, specific topics students are studying, etc.  The required age of 13 for account registration restricts the use of these apps in our school setting.  
I'm a bit uncomfortable using Snapchat with eligible students simply because it is difficult to manage - the images/videos disappearing after viewing.

On a personal note, it has been fun using both apps.  It keeps me connected/updated with our children. A picture is certainly worth a thousand words!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Thing 9

#9 Taking and Editing Photos

I never thought I would find use for these photo editing apps but found myself lost in Color Splurge.  It took me awhile to understand the app but once I did...let's just say I sent a few too many pics to my family that day!
The foam-tipped pen I've never use came in handy when making the fine edits.
Students could have some fun and be a bit creative with this app.  A taste of what some graphic designers/photographers do when using their advanced design programs.  
I also enjoyed using the Cam Me app.  Fun to have some selfie options! Very similar to a camera timer.  Interesting how a wave of the hand can activate the camera.  

Thing 8

#8 Social Media Management Tools

Trying some of the other media mgmt. tools in this Thing seemed not a good use of time.  I use Twitter to mainly follow leaders in the field and much less to post personally or professionally.
Our school has a Twitter account and we are beginning to use it a bit more. I do occasionally check TweetDeck - an app that organizes tweets.  The Deck allows a much easier view of Twitter activity for those I'm following.

Thing 7

#7 Content Saving & Sharing

Using Pinterest as a visual bookmarking tool has proven helpful.
(I do cringe a bit when I share "finding something on Pinterest.")
That said, the category organization, visual reminders, and many online opportunities to "pin" a site, make Pinterest an extremely easy and useful tool to organize and follow sites of interest.

Personally it was an extremely awesome tool for organizing a recent large family event. Professionally I have easily organized those sites I wish to regularly visit - many providing timely answers to work related queries.  

Thing 6

#6 Creating and Editing Docs

image by: 

Our school recently added Google Apps for Education and so I naturally explored Quick Office Pro.  (Thank you very much for the iOS tutorial - much easier than trying to follow screenshots.)  I am one to prefer working on my laptop vs. iPad and am not certain I will make good use of this option.  

The Quick Office app is surprisingly easy to sync and edit documents.  One more option to having documents available via mobile devices is a comfortable thing.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Thing 5

#5 Note-taking 

After looking at a number of apps for note-taking I think what I am currently using will do.  
The quick notes I take on the notes app in iOS7, the Reminders app, and my Google account do not seem to conflict and keep me on top of my schedules and lists.
I hear much about Evernote and how teachers are using it with their students, however I feel in sync with what I use now, and switching to another app right now seems like a poor use of my time.
As I continue to listen and read about how others are organizing their lists, calendars, etc., I'll remain open to ditching what I use now and crossing over.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Thing 4

#4 Keeping Up

I created a Flipboard account awhile ago and I use it now more than when it was first created; a bit overwhelming at first.  Keeping updated is time-consuming and Flipboard has evolved to be more intuitive and seems to have staying power.  I appreciate the way the search box is categorized by topic, publishers, etc.  Having the option to quickly share via email, im, Twitter, Google, and FB is convenient.  
My Flipboard has a variety of content updated regularly from TED talks to SLJ to BBC World News.
Having the Twitter feed right there is also helpful.  

Thing 3

#3 Utilities


Our school recently purchased 50 Chromebooks for students to use in our JH.  Chrome is the search engine of choice for most students.  We have both IE and Chrome on our lab terminals and find a number of applications do not open when in IE. Firefox is rarely used but still available as a search engine option (a number of sites we access seem to freeze up in Firefox).  Duck, Duck, Go is another search engine some students use.  It doesn't track you as Google does and has less clutter.

Some teachers in our school are using the QR code creator i-nigma with their students.  It is also free.  Our 1st grade students researched penguins, wrote about their findings, recorded via Audioboo, and then placed the QR code they created below their writing.  The pages were copied and books were then available for students to audibly follow as they read their new books.

This #3 challenge is a good one for me.  It's time to get after using the code reader in the library.  The examples offered are relevant.  I hope to try the Yukon Schools book review project with the Maud Hart Lovelace titles in our library next fall.  

Thing 1

#1 Goals for 23 Mobile Things

After participating in 23 Things on a Stick a few years ago I applied much of what I learned to my personal and professional life.  The opportunity came at a time when I really needed some guidance into the technology available for educational and personal use.  And now a few years later (light-years in technology) I find myself at another crossroads with the explosion of mobile technology.  
My goal is to continue exploring, evaluating, and applying technology guided by this 23 Mobile Things opportunity.

Thing 2

#2 - Mobile Device Tips


Because the mobile devices I use are intuitive and work well I have neglected to dig further into the many options available - beyond what I started using "out of the box."  Being lost a few times on a recent trip I neglected to access the compass app.  The battery-saving tips have been coming my way via others who lament the long battery life of the earlier iOS versions.  The Siri option to correct pronunciations is pretty neat!  I also enjoy the Siri Twitter search option.
This particular Thing has launched me into an iOS tip-sharing frenzy with some friends and relatives.
(They may stop opening my emails...) I look forward to using iCloud more for photo sharing.