APPitic – 1,300+ EDUapps

Via Scoop.itourinspiredclassroom – iPads

a directory of apps by education by Apple Distinguished Educators (ADEs) to help you transform teaching and learning. (apps, education, educacion, primaria, preescolar, educativos.
Via www.appitic.com

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Why your students will ♥ Apple…

Apple make amazing software that allows you to create a plethora of digital content from movies, songs, slideshows, websites, podcasts, digital books with embedded multimedia, you can even make ringtones! All of the software that is needed to create these comes FREE with every Mac. Not only is it free, but it is designed in such a user friendly and intuitive way that nearly anybody can understand. You don’t need a degree in software engineering to figure it out, it’s beautifully designed software that enables you to create the most professional looking products with simplicity. The notion that “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” is a core principal that is at the heart of every Apple product.

Apple in Education
People in schools often say that “I don’t like that we can’t use Apple software on other machines”. Apple make products for their devices and their users. They are one of the only tech companies to design both software and hardware. By creating software to run specifically on their hardware, they can ensure that the software runs perfectly as designed and the user’s experience of the software is a positive one instead of a glitchy, clunky and frustrating experience often caused by cheap and unrealiable hardware.

“Apple products are expensive.” Schools need to consider how much money they waste on paying technicians to fix and maintain “cheaper” computers as well as the thousands spent on software and licensing when thinking about purchasing new technology. Once those hidden costs are calculated and factored into the equation, they then should ask themselves whether Apple products are “too expensive”. This type of thinking worries me as an educator because it is based on false and inaccurate economic rationalisation rather than improvements to educational outcomes.

Rather than asking “what is the initial cost of purchasing this technology?”, schools should ask themselves “what will our students get out of using Apple products?”

Some of the answers they might find are:

Students will use technology that is relevant to their everyday lives (how many students already own iPod touches, iPhones or iPads?)
Students will use technology that is reliable, that hardly ever crashes and is not susceptible to software viruses or glitches.
Students will be able to create digital content of stunning quality right out of the box without needing any other software.
Students will have direct access to 1000’s of free educational resources via the iTunes U store.
Students will be offered the opportunity or hands on learning through the built in features that are not found in other technology.
Students will be engaged by using “cool technology” (97% of students worldwide think Apple products are “cool”. Fact! The remaining 3% don’t know what it is 😉
It’s no coincidence that most schools that have opted to purchase Apple products have then decided to phase out their existing technology.

I hope that this post has raised some important points to consider if your school is looking at purchasing Apple products. Other important things to consider is that Apple has dedicated education staff who are responsible for offering advice and guidance to schools. They are highly knowledgable and in many cases former teachers who have implemented Apple products in school, so you can rest assured that they understand the educational issues that may present themselves. They also have invaluable real life experience when it comes to implementing Apple technology at both classroom and management levels and they are more than happy to visit your school and offer support.

Latest Apple Announcement – iBooks 2, iBook Author and iTunes U app


It’s no secret that Apple have been keen to strike up publishing deals with major textbook companies for the last couple of years now.

Unleashing the power of the iPad on the digital publishing world was always on the cards for Steve Jobs, the News Stand app was the first delivery tool for selling digital magazine subscriptions. As we know, Apple always have a more than a few aces up their sleeves and selling magazines is only the beginning.

Apple held a keynote presentation in New York a few days ago to unveil three new apps that will transform the way students and teachers will utilise textbooks.

The first app is iBooks 2 is a free update for the original iBooks. This update has totally beefed up the original versions features to include a really elegant and simple way to organise and study your notes. The interface looks and feels the same but it’s only when you start to play around with the features that you notice the extraordinary differences between the new and old versions. The beauty of this app is not what it can do but more so the promise of what’s to come. This app has been completely primed to allow for the influx of beautiful, high def, interactive textbooks that publishers are working on right now to offer students.

And it doesn’t stop there. You are now able to make your own ePubs with Apple’s next great app for mac, iBook Author.

iBook Author has the power to completely revolutionalise the way digital publications are made and how they are distributed.  This app is a free download for mac and can be downloaded via the mac app store. The interface is similar to Pages or iWeb, in that you are able to simply import digital content and move and place it to any position on the page, allowing for complete freedom and control of the look and feel of your book. It comes pre loaded with 6 beautiful designed templates that you can totally customise to create your own document. You can import video with a simple drag and drop but the files must be m4v files to suit the ePub standards. I can wait to create and share these documents with my students, more importantly, I can wait to see what they come up with using this awesome technology. I’ll keep you posted.

Finally, the last app that Apple unveiled was the iTunes U free app for iPad and iPhone. This app has been a long time coming and, in my opinion, is totally worth the wait. For years, iTunes U was a completely untapped resources for lots of teachers, particularly K-12 teachers. The content is amazing and produced to a very high quality by some of the leading universities all over the world. It allows students to download resources such as study notes, handouts, reading lists and even download podcast of entire lectures that have been recorded and uploaded by the universities. Previously, you needed to access all of these resources through iTunes on your mac, but not anymore. The new app gives you complete access to all of these resources at the tip of your fingers. It also allows you to subscribe to the RSS feeds, enabling you to auto download new content as soon as it is published. No more can students use the old “I lost the handout” excuse ;-). But this isn’t the best part about the new app. With the new app comes a whole world of new possibilities. Universities are currently offering student with entire online courses for free via the new iTunes U app. Students are able to subscribe to the courses, download the required content and work through the course work. It also allows for simple communication between students and teachers through the “posts” feature. When you open the app, it looks and feels very much like iBooks. The courses are positioned in the a mahogany bookcase and open up like a book binder. The amount of complete online courses are set to increase in the very near future as more and more universities and schools are writing material to share on the iTunes U app. Apple have also announced that the iTunes U store will be open for K-12 schools very soon, allowing teachers to share content with their students using this amazing app. Stay tuned for more details about that.

OnLive Desktop – turn your iPad into a PC :-(


Since the iPad was released in April 2010, there has been an increase in the number of apps available to consumers. There are currently over 500,000 apps, and that number is increasing at a constant rate.

What annoys me as an iPad user are comments like “the iPad won’t open word docs” or “I can’t make a PowerPoint with my iPad” Arghhhh! No you can’t do these two things, that’s correct, but you can create a Keynote that is way better than a lousy and often boring PowerPoint or a Pages document in a matter of minutes. Keynote has a beautifully simple interface on the iPad and the final products are great. I guess the thing that annoys me the most is that people often complain that the iPad won’t work like my PC… My question is “Why would you want it to?” You have a beautifully designed product that allows you to effortlessly connect to the internet, have access to all of your music/videos etc at your finger tips, make quality movies in a matter of minutes with iMovie, play a range of apps with amazing graphics, create stunning visual documents with hundreds of thousands of apps (many of which are free or only cost a few dollars, compared to $15.99 in the Android market) and yet despite being able to do these wonderful things people complain that it won’t behave like a crappy, unreliable, slow and frustrating PC.

Well, not anymore. If you want your iPad to act like a PC, then this is the app that will answer all of your prayers and hopefully stop you from complaining 😉
It’s called OnLive Desktop. The app works by offering users a free 2GB cloud storage for Office documents such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel. The app then pretty much turns the iPad into a PC interface using Windows and allows for full-featured document viewing and editing.

This apps highlights two things for me.
1) The amazing processing power of the iPad to effortlessly turn itself into a PC – how many other tablets can turn themselves into an Apple OSX device? 😉
2) Users simply don’t understand that you can do all of the things you do on your PC with an iPad with Apps like Pages, Keynote and Numbers

This app is not yet available is Australia, you people who are interested will have to wait. While you’re waiting, do yourself a favour. Download either Pages, Keynote or Numbers from the app store and have a little play with them. You will be blown away with the simplicity of the App and how great they are to create amazing looking documents.

Pages on iPad Numbers on iPad Keynote on iPad


Potential SOPA impact on Australia

You may have heard that Wikipedia has shut up shop for the day in protest.

The protest is concerning a bill that is being reviewed by the US congress that has far reaching implications for all internet users. The controversial legislation is aimed at stopping piracy, but it’s ambiguous language and definitions are dangerously broad.

Under the proposed legislation vital websites that we all use on a daily basis like Youtube, Facebook, Twitter etc. are all at risk of having to comply with devastating implications of the legislation or face legal action due to copyright infringements caused by their users.

Australia has recently signed a fair trade agreement with the US that includes the intellectual property and copyright laws of the US. This could mean that the Australian government could be asked to adopt and support this proposed legislation.

The beauty of the internet is that it knows no boundaries and that supports a free and open source of information. All users have the right to freedom of expression and that offers us all with all of the weird and wonderful things that the internet provides.

As educators, we rely on the availability of these rich sources of content in order to make our lessons fun, engaging and relevant. The internet is about freedom of information not censorship. This proposed legislation has overarching ramifications for the global community who all love and use an uncensored and unrestricted  internet.

Please join the biggest international online petition ever and show for concern.

Skype in the classroom

Skype has been around for ages. We have all used it to communicate with friends and families all over the world but few of us teachers have probably used it as a teaching tool. Crazy huh? Well the good people at Skype have come up with a great idea, it’s called Skype in the classroom.

It’s a network of teachers and their students that allows you to meet new people, discover new cultures and connect with classes from around the world, all without leaving the classroom.

You can participate in a vast range of collaborative projects across a number of subject areas, connect with other classes, browse through 1000s of online resources or check out a loads of projects going on around the world.

I’ve signed up and am excited about using Skype in the classroom this year. Look me up if you are interested in working on a small project this year. Stay tuned for further updates regarding our class projects this year.

Mrs Pancake – Classroom Displays

If you are looking for cool classroom displays for your new room, look no further. Mrs Pancake has an amazing collection of Doodads – wonderful educational resources for parents and teachers. These include great looking signs, letter stencils, posters, certificates, displays, symbols and other really useful items to funk up your classroom and getting looking great for your new class.

All of the resources are totally free and can be downloaded in either pdf or word format so you can personalise them before printing – handy ;-).

Mrs Pancake is well organised into subject areas for easy navigation, making it simple to locate all of the cool resources quickly.

The “Make & Do” section provides excellent resources and ideas for craft activities that your students will love.

Check it out

StudyJams

StudyJam is a free site that has plenty of interactive activities for you and your students to explore. I’ve only had a quick look through the Math section and it looks pretty useful. There were some handy little tricks for teaching students about division rules that looked like fun. This website can be used in lots of different ways in and out of your classroom. I’m thinking that I might use parts of this as a tool for our “flipped classroom” activities by providing a starting point for students to gain some basic understanding of topics at home, complete a set activity that I provide for them and then continue that learning in the classroom. Worth a visit in any case.

Make-a-Flake

This is a great little website that allows your students to create snowflakes by cutting out sections of a pre folded piece of paper. It’s fun and super easy to use. The great thing about this website is that the students can then download their snowflake as a jpeg image and keep it. It also lends itself as a great little starter or warm up activity for teaching students about symmetry.

Check it out
http://snowflakes.barkleyus.com/

What Motivates Us

I recently attended a professional learning session where this animation was shown. What resonated with me is the notion that when boundaries and limitations are removed; students/people perform better. That is not to say that I believe giving students, particularly young students, complete freedom without guidance or some structure and expect them all to produce something of substance is a realistic expectation. It is something that has in fact been quite successful if managed sensibly.

Check it out

A colleague attended a conference where a discussion arouse about happy and fulfilled employees perform better others. It’s a pretty simple concept right? Treat people well and respectfully, and they will be happy to work harder. Furthermore, give people the opportunity to express their creativity and you will be very surprised by what they are capable of.

As an educator, I try very hard to ensure that assessment is not something that gets in the way of the creative opportunities that I provide for my students. Instead, it becomes integrated into the tasks and is it becomes a regular and ongoing process. We are blessed to live in an age where technology allows us to easily capture the learning that occurs in our rooms. Students are able to keep detailed logs and journals that reflect their changing understandings.

The RSA Animates youtube page has other great examples of interesting concepts that will spark discussion and get you thinking.

Just some food for thought.