Friday, December 13, 2013

The Powerful Computer in Your Pocket: Using Smartphones in the Classroom

Beyond scapegoating the phone
Shara Peters and Jody Passanisi teach in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades at an independent school in the Los Angeles area. They have some interesting things to say about the use of smartphones (call them "pocket PCs"?)

snip..." Once we move beyond this idea of scapegoating the phone and realize that computers and phones can do the same things, then perhaps we can begin to see the applications in the classroom for these powerful computers. Even more, we can begin to reimagine the classroom, taking into consideration all of the things that a smartphone can do for our students' learning."

Read the full article for more.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Imaginative education through coding

Growing computer science education.
(intro video on the home page) is a non-profit foundation dedicated to growing computer science education.
"Tynker (a Silicon Valley start-up) has announced that they have created 8 new interactive tutorials that will be accessible during Computer Science Education Week on "Hour of Code".  Hour of Code will be hosted on and give any student, parent, and teacher an hour to experience the fun and imaginative education program."

This link to the tutorials is here:


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

10 top time-saving tech tips from David Pogue

Be a power user!
David Pogue shares some quick tricks in this amusing TED Talk to streamline your tech life! He writes the tech column for the New York Times every week, and in Scientific American every month. He's the host of "NOVA ScienceNow" and other science shows on PBS, and he's been a correspondent for "CBS Sunday Morning" since 2002.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Here Are Hundreds of Free Textures

Digital Art Resources?
Tom Kuhlmann shares some resource sites he's found.

"Today I am sharing some sites where you can find free textures (and other assets) that can be used for commercial work. Since the licensing terms may change, be sure to read them before using for commercial projects. However, at the time this post was published all of the sites allow free commercial use."


Showbie - The paperless classroom made simple

Hand out and collect with the iPad
In-box and out-box, all on your iPad. This free app has a great set of features that lets you share assignments, give feedback and collect assignments, all from the iPad - no email addresses are needed. Students join a class by simply using a clourse code provided by the teacher. Here's a short video that outlines the features:


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Haiku Deck - some new (and not so new) features

Do you love Haiku Deck but wish you could customize more? Here are some features users wish that Haiku Deck offers, that are already available! (From Nov newsletter)
  • Change the font: Click or tap THEME (top middle), then scroll left or right to explore different options. More: Presentation Templates with Pizzazz.  
  • Change slide order: Just press on a slide for a second, and then drag it to its new spot.  
  • Resize images: In the iPad App image preview screen, just use your fingers to pinch and reposition an image. {Coming soon to Web App!}  
  • Turn off paid images: From the iPad App main screen, tap the Settings gear (bottom right), then adjust the "Show Premium Images?" setting.  
  • Adjust capitalization: From the iPad App main screen, tap the Settings gear (bottom right), then adjust the "Use Auto-Capitalization?" setting.  {Coming soon to Web App!}  
  • Copy and modify a Haiku Deck: From the iPad App Main Screen, press and hold any deck to copy it. {Coming soon to Web App!}
  • Export to PowerPoint or Keynote: Publish your deck using the iPad App, then tap PPT/Keynote. {Coming very soon to Web App!}

Thursday, October 24, 2013

lingro: word lookup made easy

Make any webpage definition-rich
Lingro turns any webpage into a clickable interactive text that supplies you with an instant translation of the word you are struggling with. Rather than translate the entire passage, users can practice reading in their second language with comprehension support only a mouse click away. It even works English to English. For example, an HTML article from EBSCO can be viewed with Lingro to provide a built-in English dictionary!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Museum of Science and Industry - app GoREACT

Make the world your laboratory!
Play with the iOS app, or use the web-based version.

"Experiment with chemistry virtually anywhere with goREACT! In this drag-and-drop laboratory, combine elements from the Periodic Table to create chemical reactions and discover the chemistry in the world around you! With goREACT, you can become a virtual chemist. Whether you're a novice or expert, the free play and guided modes make it fun and fascinating."


McLaren's Workshop App

Spark student creativity - video animation maker
"The McLaren's Workshop app is free to download, and comes with options that allow you to upgrade various features and enrich your animation experience. It lets you make your own films, using 3 animation techniques made famous by McLaren: paper cut-out, etching on film and synthetic sound creation. It also gives you access to 51 films from McLaren's collection, including 11 documentaries about McLaren's techniques. Before getting started, screen one of these docs for your students to help spark their creativity and get them acquainted with the medium."


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rhythm Cat - Learn To Read Music

Make Rhythm and Note reading fun
Rhythm Cat is a fun way to learn to read beats. Tap and hold the green button to copy the note duration. The app adds complexity as you progress. You get rated after each level is complete, and once you master it, you get to move on. (The makers of Rhythm Cat have also produced Treble Cat and Bass Cat: games that help students learn to read notes in both clefs.)


Wednesday, October 16, 2013 Easily Turn Google Spreadsheets into Online Flashcards

Are you a googledocs user? You'll love this!
Yes, you can use Google Docs templates to create your flash cards ( but flippity is so easy, you might want to skip all the templates and give it a try. Clean interface, the ability to put in images, shuffle, randomize - it's all here. Changing a card stack is as simple as republishing your spreadsheet after you make any additions. It even comes with a QR code so kids can access the stack from the projector. Brilliant. Try it.
(Here's a sample.)


Friday, October 11, 2013

Neuratron's NotateMe App For iOS and Android

Convert written music instantly
NotateMe takes hand-written music, made with your finger or a stylus on your device's screen, and instantly changes it into a form than can be printed, edited, or exported to a music notation program.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

YouTube Audio Library - 150 Royalty-Free Tracks

Download and remix!

"YouTube currently offers more than 150,000 audio tracks on its site that video producers can use as background music for their videos. For users who want to do a bit more with their background music, however, YouTube today is expanding this library with a selection of 150 new royalty-free tracks. The music in this new YouTube Audio Library can be downloaded, remixed and used for free forever."


Bring Your Own Device - BYOD - 5 things to know

What can you do to make it work?

"A successful pilot is one that is planned in advanced and communicated with the people that need to be involved to make it happen.  Advance communication with other experienced BYOD teachers in and outside your district and seeing what issues they have run across may save you a lot of time, heartache, and headaches as well...."   

Her five suggestions:
1) Plan in the correct environment - where will you be doing the lesson?
2) Know expectations - What are you expecting out of BYOD?
3) Device agnostic is key for BYOD - any device, no single platform
4) Apps or software are not best for BYOD - think "big idea"
5) Communication is key - who can help you?


Friday, September 27, 2013

A Web Whiteboard for your kids

Tammy's Tips - web-based drawing program.
Sometimes simple tools can be just what you're looking for! Check out Tammy's write-up on AWW, a web-based drawing tool that works for iOS devices too.

This week's tip features a simple, but powerful online drawing tool. It has the three things I love in a web tool: it's free, it doesn't require a login, and it provides a URL. On top of that, it is collaborative - and it works on any online device: a computer or an iPad - even a smart phone!


Using QR Codes to Differentiate Instruction

Different Codes for Different Activities
With more iPads in classrooms now, using QR codes doesn't depend on having enough Smartphones in kids' pockets. Monica Burns points out that QR codes can be a quick and easy way to point kids to a variety of resources without singling them out. Read her post for some good ideas!

"So the next time you want your tech-enabled students to work on a differentiated task, try sending them to the same website with different activities to complete. Another option is to create unique QR codes for different students (maybe with colors or images) that will help separate children into leveled groups without making anyone feel singled out."


Thursday, September 26, 2013

10 Powerful Screencasting Apps For Mobile Devices

Share your learning!
Do you want to take advantage of the "screencasting" potential of mobile devices? Jeff Dunn at Edudemic points his readers to Jonathan Wylie's Learnist board of top scoring screencasting apps.

"Most of these apps are multi-platform and run on both iOS and Android. Be sure to do a bit of research into your chosen app before you continue, of course. Read customer reviews and see what people are saying right now."

Here are the apps mentioned, with short reviews by Jeff Dunn:

Screenchomp: Screenchomp is a fairly basic free screencasting app...
ShowMe: Similar to ScreenChomp but no Dropbox integration.
Educreations: The most popular free screencasting app among teachers.
Doceri: Lots of drawing tools including shapes and arrows. Finished recordings can be shared to YouTube...
Explain Everything: Many tools:  slide sorter view, a laser pointer, a shape tool, and multiple fonts. You can also Import just about anything...
Doodlecast Pro: Some useful extras like a mouse pointer ...
Explain A Website: Annotate and record a screencast of a website...
Teach: Aimed at teachers creating content...
Ask3: Screencast can be automatically pushed out to students...
Stage: Annotate over a live camera image...


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Online activity in 60 seconds -

What does the world do online every minute?
This infographic is a quick snapshot of some of the actions that are typically accomplished in each 60 second period online (in 2013). Such as,  2 million searches, 20 million Flickr photos viewed, 11,000 Pinterest logins....and more. Check out the Infographic for yourself. Might make a good conversation starter with kids.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Some tutorials and ideas for using GarageBand

GarageBand 11 (What's new)

GarageBand for iOS (iPad)

Seven Video Tutorials for GB 09 (some features are different, but the main ideas still hold true)

GearDaddy - great revue of GarageBand 11 (What's new and fun)

GarageBand for iOS (iPad) $4.99


Using iPads to speak

Apps allow non-verbal children to "speak"
"Applications like Touchchat allow non-verbal children, such as those living with Cerebral Palsy or Down Syndrome, to select images, words and phrases with the tap of a finger and "speak" with the help of the device's speakers."

See below for some apps in this category. (The fully featured ones can be quite expensive for an iOS app.)

More suggestions on "Autism Speaks" website


Monday, September 23, 2013

The Human Body by Tinybop iOS - Free app for this week.

The Human Body App

Free app for this week.
Explore a working model of the body. Every part is animated and interactive: the heart beats, guts gurgle, lungs breathe, the skin feels, and eyes see.

  • Six interactive, animated layers of the body teach basic human anatomy through the skeletal, muscular, nervous, circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems
  • Includes a detailed interactive heart, brain, eye, stomach, mouth, and much more.
  • Easily switch between text labels in up to 50 languages
  •  Free downloadable app handbook with tips for interactivity and additional resources
  • Smart device features include: front camera to demonstrate vision, microphone to show how hearing works, photo and music libraries are accessed to demonstrate brain function, device orientation shows the effect of gravity on the body

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Edmodo resources

A Walled Garden

Edmodo, with it's "facebook-like" interface, creates a walled garden for your students to share and learn. Teachers create a space and then give students a code to login. No code - no access. This means your class space is private for your kids. Students can share ideas (to the class or techere - not individual students) and upload assignments for the teacher. The teacher also can organize folders of handouts, resources, links, videos etc. Check out the links and videos below to learn more.

Quick Guides to Edmodo

Edmodo FAQ

45 minute tutorial for teachers

iOS app for Edmodo

Student tutorial

Reflections from a teacher who uses Edmodo


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Customized Google Forms for Your Library

Add your own logo!

I love google forms. I use them all the time to collect data from colleagues, conduct a quick poll, gather book title ideas, and you can even use it as a "quick-as-a-wink" exit slip for kids or conference attendees to report on their learning.

The "Librariansonthefly" blog offers an easy way to customize your Google forms with a local flair.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

30Hands iPad app

Slides into Movies
Today, I learned about great app for turning a slide show into a voiced movie. (Thanks Chris!) This app lets you take pictures from your camera roll (ones you've taken, or ones you've found on-line) and use them to create a video. The app gives you a space to marshal images, where you then record sound effects, music or narration over each slide. The final product can be uploaded to the 30hands server, or saved to the camera and shared however you like. (And it's free!)


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Get your favourite blogs, feeds etc to your emailbox

Easy email subscriptions!
"Blogtrottr delivers updates from all of your favourite news, feeds, and blogs directly to your email inbox, giving you the flexibility to stay updated whilst on the go. You can have your updates singly and as they happen, or wrapped up in a variety of digests. No need to scroll through a long email to find what you're looking for - our digests come with a table of contents.


Monday, June 17, 2013

"Stich" content together

What is is a service that lets you "stich" almost anything together on the Internet. (BTW, stich means "line" in poetry) You can quickly create a slideshow-like experience using Web pages, video, music, photos, documents and more. You provide the links, provides the experience.

There is also a bookmarklet, and the ability to edit headings and annotations for your "stiches".


Monday, June 10, 2013 The easiest way to take notes synchronized with videos!

Watch videos and simultaneously take notes

If you want to take notes while watching a video, Videonotes could be the answer. This free online tool is a google drive app that works on all browsers. Simply launch the webapp by connecting to your google account and your notes are saved on google drive and synchronized with the clip you are watching - genius!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013


"Where the Wonders of Learning Never Cease"

A great source for a current event, or current musing. Visit the site regularly or add a widget to your blog or classpage. (Unfortunately, it's Flash, so iPads won't like it. Waiting for an HTML5 version!)

"Our Wonders of the Day will help you find learning moments in everyday life, ones that fit in with dinner preparations, carpool responsibilities, a stolen moment between breakfast and the bus, or within school curriculum and education programs."

Monday, April 22, 2013

30 seconds of fame -

Record yourself!
Tammy offers some tips on using, a free web-based recording app for the iPad (and Android) that generates a URL for the recording. No login required, but you are limited to 30 seconds per recording. Check out her post for some ideas on how to use it.

The website also allows you to record in your browser, and even add a bookmarklet to your menu bar. (Watch the short how-to video clip)


Friday, April 19, 2013

Multiple URLs in one place

Sometimes,  you want an easy way to share a number of URLs, especially in a classroom setting or pro-d presentation. makes this a snap. You can add a list of URLs, and generate a simple drop-down menu with all your choices presented - and it's all accessible via an easy to share shortcut based on the name.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Explore the game design experience

Gamestar Mechanic

Lots being said about coding and game design as a way to access broader learning outcomes. Take a look at Gamestar Mechanic. Even if it doesn't fit into your course, your students might just love pursuing this on their own.

"Gamestar Mechanic leads users through the game design experience. This site teaches the basics of game design and systems thinking in a highly engaging environment. "


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Timeline JS - Beautifully crafted timelines that are easy, and intuitive to use.

Create interactive timelines
Create attractive interactive timelines to demonstrate learning. Information can be collected from a range of social media sources: Twitter, Flickr, Google Maps, YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, Wikipedia, SoundCloud etc. Organize the data using a google spreadsheet, upload to the Timeline generator, and then embed on your website or blog for sharing.


Clipboard - organize your online life.

Clipboard - save and share anything online.

Explore this "pinterest-like" site for collecting resources you want to remember or share.

"Since the Internet is more than two decades old, doesn't it seem strange that the typical way to save something online is to put it into an email or a document? We think so too, which is why we built an easy and powerful tool to help you. We believe that someday soon everyone will be saving and organizing their online life in a way that is easy, fun and reflective of themselves."


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pic Collage - so many options for picture work

Pic Collage Fun

"Edutech 4 Teachers" featured this great iPad app earlier in the year. Very easy to use, students pull in pictures from their camera roll or the web in order to create attractive photo collages. They can add text, stamps and borders to their pics. Items can be easily resized and moved for best effect. The finished work can be emailed or sent back to the camera roll to be used by another app. One feature I really like is the ability to snap a pic, then "clip" around an object to make my own digital sticker. (see below for a pic with a "stapler" sticker) Once trimmed the object can be copied and repasted to create some interesting presentations.


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Create infographics & online charts

Data is fun again! is an easy to use online service that lets you create, share, discover infographics and online charts.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Paper for the Web - Padlet

Wallwisher gets a rebranding
Wallwisher is a great web 2.0 app that lets you post images, text, videos - all kinds of things - in a collaborative environment. In a recent development, WW is now "padlet", but still offers all the great features you've come to love. (Note: all URLs will redirect to All existing walls and embedded walls will redirect properly, so you don't need to do anything other than getting comfortable with the new URLs :)

"We give you a blank page (a wall). You put anything you want on it, anywhere. Simple, yet powerful!"


"Safer" Images for projects

That's not appropriate!

Did a random image search in the lab surprise your students with an "unusual" pic? Finding the right picture for an assignment can be problematic. Even with safe search on, you can still get a "range" of images that may not be appropriate for kids. Images are hard to filter because they are not necessarily accurately tagged and can show up even in the most kid friendly search results! Here are a few suggestions:

Infotopia Images
Infotopia is a custom google search that should search for "safer" images, but it also offers a number of images sites you can search directly as well - take a look at the ones Infotopia suggests. (the buttons below the search window.)

Advertised as a "safe, free image library for education". You'll find copyright-friendly photos and images for classrooms, multimedia projects, web sites, videos, portfolios, or any other project in an educational setting.

"KidRex is a fun and safe search for kids, by kids! KidRex searches emphasize kid-related webpages from across the entire web and are powered by Google Custom Search™ and use Google SafeSearch™ technology."

Remember: no image search is foolproof. Talk to your students about how to handle an inappropriate image or site.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Host a Website on Google Drive

Need a host in a hurry?

Everyday, I learn about another great thing I can do with the Google suite of apps. Read this post to find out how you can easily host html pages to share with others. (Note: pointing people to your page is a snap with )


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Word Collage app for iPhone/iPad

Stunning word collages on your iOS device

Are you a fan of Wordle? This iOS app lets you create word collages easily, without having to move to a desktop machine.

"Create stunning word collages on your iPhone and iPad! Set up a collage with your text(or website URL), different layouts, fonts, and color themes. Simply start by clicking on the "Text" button. Add some text or input a website url. Select color theme and font in Settings. Select Landscape or Portrait orientation. Word Collage even lets you pan and zoom the picture."


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fast QR code creator

There are many ways to use QR codes in the classroom, especially now that many schools are buying iPads, iPods and the minis. With these camera enabled devices, students can easily scan a QR code that will point them to a worksheet solution, a "how-to" video, a booktrailer for the latest class novel, an online bibliography for a poster project or just about anything you can imagine.

Creating a series of codes, while ordinarily time-consuming, can be done almost instantly using one of Tammy Worcester's google doc templates. Simply add the template to your Google docs/drive files, paste the desired URLs into the first column,  and "voilĂ ", the QR codes appear in the third column ready to be pasted on a document or printed on labels.