Friday, October 31, 2014

Awesome iPad App: Snapguide

Snapguide is a free iOS app that students and teachers can use to create and share step-by-step “how to guides” using photos, videos, and text. Once the guide is created they are posted on the Snapguide website, and can be embedded on class websites or easily shared with a link. Viewers are able to leave comments on each individual page or on the guides in general.

Although Snapguide is primarily used from an iPad, students can also use the website to create guides. There is no Android or Windows version yet. The app is available for free from the App Store.

You will need to use an email to create an account. If your students are too young to have an email address, consider creating a class account.

Check out this simple Snapguide I created in just a few minutes.
Snapguides can be created either on either iPads or on the web. The process is the same either way. Don’t worry about finishing your guide in one sitting. Your guide will automatically saved as a draft until you publish it.

  1. Tap the navigation bar and select the orange Create a Guide button at the bottom.
  2. Add your title and tap the Next button.

This is the main screen where you will create your guide.

  1. Tap the Cover card and add a summary. You can also choose a cover photo.
  2. Tap the Supplies card and enter any supplies needed.
  3. Tap the Add Step button and select your option.
  4. When you select Photo you can take a picture of each step of your project in one sitting. Snapguide will automatically create a card for each step. You can the rearrange the cards, tap to add text, or continue to add more steps. The picture for the title card will automatically be added from the last picture you take of the project.
  5. Tap each card to add text or rearrange them into the order you want. You can even insert text only cards. 
  6. Tap the Choose a Topic button to select at topic. 
  7. When your guide is all done tap the Next button, then Publish.

Integration Ideas

  • Students can document the steps they used to solve a math task.
  • Students can learn about, and share their learning about, procedural writing.
  • Students can create a gallery of their art work.
  • Students can create a digital poetry book.
  • Students can describe the life cycle of a butterfly.
  • P.E. teachers can introduce new skills.
  • Math teachers can show how to solve certain prolems.
  • Science teachers can use guides to prepare students for labs.
Download the Tech Integration Challenge for Snapguide and see if you are up to the challenge!

Read More »

Monday, October 20, 2014

Edmodo Part 10: Go Mobile!

This post is the next in a series of posts to help schools and teachers that I work with get started with Edmodo.

Did you know you can access your Edmodo account from any mobile device? Edmodo's mobile app is a great way to stay on top all your Edmodo work while on the go. They have a version for iOS, Android, and Windows 8. This is great for 1:1 iPad classrooms or shared device environments.

Although the layout is optimized for touch screens, you can still perform all of your important Edmodo tasks right on the device. Teachers can:

  • Create and join Groups
  • Post to Groups
  • Check Notifications
  • Access Libraries
  • Track Progress
  • Set Alerts
  • Create Polls
Students will be able to perform most tasks as well. They can:
  • Post to groups
  • Turn in assignments
  • Take quizzes
  • Take Snapshots
  • Take polls
There are a few limitations for both teachers and students. For example, I could not edit my profile and you cannot award badges through the mobile app. I'm sure more features will be added during future updates.

You can find more detailed instructions about the mobile app in the Edmodo help files.

Read More »

Saturday, October 18, 2014

iPad apps

In a previous post, I wrote about a few creativity apps that should be included on iPads for student use. During the last few weeks I've helped several schools prepare their iPads for the new school year. I thought it was time to revisit this list and add a few more apps. My criteria when choosing apps are that they allow for creativity and can be used across subjects and grade levels.

Most of the apps are free, but some are paid apps. Schools many times forget to set aside funds to purchase apps. Sure, there are a lot of great and useful free apps, but schools need to be willing to pay developers for their time and effort when they create useful apps. Apple's Volume Purchasing Program lets schools get multiple copies at a discounted rate. 

Here is my list of go to apps, in no particular order.

Edmodo - our district uses the Edmodo platform extensively. Edmodo should be installed everywhere so students can make posts and complete assignments and quizzes.

Kidblog - if your students are into blogging at all (and they should be!) then Kidblog is an excellent platform. The iPad app makes it easy to post and comment on classroom blogs.

Explain Everything - this is a paid app, but well worth the money. It is a screencasting and interactive whiteboard app that lets students narrate, annotate, and share their learning. Educreations still remains a good choice if your looking for a free app.

Popplet Lite - this is a great brainstorming app for students. Students can create a mind map using text, pictures, and video. The lite version only allows one popplet, but the paid version allows unlimited popplets plus online sharing.

Trading Cards - students can create virtual trading cards on any subject: people, places, objects, events, and vocabulary words.

Dropbox/Google Drive - these are essential for sharing student work. Secondary students can use their own accounts while elementary classrooms can set up a classroom account.
Goodreads/Biblionasium - Goodreads requires an email address and is more suited for secondary schools. Biblionasium can be used at any grade level, but has a more primary (and limited) look at feel, so it's great for elementary schools. Both are excellent tools for students to share books they are reading, write reviews, and discover new books.

Snapguide - with this app students can easily create how to guides on a variety of interests and subjects (document the steps to solve a math task).

Haiku Deck - this is my favorite alternative to PowerPoints. Students can create visually rich presentations with a limited amount of text. Because of the text limits it forces students to really know their material when presenting.

Prezi - this is another good alternative to PowerPoints. Using the iPad app students can create, edit, and share presentations they've started from the website.

Qrafter - if you use QR codes in your classroom you need a really good QR reader on your devices!

audioBoom - give your students a voice - they have a lot to say! This app is an easy way for students to share their thoughts and express themselves. There are a ton of ways to use this app in the classroom.

Pic Collage - unleash student creativity with photos, stickers, frames, text, backgrounds, and free form cutouts. Students can easily document learning with this engaging tool. There are hundreds of ideas on the internet for using Pic Collage in the classroom

Skitch - This drawing app allows you to take a photo or screenshot and draw directly on it. Students can use arrows, shapes, and text annotations to demonstrate learning or to enhance an assignment. 

Tellagami - students combine voice, photos, character customization, and a little bit of their personality to communicate in a way that's never been possible. A paid Edu version lets you use it in your classroom without in-app purchases.

iMovie - if a picture is worth a thousand words, then what is a video worth? iMovie is free for iPads purchased after Sept. 2013, but it's still worth the price for existing users. Video is a very powerful medium for students and iMovie makes it easy to use!

Page/Numbers/Keynote - Apple's word process, spreadsheet, and presentation apps are a must. They are easy to use, intuitive, and easy to integrate in any classroom. They are also free for iPads purchased after Sept. 2013.

I'm always eager to hear about other apps that let students unleash their inner creativity and can be used in almost any curriculum. If you know of another great app, let me know in the comments!

Read More »

Monday, October 13, 2014

Edmodo Part 9: Scheduling Posts

This post is the next in a series of posts to help schools and teachers that I work with get started with Edmodo.

With all the work that teachers have to do, wouldn't it be nice to have your Edmodo posts all planned out and ready to go? If you post that quiz too early, students might take it before they (or you) are ready! The ability to schedule posts can really help you become organized and stay on top of things. Here's a quick video explaining how it's done. 

Any kind of post can be scheduled: notes, assignments, quizzes, and polls.

  1. Click the Schedule icon.
  2. Select the day and time that you want the Post to be sent and click OK.
  3. Click Send.
You can find more detailed instructions on Scheduling Posts in the Edmodo help files.

Read More »

Monday, October 6, 2014

Edmodo Part 8: Parent Accounts

This post is the next in a series of posts to help schools and teachers that I work with get started with Edmodo.

Parent accounts on Edmodo are a great way to communicate with parents and offer a level of transparency for your class. There are two ways parent accounts can be useful for your class.

First, with their Edmodo account parents can see what assignments and grades their child has. This enables them to stay on top of their child's work and be actively engaged in their education. Parents can only see their child's work and cannot see posts in the main Edmodo message stream for your groups. This ensure a level of security and privacy since there is no way for an Edmodo parent to interact with another child other than their own.

Second, teachers can send messages to parents by posting Notes to the Parent's Group. Instead of typing up and printing out a weekly newsletter describing classroom events and activities, teachers can simply post this same information to the Parent Group.

This 3 minute video describes what Edmodo looks like from a parent account.

Parent accounts are easy to set up. Here is a sample letter you can send home to parents describing Edmodo and how it will be used in the classroom. The second page has directions parents will follow to create their account. Since each parent account is tied to their child's account, they will need to enter a unique code. To get that code, follow these directions.

  1. Open your class group and click on the Members tab.
  2. Click Member Options near the top of the page.
  3. Click Print.
  4. Select Parent Code and click Generate Page.

After printing the codes you can hand write them on the handout above prior to distributing to parents.

Just like with your student groups, you can send Notes with or without links and attachments, and even schedule them. To send to the parent group, start typing the name of your student group and you'll see group_name (parents) in the list.

How do you know which parents have created their account? Go to your group page and click the Members tab. Each student who has a parent with an account will have a little "Parent" icon next to their name.

You can find more detailed instructions on Parent Accounts in the Edmodo help files.

Read More »