4 Important Guides to Help Teachers Effectively Use iPad in Class

August 1, 2015
This is the third post in a series of posts covering some very good guides to help teachers make the best of emerging technologies in education. After writing about technology tips and flipped classroom, this post presents some of our favourite reads for teachers looking for ways to better use iPad in their instruction. We invite you to check them out and as always share with us your feedback. Enjoy.

1- iPads in The Classroom, by Annalisa Kelly

‘This publication is an essential beginner’s reference for teachers at all levels of primary and secondary schooling, inclusive of special needs, regular stream and gifted students, who are intending to use, or are currently using, iPads and other iOS devices (iPods, etc) to augment their lessons. ’

2- iPads for Learning, by Dana Specker Watts

‘This book aims to provide educators with comprehensive information about how to utilize iPads for Learning, focusing on policies, guidelines, and practical information about the integration of iPads. This book is designed around four main themes of technology (Learn, Protect, Balance, Respect) that teachers, students and parents can utilize throughout the school year during a Digital Citizenship Camp or integrated into the everyday curriculum.’

3- iPads in Education, by Brian Plahn

‘This book is an introduction of the basics of the iPad. It covers various gestures and settings for the iPad. This book also goes over some ways that you can use the iPad in the classroom.’

4- The Teacher’s iPadoPedia, by Philip Johnson

‘The largest compilation of uses for iPads in the classroom ever assembled; clearly presented, comprehensively cross-referenced, filled with images and video tours of the apps discussed, and sorted by what teachers actually do each day. Rather than focusing on iPad’s features, this guide answers a more fundamental question for teachers: how can iPad help me do my job? For elementary and secondary school teachers of all subjects, this iPads-in-education guide was created by one of music education’s best known writers and presenters.’

3 Good Interactive Guides to Help You Integrate Technology in Your Teaching

August 1 , 2015
Looking for new ideas and ways to use technology in your instruction? The guides below are definitely worth your consideration. These are free short eBooks available for free download from iTunes store. The books present ideas and examples of the different technologies teachers can use with their students in class. Browse through the collection and get inspired!

1- New Technologies in The Classroom by Jordan A. Lynde

‘This is a short book of three articles I have written on new technologies that can be used in the classroom. Each chapter will include a summary of the article, and then a review or reflection of my thoughts about the idea of using the technology specified in the article. All reflections are just my thoughts and have nothing to do with the company who makes them or the website that I have reviewed. This is just a collection of one future educators thoughts about how the classroom experience could be enhanced with these technologies and maybe give some ideas or insight to other educators.’

2- Using Technologies in Education by Dr. Chris Greer

‘This textbook strives to explore various technologies that are currently used in K-12 and higher education. The chapters in this textbook are rich with photos, video, as well as researched information that pertains to the modern educator. It was created by nine graduate students at Georgia College.’

3- The Innovative Classroom, Using Technology to Inspire Art & Design, by Dawn Kandekore

‘The Innovative Classroom: Using Technology to Inspire Art & Design is aimed at teachers, trainee teachers and home educators worldwide who teach children between the ages of 6 to 12. It presents ideas for using technology to support art and design. You will also find this book useful if you are just looking for new ideas or want to make use of free resources available on the Internet.’

Excellent Story Writing Apps for Students

July 31, 2015
Below is a short collection of some interesting iPad apps students can use to help them with their writing and more specifically, outlining, drafting and writing stories. Some of these apps are featured here for the first time but for more options on digital storytelling apps check out this page.

1- The Brainstormer

‘The Brainstormer is kindling for creative minds. A tactile tool to randomly combine a plot, a subject and a setting or style, the Brainstormer provides a moment of inspiration for writers, painters, or any creative mind. Combat creative block, spark new ideas and summon up quick subjects for doodling, sketching or journaling.’

2- Story Liner

‘Whether you are writing for film, television, the stage, the next great novel or the next non-fiction bestseller, organizing your story is key. Story Liner is an easy-to-use story organization tool that lets you graphically represent your story, add depth and detail, step through the narrative path, and reorganize structure, all with a simple, unobtrusive interface.’

3- StorySkeleton

‘Ideas strike wherever you are. Be prepared with StorySkeleton, the best story-mapping and organizational tool for iPad and iPhone.Create the structure for your project with StorySkeleton's snappy and finger-friendly interface. Export to a variety of useful formats, including native Scrivener and Final Draft documents!’

4- A Novel Idea

‘A Novel Idea is the premier tool for plotting your story and recording bursts of inspiration. Use its simple interface to create your characters, locations, scenes, and novels and then link them together to create your story's plot. Use the Idea feature to quickly jot down your creative sparks and link them to your story elements. Arrange your scenes by dragging and dropping them into place. Add scene goals and objectives for each character.’

5- Character

‘Knowing who your characters are, is the most important part of the writing process. Character is one of the key building blocks used by professional writers to develop the mental and moral qualities distinctive to the individual characters of a compelling story. All for the price of a coffee and a bagel.’

6- Roy’s Story Cubes

‘9 cubes, 54 images, Over 10 million combinations, Unlimited stories! 
Shake to roll the cubes. Can you create a story using all 9 face-up images? Keep all your Rory’s Story Cubes in the one place. The ultimate, mobile storytelling game loved by children, parents on the go, creative writers, progressive teachers and games masters.’

Some Great Educational Resources from Google

July 31, 2015
Google for Education has some excellent resources curated specifically to help teachers make the best of their technology integration in their instruction. We have been sifting through the different materials featured in the Training Centre for Google for Education and came across  these handy guides. These are resources featuring some interesting ideas and innovative ways  educators are using Google products in their classrooms and curriculum. Here are the two resources that stood out to us the most:

1- 40 Ways to use Apps in the Classroom
This is a presentation where you will get to discover some new ways to implement Google Apps in your school.The tools featured here are geared towards helping you increase teacher efficiency, student engagement and school-wide collaboration.

2- Time Saving Tips
This is another excellent presentation from Google for Education featuring a number of tips and ideas on how to make the best of Google tools. The products covered here include: Gmail, Google Drive, Forms, and Sheets.

A Great App for Kids with Reading Difficulties

July 31, 2015
Visual Reading is a great reading app for kids having difficulty reading  just words and also for those suffering from having  autism and dyslexia. As a teacher or parent, you can create storyboards and use your won videos and images to associate with words. Your kid can then read the story either through words or with the help of the visual cues you provided.

Visual Reading offers a variety of features that help parents enhance their kids reading experiences. Some of these features include: assign your own images and videos to words,  a library of over 760 words-to-images to use in your stories,  unlimited user books and Book Pages, record your own audio narrative, listen to your book words using built-in speech, and many more.

‘Created by a parent with an autistic child, the idea of associating images to words was inspired by a bedtime reading session. The child was able to read and understand the story when the parent pointed to various images on the book page, whilst reading and pointing at the words. This helped in making a strong connection between the word and the image.’

Visual Reading is a bit pricy, it costs $16,99.

Watch the video to learn more about Visual Reading

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Excellent Strategy Games to Teach Kids Logical Thinking

July 31, 2015
Strategy games are ideal for helping kids develop logico-mathematical skills that emphasize problem solving and strategic planning. Given the challenging nature of play involved in these games which is based entirely  on the decisions and moves players make, strategy games can also enhance  kids’ autonomous decision making skills and skillful thinking. If you are looking for some good educational strategy games to share with your kids, the resources below are great places to start with:

1- Great Games that Teach Strategy

This list curated by Common Sense Media features some excellent apps and games that can bolster  kids critical thinking and problem solving. All of these games are categorized according to the age group they target.

2- Strategy Games for developing logical thinking

This resource from NRICH features some very good strategy games accompanied  with lessons and tips on how to use them with your kids and students.

3- Strategy Games from Cool Math Games

Here is another great collection of strategy games for students. These strategy games take some serious planning, thinking and figuring.

4- Giftedkids' strategy games list

Gifted Kids has this compilation of great third party strategy games for kids.

5- Strategy Game Apps from App Crawlr

Here is another excellent compilation of some of the popular strategy games out there.

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