10 Excellent Google Drive Apps Teachers Should Try This School Year

August 28, 2015
Here is another back-to-school goodie for teachers. This is basically a selection of some of the best educational Google Drive apps to use in your instruction. As is the case with Mac, Chromebook, and Chrome lists, all of these apps have been covered in separate review posts in the past and are also deemed to be among the most popular among teachers and educators based on the feedback we received following their publication.

"This extension allow you to save web content directly to Google Drive through a browser action or context menu. You can save documents, images, and HTML5 audio and video all by right clicking and selecting 'Save to Google Drive'. You can save the currently viewed page using the 'Save to Google Drive' browser action."

MindMeister is a very good tool students can use to create mindmaps and brainstorm complex topics.  Mind maps can include a wide variety of multimedia including: text, images, icons, links, and attachments. It also supports offline editing and syncing.  Mind maps can be exported to Word, PowerPoint, PDF, and in the form of an image.

3- GeoGebra

GeoGebra (www.geogebra.org) is free dynamic mathematics software for all levels of education that brings together geometry, algebra, spreadsheets, graphing, statistics and calculus in one easy-to-use package. Interactive learning, teaching and evaluation resources created with GeoGebra can be shared and used by everyone at tube.geogebra.org.

4- DocHub

DocHub is anther excellent Google Drive tool for filling, editing, and signing PDFs. Compared with similar tools out there in Chrome web store, DocHub is way easier and simpler to handle. You can use it for a variety of purposes including: signing PDFs, highlighting text, inserting images, commenting and adding pages to PDFs and many more.

5- WeVideo

WeVideo is good app to use for editing videos. With WeVideo you can import media files you have stored on Drive, Dropbox and edit them the way you want. You can trim clips, split long clips into smaller ones, insert text for titles and captions in different languages, record voice-overs, add professional themes to your videos, add music, transitions and many more.

6- Pixlr Express

“Pixlr Express is a fun and powerful photo editor that lets you quickly crop, resize, and fine-tune any picture, all in a completely ad-free experience. Choose from over 2 million combinations of free effects, overlays, and borders to further personalize your images. Pixlr Express makes you look like a pro, even if you’ve never edited a photo before. ”

7- PowToon

“Powtoon is a video animation software and a presentation animation software.  You can easily create a simple animated video and then convert it into an animated presentation!”

8- RealtimeBoard: Whiteboard for Collaboration

“RealtimeBoard is your online whiteboard for visual team collaboration. Add pictures, mockups, drawings, videos, sticky notes, office documents and Google Drive files on an endless canvas, discuss it with your colleagues, and enjoy the smoothest real time visual collaboration without emails.”

 9- Drive Template Gallery

You can use the Google Drive Template Gallery to create your document, spreadsheet, presentation, or form. Whether you need a resume and cover letter, an invoice, a birthday card, or any of a wide variety of templates, our gallery can help you get your doc started. After connecting this app to Google Drive you will be able to access the Google Apps Template Gallery directly from the "Create" menu inside Google Drive.

Lucidchart is an HTML5-based visual collaboration tool that makes drawing diagrams fast and easy. Work together with an unlimited number of others to create and edit diagrams in real time, with changes merged and synced instantaneously -- great for team collaboration.

Zondle- Another Great Platform to Help you Integrate Game-based Learning Approach in Your Teaching

August 28, 2015
Zondle is another great web tool and mobile app to use in a game-based learning approach. Zondle allows you to create, play and share educational games to support teaching, learning and assessment. Zondle works with different age groups and is available in many languages. As a teacher you can create a topic (sets of questions) to meet the learning needs of your students. There are over 20 different types of questions you can use and you can even include images, audio and video to support your teaching. Some of the things Zondle offers to teachers include:

Zondle Team Play
‘zondle Team Play sessions alternate between the teacher using PowerPoint-style teaching materials to introduce new concepts, and the students playing game rounds that enhance their understanding of those concepts. The game rounds exploit the neuroscientific principle of ‘uncertain rewards’.

‘In zondle, the same topics (sets of questions) can be set as formative assessment (for students to play in games, to consolidate their learning) and as summative assessment (in a plain question interface, to measure exactly what your students know). Assess exactly what you want to assess, view results for individual students or whole classes, and output results (to Excel and other systems) - all without any marking!’

Behaviour Rewards
‘With zondle, you can easily reward good classroom behavior (even when students are not playing zondle games)!Rewarding good behavior helps promote a positive learning environment, can help focus students on their learning, and can add some extra fun to the classroom!’

‘Monitoring student achievements and progress is easy with the zondle Gradebook.
In one powerful tool, you can see what topics (sets of questions) that you’ve set, who has played those topics and when, what they achieved and what their progress has been over time (all without any marking!).’

Check out Zondle website for more features. Zondle is also available for iOS. While Zondle is free, there is however, an updated notice in the site announcing that the folks in Zondle are considering turning their platform into a low-priced subscription service at some point.

2 Wonderful Apps to Turn Your iPad into A Second Monitor

August 28, 2015
For those of you asking about apps to turn your iPad into a second screen monitor, the best app we would recommend here is Duet Display ($18,99). Duet works seamlessly with zero lag and offers a wide variety of powerful features that include Retina display resolution with 60 frames per second, touch-enabled screen, works in different modes ( landscape or portrait) and many more. Also the process of setting up Duet Display is very simple, you simply install the app and connect you iPad to your Mac or PC using a USB cable (Lightning or 30-pin cable) and there you go.  Duet is compatible with all desktops ( OS X10.0+ or Windows 7+), all iPads running iOS 7.0 or up and all iPhones with iOS 7.0 or up. Watch the video below to learn more about Duet Display.

Air Display 3 ($16,99) is another good app to use to convert your iPad into a second monitor. Unlike the previous versions of Air Display that supported only Wi-Fi connection and causing a lot of lagging, This new version supports both USB and Wi-Fi and so far the use of USB cable proves to be a huge improvement. Air Display 3 is available for both iOS and Android. Watch the video below to learn more about this app.

New App Turns Your iPad into A Second Display for Your Mac
The Best Second Screen App for iPad

A Good Google Drive Tool for Real-time Collaborative Diagramming

August 27, 2015
Cacoo is a web application that allows you to create and collaborate on diagrams. It offers some powerful drawing tools to use for drawing all kinds of diagrams including site maps, wire frames, flowcharts, network charts and many more. The great thing about Cacoo is that it supports real-time collaboration allowing you to work on the same diagram with various collaborators simultaneously. Multiple collaborators can edit a diagram in  real-time. There is also a chat functionality integrated into Cacoo editor that enables users to get direct feedback from their team.

Creating diagrams in Cacoo is only a matter of drag and drop from the stencil panel to the canvas. You can also use flexible connectors to connect objects together to create  mind maps and flowcharts. Once your diagrams are ready, you can choose from the various sharing options: use an HTML code to embed your diagram in a blog or a website or export your diagram in various vector forms such as PNG, SVG, PDF or as presentation slides.

Cacoo is also integrated with Google Drive meaning that you can design and save your diagrams right into your Drive and access them across different devices. ‘You can use Cacoo with no charge in the Free Plan. For $4.95 a month, you get additional functionality that makes Cacoo more useful.’

Watch the video below to learn more about Cacoo

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7 Excellent iPad Apps to Teach Students Coding and Programming

August, 2015
Coding is one of the most demanded skills in the 21st century learning. There is a growing need for teaching students the fundamentals of coding and computer programming not only because these are the skills needed for the future job market but also because coding allows learners to better understand their digitally focused life and therefore enhance their interaction with digital media. 

We have already featured a plethora of interesting resources, apps, and tools that teachers and parents can draw on to introduce coding to their kids. However, today and as part of the back-to-school goodies we have been sharing here during this week, we are sharing with you this list comprising some of the best iPad apps to use with students to introduce and teach them about coding and programming. 

1- Daisy The Dinosaur

Learn the basics of computer programming with Daisy the Dinosaur! This free, fun app has an easy drag and drop interface that kids of all ages can use to animate Daisy to dance across the screen. Kids will intuitively grasp the basics of objects, sequencing, loops and events by solving this app's challenges. After playing Daisy, kids can choose to download a kit to program their own computer game.

2- Hopscotch

Hopscotch teaches kids to code using simple, intuitive building blocks. Kids can create games, animations and other programs in this colorful, interactive environment. Program your characters to move, draw, and collide with each other, and use shaking, tilting, or even shouting at the iPad to control them. Hopscotch was inspired by MIT’s Scratch and gives kids a creative way to learn the fundamentals of computer programming.

'The new Bee-Bot App from TTS Group has been developed based on our well-loved, award-winning Bee-Bot floor robot. The app makes use of Bee-Bot's keypad functionality and enables children to improve their skills in directional language and programming through sequences of forwards, backwards, left and right 90 degree turns.'

4- Cargo-Bot

Cargo-Bot is a puzzle game where you teach a robot how to move crates. Some of the features that Cargo-Bot:
  • Beautiful retina graphics
  • Fiendish puzzles
  • A game about programming, programmed entirely on iPad
  • Record your solutions and share them on YouTube
  •  Learn more about how it was made by searching for Codea on the App Store

'Move The Turtle is an educational application for iPhone and iPad that teaches children the basics of creating computer programs, using intuitive graphic commands.  Do you remember the Logo programming language? A friendly Turtle will introduce your child step by step to the basic concepts of programming in a colourful graphic environment. Who knows, maybe your child will be the next outstanding programmer!'

6- Tynker

Solve fun puzzles and learn to code. Simply drag & drop visual code blocks and program your characters to beat the level. The first adventure includes 20 puzzles that are free to play. Additional adventures and puzzle levels are available as in-app purchases.

7- CoderDojo

CoderDojo is a free coding club where kids around the world learn how to express themselves with digital tools, make cool stuff and have fun. The CoderDojo app is a handy way to get the latest news, tweets, images and coding resources from CoderDojos, and also lets you locate the nearest CoderDojo.

A Collection of The Best Mac Apps for Teachers

August 26, 2015
For those of you using or planning to use Macs in their instruction, the apps below are absolutely worth considering. These are apps we have covered in separate posts in the past. We aggregated them under different rubrics below so you can find it easy to browse through and find the ones you want to use with your students.

1- Mac Apps for Math Teachers

2- Mac Apps for Creating and Editing Videos

3- Mac Apps for Note Taking

4- Mac Apps to Enhance Your Writing

5- Mac Apps for Creating Educational Screencasts

6- Mac Apps for learning a new language

7- Mac Apps for Teaching Kids Typing