8 of The Best Concept Mapping Apps for Teachers

March 1, 2017
Concept mapping or mind mapping is a visual representation of data in such a way that highlights connections and relationships between elements. Concept maps can be used by students to visualize their thoughts, generate ideas in a brainstorming session, and illustrate concepts. They are also useful for organizing ideas to facilitate recall and enhance comprehension. Needless to mention that concept map apps are also great for taking visual notes and capturing thoughts on the go. The collection below features some of our favourite iPad apps for creating and sharing concept maps. We invite you to check them out and share with us your feedback in our Facebook page.

8 of The Best Concept Mapping Apps for Teachers

1- MindMeister
MindMeister is a collaborative mind mapping app. It lets you create, share and edit mind maps on the go.’Whether you're using it in the boardroom, the classroom, the presentation hall, or the lunch meeting, MindMeister can help you organize, prioritize, and even generate new thoughts.’

2- Popplet
‘Popplet is the simplest tool to capture and organize your ideas. With Popplet you can quick jot down your ideas and sort them visually.’

3- MindGenius
‘MindGenius for iPad is the perfect tool for capturing information on the go. Use it for taking notes in meetings and seminars, creating quick to do lists, and anywhere else you require a fast, intuitive method to collect ideas and information and think things through.’

4- SimpleMind
SimpleMind is another good mind mapping apps for iPad. It provide a number of key features that include: multiple layouts to choose from, unlimited page size and number of elements

5- Inkflow Visual Notebook
‘Inkflow's ink feels like a really smooth fountain pen. Great for expressive writing or sketching. Effortlessly scale or move anything you select. This will change the way you think about ink: Jot down a list of concepts then rearrange them to fit into the bigger picture. literally move your thoughts around the page, and assemble big ideas with your fingers. This works great for brainstorming and planning.’

6- iMindQ
‘iMindQ is a mind mapping app that will help you to inspire creativity, stimulate thinking and brainstorming, provoke innovation, enable visualizing of ideas, manage information overload and present information in a powerful visual format.’

7- Ideament
‘Ideament lets you easily draw a diagram - mind map, concept map, or flow chart - and convert it to a text outline, and vice versa. You can use Ideament for anything, such as brainstorming new ideas, illustrating concepts, making lists and outlines, planning presentations, creating organizational charts, and more! ’

8- MindNode
‘MindNode allows you to brainstorm, organize & share your thoughts in an intuitive way, so you can focus on the idea behind it. The clean interface lets you concentrate on generating and connecting thoughts, and an infinitely expanding canvas means that no matter how big or complicated your project gets, MindNode can keep up.’

8 Tips to Smartly Search Your Google Drive

February 28, 2017
If you are a heavy user of Google Drive, chances are you already have so much of your content stored there. While Google Drive does provide some excellent organizing features that allow you to  sort out and categorize your content into an easily navigable interface , but sometimes the search process can be really overwhelming and this is why knowing how to smartly search your Drive can save you so much time and enable you to quickly locate and access your saved data. The visual we have for you today (for those of you who haven’t seen it yet) features 8 excellent search tips to help you conduct effective searches in your Google Drive. Whether you are looking for documents that contain specific quotes or phrases, documents shared with you or with a particular person,  document under specific titles or type …etc, the tricks below will absolutely help you easily find them. All of the tips are taken from Drive Help where you can access more information and details on everything related to the workings of Google Drive.

You can also download this visual in PDF format from this link.
  8 Tips to Smartly Search Your Google Drive

Another Good Educational Website for Science Teachers

February 28, 2017
Here is another excellent resource for science teachers. Easy Science for Kids is a website that provides a wide range of educational materials to help young learners learn about science in fun and engaging ways. These materials include : free science worksheets,  videos, downloadable science activity sheets, interactive science quizzes, coloring in activities, science experiment tips and ideas and many more.

Content in Easy Science for Kids is arranged into seven categories: Animals, Plants, Human Body, Earth Science, Technology, Biographies and Fun Activities. You can also use the site’s internal search functionality to locate specific content. Students will get to watch videos related to different science topics and work on interactive quizzes to test their comprehension.  The Fun Activities section feature a number of interesting science experiments to assist kids better understand the workings of science in our daily life.

15 Excellent iPad Tips for Teachers

February 28, 2017
iPad is a versatile device that embeds tons of interesting features that are not immediately visible to the lay user. Knowing how to operate these features can make a whole difference in your productivity and transform your iPad use experience. For those of you using iPad in their teaching, the need to delve deeper into iPad's hidden features is even bigger. You can use the same sources we used for writing today's post, Apple's Tips app and iPad User Guide for iOS 10.2, to learn more about your iPad and make the best of it in your instruction.  We have gone through guidelines provided there and came up with the list below. These are useful iPad  tips/features we think you need to know about as a teacher or parent. While most of these tips work on iOS 10 and up some are exclusive to iOS 10.2. Check them out and as always share with us your feedback in out Facebook page.

1- Take a screenshot
Press the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons simultaneously. The picture is saved to Screenshot album in Photos.

2- Remove webpage clutter
Safari allows you to remove clutter in a webpage and leave only text and photos, in the search filed, tap on the button with the four lines.

3- Talk instead of type
To voice write a message click on the mic icon on the keyboard and speak your words (including punctuation) and then tap Done.

4- Have iPad speak to you
To enable iPad to speak selected text or entire screen , go to options in Settings, click on General, then Accessibility, and select Speech.

5- Schedule Do Not Disturb
Do Not Disturb mutes your iPad to incoming calls and alerts (except Alarm) when it is locked. To schedule it ( e.g., for overnight) go to Settings and click on Do Not Disturb.

6- Close all your Safari tabs at once
Touch and hold the ‘Show all tabs’ button in top righthand corner.

7- Open webpages side by side
‘Rotate iPad to landscape, then touch and hold a link and choose Open in Split View. Swap the pages by swiping the tabs.’

8- Magnify the fine print
‘Go to Settings > General > Accessibility and turn on Magnifier. Then triple-click the Home button to use the camera to zoom in on small details.’

9- Save as PDF
To save a webpage as a PDF in Safari, click on ’Share’ button and tap Print. Pinch the first page of the preview, then tap ’Share’ button to save or send the document.

10- Search with iPad
Use iPad Spotlight Search to search for information in your iPad, the Internet, or in other apps. Swipe down from the Home screen to show Search. Tap an item to get more information or tap the search field.

11- Create a personal dictionary
You can create shortcuts to your favourite words or phrases. Go to settings > General > Keyboard and tap Text Replacement.

12- Add keyboards of another languages
Go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard. You can also change the keyboard layout by going to General > Keyboard > Keyboards, select a keyboard and choose a layout.

13- Organize apps into folders
To create a folder, drag one app into another then tap the name of the folder to rename it.

14- Set restrictions
Use restrictions to ‘ prevent the use of certain apps, the installation of new apps, or changes to accounts or the volume limit’. Go to Settings > General > Restrictions, and tap ‘Enable Restrictions’.

15- AssistiveTouch
AssistiveTouch 'allows you to use your iPad if you have difficulty touching the screen or if you require an adaptive accessory.' Go to Settings > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch.

A Great Tool to Find Books At The Right Reading Level for Your Students

February 28, 2017
Scholastic Book Wizard is a great tool you can use with your students to search for and find books based on their reading level. Book Wizard allows you to search for books using :1-) reading level: a reading level can be measured through either  guided reading level, DRA, lexile measure or grade level equivalent. 2-) Genre: you can search for books by genre e.g., fiction, nonfiction, classics, anthologies, adventure, novels, drama…etc. 3-) Subject: you can further filter your search by subject or 4-) by grade, from PreK-K to grades 9-12.

When you locate the book you want, click on its title to access more details about it including things such as : a short synopsis of the book’s main topic, information about the author, reading level, grade level and many more. Watch this video from Amelia Troast to learn more about how to use Scholastic Book Wizard.

There is also a mobile app for Scholastic Book Wizard which comes with an interesting scanning feature. ‘Use the built-in barcode scanner to find book information. Sometimes, when a book has multiple editions with different barcodes, you may not find your book by scanning. Try searching by typing or saying the book’s title. New books and barcodes are being added all the time to make Book Wizard Mobile even more up-to-date.’

Here Is An Excellent Tool for Creating Visually Appealing Presentations, Newsletters and Interactive Reports

February , 2017
After we have seen how to easily create class newspapers and informational flyers using Printing Press tool, we are introducing you to another equally important tool called Microsoft Sway. This is a free digital storytelling tool and mobile app that allows students to create and share visually appealing presentations, newsletters, personal stories and interactive reports. The process is simple and easy: students choose the designs they want to use for their creations, add their own content and when done they share it with others through a generated link.

Whether it is a presentation, newsletter or an interactive report, students can add a wide variety of multimedia materials to their creation including videos, images, text, charts…etc. They can use the site’s internal search functionality to help them locate relevant media content to add to their work. Additionally, ‘Sway’s design engine instantly puts all your content together into a nice, cohesive layout. Choose from multiple designs in the Layout gallery, customize it to add finishing touches, and you’re ready to go’. As for sharing options, with a single click students can generate unique links to share their productions. Anyone with the link can see their creation without having to sign up or download additional software.