Top 5 Android Apps for Teaching Kids Coding Skills

May 27, 2015
This post is a response to the repeated requests we keep receiving from teachers asking for suggestions on the best Android coding apps out there. Admittedly, the iOS app store has a richer and more diversified variety of good coding apps that are not available in Google Play app store (e.g Hopscotch, Code Academy, Daisy the Dinosaur to mention a few). However, the list below embeds some really great alternatives to use on Android. Using these apps students and kids will get to learn coding skills while engaging in funny and enjoyable games and activities.

1- Tynker- Learn to Code

“Learn to program with puzzles and easily build your own games. No internet connectivity required. Start by solving coding puzzles. Additional puzzle levels available as in-app purchases. Easily build games using Tynker Workshop, with themed graphics, 10 game-kits and 10 animated characters to inspire imaginative games and stories. Plus, new classroom management features for teachers via”

2- Ligthbot- One Hour Coding

“Get kids hooked on coding within minutes! Lightbot is a programming puzzle game, meaning that its game mechanics require the use of programming logic to solve levels. By simply guiding a robot to light up tiles to solve levels, players cultivate a real understanding of procedures, loops, and conditionals; core concepts to Computer Science. Perfect for guys and girls alike: you can play as Boybot or Girlbot!”

3- Run Marco

“Kids play an epic adventure game and have fun while learning to code i.e. program computers. They use visual instructions to guide Marco through a series of levels as he tries to discover himself. In this journey kids will learn how to think as a professional developer one step at a time!”

4- Hakitzu Elite

“Become the ultimate code warrior and hack your friends with Hakitzu Elite from Kuato Studios. An epic, robot combat game, where you learn the basics of coding while battling customizable robots in both multiplayer and singleplayer missions. Victory is in the code!”

5- TinyTap

“TinyTap is an excellent app that allows kids and students to easily create fun educational games and share them with others. TinyTap provides a great way for kids to develop their creative thinking and problem solving skills while engaging in creating and playing interactive games.”

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Some Great Tools for Transcribing Audio and Videon Content

May 27, 2015
Transcription softwares can be costly and hard to operate. This is particularly the case with those pro tools employed to transcribe lengthy audio and video recordings. Researchers use them to transcribe their data into textual input for analytical purposes. Examples of such tools are provided in at the end of this post.

For teachers and educators looking for simple and easy to use transcription tools, we would suggest the following: automated speech to text apps or audio players designed for transcription works.

1- Automated Speech to Text apps

Some of the best speech to text Chrome apps for automated speech to text transcription include:

The app is integrated with Dropbox and Google Drive so you can easily export you transcribed text to your various online accounts. Or your can send the text to any email address. Dictation uses Chrome's Local Storage to save the transcriptions and thus you'll never lose your work. There's no need for the Save button
B-  Dictanote

Dictanote provides you with a advanced rich text editor with an inbuilt multi-language speech recogniser. The latest version of Dictanote features QuickType, a faster than ever speech recognition engine using which you can actually write faster than normal typing.

Check out this post for more speech to text tools.

2- Audio Payers designed for transcription work

A- Transcribe

“Transcribe makes transcription of audio clips/recordings a breeze. If you have been struggling by switching back and forth between your audio player and word processor - Transcribe will make life much simpler for you!”

B- Google Voice

Google Voice is another good option to try. It can help you transcribe your voice memos as long as they are short and clearly articulated.

C- oTranscribe

This is a free web app to take the pain out of transcribing recorded interviews.Some of the features it provides include: Pause, rewind and fast-forward without taking your hands off the keyboard; Interactive timestamps to navigate through your transcript with;Export to Markdown, plain text and Google Docs…

Advanced tools include:

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TinyTap- A Great App for Creating Educational Games on Android

May 27, 2015
TinyTap is an excellent app that allows kids and students to easily create fun educational games and share them with others. TinyTap provides a great way for kids to develop their creative thinking and problem solving skills while engaging in creating and playing interactive games. While TinyTap for iPad has been around for sometime now, The Android app has been recently added to Google Play store.

Some of the features TinyTap provides for users include:

  • Graphics are enhanced to suit new iPad retina display
  • Option to add own images, use iPad-shot pictures or use images from a web search
  • Record your own voice over photos so your little ones can always hear a familiar voice
  • Record a question, an answer and a hint for a rich, interactive user experience
  • Personalize games with a selection of 20 different soundtracks
  • Track a child’s progress using the in-game scoring system
  •  Intuitively simple interface – easy for any to create and play games
  • Easy to share newly created games with friends and family
  •  Personalize pre-made games from the TinyTap store with narration and images

Watch the video below to learn more about TinyTap

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Some Very Good iPad Apps for Fighting Writer's Block

May 26, 2015
Writer's block is  a crippling condition in which one's creative process slows down to the minimum. It's a symptom of 'creativity blockage' which hits writers. People differ in how they deal with their writer's block but one effective way we have at our hands is the use of technology. There are several iPad apps that can provide writers with all kinds of prompts and incentives to write creatively.  Below is a sample of some of the best iPad apps to help you with writer's block. We invite you to check them out and share with us if you have other suggestions:

1- Write about This

Write About This is a visual writing prompt & creation platform perfect for classrooms and families! With endless ways to respond and the ability to craft custom photo prompts, it will kick-start any writing activity. Free version provides more than 50 levelled text & voice prompts and the ability to try the custom prompt creation and digital publishing tools!
2- Prompts

"Get more than 1,000 starting lines and creative writing prompts to inspire you and give you ideas for improving your creative writing. Great for students, amateur writers, or professionals who want to free write often."
3- 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."
4-  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.

CamScanner- A Great App for Scannig, Editing and Sharing Docs

May 26, 2015
CamScanner is an excellent document scanning and sharing app. It allows you to instantly scan any type of text or graphic and save or share them with others. Using your phone or tablet camera, you can  take a photo and CamScanner will automatically enhance the scanned results so you can easily email, print, fax  or share them in PDF or PNG format.

Using the integrated OCR feature, CamScanner allows you to scan an image or PDF making all the text captured editable and searchable. You can use text and OCR to quickly find the document that you want. You can also invite colleagues and friends  to view or provide feedback and comments on your scanned docs in a group.

Other features provided by CamScanner include:

  • Smart cropping and auto enhancing make the texts and graphics look clear and sharp.
  • By entering any keyword, you’ll see a list of docs with the word in their titles, notes or images.
  • Extracts texts inside single page for further editing or .txt sharing.
  • Easily share docs in PDF or JPEG format with others via social media, email attachment or sending the doc link.
  • Instantly print out docs in CamScanner with nearby printer; directly fax docs to over 30 countries right from the app.
  • Making annotations or adding customized watermark on docs are made available for you.
  • Set passcode for viewing important docs; meanwhile, when sending doc link, you can set password to protect it.

CamScanner is available for both Android and iOS devices. CamScanner provides a free basic account with very limited features. Premium accounts ($4,99/month, $49,99/year) has more advanced features. Watch the video below to learn more about CamScanner

A Comprehensive Guide of Everything Teachers Need to Know about Google Classroom

May 26, 2015
Since its release awhile ago, Google Classroom has been such a hit in the EdTech world with millions of teachers already incorporating it in their daily instruction.With this widespread use of Google Classroom, Google rolled out a host of important updates to improve the functionality of Classroom and  to respond to the emerging needs of educators. All of these updates are included in this post.

Today’s post is intended to help teachers and educators make the best of Google Classroom by providing them with access to some very useful resources, materials and tips on the use of Classroom in education. All of these resources are created and provided by Classroom Help Center.

1- What is Google Classroom?
“Classroom is designed to help teachers create and collect assignments paperlessly, including time-saving features like the ability to automatically make a copy of a Google document for each student. It also creates Drive folders for each assignment and for each student to help keep everyone organized. Students can keep track of what’s due on the Assignments page and begin working with just a click. Teachers can quickly see who has or hasn't completed the work, and provide direct, real-time feedback and grades right in Classroom.”

2- How does Google Classroom Work?
Check out this step by step guide to learn more about how Classroom works.

3- Understanding the assignment flow
Check out this page to learn more about how you can create and collect assignments paperlessly on Google Classroom.

1- Getting Started
2- Creating and Managing Classes
3- Creating and Grading Assignments
4- Communicating with your Students

1- Managing Classes
2- Managing Assignments
3- Connecting with Your Classmates
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