Thursday, September 29, 2011

Need Apps?

I love my iPad (and my iPad 2).  I love my iPhone. I love my iPods that I recently received for my classroom. If you haven't figured it out, I love my Apple technology! And my students love it, too.

Perhaps you've been blessed enough to get some cool tech gadgets like these in your classroom, but you're not sure what to do with it. We all have ideas of all the cool things we can do with it, but when it comes time to set up your iTunes account and start loading things onto your iPad or iPod, where do you begin?

I'm hoping to write a few posts with some updates on apps I love and how I use them. Please share with me things you love, too, and I'll add them to the list!

In the picture for this blog post, you will see one of my students using an iPod Touch to play the NY Times Crossword Puzzle. It's tough, but they like to work on this together. It helps them to work collaboratively and work on spelling and vocabulary skills simultaneously. What's not to love? This is a FREE app!

Here are a few other free apps I like:
Cut the Rope (Lite) - this teaches students critical thinking as they have to plan ahead several steps in order to successfully get all 3 stars and feed the candy to the monster. You could also purchase the full version for $0.99.

BrainPop - this has several videos to choose from. If you are familiar with BrainPop, you know how informative these short animated videos can be! Students can even take the quizzes after watching. They can keep track of high scores and try to beat the scores of other students or beat their own scores. It does not have the full repertoire of videos available on the website; it has 3 for math, 3 for science, 3 for language, 3 for arts, etc. It's a great app to have!

Google Earth - this is just super cool. Get it. That's all I have to say. I know that there are TONS of ways to use Google Earth in the classroom, but I can't even begin to share them because I know that I haven't explored its full array of offerings. But let your kids get on it and play. They'll learn more than you could anyway. :)

Dragon Dictation - this allows your kids to record their voices, and it will dictate what they have said. It's not 100% error free, but it's pretty close. Kids like to record and listen to themselves, plus it's great for kids who have super ideas but, for various reasons, have difficulty writing or typing.

That's all for now - but I hope to be adding more posts soon with lots of other free or cheap apps!