Monday, August 20, 2012

Notability - An App To Take Note Of

Notability is an app that is highly versatile and will work for all kinds of learners. A colleague of mine recently talked to me about how she uses it with her students with special needs. I was impressed.

Imagine an app where you can open up any PDF and write, draw, impose pictures and shapes, highlight text, type and record audio right in it and you have notability. As a teacher, you can send your students via email a PDF article, drawing, mind map , worksheet, quiz, etc. Students open the attachment from their iPad into Notability and can now work with it and when they're done, email it back to their teacher for review or correction. Students who because of motor issues can't key or draw, can record their answers, thoughts, notes etc. right in the app for easy playback. You can also start notes from scratch.

This app is a must have for your iPad or iPhone because it is so easy to use, flexible and practical. Check it out in the app store. Here is a YouTube well as a review of the app in MacWorld Article

Try it out and leave a comment letting us know how you like it and use it with students.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Creative Book Builder App for iPad

I have been taking a lot of time looking at different iPad apps that would be useful for students and teachers.  I just love iPads and the potential they hold for teaching, learning, differentiation, creativity and project based learning opportunities.  One of the biggest pluses to iPads is that they work almost instantaneously while computers take a while to even turn on and because of this class time is not wasted.

The apps that are available for the iPad are also truly amazing and abundant.  Strangely enough, these days a challenge for teachers is finding the right app because there are so many to choose from.  One terrific app is Creative Book Builder. I recently went to a VITA Learn workshop where I learned about this app.  I have been playing around with it and find it has a ton of potential.  What it does is very easily allow the user to build an eBook using text, links, images, video, and audio that can be sent right to iBooks to be viewed.  Since it functions on the iPad, the app is completely integrated so that student created videos and images can be quickly  imported into their book as well as student created music from Garage Band.  This eliminates any issues of copyright!

Teachers can create eBooks for their students complete with all the multimedia information that their students need to be successful.  Students can use the app to create innovative multimedia products demonstrating their learning which can be used as their assessments.  I highly encourage you to check out this amazing app.  It is worth every penny and more at $3.99.

See it in action in this YouTube video.  It isn't in English, but you can clearly see what he is doing and he does a great job demonstrating how the app works. No translations needed.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Finding Your Voice With VoiceThread

I have been using VoiceThread for a long time now and frankly can't believe that I haven't blogged about it before.  If you don't know what a VoiceThread is, then you are in for a pleasant surprise.  A VoiceThread is kind of like a collaborative audio blog type presentation tool that allows you to use pictures, videos, and documents to make your story known.  You can also draw in color on a picture to make your point as your audio plays.

Here is an example of how you could use it in the classroom as an assessment/culminating activity.

You assign your students to groups and allow them to pick a topic to research.  The group researches their topic and begins to shape the material into a presentation.  They use VoiceThread by uploading their pictures and video that they have taken/gathered to accompany scripts that they have written to teach others what they have learned.  They create their VoiceThread and then ask their peers to view and make audio comments/ask questions on the material.  The original student group then addresses the questions by adding more audio to the VoiceThread.  They then make it public to share their learning with the world.  Teachers can also browse content to find information that they may wish to use to illustrate concepts that they are presenting to their class.

This is a wonderful tool that you just have to check out.  There is a free version and a paid version.  Schools can purchase site licenses as well.  However, older students can create their own free account which will work just fine for projects.  Classroom teachers can have a class account to use with their younger students.  Check out this highly collaborative and unique tool by watching the VoiceThread below and by going to the link!

Here is an example of a VoiceThread made by 7th graders on creating safe passwords and you can browse at VoiceThread to find many more examples of student work.