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Sunday, December 21, 2014

5 Free iPad Apps for Drawing and Sketching Notes

Parts of this post originally appeared on one of my other blogs, iPadApps4School.com

Sometimes when students are taking notes, words don't do enough to fully capture an idea. In those cases, being able to quickly sketch an idea will enhance students' notes. Sketching notes on an iPad enables students to edit and share sketched notes more quickly and easily than ever before. Here is a handful of iPad apps (some freemium, some completely free) for sketchnoting.

IdeaStorm is a free iPad app for quickly creating sketches and diagrams. IdeaStorm allows you to create individual sketches and collections of sketches. To create a sketch just tap the “new drawing” button and start drawing. You can choose from three line thicknesses and five colors to use in your drawings. All drawings are automatically saved in the app. IdeaStorm does not require or even offer the option for creating an account. Students of all ages can start using the app in a matter of seconds. One drawback to IdeaStorm is that drawings can only be shared if you take a screenshot of them, save them to your camera roll, and then share from your camera roll.

Idea Sketch is a simple app for creating mind maps on your iPad. One of the features of Idea Sketch that stands out is the option to flip back and forth between a web format and an outline format. This makes the app a good choice for students who occasionally prefer to a linear outline instead of a web layout. Creating a mind map on Idea Sketch is a simple process. To get started tap the “Ideas” button then tap the “+” button. All mind maps start on a blank screen that you fill up by tapping anywhere to add a text bubble. You can change the colors and sizes of each bubble. To add a new connected bubble just tap, hold, and drag a bubble into place. To switch to a linear outline format tap the “list” icon in the upper, right corner of the screen. Tap that icon again to switch back to the web format. Completed mind maps can be exported as images or shared via email.

Inkflow is an iPad app that can be used to sketch mind maps, draw pictures, write free hand, and just about anything else you might do with a pencil and paper. All of the pages that you sketch on and write on can be organized into little books that include page-turning effects. Inkflow is the perfect app for people like me who like to sketch out their ideas before sharing them in presentations, in writing, or in video productions. Inkflow is also great for people who like to take notes in a free-hand format in which they can easily include little sketches and diagrams along with their written words.

Penultimate provides a place for you to hand-write notes on your iPad. The app allows you to create multiple notebooks with multiple pages in each. You can change the color and size of the pen strokes that are created when you write in your notebooks. Each page in your notebook can include pictures that you have stored on your iPad or pictures that you take through the Penultimate app. The app provides the option to change the look of the virtual paper on which you write. You can copy and paste content from one page to another and from one notebook to another.

iBrainstorm is a free brainstorming application for the iPad and the iPhone. The app allows you to record brainstorming sessions using a combination of free hand drawings and sticky notes. You can share and collaborate with other users of iBrainstorm.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from the FreeTech4Teachers.com world headquarters (otherwise known as my house) in Woodstock, Maine. I know that many of you started your winter vacation yesterday, enjoy it! For those who have a couple more days to go, you can do it!

It's a crisp 15F and sunny here this morning, perfect for a walk in the snowy woods with my dogs. Before I strap on my snowshoes and take to the woods, I have this week's list of the most popular posts of the week.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 36 Online Games Kids Can Play to Learn About Engineering
2. Measure the Speed of Light With a Chocolate Bar and Microwave
3. Seven Alternatives to Google Image Search - Comparison Chart
4. Add Your Voice to Diagrams By Creating TinyTap Sound Boards
5. The Digital Declaration of Independence
6. ProjectWriter - A New Way to Assign and Manage Group Writing Projects
7. Create Your Own Educational Games on Your Android Phone or Tablet

In January I am offering an online course titled Blogging and Social Media for Teachers and School Leaders. Graduate credit is available for the course. 

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
HelloTalk connects students with native speakers to help them learn a new language.
MidWest Teachers Institute offers online graduate courses for teachers.
Typing Club offers free typing lessons for students.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting iPad Summit San Diego in February.
StoryBoard That is a great tool for creating comics and more.
BoomWriter and WordWriter are fantastic tools that help students develop their writing skills.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Three Tools for Creating Last-minute Holiday Cards

In typical form I have done all of my Christmas shopping and card mailings in the last 24 hours. I know I am not the only one that waits until the last minute to get these things done. You may have students in the same boat. You may also find yourself looking for a way to help students create some last-minute holiday greeting cards of their own. The following three popular tools offer options for creating holiday cards.

Canva, PicMonkey, and PicCollage are currently offering holiday-themed graphics that you can use to create cards featuring your own pictures. Of the three Canva provides the most themes and the most options for customization. PicMonkey doesn't require students to create accounts in order to create their cards. And PicCollage is great if you're working on an Android tablet or on an iPad. (Canva also has an iPad app).

How Do Trees Survive the Winter?

It is winter in Maine and as I look through my living room windows I see a mix of leafless maple trees and green pine trees. What accounts for the differences in foliage on these trees? How do the maple, birch, and poplar trees in my yard survive the winter? Those questions and more are answered the Minute Science video, How do Trees Survive Winter?


After watching How do Trees Survive Winter? your students may have questions about the changing colors of leaves. The video below tackles that topic.


And if the talk of maple syrup makes your students wonder how it is made, take a look at Maple Syrup the Modern Way.

Bioman Biology - Science Games and Virtual Labs

Bioman Biology is a nice resource that I learned about from David Andrade. On Bioman Biology you will find dozens of educational games and virtual labs designed to help students learn about topics related to biology. The games and virtual labs are organized into eight topics; physiology, cells, ecology, genetics, classification, life chemistry, respiration, and scientific methods. Most the games are Flash-based but a handful of them are available as free iPad apps. The games and virtual labs are appropriate for middle school students.

Applications for Education
Bioman Biology offers you the option to track your students' game scores. To do this you have to register as a teacher. Then when your students complete a game they have the option to enter your email address and have their scores sent to you. Your students do not need to have email addresses of their own in order to send scores to you.

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