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Friday, December 28, 2012

10 Awesome Android Uses and Apps in Education

This week I'm taking a few days off to ski, play with my dogs, visit with friends and family, and generally recharge my batteries. If you're on vacation this week too, I hope that you're having a great vacation. While I'm away I'm rerunning the most popular posts of the year. The selections are based on pageviews during 2012.

This morning I gave a short presentation on Android apps for education. The slides for that presentation are embedded below.

3 Places to Find Online Children's Audio Books

This week I'm taking a few days off to ski, play with my dogs, visit with friends and family, and generally recharge my batteries. If you're on vacation this week too, I hope that you're having a great vacation. While I'm away I'm rerunning the most popular posts of the year. The selections are based on pageviews during 2012.

This post is born out of a request for help from someone that I met at the Teacher 2 Teacher conference in Bow Island, Alberta. She was looking for some free online talking storybooks to use in her grade 1 class. I didn't have anything coming to mind right off, so I searched Diigo and my blog archives to find these three places to find and free online talking children's storybooks.

MeeGenius is a nice source of free and paid ebooks for kids. There are lots of sites that offer the same thing as MeeGenius but MeeGenius distinguishes itself with one excellent feature. That feature is automatic word highlighting to accompany the narration of each book. When children open the ebooks online, on an Android tablet, or on an iPad they can choose to have the story read to them or to read the story on their own. When the story is read to them each word in the story is highlighted on the page. This should help children follow along with the story.


The Woodlands Junior School is a school website based in the UK. I've previously featured their site as a good place to find educational games for elementary age students. In my search yesterday, I discovered that they also have a nice collection of links to free online talking storybooks.

Magic Keys is another site with a good collection of talking picture books for children. Magic Keys seemed a bit tricky to navigate at first so I would recommend that you use it to find storybooks for your students rather than sending your students to the site on their own.

I know there are a lot of good iPad and Android apps for talking storybooks, but web-based versions are a little more elusive. If you have a site that should be added to this list, please leave a comment.

Use the Three Ring App to Digitize Your Students' Work

This week I'm taking a few days off to ski, play with my dogs, visit with friends and family, and generally recharge my batteries. If you're on vacation this week too, I hope that you're having a great vacation. While I'm away I'm rerunning the most popular posts of the year. The selections are based on pageviews during 2012.

Three Ring is a new free service offering free Android and iPhone apps for digitizing and organizing student work. Using the app teachers can take a picture of a student's work and upload it to a free Three Ring account. Three Ring offers teachers a lot of organizational flexibility. You could organize artifacts by student name, class, date, or just about any other tagging system that works for you.

A short video overview of Three Ring is embedded below.

Applications for Education
Three Ring could be a great way to collect hand-written work without actually collecting pieces of paper. Just go around the room snapping images of your students' work. You can add notes to each image before and after the upload so it is possible to grade work using the notes field next to each image.

H/T to Audrey Watters

5 Ways You Can Use Wikis With Students

This week I'm taking a few days off to ski, play with my dogs, visit with friends and family, and generally recharge my batteries. If you're on vacation this week too, I hope that you're having a great vacation. While I'm away I'm rerunning the most popular posts of the year. The selections are based on pageviews during 2012.

Today I had the privilege to participate in Discovery's Beyond the Textbook forum. One of my take-aways from the day's conversation is that most of the technologies that we want to use to make textbooks interactive and meaningful for students already exist, we just need to organize and utilize them in a way that makes sense for teachers and students. I've combined that take-away with a recent request from a reader to delineate some ways that teachers can use Wikispaces to create this list of ideas for using wikis in classrooms. Please feel free to add your suggestions, with links if possible, in the comments below (please note, I'll be on planes for the next 18 hours so there will be a delay between your comment submission and its appearance on the blog).

1. As a digital portfolio of student-created videos.

2. As a place for students to share notes on each unit of study in your courses.

3. As an alternative to textbooks. Work with colleagues in your school or department to create a multimedia reference site for your students. Include YouTube videos that use the "choose your own adventure" model to allow students to pursue areas of interest.

4. As an alternative to textbooks. Have students create reference pages for units of study in your course. When you do this students become responsible to each other for creating accurate and meaningful content that they can refer to when it comes time for assessment. For example, when I get to the 1920's in my US History curriculum I have each student create a page on a wiki about a theme from that decade. Some of the themes that the students cover are fashion, entertainment, and sports. I mentioned this briefly on a podcast that will be published soon by Steve Dembo and Dean Shareski.

5. As a place to track, document, and manage on-going community projects. In my district every student is required to complete a community service project before graduation. As a homeroom or "common block" advisor teachers are supposed to help their students take the necessary steps to document that work. By creating a homeroom wiki you create a place where students can make weekly updates about what they have done to complete their projects.

How are you using wikis in your classroom? Please leave a comment below. 

If you're not quite sure what a wiki is or what makes it different from a traditional website or blog, watch Wikis in Plain English from Common Craft.

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