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Friday, December 5, 2014

Two Free iPad Apps for Creating Visual Representations of Data

This afternoon I received an email from a reader who was looking for a recommendation for iPad-friendly tools for creating visual representations of data. I had two recommendations for her. My recommendations were Canva and iVisual Info Touch.

The Canva iPad app allows you to create infographics, slides, and photo collages in much the same way as the web version of the service. To create a graphic on Canva s tart by selecting a template then dragging and dropping into place background designs, pictures, clip art, and text boxes. Canva offers a huge library of clip art and photographs to use in your designs (some of the clip art is free, some is not). You can also import your own images to use in your graphics. Your completed Canva projects can be saved as PDF and PNG files. You can also simply link to your online graphic.

iVisual Info Touch is an iPad app that you can use to create relatively simple infographics. The app makes it easy to create your infographics. It is not necessary to create an account in order to use iVisual Info Touch. To get started just open the app and select a background for your infographic. After choosing your background you can add clip art and text. When you are finished designing your infographic, you can save it directly to your iPad’s camera roll. iVisual Info Touch is available in a free version and in a paid version ($2.99). The paid version includes more clip art, more backgrounds, and allows you to import and insert your own images.

HelloTalk Offers a Handful of Helpful Tools for Learning a Language

Disclosure: HelloTalk is running an ad campaign FreeTech4Teachers.com this month.

HelloTalk is a service designed to help students learn a new language. The service operates through free Android and iOS apps. On the HelloTalk apps you can find flashcards, text to speech tools to help you understand how words should be pronounced, speech to text tools to practice your pronunciations, and translation tools are included in the app. HelloTalk currently supports seventeen languages.

HelloTalk provides a social network component that allows users to connect with native speakers of the languages that they are trying to learn. The connection with native speakers is intended to help learners develop an understanding of a new language in a conversational setting. I was concerned about students under 18 being contacted by adults through the HelloTalk network so I asked the developer about measures taken to prevent this. Here's what he said,
  • "anyone above 18 can't search anyone below 18 (you can verify this by looking at HelloTalk account Settings/Who Can Find Me or Custom Search. Users under 18 can only search for users up to age 22. We deliberately set these rule to protect teenagers."
Nik Peachey, whose work I have long respected, is speaking in an upcoming webinar in which HelloTalk will be featured in the context of "the significant impact of mobile learning and peer to peer language exchange sites on language learning." The webinar will be held on December 18 at 7pm Central European Time.

Solate.tk - Another Good Source of Creative Commons-licensed Pictures

It is not a secret that Pixabay is my favorite place to find pictures for slideshows and blog posts. As good as Pixabay is, sometimes I need to branch in my quest for quality images. Solate.tk is a new-to-me place to find Creative Commons-licensed images. According to Solate.tk's homepage, all of the images are hand-chosen from Flickr's library of Creative Commons-licensed images. The images are arranged into five categories; nature, landscape, food, urban, and a generic "stuff" category. You can also use the search box to locate images.

Applications for Education
The manual curation of images makes Solate.tk a good alternative to having students search on Flickr. Remember that the images on Solate.tk have Creative Commons licenses so you will need to remind students to give proper attribution to the owners of the images that they download.

Thanks to Aaron Robb for sending me an email about Solate.tk.

Three Ways for Students to Learn About Life in the International Space Station

Most of our students will never experience life in the International Space Station, but that doesn't mean they cannot take a tour of it. The following resources are designed to help students learn about life in space.

NASA's ISS Interactive Reference provides students with a guided virtual tour of the International Space Station. The reference is divided into three parts; How it Works, 360 tour, and How the Crew Lives. The How it Works section explains how the ISS was built, how it is powered, and how it and the crew are supported. The 360 tour features interactive images of the inside and outside of the ISS. Finally, How the Crew Lives features videos on how crew members eat, sleep, and exercise in space.

To learn more about how the crew lives aboard the International Space Station, take a look at the following 25 minute video in which a former commander of the International Space Station, Sunita Williams takes viewers on an in-depth tour of the International Space Station. In the video you'll get the answers to almost everything you may have wondered about regarding living in space for weeks or months at a time. Williams shows us the laboratories, the space suits for space walks, the kitchen, and the sleeping quarters. Williams even shows us the space station's "outhouse" and goes so far as to explain the different types of toilet paper on the space station.



Spacewalk is a multiplayer game in which players explore the International Space Station. Spacewalk players take on the roles of astronauts in the International Space Station. You can download the game to use on Windows, Mac, or Linux computers. If you're a Windows user you can control your player with an Xbox 360 controller. Other players will have to use the their keyboards to control their players.

H/T to Tech & Learning Magazine for the ISS Interactive Reference. 

Collaboratively Create Music and Vocal Recordings On Almost Any Device

Soundtrap is a web-based platform for collaboratively creating music and vocal recordings. On Soundtrap you can create music from scratch by using their built-in virtual instruments. If you have your own instruments to record, you can use the microphone on your laptop to record yourself playing. Students who have Midi devices can record to Soundtrap too. Of course, you can just turn on your device's microphone to record a vocal track. After recording your tracks you can blend them together in the Soundtrap editor.

Soundtrap offers a collaboration option. Click the "collaborate" tab to in the Soundtrap editor to invite others to edit with you. Soundtrap will work in the Chrome web browser on a laptop, iPad, Chromebook, and Android tablet. A Chrome app is also available.

Soundtrap's free plan allows you to store five tracks in your account. You can download all of your creations as MP3 files.

Applications for Education
The best way for students to avoid any worries about copyright infringement when creating a multimedia project is to use audio tracks that they've created. Soundtrap could be a great tool for that purpose. Soundtrap's collaboration option could be a great solution when students working on a group project need to develop spoken tracks.

Soundtrap could also be a good tool for students in a music class to experiment with sounds and rhythms to hear how they combine to create music.

Thanks to Jen Deyenberg for the Tweets about Soundtrap.