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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

iPad Apps for K-12 Students

Many of you are already aware that I maintain a few other blogs in addition to FreeTech4Teachers.com. One of those is iPadApps4School.com to which I have applied some lessons that I learned from making mistakes with this blog. One of those mistakes was not making it easier to sort resources according to grade level.

On iPadApps4School.com you can sort app reviews according to grade level category. Simply click on the grade level category in the sidebar to find apps appropriate for the age of your students. You can find elementary school apps here, middle school apps here, and high school apps here. I also have a category for pre-K students. If you want to be notified when a new app is reviewed, you can subscribe to email updates for iPadApps4School.com.

Build Model Atoms and More on the NOVA Elements App

NOVA Elements for iPad is an excellent iPad app for helping students learn about the periodic table of elements. The app is "hosted" by NY Times technology reviewer David Pogue. There are three primary features of the app. Those features are called Explore, Watch, and Play.

The Explore feature of NOVA Elements for iPad contains and interactive periodic table of elements. Students can tap through the periodic table to learn some basic information about each element. Students can also try to create each element by combining virtual protons, neutrons, and electrons until they have the correct combination.

The Watch feature of NOVA Elements for iPad contains twelve short video clips in which David Pogue explains some of the elements and how they are used in consumer products.

The Play feature presents students with common consumer goods like watches and tee shirts. Students have to identify the elements found in those consumer goods and construct the product.

Three Handy Timer Tools for Teachers

Whenever I have long blocks of instructional time I like to break it up with short breaks and or timed hands-on activities. One tool that can help to prevent the students and me from stretching the "break times" is to use a countdown timer like the three featured below.

You can simply type into Google search "set timer" followed by an amount of time and a countdown timer is displayed. An alarm beeps when time is up. You can make the timer appear full screen without advertisements by clicking a little box icon to the right of the timer. You can see this feature in action in the video below.



Russel Tarr's Classtools Countdown Timer has two slick features. You can create and set multiple timers on the same page. This means that if you had students sharing in rapid succession you wouldn't have to reset the timer for each student, you simply move onto using the next timer on the page. The second feature of note in the Classtools Countdown Timer is the option to add music to your timers. You can have your countdown timers set to music. Mission Impossible, The Apprentice, and Countdown are the standard music options. You can add other music by using the YouTube search tool built into the timer .

Online Egg Timer is a simple website offering three countdown timers on one screen. You can set just one timer or run all three at the same time with different settings. No registration is required in order to use Online Egg Timer. Just go to the site, set the countdown timer(s) using the up and down arrows, then click "start timers."

Three Video Explanations of What Creates the Northern Lights

I have been fortunate to see the Northern Lights a few times. It is truly one of the coolest natural things I've seen. So what makes the Northern Lights appear? Each of the following videos provide clear explanations.


The Aurora Borealis from Per Byhring on Vimeo.



Each of the videos could provide a good basis for a flipped lesson. The tools on this chart are good for building video-based quizzes.

The Most Popular New Ed Tech Service of 2014 According to Readers

Last week I posted a survey asking you to select your favorite new app or website of 2014. After five days of collecting responses I've closed the survey. Kahoot is the most popular new ed tech service amongst the 216 of you that voted.

Kahoot is a slick service for creating and delivering quizzes to your students' tablets, iPads, and laptops. On Kahoot you create a quiz or survey that your students respond to through any device that has a web browser (iPad, Android device, Chromebook). Your Kahoot questions can include pictures and videos. As the teacher you can control the pace of the Kahoot quiz or survey by imposing a time limit for each question. As students answer questions they are awarded points for correct answers and the timeliness of their answers. A scoreboard is displayed on the teacher's screen.

Check this chart to see how Kahoot compares to eight other student response systems.

How to Create Shape Puzzle Games for Your iPad or Android Tablet

Last week I wrote a couple of posts about the updates to TinyTap. In addition to the update making the app available on Android tablets, I like that you can now create shape puzzle games. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to create a game by using TinyTap on your iPad or Android tablet.