Thursday, March 10, 2011

Three Free Android Apps for Vocabulary Practice

Last month I bought a new Android-powered phone and have been experimenting with different free apps that I've found in the Android Market. With SAT season not too far away, this week I experimented with a handful of vocabulary apps. One app froze my phone, one app was too limited, but three of them were worth passing along to you.

At first glance Power Vocab appears to be just a set of vocabulary words that you have to select the correct definitions for, but there is more to it. You can also work on spelling of the words that appear and play word search games. In my testing of the free version of the app featured words that were appropriate for middle school and high school students. The paid version of the app promises more difficult vocabulary.

Words, Words, Words is a free vocabulary app from Socratica. I had previously checked some other apps from Socratica that I liked, and this one was no different. I like that the interface was very visually-pleasing and easy to navigate. Words, Words, Words can be used in a flashcard-like manner for familiarizing yourself with the words or in a quiz mode. Words, Words, Words offers audio to help users with pronunciation.

Vocab Builder I liked in part because on my phone it loaded the fastest of all the apps. The simple interface offers two ways to play; match definitions to words or match words to definitions. Of the three apps listed here, the words I encountered on this app were the most challenging.

Do you have a favorite vocabulary app that everyone should know about? If so, please leave a comment.

KinKast - Private Video Sharing

KinKast is a new service that offers free private sharing of the videos you record. KinKast is both an iPhone application and a web application. Here's what KinKast does; you record a video on your iPhone or on a camera and upload it to the KinKast servers. You can then share it via email with the people you want to see it. You can also post it to Facebook if you choose. Under the free KinKast plan each of your videos is only stored for 30 days from the day you uploaded it. With both the paid and free plan there is not a restriction on the size of the video you can upload.

Watch the video below to learn more about KinKast.

Applications for Education
KinKast could be a good way for teachers and parents to privately share videos of school concerts, field trips, and other school events. Rather than putting the videos up on a video sharing site parents and teachers can simply send them to people on an email list.

Noun Project - Free Clip Art of Universal Symbols

The Noun Project is an online catalog of free clip art that you can download and reuse for all kinds of projects. The catalog is divided into eleven categories including sports, safety, food, animals, and more. All of the images are either public domain images or Creative Commons licensed images. If the images are public domain you are free to reuse them without attribution without restriction. If the images are Creative Commons licensed, please note the attribution requirements.

Applications for Education
If your students need simple images for illustrations, diagrams, or multimedia projects, the Noun Project is a good resource for them to browse through.

QuizGeo - Create Interactive Map Quizzes

QuizGeo is a new site hosting geography quizzes built on the Google Maps platform. On QuizGeo you can browse and play pre-made geography quizzes or create your own quizzes. All of the quizzes operate in the same fashion of presenting you with a place name and requiring you to click on that place on a map before time expires.

To create your own games you need to register on QuizGeo. After registering, creating your quiz is easy to do. To create a quiz just name it, click submit, then click "add questions." To add questions just enter a place or address in the search box then outline that place using the pointer provided and click "save question." You can add as many places to your quiz as you like.

QuizGeo is still in beta so you might encounter a glitch in the registration or creation process. I did once, but it was quickly resolved by refreshing my browser.

Applications for Education
What I like about QuizGeo is that teachers can create geography quizzes that are very specific to their students' needs. For example, I developed a quiz in which players have to correctly identify all of the counties in Maine.