Saturday, June 11, 2011

Interactive Textbooks via iPad

A Guest Post: by Erin Klein 

As a middle school teacher and mother of two young children, I am always excited by the innovation technology offers our leader's of tomorrow.  Still in my twenties (for a few more months at least!), I'm often perceived by my colleagues as being a tech savvy teacher; however, I consider myself as a teacher rooted in sound pedagogy - if technology is a tool that enhances a particular concept, great... if it simply adds 'bells and whistles,' I wouldn't endorse the merit of integration via web 2.0 tools, multimedia, an and iPad use.  Recently, I've embraced the idea of adopting iPad technology not only to assist students with special needs or to add an interactive element to a lesson, but to actually be the main medium used between the teacher and the student.  The following two minute film segment, created by two of my seventh grade students, summarizes my rationale for iPad inclusion versus the use of textbooks.

My kids would love for you to 'click here' to add a 'view' to their video.

Inkling 'brings the world's best interactive learning content to iPad.' Inkling is, in my opinion, a superior company who just signed the following textbook companies: McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and WW Norton (plus many more). Their 'Content Architects' help to develop the best possible relationship a student to 'text' could have through rich pedagogy and unparalleled interactive media: 3D image and diagram rendering, embedded multimedia, and social collaboration capabilities. The following film further explains the revolutionary capabilities Inkling is exploring:

A Brief History:

Growing up, I always wanted to be 'current' when I got older. I looked up to my own parents who seemed to remain relevant when technology began to infuse itself into our world. As a mother and teacher, I still want to remain relevant in the children's life I influence and effect. Looking back five years, I can recall having a flip phone and a television with a large 'back side.' My district didn't have any SMARTBoards and very few had document cameras - most used overhead projectors with transparencies. Now, my classroom has: a SMARTBoard, document camera, 4 ipods, 10 iPads, a flip camera, and many other digital devices (wireless mice, etc). My instructional methodology has changed, my practice has been streamlined, and I'm covering more content while my students are actively engaged and collaborating not only with each other but internationally as well. Please view my post on my vision of tomorrow; I think you'll be inspired. Additionally, if you'd like to peak into our Social Studies Skype session with South Africa, click here)- thanks, Mrs. Brandeberry!

Join My Network:

I'd love to have you as a part of my Personal Learning Network, PLN. Please follow me on Twitter and subscribe to my RSS feeds at my site, Kleinspiration. Also, you can 'like us' on Facebook.

A Technology Give-Away: 

Lastly, this weekend, I'll be hosting a give-away to my 'blog followers' for not 1, not 2, but 3 subscriptions to TechSmith's Camtasia, a screen casting and video editing software - a $299.00 value each! Click here to read more about how to integrate this software into your classroom, and please 'follow' my blog by adding your photo on the right side scroll to be eligible for the give-away. Winners will be asked to create a short post on how they plan to integrate or experiment with the software. Thanks!


Erin Klein
author of Kleinspiration: a technology resource sharing blog
'Like' on Facebook

Pegby - Plan, Assign, and Track Tasks

Pegby is a good website for organizing the tasks that you and or your team need to get done. Pegby is set up like a corkboard with index cards stuck to it. The corkboard has three columns to place your index cards on. A column for things to do, a column for things in progress, and a column for things that are done. Each index card can be assigned to a person, can have files attached to it, and can have due dates assigned to it. You can use Pegby as an individual or you can share your corkboard with others. Watch the video below to learn about Pegby.

Pegby in Two Minutes from Pegby on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
Pegby could be a great tool for teachers trying to plan out a week's or month's worth of lessons. I think it will be a snap to just move an index card to the "in progress" or "done" column to match where you are in your curriculum. For someone like me who teaches multiple sections of the same course, Pegby could really help me keep track of what I had done with which classes. In fact, I plan to give it a real try next fall. Of course, Pegby could also be helpful for students working on group projects to assign tasks and keep track of who had done what.

Wikihood - A Wikipedia and Google Maps Mashup

Wikihood is a neat way to explore the world in your web browser. Wikihood is one part Wikipedia and one part Google Maps. There are two ways to explore the world using Wikihood. You can simply browse the map by scrolling and zooming in on locations then clicking on placemarks. Or you can use the search box to enter the name of a place (like Mount Everest) or the name of an event (like the Battle of Fort Sumter). Whichever way you choose to explore Wikihood the display format is the same. The map appears on your right and the Wikipedia entries appear on your left. You can expand and read the full Wikipedia entry within Wikihood.

Wikihood offers an iPad and iPhone app for those that are interested. It appears that the iPhone app does have some in-app purchase options.

Applications for Education
Wikihood could be a great way for students to explore and learn about all kinds of places and events around the world. It's kind of like having an encyclopedia and an atlas side by side. I found myself just clicking around the map and learning about clusters of places that are close together. Geography teachers who assign students the task of researching a country may find that Wikihood enables students to get beyond general overview facts about a country and move into learning about the regional and or cultural differences within one country.

H/T to Make Use Of.

Week in Review - The Back to Good Health Edition

As some readers probably noticed, the posting was a little lighter than normal this week as I fought the nastiest summer time cold I've had in years. I'm almost back to full strength and have a pile of good post ideas in the works that will be making their appearances on the blog shortly. Thank you for all of the good health wishes on Twitter and Facebook this week.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Go Go News - Big News for Little People
2. Mapfaire - A Simple Way to Make Simple Maps
3. 3 Ways to View Historical Images on Google Maps
4. Study Jams - Tunes for Studying
5. Scriffon - A Simple Way to Publish Your Writing Online

Please visit the official advertisers and marketing partners that help keep this blog going.
Edublogs provides blog hosting for teachers and students. is a provider of free educational games for K-5.
SimpleK12 is my blog marketing partner.

How to Subscribe to Free Technology for Teachers
If you aren't subscribed to you can do so via these links.
Subscribe via RSS. Subscribe via Email. Become a Facebook Fan.

Get Free Technology for Teachers on Kindle