Monday, July 30, 2012

Practice Piano With JoyTunes for iPad

JoyTunes is a small collection of iPad apps that I reviewed earlier this summer. JoyTunes builds apps that you can use to practice piano and recorder. With JoyTunes installed you play your physical instrument, but get directions and feedback through the app on your iPad. Last week they launched a new app for learning to play the national anthems of many countries on the piano.

Piano Summer Games from JoyTunes is a new free iPad app. The app provides directions and feedback for playing the national anthems of forty countries. You can play on your piano or play on a virtual keyboard on your iPad. You can compete with other JoyTunes users by earning points for playing the anthems correctly.

Applications for Education
JoyTunes could be a good piano tutor for students who have iPads. You can download the Piano Summer Games app here.

Try Duolingo to Learn Spanish, German, and French

Duolingo is a free site on which you can learn Spanish, German, and French. To learn on Duolingo you read, listen to, and translate words and phrases. For example if I want to learn Spanish I'll be shown Spanish words with translations. I can can hear the words pronounced too. Then to practice I type and or speak translations. The activities start out with simple words and phrases. As I become more proficient, Duolingo gives me more challenging phrases. To help me track my progress Duolingo awards me point and virtual badges.

Applications for Education
Duolingo won't replace in-person instruction, but it could be a good site for students to use to practice writing and speaking a new language.

Grading Made Easy with Diigo & Jing

This is a guest post from Rebecca Johnson.

Both Diigo and Jing have been written about on numerous occasions here at the Free Technology for Teachers blog, but I wanted to share my experiences using both tools when grading assignments. I teach an information literacy course for the college where I work as a librarian. This course requires students to create an annotated bibliography as their final project; but there’s one issue that I continually run into time and time again - students would submit their sources throughout the quarter, but when it came time to put the bibliography together, they never could find their sources again which left them scrambling to search for additional content. This past quarter, I tried something completely different, and it worked beautifully!

Students were required to create a Diigo account at the beginning of the quarter, and when searching for books, journal articles, or scholarly websites, they would save their sources using the diigolet tool (a bookmarklet). As the image indicates, students were required to provide me with an APA citation, and their summary annotation within the description field of the bookmark area. When students were finished searching for that week, they would submit their Diigo library URL to me, which made it very easy to continue grading their work as they advanced through the course.

Once students submitted their work to me through Diigo, I needed some way of grading it visually so they would know exactly what mistakes were made in order make the necessary changes and complete the final project. I’ve used Jing in the past to create screencasts, but my number one 
use is screen capturing. I mark-up student work and provide the screen capture URL for them to view. The image indicates an example of what a student missed in their Diigo library and how I marked it up using Jing. 

This combination of grading has worked much better than I ever thought it would, and as an added bonus I have even had students ask how to download Jing for their own computers!
Rebecca Johnson teaches Information Literacy at Harrison College and is transitioning into an Instruction and Emerging Technologies Librarian position with Manchester University.  Follow her online at BeccaLovesBooks (Twitter @beccalovesbooks). 

Editor's note: Jing Pro is scheduled to be shut down in February 2013. TechSmith (the producers of Jing) do offer other screen capture products. You can find a list of other screen capture tools here