Monday, December 10, 2012

A New Place To Find Educational iPad Apps

I teased this news on Facebook and Twitter eight days ago and over the weekend I made a soft launch of iPad Apps for School. After a bunch of tweaking I'm ready to say that iPad Apps for School is ready for the world. This new blog will feature reviews of iOS apps (both free and paid) as well as some occasional bits of how-to and advice on using iPads in education. Not to worry, I plan to keep up the same pace of posting here on Free Technology for Teachers and on Android 4 Schools.

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On a related note I set up iPad Apps for School using a theme that I bought from WooThemes (affiliate link). I've used other free and paid (including one that cost $160 USD) WordPress themes in the past and none of them have been as easy to work with as WooThemes. The support documentation and support videos that WooThemes provides are super easy to follow. 

Video - Could Texas Secede?

C.G.P. Grey produces all kinds of interesting and educational videos. Five days ago he released a new one that raises the question, "can Texas secede from the Union?" The three minute video provides a short history of Texas before examining whether or not it could be an independent country again. Viewers will learn why Texas couldn't legally secede from the Union. Watch the short video below.

A New Video Crash Course in English Literature

John Green who produces the very popular Crash Course videos about history and biology recently launched a new series of Crash Course videos about English literature. So far the series has three videos two of which are about Romeo & Juliet. I've embedded the two videos about Romeo & Juliet below.

Applications for Education
I like the potential of this new series to be a good source of review and introductory materials in a literature course. Like the other Crash Course videos these are fast paced videos that you may have to rewind and watch a couple of times to pick up on everything in them. If you use theses videos in your classroom you may want to pause them at various points and have discussions about Green's analysis of Romeo & Juliet.

H/T to Open Culture

22 Useful Google Forms for Teachers and Principals

As I've mentioned in the past, Kern Kelley is my go-to person when I need help with Google Forms and Spreadsheets. Recently, Kern Tweeted out a list of the forms that he has developed for teachers and principals. You can make a copy of all of these forms by clicking on the titles and opening them in your Google Drive account.

Applications for Education
All of Kern's Google Forms are designed for educators. The forms that have the broadest appeal are the Virtual Inbox and the HS Document Collector and Viewer. Both forms The allow you to collect and organize the URLs of your students' online works.

Kern and some of his students occasionally host Google+ Hangouts in which they answer questions about Google Apps. The archives of those Hangouts is available on their blog Tech Sherpas.

Usain Bolt vs. Gravity - One Minute Physics Lesson

Minute Physics is a neat YouTube channel that provides short physics lessons (most of them are actually longer than a minute). This morning on Minute Physics I found a short video that could be used at the start of a lesson on gravity and acceleration. In Usain Bolt vs. Gravity viewers learn why Usain Bolt could run ten meters faster than a diver can fall ten meters, but after that the diver wins. The video is embedded below.

Dropr - Create Multimedia Portfolios

Dropr is a free service for creating portfolios of your images, videos, and audio files. Within your Dropr account you can have multiple portfolio pages. If you wanted to have a page for images that you took in the fall and a page for images that you took in the spring, you can do that in Dropr.

To create a Dropr portfolio start by signing up with a social media profile or with your email address. Then start your first project by uploading a cover image. Once you have started a project you can drag and drop media from your desktop to the Dropr website. Each project can include text in addition to the media that you upload to it. Each of your projects will have a different URL. You can work on your projects in private until you are ready to share them with the world. Your Dropr projects can be embedded into a blog as a slideshow. 

Applications for Education
Dropr could be a good tool for having students create digital portfolios for the media that they produce. You could also use Dropr to have students create collages of images and videos about a topic that they're researching in your class.