Sunday, December 9, 2018

PBS Kids ScratchJr - Scratch With a PBS Twist

PBS Kids ScratchJr is a PBS Kids-themed version of the popular ScratchJr app. PBS Kids ScratchJr is available as a free iPad app and as a free Android app. The app is designed to help five to eight year old students learn basic programming concepts through a drag-and-drop interface.

Just like the ScratchJr app, on PBS Kids ScratchJr students program a story or game by selecting background settings and characters for each frame of the story. Then in each frame students select the actions that they want their characters to take. Students snap programming pieces together to make characters move and talk in their stories and games.

The difference between PBS Kids ScratchJr and the regular ScratchJr app is found in the character and background choices. In the PBS Kids version students can select backgrounds and characters from some of their favorite PBS Kids programs including Nature Cat, World Girl, and Arthur.

Applications for Education
PBS Kids ScratchJr provides a fun platform through which students can learn programming concepts while animating stories based on some of their favorite PBS Kids characters. Visit the PBS Kids ScratchJr landing page to find resources for teachers getting started with the app or planning how to use it in a K-3 classroom.

Getting Started with G Suite - Mysteries Solved with This New eBook

This is a guest post from Avra Robinson (@AvraRachel), Director of Online Learning for EdTechTeacher.

When teachers or students begin to explore new digital environments, they often become confused and frustrated because they lack the basic building blocks needed to feel comfortable and proficient - whether it is the vocabulary of the app, toolbars that seem to randomly appear and disappear, or workflow that seemingly defies the laws of organization. However, there are some simple concepts and lessons that can help increase success with technology.

Sometimes when we’ve been teaching concepts for a long time or using tools for what seems like forever, it’s hard to remember what it feels like to just get started. In other words, we have to work really hard to see a lesson through the eyes of a beginner. As a professional development instructor, participants often tell me that they wish someone could just break down some of these basic skills and concepts, not only for them but also for their students.

With that in mind, I decided to create this eBook - 3 Mysteries of Utilizing G Suite with Newbies - to introduce many of the concepts and skills necessary to ease the transition into G Suite for Education. Whether you are a teacher working with students, a technology coach working with teachers, or someone new to Google tools, I hope that exploring the ideas within this book will help you build a strong foundation for future success!

A Fun App for Learning About Money

Money Math Duel is an iPad app and Android app designed to help students learn to count currency. The app is unique in that it allows two students to use it at the same time. Students place the iPad between them and each has his or her own end of the screen to use. Students "compete" head-to-head to count money quickly and accurately. The app gives students different amounts to count so that they can't copy each other's work. The app also lets students adjust individual settings to change colors and default currency denominations. As David Kapuler wrote in his blog post about it, this makes it "fair" for students of different abilities to play the same game.

Applications for Education
Money Math Duel could be a good app to use in an elementary school math lesson on addition and subtraction of money.

The iPad version of Money Math Duel is currently free to download. The Android version is not free. I've used other apps from this developer in which the pricing was reversed and the iPad version was paid and the Android version was free. Perhaps in the future we'll see that switch again. In the meantime, grab the free iPad app Money Math Duel.

Thanks again to David Kapuler for sharing this app. Check out his blog for other good app recommendations.