Showing posts with label android tablets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label android tablets. Show all posts

Monday, June 1, 2015

Big Tools for Little Kids - Little Kids Get in on the Learning With Android Apps

This week I am hosting some guest bloggers. This is a guest post from Amy Pietrowski.

When I started teaching with Google Apps several years back, I never envisioned that I would be using them with Kindergartners and first-graders. The logging in factor ( alone would be enough to send any five or six year old into hysterics. Many of my second graders struggle with this well into the school year. Enter Android Tablets into our district: The bad news was that I had to enter each child’s Google ID into the tablet. The good news was it that was a one-time only deal. From that day forward I could walk into any kindergarten or first grade classroom and have students creating products, sharing with me via Google Classroom, and saving to their Google Drives in seconds. So, how did I do it?

Skitch and Google Classroom:
Skitch is a simple mark-up program from Evernote. Students would create a fact family with real two-sided counters. Next they would take a picture with their tablet using the Skitch app. After using the writing tool to write the addition fact, it’s “turn around” fact, and, depending on skill level, corresponding subtraction facts, the student would then share their product. There are several sharing options in Skitch, but for this assignment we chose to use Google Classroom. I created an assignment ahead of time. Once they had used a one-time short code to get into my class, they only had to click on the assignment and attach their picture to it. Once “turned in,” I could view all of the creations in my classroom folder on Google Drive. In turn, I shared this folder with the classroom teacher, so she would have a copy of their artifacts.

Mindomo and Google Drive:
Teachers love graphic organizers, and using Mindomo is great way to save physical creations in a logical way. On this day, first graders were creating two digit numbers with base ten blocks. They captured two “numbers,” then put them together to create the number at the top. They labeled their boxes and used Mindomo’s connecting tools to show the relationship between the three pictures. What is remarkable about this activity is that Mindomo let the students save their graphic organizer to their Google Drive. Now, and in the future, when the students open their Google Drives, they will see the work they have created in first grade.

Thinglink and Google Drive: 
When the first grade teachers asked that I review parts of a plant with their students, I knew that Thinglink would be an awesome tool. My fifth graders used pictures from earlier in the year and made great creations about their Civil War studies. Thinglink allows you to “tag” a picture with other pictures, audio, and video. While the desktop app would be difficult for my first graders, the mobile app was perfect! Using their Google Accounts (already on their tablets), students logged in, snapped a picture of a plant, and proceeded to add tags. They labeled words they knew (stem, leaf, etc) and added video files to talk about what a plant needs to survive. Here is one from a student who combined both aspects well. As the students finished up their “scenes,” they saved them onto their thinglink accounts and into my group. They also used the save to Google Drive feature which creates a text file with a link to their scene.

All of these activities would have been nearly impossible without the combination of Google Apps, tablets, and a little bit of up-front work. I DID enter all of these students’ credentials into the tablets (just once). Also, if you would like to use a Google ID with your Thinglink EDU account, students must be added via on the computer. However, the up-front work was worth every artifact the students created, shared, and saved for the future.

Amy Pietrowski is an experienced classroom teacher who has taught at all grade levels and in many subject areas. Her passion for technology stems from an experience learning LOGO and BASIC at computer camp in the third grade, and she has since relished any opportunity technology has given her to create and share. Amy is currently an instructional technology specialist in Fayette County and an Instructor for the MAET Certificate program at Michigan State University. You can follow Amy on twitter @amylpie and read her blog here:

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Register to be One Of the First To Know When Google Play for Education Goes Live

Earlier this week Google announced that they will be launching Google Play for Education this summer. Google Play for Education promises to provide many of the features that teachers have wanted to have available through Android for a long time now. If you want to be one of the first to know when Google Play for Education is available, sign up here on the Google in Education page.

I think that the best part of Google Play for Education will be the ability for teachers (or administrators) to purchase apps and push them out to all of the devices in their schools. If the entire school is too big of a group, the option to create smaller groups of devices will be available too. Teachers will also be able to use Google Play for Education to push video and documents out to all of the devices in a group.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Google Play for Education Promises What Teachers Have Wanted from Android

Cross-posted from Android 4 Schools

While I was busy leading a day of learning about iPad apps at Bridgton Academy Google announced a new service that could make Android tablets a stronger challenger to iPads in education. Google Play for Education (not live yet) promises the features that many of us have wanted for a long time.

Google Play for Education will be an app store designed specifically for teachers and students. Developers will be able to submit their apps this summer. Some selected developers announced at I/O include NASA and PBS. The best part of Google Play for Education will be the ability for teachers (or administrators) to purchase apps and push them out to all of the devices in their schools. If the entire school is too big of a group, the option to create smaller groups of devices will be available too. Teachers will also be able to use Google Play for Education to push video and documents out to all of the devices in a group.

One thing to keep in mind about pushing apps and videos to Android devices through Google Play for Education is that all of the devices will have to be part of a Google Group created through Google Apps.

H/Ts to The Next Web, Venture Beat, and Android Central

Monday, October 29, 2012

One Nexus 10 Feature That Could Make It a Great Classroom Tablet

The big Google press event in New York City was canceled today, but Google still officially unveiled three new Nexus devices on their official blog. The device that I want to talk about here is the Nexus 10 tablet.

The Nexus 10 tablet runs the latest version of Android (4.2). Google calls it a "premium entertainment device" and if the Nexus 7 that I currently own is any indicator of performance, the Nexus 10 will live up to its billing. Of course the device will run productivity apps as well as entertainment apps. The dimensions and tech specs of the Nexus 10 is bound to make people compare it to iPads. 

I haven't touched a Nexus 10 yet, but there is one feature of it that I think has a ton of potential for classroom use. That feature is the option to add multiple users to each device. You can switch between user profiles from the lockscreen. This should allow multiple students to use the same device without interfering with each others apps.

The Nexus 10 hits stores in mid-November. I'm not sure that I can justify buying another tablet right now, but I will definitely be "window shopping" when they do hit stores.

Update: I just learned from Ryan Bretag that it's all Android 4.2 devices not just the Nexus 10 that will have multiple profile support. TechCrunch mentions that too in their break-down of the new Nexus devices.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Wikispaces Updates Viewing and Editing on iPads

Wikispaces does not have an iPad app, but they do have a mobile-friendly site that was recently updated for a better iPad viewing experience. The updated site has the major navigation functions at the bottom of the screen in order to provide you with more working space on each page. At the bottom of your screen you will now see "home," "recent changes," "pages and files," and "members." The edit button resides at the top of your page. You can edit anything on wiki with your iPad that you would edit on your laptop.

Applications for Education
The updated Wikispaces mobile interface isn't limited to iPads. It also works on my Android tablets. The cross platform compatibility is a nice feature for schools with BYOD policies as your don't have to worry about one student not having the same editing options as another.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Short Review of the Nexus 7

When I pulled into my driveway on Friday evening there were two boxes waiting for me. One contained new mountain biking clothing. The other contained my new Nexus 7 tablet. I'm sure that most of you don't care about my mountain biking clothing, but I have a hunch that many of you are interested in my thoughts about the Nexus 7 tablet. This is my preliminary hands-on review of the Nexus 7.

What I Like About the Nexus 7:
1. The screen. It is bright and crisp. Reading on the screen doesn't stress my eyes like my Galaxy 10.1 does.
2. The size. I can hold it in one hand and reach every part of the screen (I have fairly average size hands for an average 5' 11" man).
3. Android Jelly Bean. One of the features that I like is zoom option when trying to select a link or other email font feature.
4. Chrome. I can run Chrome as the web browser and sync it to my laptop and desktop.
5. The camera clarity. When I used it for a 30 minute Skype call it it was perfect.

What I don't like about the Nexus 7:
1. The size. The screen size makes the device default to the mobile phone interface. You can change this if you root the device, but I think that voids the warranty.
2. The lack of a back camera. There is only one camera and it is front facing. I could capture a picture with it if I held it backwards, but I wouldn't know for sure what I was capturing.

Would I buy it for students?
So far I feel the same way about the Nexus 7 as I do about the iPad and about my Samsung Galaxy tablet. I would not purchase a tablet as the only device for a 1:1 program. Yes, these tablets can be used to create content but that's not what they're designed to do.  That said, I would purchase the Nexus 7 for elementary schools before I purchased iPads for elementary schools. Why? Because I can buy two Nexus 7 tablets for the cost of the least expensive iPad.

This post was written on my Nexus 7.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Natural iPad

A few weeks ago I wrote 10 Things You Can Do To Make Yourself an Ed Tech Star This Summer. One of the things on the list was, "try a tablet only weekend." I made this suggestion because I think that if we're going to suggest that iPads or Android tablets become the preferred 1:1 device in schools, that we should try to use them for a weekend, a week, or longer in order to really understand to how they work, their features, and their flaws. And if your school isn't going to provide teachers and students with keyboards and other accessories, don't use them yourself during your tablet-only time. In other words, try using an iPad or Android tablet in its "natural state."

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Plizy - Save Videos for Later on Your iPad or Android Tablet

Two weeks ago I wrote about Chill which is kind of like Pinterest for videos. This morning I started trying another service for sharing and discovering video content. That service is Plizy.

Plizy is a service that allows you to browse for and save videos to playback later on your iPad or Android tablet. Plizy has many video channels to choose from. If the videos you see in default Plizy channels are not to your liking, you can create your own custom channels. Unlike some apps that only pull content from YouTube, Plizy pulls content from many  popular sources including TED, National Geographic, and CNET. Watch the short video below to learn more about Plizy.

To get started using Plizy you do need to install either the iPad app or the Android app. After installing the app you can register for Plizy through the app.

Applications for Education
If your school is using iPads or Android tablets, Plizy could be a good way to discover, organize, share, and play educational content through those devices. You could have students in your class currate and share a channel of content related to topics that they're studying.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Mentimeter - Poll Your Audience

Yesterday, in my Ed Tech Teacher webinar 30 Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers I demonstrated Socrative. Socrative is currently my favorite tool for using cell phones, tablets, and laptops to survey an audience. After the webinar I was contacted by a company called Mentimeter who offers a similar product.

Mentimeter allows you to pose a question to your audience and get instant feedback on that question through cell phones, tablets, and any other Internet-connected device. Mentimeter doesn't have has many features as Socrative or Poll Everywhere, but it is free and very easy to use. In the video below I provide a two minute demonstration of Mentimeter.

Applications for Education
If your school has been considering purchasing one of those expensive clicker response systems give Mentimeter and these three other alternatives a try before making a purchase.

Monday, January 16, 2012

How Do You Keep Up With All of This?

How do you keep up with all of this? That's a question I am often asked after giving a presentation or when I meet people at conferences. One of the ways I keep up and learn about new things is through Twitter. In a guest post last winter Steven Anderson offered some great advice about using Twitter. Google+ is increasingly becoming a good way to keep up with what the people in my circles are sharing. The other way, in fact the primary way, that I keep up is through my RSS reader.

I am currently subscribed to 273 blogs and websites in my RSS reader. Those 273 subscriptions account for more than 1,000 daily posts. If I had to visit each one of those sites individually I would never have time for anything else (like walking Morrison). So what is an RSS reader and how does it help me efficiently process 1,000 or more blog posts per day? Watch the Common Craft video below to find out.

If you're an iPad user or Android tablet user, there are some excellent apps that can improve your RSS viewing and reading experience. Not that there's anything wrong with reading the raw RSS feeds in Google Reader, I did it that way for a long time, I've just found that I move through my feeds quicker on a tablet than I do when using the vertical scroll in Google Reader.

The app that I'm currently using to read RSS feeds on my Samsung Galaxy Tablet is Feedly. Feedly is available as an Android app, as an iPad app, as a Google Chrome Web App, as a Firefox extension, and as a Safari extension. Feedly takes your RSS feeds and turns them into an easy-to-read magazine-like format. You can sync your Google Reader account to Feedly and it will retain all of the categories that you may have created in Google Reader. You can also sync Feedly to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Read It Later, and Instapaper. The video below provides an overview of Feedly.

Feed Your Mind On The Go from Feedly on Vimeo.

A couple of other popular apps for reading RSS feeds on tablets are Google Currents and Flipboard.

Applications for Education
You don't have to be trying to publish 100+ blog posts a month or be trying to keep up with 273 websites in order to benefit from using an RSS reader. Even before I was blogging I was using an RSS reader. I started using an RSS reader just to keep up with news from the BBC, CNN, and Reuters. I found it much easier to have the news come to me than for me to go to the news.

If you have a favorite education periodical, like the School Library Journal, chances are they have a web presence that you can follow in RSS. If your students are doing research they can create a Google Alert and add it to their RSS readers to get updates each time new information about that topic appears on the web.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Apps 4 Kids - An Android App Discovery Tool

Searching the Android Market for apps appropriate for your students and children can be a discouraging experience. Enter a search in the Android Market using the terms "math games" will yield more than 1000 results. If you're like most of us, you'll probably go through a few pages before abandoning that quest. Apps 4 Kids aims to make discovering new apps for your kids an easy process.

Apps 4 Kids is a free app that helps you and your children find new apps to use on your Android phone or Android tablet. You can browse Apps 4 Kids according to age of the child or the purpose of the app. For example, you can search for apps appropriate for children under four years old and for learning the alphabet. Apps 4 Kids is a free app, but not all of the apps they recommend are free.

Applications for Education
Apps 4 Kids could be a great tool for discovering new apps to use on the Android tablets in your classroom.

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