Showing posts with label mobile learning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mobile learning. Show all posts

Monday, December 15, 2014

Doulingo - The Most Downloaded Educational Android App of 2014

Last week Google revealed the most downloaded apps, games, movies, albums, and books of the year on Google Play. Duolingo was at the top of the education category for apps.

Duolingo is a free service designed to help students learn Spanish, English, French, Italian, Irish, Dutch, Danish, German, and Portuguese. The service can be used in your web browser, as an iOS app, and obviously as an Android app.

To learn a new language 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. The Duolingo Language Coach is a feature that will tell you how many points you need in order to move to the next level in your lesson. The points that you earn not only move you along to the next level, they can also be redeemed for prizes in the virtual shop. The prizes are costumes and accessories for your Duolingo avatar.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Video Overview of Otus - A Nice Online Learning Environment

Last month I wrote a fairly extensive review of a new online learning environment called Otus. Otus was originally designed to be a service for teachers to distribute assignments, quizzes, polls, reading materials, and essential information from their iPads to their students' iPads. Otus has expanded to support use within a web browser on laptops and Chromebooks. In the video below I offer an overview of the key features of Otus.

Visit the Otus YouTube channel for detailed video directions on how to use each element of the service.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

By Request - Five Ways to Create and Use QR Codes In Your Classroom

Recently, through the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page I was asked for suggestions for tools for creating QR codes. Here are five suggestions that I often make in regards to creating and using QR codes in classrooms.

Russel Tarr developed the QR Treasure Hunt Generator. The QR Treasure Hunt Generator provides you with all of the things you need to get started creating your own QR codes and using them in your classroom. To use the QR Treasure Hunt Generator type out a series of questions and answers, generate the QR codes using the tool Russel Tarr provides, then print and display the codes around your classroom or school. Click here to view a sample QR Treasure Hunt. is Google's URL shortening tool. When you shorten a link with a QR code is created for it too. To find the QR code, click the "details" link after your shortened URL has been made. The details page also shows you how many times your link has been used. This is useful to me if I want to make sure that all of my students have used the link. If I see that the link or QR code has been used 17 times, but I have 25 students, I immediately seek out the students who haven't followed the link.

QR Droid's QR Code Generator allows you to create QR codes that link to websites, chunks of text, phone numbers, email addresses, contact information, calendar events, and location coordinates. To create your QR code simply complete the information fields that you want to link to then select the display size for your QR code.

QR Voice is a free tool that allows you to create QR codes that when scanned will play a short audio message. To create your message and QR code you can record a voice message by clicking the microphone icon on QR Voice or you can type in your message. Either way you're limited to 100 characters. QR Voice is offered in Spanish, English, Japanese, and Portuguese. Teachers could use QR Voice to create QR codes that they then print and attach to objects in their classrooms or schools. Then have students try to identify those objects in the language that they're trying to learn. To check their answers students can scan the QR code and hear the correct answer on their phones or tablets.

TagMyDoc is a tool that allows you to apply a QR code to Word documents and PDFs that are stored on your computer. Upload your document then TagMyDoc creates and applies a QR code to it. You can print the document with the QR code on it or simply project the QR code for your students to scan and get a copy of the document on their mobile devices.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Stipple - Create and Search for Interactive Images

Stipple is a new service that allows you to create interactive images. The service launched in closed beta during the summer. Since the summer Stipple has left beta and has added a free iPhone app for creating interactive images on the go. Using Stipple you can upload an image and tag it with pinmarks. Within each pinmark you can include videos, links, text, audio files, and more images. Stipple also gives you the option to track where your images are viewed and shared by others. The video below provides an overview of Stipple's features.

Meet Stipple from stipple on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
Stipple is similar to the popular ThingLink service. Both services can be used by students to enhance images with videos and links that they find on the web. One possible use could be to have students upload images of the solar system (or parts of the solar system) then add pinmarks with videos and links about the solar system. During a field trip you could also have students take pictures of famous landmarks and add pinmarks with information about what makes those landmarks significant.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Three Ways to Make Useful QR Codes for Your Students

This morning I did a very simple QR code activity at the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp. QR codes were distributed on the tables in the room and two codes linked to prizes while the others linked to my blog. Creating that activity reminded me of Terri Eichholz's guest post from last year about creating interactive bulletin boards through the use of QR codes.

Here's a snippet from Terri's post mentioned above, First, I mixed up the artwork and poetry on the board so that they weren’t matched with each other.  Then I placed QR codes on the artwork that led the reader to an audio file in which the artist/poet read his or her poem.  I also placed QR codes that led the reader to Google Forms online that allowed the viewer to vote on their favorite pieces of art and poetry

Here are three tools that you can use to create QR codes to use in an activity like Terri's: is Google's URL shortening tool. When you shorten a link with a QR code is created for it too. To find the QR code, click the "details" link after your shortened URL has been made. The details page also shows you how many times your link has been used. This is useful to me if I want to make sure that all of my students have used the link. If I see that the link or QR code has been used 17 times, but I have 25 students, I immediately seek out the students who haven't followed the link.

QR Droid's QR Code Generator allows you to create QR codes that link to websites, chunks of text, phone numbers, email addresses, contact information, calendar events, and location coordinates. To create your QR code simply complete the information fields that you want to link to then select the display size for your QR code.

Russel Tarr developed the QR Treasure Hunt Generator. The QR Treasure Hunt Generator provides you with all of the things you need to get started creating your own QR codes and using them in your classroom. To use the QR Treasure Hunt Generator type out a series of questions and answers, generate the QR codes using the tool Russel Tarr provides, then print and display the codes around your classroom or school. Click here to view a sample QR Treasure Hunt.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Making Meaning With Mobile Apps

Yesterday afternoon my follow-up presentation to my keynote on collaborative learning with technology was titled Making Meaning With Mobile Apps. There were quite a few requests for the slides so I uploaded them to Slideshare and have posted them below. (The blank spaces are where I had video clips that I have licensed but cannot redistribute).

Friday, January 11, 2013

Augmented Reality Comes to Sesame Street

This week Qualcomm and Sesame Street Workshop unveiled an augmented reality application called Big Bird's Words. The app will prompt students to find objects that match the words on the mobile devices that they're holding. Students point their mobile device's camera at the object to see if they've found it. When the app will be available to everyone and the price for it (if any) hasn't been revealed yet, but I still think it's worth noting an putting on your list of things to watch for in 2013. Learn more about the apps in the videos below.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Use Duolingo to Learn a New Language on the Go

Duolingo is a free service that aims to help you learn Spanish, French, German, or Portuguese. Recently, Duolingo launched an iPhone app (it will also work on iPad but it isn't optimized for iPad) that allows you to practice a new language anywhere you go. The Duolingo iPhone app and website provide a variety of translation activities to help learn to you read, listen to, and translate words and phrases. The activities include looking at pictures that are representative of words and phrases. After reviewing a couple of pictures students are asked to type translations. The app gives immediate feedback to students.

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.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Get Kids Documenting Nature on Project Noah

As I mentioned in my previous post, this morning I gave a short presentation on mobile learning activities. One of the activities that I included in the presentation included the use of iNaturalist (previously reviewed here) and Project Noah to get your students outside and recording observations of nature.

Project Noah is a globally collaborative project to which anyone can contribute. On Project Noah you can share pictures and stories of the plants and the animals that you observe in your neighborhood. Project Noah has a section titled Missions in which you can find projects that you can contribute to. The Missions ask people to make contributions of images and observations about a specific animal, plant, or region. Check out the squirrel mission to get started.
Project Noah offers iOS and Android apps that you can use to record and share your observations on the go.

Applications for Education
Project Noah has a new Education section (still in beta) in which teachers can register their classrooms. Once registered teachers can assign Missions to their students and track their students' observations.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

StudyBlue Launches a New Way to Find Self-Study Material

StudyBlue is an online and mobile flashcard service that I've covered in the past. Today, they launched a new way for students to discover and create flashcard materials. Now when students create flashcards in StudyBlue they can also see 30 related flashcards from the community. For example, if I were to create a flashcard about photosynthesis, I would see 30 other flashcards on photosynthesis. I could then review my flashcard about photosynthesis as well as the 30 related flashcards on the topic. I could also add all or some of those community flashcards to my flashcard sets to review. The video below demonstrates this new feature in 27 seconds.

Applications for Education
Yesterday, in my post about Class Connect I wrote about how teachers can benefit from sharing resources with each other. The same can be said for students who share study materials on StudyBlue. Viewing the flashcards that other students have made about the same topic could provide students with a new way to think about and remember the topic they're studying.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Google Puts a Search App in the Windows Phone Marketplace

While Android and Apple devices dominate the smartphone market, there are other smartphones that our students are carrying. The last time I stopped into my local US Cellular store I noticed a few Windows phones available at very reasonable prices. I'm sure that students in my district are carrying those phones. (US Cellular is by far the most popular carrier in my area). So that's why I was happy to learn today from a CNET article that Google now has a search app in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

I don't own a Windows phone myself but, it seems that the Google search app in the Windows Phone Marketplace could be a good alternative to the Bing search and or trying to search through the browser on a Windows phone. If you have a Windows phone and you're tried the Google search app, please leave a comment.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

An Excellent Set of Mobile Learning Activities

I shared this on my Android 4 Schools blog earlier, but because it encompasses more than just Android devices, I'm sharing it here too.

Jackie Gerstein has just published a great free ebook that anyone interested in using mobile devices as instructional tools should read. Mobile Learning Reflections is eighty pages of detailed examples of leveraging mobile devices to create meaningful learning experiences for students.

You can see the ebook as embedded below or visit Issuu to download a free copy for yourself.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Does Cell Phone Use Lead to More Time Spent Studying?

StudyBlue, a mobile flashcard/ studying app that I've reviewed in the past, has released an infographic based on data about student use of mobile devices for studying. There isn't a lot of information on the infographic, but one thing that I did find interesting is that according to StudyBlue's data (based on more than 4000 cell phone users) students who use their cell phones for studying spend 40 minutes more studying each week than those who do not use cell phones for that purpose.

Applications for Education
While this infographic clearly isn't the most comprehensive study of cell phone use among students, it does give us one example of how cell phones can be useful for students. One reason why students who study on their cell phones spend more time studying is that they always have access to review materials. Instead of spending time telling students not to use their cell phones in school perhaps we should be spending time teaching students about apps like StudyBlue that they can use to study.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tag My Doc - Assign QR Codes to Your Documents

One of the things that I really like about QR codes is that they make it very easy to put useful information on your phone or tablet. Rather than trying to type a long address into your mobile browser's url bar (which can take me forever on a virtual keyboard) you can simply scan a code and open a website or file. There are a lot of tools out there for creating QR codes for webpages (including public Google Docs) but if you want to assign a QR code to a document that isn't online, that can be a little trickier unless you use Tag My Doc.

Tag My Doc is a new service that allows you to assign and print a QR code on your documents. The process is very simple. Just upload your document and let Tag My Doc generate a QR code for it. You can then print out your document with a QR code on it. The free version of the service allows you to store up to 1GB of documents on your Tag My Doc account, password protect your documents, and choose the placement of the QR code on your document.

Watch the video below to learn more about Tag My Doc.

Applications for Education
As I mentioned above, I think that one of the big benefits of QR codes is the ease with which you can put important content on your phone or tablet. Use Tag My Doc to put QR codes on the paper documents you distribute in your classroom. Then students can scan them to save them to their phones and tablets thereby eliminating the need for you to give out extra copies when if your students lose the paper documents you gave them.

If you're looking for a QR reader here are some that you can try:
Android - QR Droid
iPhone - QR Scanner
Windows & Blackberry - BeeTagg

Monday, November 21, 2011

iStoryBooks - A Great Storybook App for Tablets

iStoryBooks is a free iPad, iPhone, and Android app that offers two dozen free digital storybooks for kids ages two through eight. Most of the stories in the app are adaptations of classic children's tales like The Ugly Duckling. The story that I went through after installing the app on my Motorola Photon(my favorite of the three Android phones I've owned) is The Story of Thanksgiving. The app gives you the option to read each story or to read along with each story while listening to the narrator.

You can find the iOS version of iStorybooks here.
Get the app from the Android Market.
And now you can get iStoryBooks on Kindle Fire

Applications for Education
If you have or teach children under eight, iStoryBooks could be a great app to install on your iPad or Android-powered tablets. Children can practice reading and recognizing words by going through the stories with the narration turned on. Or you can turn the narration off and read the stories with your child or student.

On a personal note, this is one app that I'm sharing with my sister when I see her on Thanksgiving so that she can use it with my two year old niece.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Math Workout - A Great App for Keeping Your Math Skills Sharp

Math Workout is a free Android app for practicing your basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division skills. You can choose from six different practice activities. Each activity has its own series of progressively harder challenges. I started out using just the addition and multiplication activities that provide twenty problems to solve in your head. Your score for the activity is based on accuracy and speed. So that you can see if you're improving from day to day, Math Workout keeps a record of your scores for you.

After warming up with the basic activities on Math Workout I moved on and played Brain Cruncher. Brain Cruncher presents a series of calculations that you have to perform and keep track of in your head until you arrive at the final solution input field. Each calculation task appears on its own screen so you cannot see what the previous calculation was. Here's an example of a Brain Cruncher problem, "start with 10, divide by two, add thirteen, multiply by 3, subtract 6."

Here's a short video review of Math Workout. (Note, this video review is of the "pro" version which offers more challenges and is ad-free).

Applications for Education
Math Workout could provide a great way for students and adults to keep their basic mathematics skills sharp. Students can spend a few minutes each day on the app and track their progress. To see they measure up to the millions of other Math Workout users, students can try the 90 question Online World Challenge in Math Workout.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Three Vocabulary Apps for Android That I'm Testing

This morning I had the opportunity to run a couple of short workshops at my own school. Other than the initial oddness of being "the consultant" in the place where I've worked for almost nine years, it went well. The workshops I ran were based around our new school agenda of helping students improve their vocabularies and in turn improving the SAT scores on which we're judged as a school. (For the record, I don't agree with teaching to a test, particularly one as flawed as the SAT. That said, I was asked to present some tools that teachers and students could use to practice SAT vocabulary so that's what I did this morning).

One of the things that came up in the course of a conversation in the workshop was the idea of having students use their cell phones to study. And since in my district Android phones outnumber iPhones by at least 10 to 1, I thought I'd test out some Android apps for studying vocabulary. Here are the three that I am testing on my own phone right now.

Vocab Builder, built by Gordon Hempton, was the first app that I installed. I chose it, in part, because it has the most 5 star ratings of any of the apps I browsed through. Vocab Builder also offers more words than most of the other free apps that I looked at. You can use the app to quiz yourself in a flashcard style of matching words to definitions or matching definitions to words. A good companion to Vocab Builder, from the same developer, is Beworded which is a "Boggle-style" word game.

Wordalation, developed by Appulearn, is the second app that I installed on my phone. I chose Wordalation because it offers a text to voice feature for hearing your vocabulary words and definitions pronounced. I also like that Wordalation presents the vocabulary words in groups of ten. Study a group of ten until you think you know them all before moving onto another set of ten words.

Vocopedia is the third app that I installed on my phone. Vocopedia offers a very large selection of vocabulary words that commonly appear on the SAT. To study the words you can use the standard flashcard method of reading a word and guessing the definition. You can also use the Vocopedia hangman game to practice identifying and spelling the words in your vocabulary lists. I have to admit that I'm not as keen on Vocopedia as I am the other two apps, but that could change depending upon the feedback I get when my students try these apps.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tracks - Make Stories On Your iPhone

Tracks is an iPhone app for creating short photo stories with your friends on the go. Using the app you can create a sequence of images you take with your phone. You and your friends can comment on each shared picture. The app also lets you geolocate the images on a map to help tell your stories.

Applications for Education
When I first saw this app a few days ago I immediately thought that it could be useful for students to create stories about their neighborhoods and towns while walking. For example students could visit a series of important landmarks in their towns, take pictures, then work together to create a story by commenting on each image with information about the landmarks.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Class Parrot - Text Students and Parents for Free

Class Parrot is a new service that enables teachers to send text messages to groups of students and parents. Using Class Parrot teachers send text messages from their computers. Class Parrot keeps the students' and parents' phone numbers private.

Here's how Class Parrot works; teachers create a different group messaging program for each class that they teach. Each group that a teacher creates is assigned a unique opt-in code. Teachers give that code to students and parents. Then if a student or parent would like to receive messages from the teacher, they can simply opt-in by texting the opt-in code to Class Parrot.

Applications for Education
Class Parrot is still in beta so you do have to register and wait for an invitation. That said, Class Parrot could prove to be a great way to send reminders and other important information to students and parents. Class Parrot claims that recipients open 98% of text messages compared to 22% of emails, that alone is a good reason to give their text messaging service a try.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

SnaPanda - Scan a Word, Get a Definition

Update: As of February 2013 SnaPanda is no longer available.

SnaPanda is a free Android app that could help students expand their vocabulary. With SnaPanda installed on your phone you can point it at any clearly printed word on a page in a book, in a magazine, or on a sign and get the definition of that word. To do this just activate the app, point your phone's camera at a word, and touch the word. SnaPanda then provides you with definitions for that word and examples of the word in use. SnaPanda users can save scanned words to a list for later review. Your lists can be shared via email, Twitter, and Facebook.

Here is a video explanation of SnaPanda.

Applications for Education
SnaPanda could be a great app for students to use when they visit a museum on a field trip. While reading placards associated with the artifacts they see in a museum they can use SnaPanda to get definitions of any words that are unfamiliar to them.