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.

The Great Energy Challenge - Interactive Posters and Quizzes

The Great Energy Challenge is a National Geographic feature that offers some nice interactive posters for evaluating personal and global energy consumption.

Global Electricity Outlook is an interactive display of electricity consumption across the globe. You can view the global picture or click on the map to view regional consumption. The display shows the means of electricity production globally and regionally. To see how shifting production sources would impact the world or a region use the sliders below the map.

The Global Carbon Footprints map provides four ways of looking at carbon footprints created by the largest economies in the world. You can roll over the map to view carbon footprints on a per capita basis, cumulative basis, intensity, and current totals.

The Personal Energy Meter is a tool for evaluating your personal carbon footprint. The meter asks for your location then asks a series of questions about your energy consumption. The result compares you to the average person in your region. I was below average in my footprint until I entered the number of flights I take every year. Wow! Flying leaves a huge carbon footprint.

Applications for Education
The Great Energy Challenge could be a good resource for anyone teaching an introductory lesson on energy production and consumption. The Personal Energy Meter asks questions about utility bills. Therefore, most students will need to ask their parents for help. That could be a good way to get parents involved, even if only for a few minutes, in discussions with their children about what they're studying in school.

My 2011 Edublog Awards Nominations

Last week the 2011 Edublog Awards nomination process opened. Thank you to everyone that has nominated Free Technology for Teachers for awards.

I am not making nominations in all of the categories this year. There are three reasons for that. First, I don't feel that I have a wide enough view on some of the categories. Second, some of the categories don't really make sense to me (best Twitter hashtag?). Third, in a couple of categories I fear that my nominations could be construed as conflicts of interest.

Here are my 2011 Edublog Awards nominations:
Best Individual Blog - Moving at the Speed of Creativity - Wes Fryer
Best Open PD/ Unconference - EdCamp (in all of their forms and locations)
Best Resource Sharing Blog - Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day
Best School Administrator's Blog - The Principal's Page
Best Educational Use of Twitter - Steven Anderson
Best New Blog - Hack Education
Lifetime Achievement - Wes Fryer (now Dr. Wesley Fryer, congratulations Wes!)

The K12 Online Conference - Keynote Today

The K12 Online Conference is a great opportunity to experience some excellent, free professional development. The conference was kicked-off this morning with a keynote by Angela Maiers. Angela's presentation is embedded below. This year's K12 Online Conference theme is Purposeful Play. The annual online conference kicks into high gear next week with four new presentations each day.

Math in the News - Will the NBA Play This Year?

Media 4 Math has a nice regular feature called Math in the News. Math in the News offers ideas for short mathematics lessons based on current news stories. The current lesson that grabbed my attention is Will There Be an NBA Season? The lesson focuses on using revenue and expense reports to determine profitability. You can view the lesson in the Slideshare presentation below.

Applications for Education
Media 4 Math's Math in the News lessons could be one way to try to reach students with the idea that math is integrated into much more than might imagine. The NBA lesson could be particularly useful with young people who enjoy sports, but might not enjoy mathematics.

H/T to Jim Lerman.