Monday, March 9, 2015

TinyTap Introduces Challenge Mode for Building Games on iPads and Android Tablets

TinyTap is a fantastic free iPad app and Android app for building fun and interactive review games. With the app you can create games based on pictures, diagrams, videos, and icons. The latest update to the app enables you to include a challenge mode in your games.

TinyTap's challenge mode allows you to add scoreboards to your games so that players can see how they stack-up against each other. The challenge mode also lets you create time limits on your games and create "lives" for players in each of the games that you create.
Image courtesy of TinyTap PR.
If the challenge mode doesn't appeal to you there are plenty of other great aspects to TinyTap games. One of my favorite aspects is the option to build shape puzzles in the app. I demonstrate that process in the video embedded below.

Applications for Education
One of the ways for using TinyTap that I have shared in the past is to create games to help students learn about their classrooms and school building. You could use TinyTap to take pictures of hallways and rooms in your school then turn those pictures into identification games.

At the upper elementary and middle school levels creating TinyTap shape puzzles is a good way for students to practice recognizing important parts of a flowchart, a cell diagram, or a storyboard.

iStoryBooks Now Offers Premium Books for Free to Teachers

iStoryBooks is a good service that for the last few years has offered classic children's books for free through their iPad and Android apps. Today, I received an email from their PR department in which they announced that now all of the books in the apps will be free to teachers. Directions for getting a free premium subscription are copied below.

To request a free subscription, teachers need only contact iMarvel, the app’s developers. This can be done by visiting and clicking the “contact us” link on the web page. Teachers are asked to include promotion code TCH0315 in the message. They will then be contacted with further instructions to finalize the subscription. Free subscriptions are currently being offered for any interested teacher but, the offer is subject to change at any time without notice. The free subscription provides access to the complete collection of eBooks including 55 premium content books that normally costs $0.99 monthly.

Applications for Education
The iStoryBooks iPad app and Android app gives students the option to read each story on their own or to read along with each story while listening to the narrator. 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.

Simple Search Strategies Your Students May Be Overlooking

Over the years I've written about advanced web search strategies shared by Daniel Russel. And I've written about alternative search engines that have come and gone over the years. But often times students don't have to dive into complex strategies and databases in order to find a lot of great information. In the slides embedded below I have outlined some simple search strategies that can be powerful when students remember to employ them.

These slides are the basis of a presentation that I will be giving on March 31st as part of Simple K12's afternoon of Google Apps webinars.

Disclosure: I am being compensated to present this free webinar.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Join Me In Maine for the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp

It might be cold and snowy in Maine, but I'm already planning my summer. The highlight of the last two summers for me has been hosting the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp. I'm pleased to announce that I'll be hosting it again this summer.

This year's Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp will be held on July 13th and 14th at Holiday Inn By the Bay in Portland, Maine. This new location is walking distance to the ocean, great restaurants, and only ten minutes to the beach.

Click here to learn more about the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp.

Highlights of the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp

  • Practical ideas for using technology in your classroom. 
  • A small, collaborative, hands-on learning environment. 
  • Bring your laptop because you’ll be doing, not listening. 
  • Sixteen+ hours of learning in a relaxed and picturesque setting
  • Develop a repertoire of new tools and tactics to effectively integrate technology into your lessons. 
  • Click here for a general outline of the two days.
The Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp registration is $397 if you register by April 16th. 
Registration includes breakfast and lunch both days. 

Click here register today!

Three Free Tools for Creating Data Visualizations

Last night I shared the news about Canva's new education site that offers lesson plans the incorporate creating visual representations of information. I realize that Canva is not for everyone as it might be too simple for some applications or there is something else about it that you just don't like. Here are some other tools that I've used over the years to create data visualizations.

Map a List turns Google Spreadsheet information into Google Maps placemarks. The finished product is a Google Map of the information you've selected from your Google Spreadsheets. To create a map from your spreadsheets you need to register for a Map a List account and give it access to your Google Docs account. Map a List then walks you through each step of selecting a spreadsheet, defining the parameters for your map, and choosing placemarks. Just like in Google Maps you can customize the placemark icons that are used in your Map a List displays. Your maps can be shared publicly or privately. Your maps can be downloaded as KML files to use in Google Earth. is an online tool for creating interactive charts and graphs. Soon you will be able to create interactive infographic posters on too. There are four basic chart types that you can create on; bar, pie, line, and matrix. Each chart type can be edited to use any spreadsheet information that you want to upload to your account. The information in that spreadsheet will be displayed in your customized chart. When you place your cursor over your completed chart the spreadsheet information will appear in small pop-up window. Your charts can be embedded into your blog, website, or wiki.

Gapminder is a great tool for creating data visualizations. Gapminder gives users the ability to create graphs of hundreds of demographic and economic indicators. I like Gapminder because it provides a good way for visual learners to see data sets in a context that is significantly different from standard data sets. Gapminder has a page for educators on which they can find thematic animations, graphs, quizzes, model lessons, and a PDF guide to using Gapminder. For teachers working in schools with slow Internet connections or very strict filtering, Gapminder has a desktop application that you can download and install for Mac or Windows computers.

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