Monday, June 29, 2015

SeeSaw - Easily Create Digital Portfolios on iPads, Chromebooks, and Android Tablets

Disclosure: SeeSaw's parent company is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

SeeSaw, a powerful and popular iPad app for creating digital portfolios, is now available as a Chrome web app and as an Android app. The new apps allow students to create and add content to digital portfolios.

Through SeeSaw students can add artifacts to their portfolios by taking pictures of their work (in the case of a worksheet or other physical item), by writing about what they've learned, or by uploading a short video about things they have learned. The SeeSaw apps students can add voice comments to their pictures to clarify what their pictures document. Students can create folders withing their accounts to organize content from multiple subject areas.

Applications for Education
To get started with Seesaw create a free classroom account. Students join the classroom by scanning a QR code (you will have to print it or project it) or entering a classcode that grants them access to your Seesaw classroom. As the teacher you can see and sort all of your students' Seesaw submissions. SeeSaw allows parents to create accounts through which they can see the work of their children. As a teacher you can send notifications to parents when their children make a new SeeSaw submission.

Create Stop Motion Animations with KomaKoma

This is a guest post from Kate Wilson (@katewilson13) of EdTechTeacher, an advertiser on this site.

Stop Motion was one of the original video creation techniques. By stringing together a series of single images and displaying them quickly in order, film was born. Now on iPad, Stop Motion can be used as a technique for capturing learning as it happens, making drawings, models, science projects, or counting exercises come alive. Consider the power of creating a digital flipbook that could later be viewed as a video.

Introduction to KomaKoma

KomaKoma is a FREE Stop Motion iPad App that can compile together a series of photos taken in the app and then export them to the Camera Roll as a video. With a simple user interface consisting of only a few buttons, KomaKoma is very intuitive. The app launches the camera automatically (first time app users will have to allow the Camera access). A big red record button captures each image in sequence, and a big green play button plays the images back as a video. The only other 2 editing buttons are a blue “X” to delete the last image taken, and a yellow arrow for saving the video to the app’s Gallery.

Koma Koma EdTechTeacher

A great feature that sets this app aside from a regular video creation app like iMovie, is the Onion Skin. While you move/draw/create each image, the previous image remains on the screen but slightly transparent allowing the creator to line up the old and new images to create a fluid video. Onion Skin and other settings such as playback speed, camera orientation, and a time lapse feature can be turned on and off under the Settings in the upper right corner of the app (a little wrench).

The number of images in a “FlipBook” is logged on a counter at the bottom. To preview the images in the sequence, tap the green Play button to watch your video on a continuous loop. Tapping the play button again will pause and allow for continued editing. Once you are satisfied with the video, tap the yellow up arrow to send the video to the KomaKoma app’s Gallery. If you would like to send the video the Camera Roll to use it somewhere else, or view it in another app, tap on the Gallery icon in the upper right and then select the clip. This automatically pops up an Options menu offering a variety of features including Saving to the Camera Roll.

Made with KomaKoma, EdTechTeacher logo


The biggest challenge for the app is coming up with a device that can hold the iPad steady enough to capture the images seamlessly. The example video using PlayDoh used the PlayDoh containers stacked up on either side of the iPad as a stand.

Ideas for using KomaKoma in the classroom:

  • Demonstrating mathematics understanding with manipulatives and/or hand writing
  • Showing the process carried out of a science experiment step by step
  • Bringing life to a diorama with moving Lego characters
  • Using the time lapse feature to study a slow moving process (Note: iPad must be plugged in and iPad sleep settings altered to NOT turn off).
  • Bonus Tip!: Have a Greenscreen App like DoInk’s Green Screen? Manipulate objects in front of green wrapping paper or construction paper, then bring the video into your favorite Green Screen app to place your objects anywhere!

EdTechTeacher CFP ettipad BostonDo you have a story to tell about using iPads in the classroom? Submit a proposal to the EdTechTeacher iPad Summit in Boston, November 17-18, 2015. Proposals due August 31, 2015. Learn more at ettipad.org/cfp

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Teaching American History Through Art

Picturing America is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. Picturing America is an interactive gallery of artwork related to events, people, and themes in American history. You can browse the gallery chronologically or by theme. Click on any image in the gallery to learn about the artist and the artwork itself. Along with the background information for each image, Picturing America provides links to additional resources for learning about the artwork and artists.

Applications for Education
Picturing America's Educators Resource page contains a resource book that you can download for free. The resource book contains printable background sheets about each piece of art in the Picturing America gallery. The resource book includes questions and activity suggestions for using each piece of art in elementary school, middle school, and high school classrooms. The resource book can be downloaded as one file or you can download chapters individually.

Dozens of Online Games and Quizzes About Grammar

Road to Grammar is a free resource featuring quizzes, games, and lessons for English language learners. Visitors to Road to Grammar will find grammar quizzes. Most of the quizzes provide students with instant feedback. Part of the feedback that students receive on the quizzes they take includes explanations why an answer is correct or incorrect. Before taking the quizzes visitors can work through a series of practice activities.

Applications for Education
In addition to the resources that students can use individually, Road to Grammar offers some downloadable resources for teachers. Teachers will find the collection of eight downloads offer discussion starters for English lessons, lesson warm-up activities, and some worksheets.

Design a Green Helicopter for Sikorsky's Helicopter 2050 Challenge

For the fifth year in a row Sikorsky is hosting a helicopter design contest for students. The Helicopter 2050 Challenge asks students between the ages of nine through sixteen, to design unique and environmentally-friendly helicopters.

To enter the challenge students should sketch/ illustrate their helicopter designs, how the helicopter will work, the environmentally-friendly aspects of their designs, and what makes their helicopters from others that currently exist. The winner of the design contest receives a scholarship from Sikorksy and a trip to Sikorsky headquarters.

Sikorsky has put together a nice brainstorming page to help students develop ideas for their helicopter designs. For schools and museums Sikorsky has a digital binder of activities designed around the Helicopter 2050 contest.