Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Free Apps 12/11/13

All apps were free when I created this post.  If the app is no longer free, that means the publisher changed the price. Not all apps are educational. 

Even Monster’s Say They Are Sorry book:

Night Zookeepers Teleporting Torch:

Elephant Feed (game to match synonyms)

Crackers & Goo (teaching math)

Stage: Interactive Whiteboard & Document Camera:

Other Information:

QR Code Implementation in the Classroom:

10 Steps to Better Student Engagement:



Friday, December 6, 2013

Free App Friday!

All apps were free when I created this post.  If the app is no longer free, that means the publisher changed the price. Not all apps are educational.

Composer Pro (normally 9.99)   Use Composer for interactive presentations, tutorials and design prototypes.
Multiplication with Math Mathews:

Wild, Wooly, Wonderful Critters: (this one is pretty neat normally $9.99)

Beard Power – Give Santa a Shave:

VeggieTales Silly Song Favorites:

Dot Connector: Learn ABC’s and 123’s

Alphabet Dots: Build ABC Confidence:

Together Time with Song and Rhyme for Parent & Preschooler Play:

Ava & Avior Save the Earth:  (recycling)

Animal Puzzles for Kids with Schills: Shape Games:

Cutie Monsters – Jigsaw Puzzles:

Friday, November 22, 2013

Book Creator - iPad App

Book Creator

I've been looking for a fun and engaging app for students to create projects that don't involve PowerPoint or writing a paper.  Book Creator allows students to create their projects in a book form.  The user is able to upload photos from their camera roll, take photos, hand write text, add text and even add sound.  After the user is finished with their book, he/she can Open it in iBooks and share with the class.  My daughter's class just created a hard cover book.  It would be fun to let the students create a digital book as well (plus it's free for parents then :)
As a technology integration specialist, I think this app is very engaging.  The app is also able to be turned in to Schoology, if you are using that as your LMS.  The teacher is able to look through the book and grade it, then have the students upload their book for their peers to download and enjoy.
The program creates an .ePub file that can be shared.  Students can send the file home, keep in their iBooks, etc.

Ways to integrate Book Creator:

  • About Me iBook
  • Biography iBook
  • Book Reviews
  • Life Cycle
  • Water Cycle
  • History Timeline but in a book format
  • Math problems
  • History lessons
  • Art Portfolio
  • Student Portfolio
  • Books for your students created by teacher
  • Anything you can think of!
I'd love to hear if your teachers are using Book Creator in their classes.  Comment below!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Grading "Papers" on the iPad

I work in several schools that are 1:1 with iPads.  One of the biggest complaints from teachers is how cumbersome it is to grade on an iPad.  Yesterday I was researching for an easier way and ran across a great app, MarkUp by Learnbat, Inc.

What MarkUp does is pure genius.  When you purchase the app and create an account, the app assigns you an email address.  Students then submit their assignments to the MarkUp email address.  (Don't worry, it's not another email address you have to check!)  The app automatically strips the attachment from the email and posts the assignment (attachment) in the MarkUp app.  The teacher opens the MarkUp app and corrects the assignment.  Return it to the student via email -- the other best part is coming up!  The app recalls the email address that is associated with the assignment.  So teachers do not need to keep track of student emails either!

I encourage you to try this app out.  I showed it to 3 teachers this morning and they were pretty excited for it.  They will be testing it for a week and I'll let you know more about what they think of it!

MarkUp by Learnbat, Inc.

In Education,

Friday, November 1, 2013

1:1 - What to do when the Internet Goes Down

You are a 1:1 school and the Internet/Network just went down.  No need to panic! Take a couple of deep breaths and know you can continue on with class.  Most of our teaching material is housed in an LMS (such as Schoology) or on a website. So you panic and think that students are not going to be able to work or do their homework.

Wrong!  I suggest keeping 1 paper copy of your worksheets on hand for a "just in case" moment.  In this situation, you are able to have students pull up an app like "CamScanner HD" and scan the worksheet.  The app takes a picture of the worksheet and turns it into a PDF.  After the worksheet has been made into a PDF, student can open in Notability (or whatever program you use for annotation) and complete their work.

There are plenty of apps students can use that do not require the Internet.  I am assuming you still have textbooks in your class (at least most of the schools I work with do).  Quizlet is an app that students can use to create flashcards.  Have students go through the chapter and create vocab flashcards or flashcards about things they think may be important. Take notes the "old fashioned" way -- remember, on the whiteboard?  Students can still use Notability to take their notes.

How about you?  What have you done in an emergency situation when the network/Internet goes out?  Please leave a comment below!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tablets as a Document Camera

Have you always wanted a document camera (example: ELMO) in your classroom?  If you have a Tablet (LearnPad, Android, Windows, iPad) you already have a document camera!

Instead of shelling out more money on a document camera; use the Tablet you already own.  The picture below shows a tablet on a stand.  You can also setup a stack of books or something similar and have the tablet's camera hang over the edge.  Be sure to keep students away from the area when you are using the document camera so there aren't any accidental bumps.  Using software like AirServer, you can project the tablet's image to the SmartBoard.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Twitter - Stop the Hacking!

If you have a Twitter account, personal or professional, please read below:

If someone direct messages you (like an email in your Twitter) DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK in the message.  Your account WILL get hacked.  If you have clicked on a link that someone sent you be sure to change your password right away.  Plus I would recommend putting out a Tweet that says your account was compromised and to NOT click on any links your account may have sent out. 

Here is an example of a message:

Friday, October 11, 2013

Call for Presenters to SW/WC's This is IT Tech Conference

This is ITT 2014  
March 14, 2014 - The Centers@Southwest Minnesota State University, Marshall, Minnesota
Pre-Conference Workshops: March 13, 2014 - SW/WC Service Cooperative, Marshall, Minnesota
Tweet about us! #SWWC2014


Conference Session Proposals
Presentation Proposals are now being accepted. Deadline for proposals is November 22, 2013.
This is IT2 Presentation Proposal Online Submission Form
  • Selected presenters will receive complimentary admission for This is IT2  on Friday, March 14, 2014.
  • Complimentary Admission will be limited to 2 presenters per session. 
  • Presenters at our March 13, 2014 Pre-Conference workshops will also receive complimentary admission to the Friday, March 14, 2014 Conference. 
  • Complimentary admission to our March 13, 2014 Pre-Conference is only offered to those presenting at the Pre-Conference Workshops.
  • Vendors wishing to present or co-present must be registered as a conference exhibitor or conference sponsor.

About Our 2014 Keynote Speaker
Rob Mancabelli We are excited to announce our keynote speaker will be Rob Mancebelli, author of Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education. Rob has spent over a decade developing 21st-Century learning environments, is a former school district Technology Director and he writes a column for District Administration magazine. Rob also inspires audiences with insights into 21st-Century learning, strategies for engaging stakeholders, and methods for transforming organizations.
Rob’s expertise comes from a deep background in education, planning, and leadership. He received his MBA from MIT and earned his international certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP). Rob worked in public and private schools for fifteen years, as a teacher and then technology director, directing dozens of large-scale projects that used technology to improve learning outcomes. He served on the state-level task force for New Jersey High School Redesign, and he was chosen by Apple as one of the first five K-12 content contributors to iTunes University. Rob serves on educational advisory boards for Dell Computer and Acer Corporation.
Learn More About Rob and Bright Bytes:

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday Apps

 SW/WC App Newsletter
Please feel free to forward this message to anyone who you feel would benefit from it.  I encourage you to sign up to receive this email directly to your email address.
**Please note, NOT ALL APPS are free.**

iPad Apps!
**If the App is no longer free, that means it has gone off sale. Not every app listed is free**

Android Apps!
**If the App is no longer free, that means it has gone off sale.**

Windows 8 Apps!
Go to the Windows 8 Store on your device to download the following apps. Not all apps are free - they are just suggested apps to help you.

Speech Trans
Haiku Learning
Babbel - Learn Spanish
DragonBox - Master Algebra
Carmen Sandiego
National Geographic Weird But True Facts
Physics: Serial and Parallel Circuits
Sketchbook Express
Mingoville - Learn to Tell Time
iTooch Math (grades 3-6 apps)
The Night Sky
World Atlas by National Geographic

Technology Integration Specialist
1420 East College Drive
Marshall, Minnesota 56258

Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
View our videos on YouTube
Find me on Pinterest

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

iOS 7 Review

After having iOS 7 for a couple of weeks I feel at home with the new operating system.  There are a few features that stand out in my opinion.

The first being the new way to close apps.  Apple has made it a lot easier to close running apps with iOS 7.  While I wish they would still include a "Close All" button to quickly close all running apps; this new way to close apps is sure a lot faster.  I also like that you have a screen shot of what apps are currently open in the background.

As a Technology Integration Specialist, I like the idea that it is suggested to users to put a lock code on their iPads.  Every time I train teachers, I suggest that they include a pass lock on their iPad for security.  Some follow my suggestion while others do not.  Teachers should always have a pass lock on their iPads to secure private information as well as secure their emails.

Auto updating of Apps.  This setting is pure genius!  I always hated to see how many updates I had; but at the same time I never took time to update.  Having the apps auto update will be great for students who are in a 1:1 setting plus teaching staff.

I am still trying to get use to the Search feature.  I honestly wish they would have left it as it was with incorporating it into the swipe down feature.  It's not hard; but it will take time to get use to.  It would be ideal if Apple would include both ways.

I also like the look to the new iOS.  It looks clean and I must say that it reminds me of my Android phone :)  I like the look of the new icons with the exception of the calendar app.  I can't ever seem to find it!  I miss having the red stripe across the top as it was easy to spot.  There are so many new features with this update that I won't mention in this blog but really enjoy.  I also like that Apple has allowed quick access to turning off/on bluetooth and wifi.

Friday, September 6, 2013

LearnPad Tablets

This past week, I attended a 2-day Certification Training for the LearnPad at Tierney Brothers.  I know what you are thinking, it looks similar to an iPad....and it does. The LearnPad XD is a 10.1" Quad-Core Android Tablet running 4.1.1 with 16GB of storage (plus more with an SD card), and 1GB of RAM.  The LearnPad is created by the SunBurst Company; which has been around for years.

Unlike the iPad and other tablets, it's the only proven tablet built for education.  Let me explain this a little further.  The LearnPad is different because the store only contains educational free apps (paid apps will be coming at a later date).  Teachers are able to create lessons based on worksheets, web, reading materials, apps, etc. I felt that it was a lot easier to take my lessons that I had created and just move them to the LearnPad.  I didn't feel like I was re-creating the wheel when it came to teaching.  Essentially, a teacher will create a folder (lesson) that contains everything the student will need.  One feature I fell in love with is a teacher can have students go to a specific website with the click of a button.  The student clicks on an icon and the website pulls up.  However, you can limit if the student can click on any other parts of the website to go to another site.  Students, unless enabled to, are not able to just "surf" the web or play games unless you give the permission.

Technology Coordinators will not have to have a configurator or any other device to manage the LearnPad.  The teacher is in control of what apps the students have access to, what websites they can see, etc.  There is not a lot that the technology coordinator has to do!  

Students can either scan QR Codes to get the lessons or the teacher can push the lessons out to the LearnPads.  Need special assignments for some students?  Not an issue!  You can easily copy a pre-made lesson and change it to meet the needs of your students.  

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Teaching for Today!

Lately I've felt like I have been in fast-forward mode.  Everyday I am driving to a different school district to provide technology integration training to a staff at a school.  Of course, every school is different.  I've provided training on going 1:1 for when the students come back, Schoology, Google Drive, etc.

Most teachers are excited to learn the new tools and new tricks to use in their classrooms; however, it always comes back to time.  If you are working on something that is going to be great, it will take some time on your part as a teacher.  We can all think back to the first few years of teaching.  We were excited to start our career and help students!  We were creative with how we set up our classroom, how we taught the lesson; but some, have lost this passion.  Some teachers are stuck in the past and don't want to update materials in fear it may "take extra time."  This saddens me as a former educator.  I can't tell you how many hours I use to put in over the summer months preparing for my next years classes. I knew some assignments were amazing because of the way my students reacted and I also knew I needed to revamp others.  I would also bring work home past 3:05 because I needed to.

We are living in a world that is much different than the past.  While, technology can be scary at times, it can also be extremely exciting!  Keep thinking positive thoughts about HOW this will change your student's thoughts about certain subject areas. Our students have never lived without technology.  They do not know the days of a rotary phone, is that, it's not.  I never knew of a time without color TV.  As always, things change in our lives.  I think back to my grandparents, they didn't have calculators but my parents did. Did the use of calculators change their teachers style of math, probably.  It was new and different, but technology is not going to go away.

I like the Norman Rockwell picture below for several reasons.
1. I can see the love the teacher has in her eyes for her students.
2. It shows how *most* of our classrooms still look the same.  All students sit in neat rows looking at the front of the room.  
3. And of course, it's a Normal Rockwell :)

But seriously, if your classroom still looks like it did when you attended school you need to revive it!  Students need 21st Century Skills and one of those skills is working together and collaborating.  Go ahead and put your students in pods.  It may spark a conversation or better yet, creativity!  We, as teachers, are no longer the ones who hold all of the information.  If we don't know the answer to something, we "Google it" -- yes, times are a changin'.  Instead, allow your students to use iPads, Androids, Laptops, Phones, etc in your class (gasp!).  The need for memorization is not needed, as we have access to knowledge at our fingertips!  Encourage students to use the web or certain apps to find the information that is requested.  You'll be amazed at how excited they will become.

I'm sure you can relate to having out-dated textbooks.  Instead, have students read current events as they are happening!  Follow Twitter hashtags regarding wars in other countries.  The way that I found out about the Boston Bombing was because of Social Media.  I do not watch the news (like my parents and grandparents did) - instead I get my news off of the Internet.  I go to CNN, Facebook and Twitter to find out what is happening in the world.  I don't have to wait until a certain time of the day to find out "what happened in our world" or "what will the weather be like".  

When setting up your classroom this year, please take a moment to reflect on this article.  Think about what will be BEST for the STUDENTS of TODAY.....not what will be the easiest to do.

In Education,
Kara Damm :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Quick and Easy Ways to Use the iPad When Teaching

Several teachers have no idea where to begin when it comes to teaching with an iPad.  Without the proper professional development; staff will continue to be lost on how to incorporate this wonderful tool into their classroom.  I have spent the past 2 years researching ways to use the iPad as a teaching tool rather than an expensive gaming system, email reader, or surfing the web.  If you are interested in learning more about how to teach with an iPad, please consider attending the SW/WC iLearn Classes held this Fall and Winter.

1) Use it to help flip your classroom with several different recording apps.
2) Invite others into your classroom via Skype
3) Do formative assessments with your iPad

To learn more please visit:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reflections on FlipCon13

I arrived home late last night from what I say, is one of the best conferences I have attended.  FlipCon13 was held in Stillwater, MN this year which gave me the opportunity to attend.  I met many great educators and even met some of my Twitter family.

Thoughts about FlipCon13:

  • The (almost) paperless environment of the workshop.  While they still printed maps, I would have liked to see QRCodes with the important information as we arrived.  This way we could scan the code and have the maps, etc right on our devices.
  • The setup of the conference was great.  It was held at the Stillwater High School, which I might add was larger than any of my college buildings.  It was easy to find all of the classes as they were located on the 2nd floor.
  • Almost all of my sessions were completely worth it!  I have been researching the Flipped Classroom for over a year.  I was taught many new tips and tricks over the past two days.  I can't wait to pass on the information to the schools I work with as well as teach the new ideas in my workshops.
  • Some classrooms were a little overcrowded but that is to be expected.  People had no problems sitting on the floor :)  
  • Having Ramsey as a keynote speaker!!  It seems like he is someone famous (well in the Flipped World).  His students are so lucky to have him as their teacher.  He brings such energy and passion to the classroom.  I am very thankful I was able to see his Keynote as well as attend one of his sessions.
It's an exciting time to be a teacher!  I think Flipping the Classroom is something that teachers should really look into.  Yes, it will take you a little time up front to make the videos and rearrange your teaching style; but I feel the benefits outweigh the time it will take you!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Favorite Apps

Being a Technology Integration Specialist, I am always asked, "What is your favorite apps?"  I can usually rattle a few of my favorites off the top of my head; but I know I am forgetting some.  So I thought I'd post my favorite Apps.  Not all have to do with education, but the majority of them do.  Apps with the asterisk (*) are apps that could be easily implemented into the classroom.


  • Chrome to Phone*
  • SwiftKey
  • Weatherology*
  • Facebook
  • Flipboard*
  • SVTP Lite
  • 4 Pics 1 Word*
  • Vine*
  • CamScanner HD*
  • Sleep Fan
  • iHeartRadio
  • Evi
  • NFC Task Launcher

  • TeamViewer*
  • Puppet Pals 2*
  • Puppet Pals HD Director's Pass*
  • Socrative*
  • Flipboard*
  • Vine*
  • Explain Everything*
  • Notability*
  • iMovie*
  • eClicker Presenter*
  • Goodreads*
  • Skype*
  • Twitter*
  • Facebook
  • Google Drive*
  • Comic Life*
  • Qrafter*
  • CamScanner HD*
  • Doceri*

Windows 8:

  • Fotoroom*
  • Ballstrike*
  • How Stuff Works*
  • Essay marker*
  • People
  • Messenger


I received my work Chromebook and am excited as I begin using it.  I think Chromebook has a huge potential in the education world.  Before you jump into a Chromebook for your 1:1 project, make sure you purchase one and read about the affordable laptop.  It may not fit into the needs of everyone.

So far, I have enjoyed using the Chromebook.  What many people don't realize is that the Chromebook does not run any software unless you can find it on the Chromestore.  So, no Microsoft Office.  Which is okay with me since I use Google Drive a lot.  If you can run it off of a website; it will work unless it has Java, which Chromebooks do not support.


  • Keyboarding on the CB
  • Built-In Flash
  • Everything I need is tied to one account, Google
  • Snappy bootup speed (approx 8 seconds)
  • Chrome Extensions
  • Guest Login
  • Lightweight
  • Price 
  • Almost zero setup (just login with your Google Account)
  • Auto updates


  • Doesn't support Java/Silverlight
  • Some classes may have a hard time using CB without certain software being able to be installed
  • Battery Life - about 6 hours, so students would need to be able to charge.  In my office, the battery life doesn't bother me; but for day to day use by students they would need to charge during the day.
  • No Skype - I like Skype but can use Google Hangout
  • To use some apps you will need to be online (but really, who isn't?!)
  • I can't install TeamViewer or another program like this because Chromebook doesn't allow for program installs
  • No SMART Board software