Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lifecard App Review & AppSmashing

I recently discovered a really fun app called, Lifecards by Vivid Apps.  For a low price of $1.99, you have access to many different themes: Plain, Film, Black, Reflections, Travel, Birthday and party, Children and Animals, Baby, Water and Beach, Flowers, Fruits and Food, Halloween, Christmas, Sports, Patterns, Stationary, Newspaper, Paper, Winter, Frames, Miscellaneous, and Open Background.  Within each of the themes, there are several templates to choose from.

I think this app would be easily integrated in education. Some possible ways to integrate:

  • Field Trips
  • Science Topics
  • Using the newspaper theme, your students could create a headline from a current or past event
  • English - finding pictures of characters and writing a sample biography
  • Math - using a whiteboard app the student could work out the problem, import the picture and then describe how to solve the problem
  • Creating sample invitations to events in classrooms
  • Sending an email postcard to family on holidays 

What I did - AppSmash with Lifecard & ThingLink (free)

I created a Lifecard about my son's science fair project.  Added 3 pictures and then wrote up a little information about how he did.  After the Lifecard was finished, I sent it to the Camera Roll.  Next, I opened ThingLink and created links to information about his science experiment and other information. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

EdTech Ideas

I love technology and integrating it into education.  However, being a technology integration specialist, I know that not every teacher shares my passion.  I also understand that just like my former students, all teachers learn at difference paces also.  Some teachers may catch on and run with an idea while others need a few sessions to "get it" - I'm okay with that.  It's the ones that don't feel technology integration is necessary in their classroom that worry me.  When I was in school, technology integration wasn't there.  We didn't have the Internet, SmartBoards, digital cameras, iPads, etc.  However, just because I went through school without technology doesn't mean that today's students should.  The world has changed.  We, as educators, need to embrace the change.  I know that can be scary at times, but it will be okay.

Every summer I offer Technology Camps in the school districts that I work with.  This is a great time for teachers to learn about several different topics in a day. A great time to reconnect with their colleagues.  I love offering tech camps and I really enjoy it when teachers will present what they are doing in their classrooms.

This year I have decided to implement "The Breakfast Club" in my schools.  During the summer, I will offer 1-hour sessions on various EdTech topics.  The sessions will not be "sit-and-get" my goal is to have the teachers play with the apps/programs and see how they can integrate into their own classroom.  It's a laid back day.  I really hope this idea takes off!

Wondering what other fun ideas technology integration specialists are doing? Comment below!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Friday, May 2, 2014

Office vs Google for iPad

Office 365 for iPad vs. Google Apps for iPad

I have set time aside and played with bot the Office 365 Apps and the (new) Google Apps for the iPad.  I hope this will help you determine some of the differences between the two apps.

Office 365 iPad Apps

  • Very similar features between the Microsoft Office Application on the computer and the iPad.  
  • Doesn't take a huge learning curve to figure out how to use.
  • Easy to use.
  • Sharing files with others (but they have to have Office 365 I've been told to collaborate)
  • Cost.  In my opinion, this is very spendy for schools in my area.  We have small, rural schools that can't afford the cost of this app.
Google Docs & Sheets (soon Slides)

  • Free for everyone
  • Collaboration with others
  • Now we can create and edit Docs on the iPad (Drive App wouldn't allow this)
  • Easy to use.
  • Not a huge learning curve.
  • Still isn't as easy as Word to create documents and change layouts, etc.
  • Sheets still needs work with being a little more user-friendly
My overall opinion as a Technology Integration Specialist working with schools is that Google Drive and their updated apps are the way to go.  I love Google and enjoy using Drive.  It makes it easy for me access everything from anywhere- for free.