Friday, June 29, 2012

Great App Evaluation from Langwitches

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano writes a most fascinating blog at Langwitches. We have mentioned her before on this blog and she continues to construct and then share great resources. One of her great talents is her ability to create simple and effective workflows. She does this in such a graphic way that for 'visual learners' like me they are instantly appealing. 

Above all Silvia is one of those rare people that creates beautiful resources and then offers them to the world for other people to use. Silvia has uploaded this document onto Scribd where interested educators can actually download the full document. I have included a single page here to show you the type of document it is. This is linked back to her site.

Make sure that you check out the rest of her blog and her vast array of instructional material. This is one blog that you need to subscribe to and one lady you need to follow on twitter. 

I just love this graphic representation of such important task.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

BYOD - What does it all mean ?

I read an article yesterday that was really an extension of an ongoing conversation that I have been hearing for some time now. The article was "Mobility and its Impact on Learning" and was written by Ruth Reynard over at the Campus Technology site. Make sure that you have a look, it discusses some of the issues around the move to mobility and the implications for education. What it did do was get me thinking.

This is an important discussion for school systems to be starting to have. With the demise of government programs for implementing 1:1 devices, the move to more and more ubiquitous mobile technology and the growing expectations of parents, we need to be looking at realistic options for providing students with the digital opportunities they deserve. These options do not necessarily mean a laptop or a tablet device - for some it may actually mean a smartphone. If you talk to parents about family priorities and educational opportunities for their children most are supportive of a BYOD program. In fact most parents suggest that their household already have access to multiple mobile devices.

The BYOD initiative will take on an even greater significance in the minds of parents with the suggestion that some major mobile device corporations are now going to bypass education systems completely and directly market mobile devices to parents with attractive finance options available. This means that even the most cash strapped family could potentially provide a tablet device to their child for as little as $5 or 6 a week.

Many would say that this shift in philosophy in itself could be a boon for some schools struggling to support a 1:1 initiative. I would suggest that one would approach this situation with cautious. School technicians could in fact be freed up to deal with network issues as opposed to end user and application problems. Each student would simply manage their own device. The school would simply provide access to a reliable network. It also means that further resources can be freed up in order to bolster flagging network and wireless systems. But this is also fraught with its own problems. The increased network traffic and need for broadband exponentially increases for each year group you make BYOD available to, as does the increased traffic once teachers really embrace the as yet under utilised opportunities around embedding mobile learning into contemporary pedagogy in schools.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for BYOD but this is not a solution in itself. It is really only part of a larger mind shift in the way we view the student's use of technology and the place in has in our own vision of educational change. As with any large scale change management, BYOD requires careful planning, at both a regional and at a local level to ensure that issues of equity are addressed, that access to all services are ensured and that real change in our own organisations are enshrined within the very mechanisms of change. The BYOD opportunity has to be tied to the notion of bring your own learning model and that will only work if the 'teacher as facilitator' is made the preferred mode of practice.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Early Years Reading on the iPad

Generating a love of reading is one of those gifts that benefit a child throughout their whole life. These apps and storybooks are a couple of ways that you can use the iPad to develop this passion. Some are beautiful illustrated others have cool narrative while some just use the touch and swipe technology in a new way. Check out a couple of these titles the next time you want to get a kid into reading.

Babel the King: $4.49 AU
Babel is a fascinating and entertaining story. Its tactile interaction (blow, pull, push) and choice of fully narrated or 'I read by myself' modes make it suitable for children from the age of 2 upwards. The subtle and beautiful illustrations and captivating story-telling will also enchant children up to 8 years old.

Adventures of BB and Sam: $0.99 AU
BB and Sam have never left the sleepy little town where they were born, but that is about to change! Unexpected adventure awaits them when their journalist parents take them on assignment to Thailand.  Their journey leads them to a mysterious bookshop, flooded jungles, an elusive white elephant, remote villages and more. 

Lullatales - Puss in Boots: $0.99 AU
Marvelous stories and excellent form. Dive into the fabulous world of magic, extraordinary adventures, true values and real emotions, to discover the finest selection of the most beautiful fables for the iPad. Fabulous narration, charming illustrations and catchy songs – you will be charmed with LullaTales.

Hide run Growl: FREE
Creative animation and audio bring to life this story of friendship and helping one another, this app will suit the learning abilities of children from ages 2-7. ‘It is lightly animated with a nice educational and interactive feature that shows the name of everything pictured on each page with accompanying voice-over’ –

Pango Book 1 and 2: FREE
Funny adventures, animated stories, brightly coloured drawings and sweet characters. Try PANGO ! Easy to use and very reliable. You can surf through your chosen story thanks to the different illustrated tabs. In each new album, find 5 unpublished stories + 1 bonus game (your little ones will love it). Sweet and lovable, everyone will adopt it !

Ansel and Clairs Cretaceous Dinosaurs: $1.99 AU
From the creators of the award winning “Ansel and Clair Adventures in Africa” app comes a new series of Ansel and Clair adventures focused on dinosaurs. The three apps that are part of the Dinosaur Trilogy explore the different dinosaur periods, which are the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods.

Adventures of Alex: $5.49 AU
Join a fun-filled adventure with Alex, an inquisitive and adventurous boy, on a journey to discover the origins of electricity with a shocking twist at its conclusion! Great educational app for teaching words to young children. Enjoy colorful, high quality artwork and interactive objects repeat back to you the name of what you are touching.

Lazy Town's Forever Booclip: $2.99 AU
LazyTown’s BooClips app is a digital children’s book that narrates stories using rich multimedia, vivid animations, video clips, music and songs from the LazyTown TV series! In this wonderful app, you will also find a Puzzle game, a coloring book, workout videos and sing-along videos.

Play Tales: FREE
We love reading, we love pictures, we love games and we love familiar faces! PlayTales offers interactive books: traditional and classic, popular and new, for toddlers and beginning readers that will engage them in books and stories once again. Recognized in this year's Mobile Premier Awards as a fan favorite by the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The Lion and the Bumblebee: $1.99 AU
"Lion and Bumblebee" is an interactive story for kids. It is created by education professionals and is designed to help children to learn while enjoying the fun reading experience. One day when taking a nap the lion was irritated by a bumblebee. He fought against the bumblebee while just could not catch him. The bumblebee even stung his nose...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Year 5 App Review - Apps that help them learn.

Miss Martins is a eLearning Reference Teacher at a fantastic systemic Catholic School in Sydney's east. She has been working with Year 5 classes to document which apps they use to concrete their own learning. This is a fantastic way to start a conversation with your kids about how we learn and how individuals have different learning requirements. Wallwisher was the perfect way to document and then share this reflective process. I love the fact that this could then be shared with other students, other classes, other teachers and even with parents. So what were some of the apps these students identified as ones that contributed to their learning. Here we go.....


Virtuoso Piano


I would like to thank Miss Belinda Martins and her Yr 5 classes for sharing such a valuable resource. A big shout out to all the students who contributed. Thanks you very much everyone!!!!!

Chris 5R
Loretta 5R
Wiliam 5D
Brendan 5R
Isabella 5R
Carmen 5R
Jordan 5R
Ashley 5D
Kiara 5R
Stella 5D
Holly 5R
Michael 5R
Nicholas 5R
James 5R
Chris 5R
Chris 5R
Aman 5D
Junn 5R
Bradley 5R
Emily 5R
Noah 5R
Claudia 5D
Jake 5D
Joe 5R
Erik 5D
Zoe 5R
Emily 5D
Bridget 5D
Kyran 5D
Rhys 5D
Edwina 5D

Jessica 5D
Joshua 5D
Olivia 5D
Lara 5D