Friday, January 31, 2014

Sharing Australian Aboriginal Culture

Australian Aboriginal culture has existed continuously for more than 40 000 years. They have developed sophisticated social organisations, complex legal systems and a numerous practices and ceremonies based around their Dreamtime beliefs. There is no way we could ever hope to capture all their knowledge of animal behaviour, or of the seasons and bush tucker that each one brings. For that matter we will never know the full extent of the geographical, ecological or land management skills that these communities possess but at least some of them are documenting different aspects of their culture for future generations. Here are a number of apps that introduce students to both their oral story telling tradition and their traditional languages. Enjoy!

Ngurrara - Australian Aboriginal Storybook: FREE
Ngurrara follows the journeys of three young Australian Aboriginal Ngarluma men as they fish, hunt and carve their own stories. It is set on Murujuga (Burrup Peninsula) As the landscape, the people and culture change over millennia, one thing remains the same, the Ngarluma people 'were always here.'

Warlu Song - Australian Aboriginal Storybook: $2.99 AU
A spirit man journeys with a terrifying serpent, ripping up trees with an angry wind, smashing the land with floods and changing the country forever. Continuing the Aboriginal oral tradition, this story was dreamt by a songsmith and is here sung in Yindjibarndi and spoken in English.

Yagambeh - Australian Aboriginal Storybook: FREE
Yugambeh Aboriginal language from the Gold Coast, Logan and Scenic Rim regions in Queensland, at your fingertips for educators, visitors and community. Includes audio, dictionary and pictionary files. Developed by the Yugambeh Museum to re-invigorate use of their traditional language.

One Road: Canning Stock Route: $1.99 AU
One Road: Canning Stock Route Project app takes users on a journey through the remote deserts of Western Australia. Part rich cultural resource, part travel guide, One Road is an interactive map spanning the 2000km Canning Stock Route, which was surveyed between 1906 and 1910 to transport cattle.

Healesville High S-Dreamtime: FREE
Under the guidance of Aunty Joy Murphy, a Wurundjeri elder, nineteen years 7, 8 and 9 students from Healesville High School undertook an intensive two days of Dreamtime story telling, culminating in four dreamtime stories told through striking artwork and narrated in the students' own voices.

Ringbalin - River Stories: $6.49
In 2010 the Ringbalin, a group of Indigenous tribes reignited an ancient ceremony, a Ringbalin, travelling 2300km, dancing to save Australia’s Murray Darling Rivers from a crippling drought. By the time they had finished rain had started falling. What followed were the biggest floods in Australian records.

Indigenious Australian: AGNSW: FREE
Indigenous Australian: Art Gallery of NSW lets you explore a selection of artists and artworks from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art collection. Discover stories of the artists and the art, get simple explanations of art terms, and go behind the scenes with interviews and videos.

NT Languages - Anindilyakwa: FREE
A flash card language app developed by the Northern Territory Library comprising everyday words and phrases in Anindilyakwa and English. This app is a bilingual literacy tool for people in Anindilyakwa communities, as well as English-speaking workers and visitors to the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Australian Aboriginal Torres Strait Islanders: $4.49
Information on the Australian Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders. Past and present, the corroborees, Indigenous art, the land with places like Uluru also known as Ayers Rock, Kings Canyon. The Torres Strait Islanders history including the cultured pearling industry and fishing for Dugong.

Yan - Aboriginal Text Editor:
Creation of Australian indigenous language text on iPads. The app contains the special characters used by most of the common Australian Aboriginal languages, such as 'Ŋ' for example. Unforunately this app is not currently available in the Australian iTunes Store.

Sharing the Dreaming: FREE
Sharing the Dreaming is a window into Aboriginal culture: the culture of the Nyoongar, the traditional custodians of Australia’s South-West. Listen to Dreamtime stories, illustrated by images of paintings in the local style. Hear and learn Nyoongar words and their English language translations.

The West Macs: FREE
Welcome to the spectacular West MacDonnell Ranges, a world class National Park and home to the Western Arrarnta people of Central Australia. Listen and watch our stories of scenic beauty and history from this ancient landscape and a culture that has existed for many thousands of years.

Ma Iwaida: FREE
The Ma! Iwaidja app is an initiative of the Minjilang Endangered Languages Publication project. Anyone interacting with the language in any way, including Iwaidja speakers becomes an instant documentary linguist. Adding a new word with transcription is as simple as adding a new contact to your Contacts list.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

iOS Writing Prompts

Writing Prompts seems to have been a recurring conversation on twitter recently so I wanted to investigate what was available for teachers. I was surprised to see just how many apps designed for writing prompts there were. What is nice, is how many of these can be used for all grades. I really like the interface of some of these and I think your kids will too. Find a couple that will suit your students and your teaching style. Please list any more that you know of in the comments.

Write about this: $4.49 and FREE
The world is full of scenes with stories yet to be written...what will you Write About? Write About This is a visual writing prompt and creation tool! With endless ways to respond and the ability to craft custom photo prompts, it will kick-start any writing activity. Multiple authors can write and save to the gallery.

The Brainstormer: $1.99 AU
The Brainstormer is kindling for creative minds. A tactile tool to randomly combine a plot, a subject and a setting or style, the Brainstormer provides a moment of inspiration for writers, painters, or any creative mind. Combat creative block, spark new ideas and summon up quick subjects matter.

Writing Prompts: $1.99 AU
The writing prompt generators use current events, scene elements, words, sketches, colours, genres and writing types, unleashing endless random bits of fantasy to fuel your muse. Plus, we've included our database of 600 creative writing prompts so you've got them right at your finger tips, online or off!

Prompts for Writers: FREE
Prompts is full of original writing prompts to ensure you never have a dull moment of writing. Feeling stuck? Press the lightning bolt at any time and you'll be presented with a prompt to help inspire you. Even if you don't know where to start writing, just open the app and press the plus button .

Things to think about: FREE
Kids’ Things to Think About provides 100 prompts to spark thinking for written responses and encourage conversations about ideas and issues for kids. Created by students and teachers in Michigan, it can be used in classrooms by allowing children to explore the prompts and by using them to guide a discussion.

Writing Prompts for Kids: $1.99 AU
Boost students' creative writing skills with writing prompts that will spark their imaginations. This writing prompt generator is quick and easy to use; your students will have an inspiring writing topic in seconds. Just tap the screen to pick a situation, a character, a setting, and an object.

iDeas for Writing: $1.99 AU
If you like writing, you don't have to worry about the creative blocks or the fear of the blank page anymore. Thanks to "iDeas for Writing", you will always carry with you a whole writing workshop with creative triggers and exercises to get your imagination flowing. You will have a smart notebook for writing within the app.

Lost the Plot Writing Prompts Generator: $1.99 AU
Lost the Plot? Then this is the app for you. It is, of course, a writing prompts generator. That much is true but, it is so much more. The prompts held in the digital mind of this app are a little different to the prompts out there in the world. This app generates prompts a little left of centre.

Character Prompts: $2.99 AU
Character Prompts gives you 19 different profile characteristics. We take the process of character development to the next level by adding thousands of character twists and 150 thought provoking questions for your character. Shake your device, swipe across the screen or tap a tab to change prompts.

A+ Writing Prompts: $5.49 AU
Writing.Com presents "A+ Writing Prompts", the education version of "Writing Prompts", the iPhone app with an endless supply of creative inspiration! The app includes all of our prompt generators and prompts packs, with no in-app purchases, and at a discounted price, making it perfect for teachers and students.

Story Dice: $1.99 AU
Story Dice is a creative tool to prompt ideas for plot, character, and setting. This idea generator can be used effectively for both written and oral storytelling.  The user interface is simple enough for ages 3+ to use without any additional instruction. A general writing prompt for all ages without reading or native language barriers.

Rory's Story Cubes: $1.99 AU
Keep all your Rory’s Story Cubes in the one place. The ultimate, mobile storytelling game loved by children, parents on the go, creative writers, progressive teachers and games masters.

 9 cubes, 54 images, Over 10 million combinations. Can you create a story using all 9 face-up images?

Story Spark: $2.99 AU
Do you have writer's block? Use Story Spark to generate a plot twist or surprise for your current work in progress. Just apply the spark to your current characters, or have them meet someone new! Great for the reluctant writer, young and old. Never fear the blank page again!

Silly Story Starters: $1.99 AU
Silly Story Starters generates millions of creative writing ideas for kids. It provides the ability for kids to save their writing and remembers the student's information for 'publishing' by email. The app stores the projects as a collection as well as offering editing capabilities for existing writing projects.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Editing Video on your iPad

Making movies on the iPad is one of those activities that I often see in schools. I love to watch how quickly even very young students can produce a professional looking movie. It is a great way for them to illustrate what they have learnt. Normally I would say that editing movies on the iPad is best done using iMovie but it is not exactly cheap, especially if you have a raft of other apps you want your students to have. Here are a couple of apps for editing movies that do not cost the earth. Many of these apps also contain features found on the more expensive apps.

Magistro: FREE
Magisto is a fun and easy way to automatically edit videos and photos and share them with your friends and family. Magisto will turn your video and photos into beautiful edited movies, complete with music and effects, in minutes. Create sensational movies using as little as 5 photos.

Movie Pro: $2.99 AU
MoviePro - the most powerful video recording and film making app with innumerable options (switch cameras while recording, pause, zoom, adjust Frame rate and resolution, landscape/ portrait mode, selectable video and audio compression, uncompressed audio and  Silent Movies.

VideoBite: FREE
VideoBite makes it easy to turn your smartphone video clips into awesome short movies. Make your clips look their best before sharing them privately among friends and family; or save them to your Camera Roll for sharing on Instagram! Simply use the heart symbol to mark your favorite moments in your video clips.

Viddy: FREE
Turn everyday moments into fun little movies with the Viddy app – it is a simple way to capture, create, and share short, 30-second mobile videos using social media. Viddy is perfect for capturing memories, showing off your skills or sharing video updates with friends. One-touch publishing to social media.

Perfect Video: FREE
Perfect Video is the easy to use video editing app for quick and straight forward editing. With help of it, you can quickly trim, merge, add subtitles, add photos, add text, pick transitions, add music and export your video clips. Its simple lay-out and workflow does not need any explanation.

Now you can DRAW a movie!  Do you want to create your own unique movie? Just draw it by yourself with Cute Cut! Beside providing the utilities of a common video editor, Cute Cut gives more than you expect. Just drag and drop, you can arrange your media segments easily. Supports both portrait/landscape.

Videon: $4.99 AU
Videon contains all the features necessary to record great videos - from capture to editing to viewing. The goal is simple - perfect videos! We combined our knowledge of cinematography with advice from industry professionals to create the most extensive video app available.

Givit Video Editor: FREE
Givit with Highlight is a revolutionary way to stitch together multiple scenes from a single or several videos. Add transitions, effects, titles, photos, and finish with music from Givit or songs in your iDevice. Your final "Highlight" will be a highly entertaining video to share with the world or friends and family.

Splice: FREE
Splice together HD photos and videos in an amazingly simple way. Add music tracks from your iPod library, sound effects, transitions, borders, effects (like Ken Burns, slow motion and fast forward), trim video and audio, narrate with your own voice, and much more.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Visual Timers for your iPad Classroom

Students do not always have a great sense of time and many of my students over the years have miscalculated the time remaining on a particular task or assessment piece. This is a skill that they develop over time but not without some devastating consequences. These visual timers are exceptionally good for visual learners but work just as well for all the students in your class. Start to generate better time management in your class with the use of one or more of these visual timers.

Visual: $0.99 AU
Visual is a visual countdown timer. Know how long you have left with a simple glance. With Visual, the passage of time is presented through the changing of your screen colour. Time remaining is communicated like traffic lights. Green means lots of time left. Yellow half. And red means it's time to wrap it up.

TicoTimer: $0.99 AU
Tico Timer is a visual timer for children. Select from ten different types of countdown available, from disappearing squares to a shrinking circle, and it will tell your students - in a visual way - how much time there is left. Tico Timer is a great way for developing the sense of time in small children.

VisTimer Free: $1.99 AU
The VisTimer was developed to provide a gentle implementation of time imposed limits. It utilizes an animated shrinking pie chart to depict elapsed time. Visual thinkers often have difficulty conceptualizing time. Being able to see the changing pie chart as time passes makes it easier to understand time.

Timetrack - Visual Timer: FREE
TimeTrack is a tool used to visually display time. It is intended for children and other people who have a hard time understanding the abstract concept of time. Each light represents a fixed number of minutes. When the time is up, lights will flash and a sound will play.

Visual Time HD: $2.99 AU
Visual Timer HD is a timer which slowly uncovers a stunning photo over time. The time chimes when the time is up. The timer can be set quickly by controlling a slider and/or plus and minus buttons for adding or subtracting minutes and it includes a digital representation of the remaining time.

Timer Visual 1.0: $0.99 AU
Do you have students who have difficulty understanding the concept of time? Time can be an abstract idea, this can generate anxiety in people that do not have the ability to calculate the amount of time for left to complete an activity. Timer Visual helps to solve this problem by providing visual clues.

Visual Countdown Timer: $2.99 AU
A digital timer that shows the elapsed time clearly and is easy to use. You can countdown from any duration. It uses the full screen of the iPhone/iPod touch without any additional clutter while running. It helps to better visualize the concept of time, useful for example during an oral exam or to teach time to kids.

Kiddy Timer: FREE
Kiddy Timer is the perfect time management tool for parents, and teachers to monitor children's daily activities. This is a beautiful, easy-to-use, functional timer. Simply add child’s photo, name and select up to 4 timers that fit your child's age and daily schedule.

PiTimer: FREE
PiTimer is a clean and simple visual timer. It is useful for any situation where you want a visual representation of time remaining. Great for giving students an idea of how long is left on an activity. This is especially useful for timing children at home or in class.

Timers and Tokens: $0.99 AU
Timers and tokens provides two separate functions for use in the classroom or at home. First, it gives you a visual timer. Useful when working in the classroom  to demonstrate how much time they still have to work on a task. The timer starts as red and then becomes yellow and green as the end of the time approaches.

Waitstrips: $0.99 AU
The Waitstrip provides a concrete visual representation of increments of time, amount of steps to be completed, number of minutes to work, number of math problems to be completed etc. It is a visual guide that allows an individual to remain on task or focused for a duration of time.

SessionTrac Time: $0.99 AU
SessionTRAC is a visual timer that allows for easy monitoring of the time remaining in any timed session. It is ideally suited for presentations, speeches,  play or nap time. The interface is designed to be easily understood, providing quick understanding of the fraction and pace of the time remaining, .

Saturday, January 25, 2014

iPad Archaeology - Studying Ancient Egypt

I always loved Egypt as a kid - I think was the mystery, the magic and the element of the unknown that created the romantic idea. That and Carter's discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb and the subsequent series of fatal events that surrounded the discover. I even thought I wanted to be an Archeologist at one stage. Whenever you go to a schools and see kids exploring Egypt for a project or inquiry based learning activity it always generates so much enthusiasm and energy. I thought it might be fun to explore some of the apps on offer for exploring ancient Egypt and the re-discoveries that have been made in the last 200 years.

Britannica Kids -Ancient Egypt: $4.99 US
The perfect app for exploring the secrets of hieroglyphics, mummification, the Pyramids, Tutankhamen, Cleopatra, and other popular Egyptian topics. Learning has never been more fun with this interactive and educational app that is based on school curriculum.

Ancient Egypt by Kids Discover: $4.49 AU
Travel back in time to a mysterious land where pharaohs still rule, mummies abound, and workers construct massive pyramids and sphinxes under the hot African sun. Kids will explore the Great Temple at Abu Simbel with a virtual animation, experience daily life and culture in Ancient Egypt.

Egyptian Museum: $2.99 AU
The Egyptian Museum in Cairo contains the world's most extensive collection of pharaonic antiquities. The aim of the museum is to represent and display the diversity and heritage of Egypt. The museum creates a great experience for tourists by helping them connect history to the present.

Pharaohs HD: The Ancient Egypt $2.99 AU
The whole history of Egypt, with all its pharaohs, religion, daily life, customs, monuments, dynasties in one wonderful work. The whole world of ancient Egypt with a description of each pharaoh known, with special reference to Ramses II, the mysterious Tutankhamen, and even Akhenaten.

Gods of Egypt: FREE
Gods of Egypt lists and displays basic information about the major Egyptian gods. The app contains info images about the Gods important in the rituals, life and afterlife of the ancient Egyptians. The application also contains surprising images of statues, amulets and jewellery related to Egyptian Archaeology.

Egypt Temples: $2.99 AU
This app features many of the major Egyptian Cult Temples in complete detail. All of the mysteries of Egyptian cult temples are explained and illustrated with videos, photos, drawings and 30 highly detailed computer generated reconstructions. Immerse yourself in the 3D reconstructions and get a feel for the life and times of real Ancient Egyptians.

TimeMaps Egypt and Ancient Civilisations: $5.49 AU
Follow step by step the history of ancient civilizations and the Egypt of the pharaohs. Sumerians, Babylonians, and Egyptians: the first big empires, who over five thousand years ago build imposing pyramids and temples, invented the wheel and developed sophisticated astronomical calculations and mathematics.

Ancient Egypt Virtual 3D: FREE
This scientific virtual archaeology application is an interactive 3D format reconstruction of Raneferef's hypostyle hall at the funerary temple in Abusir, Egypt. King Raneferef's hypostyle hall was virtually reconstructed according to available evidence and under the expert guidance.

The Pyramids: $7.49 AU
Fly around the pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza near Cairo. Enter and wander around the labyrinth of tombs and passageways. Examine wall paintings in incredible detail, rotate royal statues and spin 3D objects. Everything has been painstakingly recreated from ultra-high-resolution digital imagery.

Genius Quiz - Ancient Egyptian History: FREE
What was 'The Book of the Dead'? Did you know that in the construction of the pyramid of Khufu over 2,000,000 blocks of stone were used? Who was the 'heretic' pharaoh husband of Nefertiti? Discover the secrets of the civilization that, thousands of years ago, built towering pyramids and massive temples.

Egyptian Gods: The Mythology: $1.99 AU
For over three thousand years, ancient Egypt was the greatest civilization on the planet. Inscribed on the tombs of its Pharaohs were depictions of their gods, who ruled supreme over this world and the next. Understand more about their ancient religion, get Egyptian Gods today!

Egyptian Heirglyph Decoder: $1.99 AU
Egyptian Hieroglyphics Decoder app allows you to look at Egyptian columns with Hieroglyphics and actually translate the Hieroglyphics. Tap the Hiero-glyphics images and see what letters they translate too - even make sentences. Read Hieroglyphics with the Egyptian Decoder App!

Ancient Egyptian Anecdotes: $6.49 AU
The Ancient Egyptian Papyri translations have been edited to make them both easy for the modern reader and beautifully illustrated. The Ancient Egypt Magazine said of it "The full colour illustrations by the author will make the book particularly appealing to younger readers, although adults too will enjoy"

Flow of History: $1.99 AU

It's history as it should be experienced: a dynamic fluid process instead of the standard names & dates approach to history you learned to hate in school, The Flow of History gives you world history in a series of 243 hyper-linked full-colour flowcharts. Now you can explore the connections between various historical events & processes, both across time & between cultures.

Games for Learning about Egypt:

The Timeline Builders: Pyramid Rising 2: FREE
Become the Pharaoh’s architect, build historic temples, manage your resources skilfully and avoid enemies to succeed! Great Pharaoh Touti and his friends are back for an epic adventure that will take you on a journey along the Nile in TimeBuilders: Pyramid Rising 2!

Escape the Lost Kingdom: $5.49 AU
A young family is invited to visit the newly opened museum in Egypt; while touring the museum they discover the long forgotten tomb of a cursed Pharaoh named Raned. After being separated you now have to play as each character. Help the family reunite, escape this long-lost Egyptian kingdom and discover the story behind the fascinating tomb and treasures that are buried within.

Egypt: The Helipelis Prophecy: $2.99 AU
Heliopolis, the City of the Sun, a centre of learning, is one of the largest capitals of Egypt in 1360 B.C. A terrible epidemic is threatening to destroy the city  Tifet, a young priestess of Sakhmet, the Goddess of disease and medicine, sets out to find a remedy to save her adopted father and the inhabitants of Heliopolis.