Microsoft Sway is now in preview and open to anyone to try. Microsoft Sway is an online presentation tool that makes embedding and searching for online content much easier and then makes your presentation available on any device in the cloud. Sway is not fully functional as yet and has a few features labelled as coming soon, but playing with ‘Sway’ in it’s current form you get to see the potential of this application. You can choose from different layouts and themes to quickly give your presentation a good consistent look. You can share the content you create with Facebook, Twitter, share a direct link or embed your ‘Sway’ into your website or blog. There is currently an IOS app available and hopefully an android version will be coming soon. Below is a promotional video of what is possible with Microsoft Sway.Pin It
I came across metta recently while looking for an easy to use multimedia tool to create an online quiz for a Student Blogging Challenge that my class is involved with. Metta is a slideshow creation tool, that has some very handy bells and whistles. The clean and simple to use interface makes it easy for anyone to start using mett.io and just run with it. You have two options to insert text, video, images and audio. The first is using the inbuilt search which allows you to insert YouTube videos, images from Yahoo Image search, Text from Twitter and audio from Soundcloud. The second option is to upload your own content. In addition to this you can insert a quiz or a poll into your presentations.
Below is a screen grab demonstrating the clean interface.
With metta you can also create groups for your students and assign lessons and see student responses to questions you have embedded into your presentations. Students that you have added to a group can both interact with the content you create for them or create the content themselves.
Metta is free to use, but has a Plus and Pro upgrade which gives you the ability to add more than one group, unlimited quiz module and an increase in storage.
Below is an example of how I used metta.io to produce a quiz on my home State of South Australia.
It is now mandatory for teachers to record any Professional Development they take part in for Teacher Registration purposes. I have struggled to find a way to do this that was not going to turn into a paper nightmare or an inconvenience. Recently I found Easy PD and just like the name of the app says it makes the whole process easy. Developed by Jarrod Robinson this app allows you to simply log the name of the activity, the location, date, amount of time spent doing the PD, description and even a photo. The amount of hours you have completed are tallied and conveniently displayed. I currently use this app to record all my PD and it certainly has simplified the process and I can thoroughly recommend it.
Below is a how to video from Jarrod Robinson.
Easy PD is available for the iPad, iPhone and Android.Pin It
Skoolbo is a free downloadable program for both Macs and PCs. There are also apps available for IOS and Android devices. Skoolbo is essentially a literacy and numeracy program designed for 4 – 10 year olds to practice their core literacy and numeracy skills. This is done through a 3D world where the progress through this world is determined by students successfully answering questions. The questions focus on the following areas:-
- Number Development
- Number Patterns
Each student is required to sit pre-tests on Reading and Numeracy to work out the difficulty level for the student, this is continually assessed and the difficulty adjusted when needed. Students receive ‘Bo’ coins for answering questions successfully which can be used to purchase rewards such as racing worlds, toys and other items.
Below is a video of Skoolbo in action.
The World Education Games is a world wide event, where students from around the world compete with each other in a World Maths, Literacy and Science days. Each of the different learning strands uses well known resources such as Mathletics, Spellodrome and IntoScience to power each area. Registered students can practice their skills for free leading up to the event. The competition is also free. There are prizes available as well. Unicef have teamed up with the World Education Games to promote with schools to raise money towards a ‘School in a box’. This program provides all the essentials a teacher would need for their classroom and students in areas of disaster, crisis or poverty.
Below is a YouTube clip of my favourite Podcast, iPad Today from the Twit network hosted by Leo Laporte and Sarah Lane. In this episode they explore apps that are useful for students going back to school, but all of these apps are useful for teachers as well. Apps that are highlighted include Evernote, Learnist, Drafts and ThinkBook.Pin It
From the same people that brought you ‘Bugs and Buttons’ comes the next installment ‘Bugs and Bubbles’. Bugs and Bubbles is a top quality app, beautifully animated and well structured. Bugs and Bubbles is primarily a fun app to use with great educational games that focuses on learning skills such as balance, colours, counting, letter formation, patterns, shapes, sorting, and tracking to name a few.
Bugs and Bubbles has over 18 games which I have briefly explained below.
Bubble Harvest: Sorting bubbles by colour game.
Colour Ninja: Pop the colour bubbles the sign tells you to.
Whack’em: Pop the bubbles that appear from tubes, but avoid the ones with bees in them.
Counting: Count how many bubbles are in each box.
Which? Pick the right colour bubble based on the colour presented to you in words.
Patterns: Complete the bubble pattern.
Bowling: A game of bowling using slater bugs as bowling balls to pop bubbles. Each level gets progressively harder with more obsatcles.
Matching Bubbles: Match bubble letter pairs.
Shape Stacker: Make the tallest tower you can by balancing different shaped wooden crates.
Load Balance: Balance your load to the truck by tilting your iPad. A games of balance.
Racing: Propel your bug forward in a race using various methods (swiping, pushing buttons or turning a cog).
Pinch Garden: Pinch harvest your bubbles before they pop.
Bumble fight: Pop bubbles with stars in them with your Bee.
Bug Chase: Tilt you iPad to control a rolled up slater bug to collect all the green dots scattered around an obstacle course, but avoid any nasty insects.
Maths Scales: Balance the equation on the scales using numbered crates.
Bubble 4: A connect 4 game.
Remember Where: A memory board game.
Follow Me: A fun letter formation tutorial done in a very unique way.
Spelling Test is a free iPad and iPhone app that allows you to create your own custom Spelling Tests. The best feature about this app is the ability to record your voice and dictate to the app the spelling word and then put it in a sentence. Just like you would in a real spelling test. Then your child or student can sit the test you created. For each word students listen to what you have prerecorded and then have a go at attempting to spell the word. Students are given instant feedback as to whether their attempts are correct or not. At the end students are graded on their performance. Below is a screen shot of a test in progress.
Science 360 for iPad is a free app that can be used to browse what is is happening in the world of science via images and video. The app is produced by the National Science Foundation and features breaking news from it’s funded institutions and other content from scientists from around the world. The content is displayed to you in a 360° wall of multiple screens. Zooming in with your fingers allows you to read a brief description of what stories are available for you to explore further. This app is not a reference tool as it can’t be searched, but it may spark interest in a topic that students have not been referred to before. It might even be a good app to refer to on a regular basis for students to report back on the latest happenings in Science. Below is an image of the 360° wall of Science you will see.
Photosynth is a set of tools you can use to create really effective 3D panoramic experiences. You can share you Photosynths on Facebook, publish them to Bing maps or for most people embed then in your blog or website. You have the option of creating either a ‘Panorama’ or ‘Synth’. A Panorama is a 3D 360° panorama. To create one you need to simply take many photos from one spot, turning in a circle to take photos on three different planes. I personally start with taking photos in the middle plane with about a 50% overlap. Then I do the high plane and then the low plane. Then you need to use a program called ‘Image Composite Editor’ to stitch these photos together. Then you upload this file using the desktop Photosynth Application. There are detailed instructions on this process on the Photosynth website http://photosynth.net/about.aspx. Below is an example of a Photosynth I created of my classroom over a year a go using this process.
A Synth is created to show something in more detail. Creating a Synth is a more straightforward process. You start by taking many photos of the subject or area. Both close up shots and wide shots. These photos are then uploaded through the Photosynth Desktop Application to create your Synth. Below is a YouTube clip explaining this process. I have also added a really good example of a Synth of the Recent Royal Wedding showing how hundreds of photos of the event have been merged together to show you in detail this grand event.
Photosynth is a great free tool that can be used to share many things in your classroom or events that occur in your school. It is also a great way to give parents and your community the opportunity to have a virtual tour of your school.