Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Testing this out

Today would be a great day for me to be able to post on this blog.

Kari Healy
Media Specialist 
Dakota Meadows Middle School
1900 Howard Drive
North Mankato, MN 56003

Friday, June 13, 2014

Thing 23- Evaluation of 23 Mobile Things

As a whole I thought this program was a great idea.  Many of the suggestions for the Things I had heard about already or even used, but it was opportunity for me to explore them a little more and see how I might share them with staff and students this next school year.  I also appreciate all the little tips and videos that were included with many of the apps.  I will be referring to many of these yet this summer.  The 23 things at first seemed like a lot to dive into, but at the same time you covered all of the major areas when we think of using mobile devices.  I know I had started strong earlier this spring, but it took me the first week of summer vacation to really get going on trying all of these apps.  I know many people don't like deadlines, but for me having a deadline to finish so many apps (like the first 5, 10 etc...) by would have pushed me to finish this earlier.  Getting me to start blogging was a big bonus of this program as well!  A little more interaction with others participating might have been nice as well.

I would love to participate in this program again.  Participating in events like these encourage me to try things that I have put as a low priority (though they should not be) and get me thinking about how to integrate technology in the classroom in a meaningful way!  The ideas for integrating these apps are percolating right now and I am excited to share/use many of them this fall! Thanks for creating use a fun and useful 23 Mobile Things event!

Thing 22 - Discovering Apps - Best of Apps

I currently have the Apps Gone Free app on my phone and iPad, but I don't check it everyday.  When I first downloaded it I would look, but I think too often most of the apps that were free I was not interested in, so then I stopped looking.

For this Thing, I went in search of the Best Apps.  I went to the AASL Best Apps for Teaching & Learning 2013.  What I liked about this list is that they were categorized and only had five apps in each category.  At the end of June, I believe, a new list for 2014 will be coming out as well.

I decided to try Toontastic.  On the AASL website this was the description they shared:
Toontastic by Launchpad Toys
Level: K-5 (ages 5-10)
Platform: iOS


Characters and backgrounds come to life while students record their own stories with Toontastic. Original drawings and art can also be animated and turned into cartoons and then shared with classmates, friends, and family members.
Quick Tip: Students can create their own animated cartoons to write stories, animate concepts, and share their ideas.
One of the first things I liked is that it shared the plot line of any story with the creator.  Reminding them of all the different elements that belong in a good story!  The app provides step-by-step directions of how students should create the story which was extremely helpful for little ones not able to read yet. On a negative note, most of the good characters that I wanted to include required me to pay to have that character in my story. I did discover that students could draw their own character which I am sure some students would like to do.
I love the ending how it appears like the view is going to the theater to see the video!  Students would love this app as they create stories for a variety of content areas.  The video was easy to export to the camera roll so that it could be shared with classmates or the teacher.  This was a fun app to explore!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Thing 21 - Free-for-all: Thinglink

I love Thinglink and believe everyone should try this app!

Thinglink started out as a web tool, but in the last year the group created an app version as well.  Thinglink makes your image come to life!  I have used this tool/app with students and teachers and both groups have loved the final product that was created!  Video, websites, Google Documents can be linked to the image to allow the viewer to learn more about the image or idea.  This tool/app is so easy to use and it engages the viewer and creator with the topic.

Here is an example of a new one I created this year about Human Rights novels students could choose during an English unit.

Here is another one I created for my students to find out what happened to the people living in the Secret Annex:

Not only can people create their own Thinglinks, but can explore the site to find other interesting Thinglinks to learn more about various topics.  I highly recommend trying Thinglink!

Thing 20 - Games: Word Mess

Our family has lots of games on our devices, but in general I don't really play many of them.  I prefer to look at my Feedly account, Pinterest, Facebook, etc... I do play a few games though and one of my favorites in Word Mess.

Each game is different but it requires me to look at words associated with a certain topic and created with a random word cloud each time.  This game appeals to me because of the word association and trying to beat the time of my last search.  The frustrating part for me is that many times the one word I have left is looking right at me, yet I can't find it in the "mess".

Thing 19 - Hobbies: Vivino App

I did not realize that there was a wine scanner app!  Of the two bottles I scanned, the first one was not in the system and it was going to be completing a manual match and be getting back to me.  This wine was from a local winery, so I assume this app may not be familiar with it.  I will be curious if they really do get back to me once they do a little more searching.  My second bottle that I scanned was in the system.  It had the rating of others, the price, and reviews from other wine drinkers.  Will I use this app much - not sure?  It will be fun to test throughout the summer though.

Thing 18 - Education: Show of Hands

From this list I had tried many of the apps, but one I had not looked at yet was Show of Hands.  By the description, I thought that this would be a perfect addition to the classroom, but after trying it out, I am not so sure.  The rating on the Apple App Store said 12+ and if I was going to use this in the classroom, I would want to make sure I am previewing what some of the polls are for the day.  It appears that anyone can ask anything, so as a teacher I would want to be aware of questionable polls.

One of the polls I found was this....

What I found most interesting is all the statistics a person could get from people participating in the poll.  I tried several and it seems like the creator of the poll can ask for various forms of statistics back on those participating in the poll.  Again this is a great tool if as a teacher I could have a little more control over what might appear as the next poll on the list!

Quizlet I love!  I have used this app and website with students for the past 3 years.  It is great to see them engage with the vocabulary words being discussed in class.   Quizlet is something that both students and teachers should try throughout the year.  Teachers can show students how to create their own lists or create the list so students can work with the words
Here is one of the lists I have made:

Human Rights Vocabulary List