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Tag Archives: PBL

iBrainstorm — Collaborative Creation App

iBrainstorm

Another in a great line of creation and creativity apps, iBrainstorm allows students to collaborate on projects through their iPads.  It is essentially a free form drawing and writing app that can allow students to set up flow charts and graphical designs, storyboard their creative writing, or even create notes or comics.

iBrainstorm allows multiple users to create place their ideas on the board as well as add annotations, suggestions and notes through a sticky-pad feature.  This is ideal for group collaborative projects and allowing students who might need the added help to map out their thoughts and ideas.

A sister app, iBrainstorm Companion is also available for the iPhone or iPod and allows up to 4 students to work on the same document at once.  They can add or create notes and pieces on their iPhone or iPod then “flick” them to the connected iPad to produce their final product.

iBrainstorm would be ideally used in a collaborative, project-based learning environment where students are comfortable with, and responsible enough, to use their own technology independently to produce great content.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2013 in Apps, Tips & Tricks

 

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Two Free Photo Editing Apps for School

Free Photo Editing Apps

Lots of our students want to create presentations and projects, or just fun things with their iPads, iPhones, or iPods while in class.  Sometimes they need a little help with this, especially if they need to touchup, crop, or edit photos they’ve taken in anyway.  Today, two free apps that can let them do just that!

Photo Editor by Aviary

This app is a very simple one for editing photos quickly.  Aviary has a very similar interface and feels very much like Instagram.  Students can choose from an Enhance menu where they can adjust the color and lighting in the photo, Effects where they can choose different tones and blurs, frames, stickers, and text.  Aviary also supports basic photo editing like red-eye reduction, whitening, blemish removal, brightness, saturation, and sharpness adjustments, as well as simple cropping.  Aviary is available for both the iPhone and iPad.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Similar to the full version, Adobe Photoshop Express offers hundreds of photo enhancement, effects, and adjustments options for students.  From a simple auto adjustment by clicking on a want icon to choosing from the hundreds of effects and borders Photoshop Express offers a great deal of choice in adjusting photos.  Also included are the basic editing tools, including brightness and contrast, hue and saturation, tint, sharpening tools, noise reduction, and red-eye reduction.  The interface is not as graphically appealing as some other editors, as Photoshop Express chooses to allow the photograph to maximize the real estate on the screen, rather than its menus.  Photoshop Express is available for both iPhone and iPad.

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2013 in Apps, Tips & Tricks

 

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Culturally Authentic Picture Lexicon

Culturally Authentic Picture Lexicon

The Culturally Authentic Picture Lexicon (CAPL) is a great site to use in classes to help students find pictures that are both authentic and appropriate from other cultures and countries.  All the photographs held in the database were taken by natives of the culture and are organized by language and also by region.  You can either browse or search the CAPL to find great photos from around the world.

One of the great benefits of the CAPL in education is that it can be used by teachers outside of simply being another repository for photos.  Each picture is cataloged by language and region and contains both an English description and foreign language translation.  This is an excellent way to infuse your world language curriculum into searching and project creation.

Another way many educators use the CAPL is to have students use the photos as writing prompts in world history and cultures classes, to recreate the images in art classes, to identify plants and animals in science, or to address cultural differences in Social Studies classes.  The CAPL is a perfect accompaniment to a Project-Based Learning environment with endless cross-curricular possibilities.

Last, but not least, check out the Pictolang Tab on CAPL as well.  This will take you to a sister site where students can play four different games that use the CAPL’s photos:

  • Visual Word Trainer – Turns the photos into flash cards so students can practice or learn vocabulary
  • Picture Match Game – Given 8 images, students choose the photo that matches the word or phrase caption and are given immediate feedback.
  • Word Match Game – Students see one image and find the appropriate caption or vocabulary word from 8 choices, again with immediate feedback
  • Analyst Game – Students are given one image and then match the corresponding culture from 8 choices.

I highly recommend giving CAPL a try for both your world language classes, as well as social studies can history classes where you are looking for fun, exciting ways to incorporate real world images and examples for students that infuse and are steeped in modern culture.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2013 in Tips & Tricks, Websites

 

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Toontastic — Create Your Own Cartoons

TOONTASTIC: FREE

Today I thought there might be a little change of pace and come back to some tools and tricks after a short hiatus.  Today I’m going to delve into the land of apps.  First up is Toontastic.

Toontastic: Free is a fun tool that allows students to create characters, stories and cartoons on the iPad.  You can use as an alternative assessment in class or for those students who do not have permission to, or may be reluctant to perform in video projects.  While the Toontastic app is geared more toward younger grades, it is easily adaptable and fun for higher grades too.

All you have to do in Toontastic is select or create your characters and move them on the screen to animate while recording your voice to tell your story.  Toontastic even helps students create their stories by waling them through a simple story arc where they can individually create a setup, conflict, challenge, climax, and resolution to their stories.

From the iTunes description:

Making cartoons with Toontastic is as easy as putting on a puppet show – simply press the record button, move your characters onscreen, and tell your story. Toontastic records your animation and voice as a cartoon video to share with friends and family on ToonTube, the app’s global storytelling network for kids.

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2013 in Apps, Tips & Tricks

 

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myHistro — Interactive Timelines & Maps

http://www.myhistro.com/

MyHistro

I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting presentation and storytelling tools, and myHistro definitely fits the bill for today!  With myHistro, you are able to create interactive timelines of any event in history, both major events and personal!

Create myHistro stories that integrate text, photos, video, and Google Maps to take students on a journey through the actual events of history on a virtual fieldtrip through the places that influenced the events.  These presentations can be left to play on their own or can be manipulated by the viewer as well.  If you don’t have the inclination or time to create your own, then you can choose from hundreds of already made myHistro timelines that cover almost every time period in history.

Another benefit of myHistro is that with creating your own timeline, you could have students build their own personal histories or stories, pinning actual locations on a map to correspond with the events in their timeline.  This is a perfect way to work in a cross-curricular setting, either having students research historical figures from other disciplines, creating their own life story, or writing creatively about a person’s life.  Integrating the writing component while using myHistro to organize and bring actual geography into the story can address several needs and standards at the same time.

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2013 in Tips & Tricks, Websites

 

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The Learning Power of LEGO — Infographic

Learning with LEGO

As a kid we loves building with them, as parents and adults we dread stepping on them — LEGO bricks!  Have you ever thought about the precision needed to make them or of the power they hold to increase learning or creativity (outside of seeing how high you really can build that tower)?  Today’s infographic from OnlineColleges looks at the history of the LEGO brick and company as well as some ways it is being used to enhance learning.

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2013 in Infographics

 

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Free Large File Transfers — DropSend

DropSend: Large File Transfers

I was asked this morning by a teacher about the ability to have students share a large video file that they were turning in for a project.  Unfortunately no one in the student group had a flash drive and it was too large a file to pass through our e-mail filters.   I recommended DropSend as a great free site to use for these transfers.

The interface is simple as the only thing you need is your own e-mail, the e-mail address of your recipient, and the file location.  Simply enter this information into DropSend, type the verification code they provide and click submit!  The recipient will receive an e-mail with a link to the file stored with DropSend and can download it up to 10 times within a week of it being sent.

DropSend is a very simple, and (more importantly) free way to send large files up to 2 GB via e-mail.  A 2 GB threshold is probably much larger than anything your students might create, but helps alleviate the pesky problem of those project files that may too big for a student’s flash drive – if they have one – or too large to have them e-mail or submit the file electronically another way.  One more tool for your belt! J  Happy First Friday!

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2013 in Tips & Tricks

 

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