Puffins…not Penguins

Not supporting Flash is one of the main downfalls of the iPad (I could list MANY, but I’ll keep it cool). A few years ago I had tested out the free Rover App, which crashed incessantly. I then found this sad looking Puffin.

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Puffin, although still a bit buggy at the time, allowed students to use Raz Kids and watch flash animations on Discovery Education and National Geographic Education sites. It took up a lot of bandwidth, which was an issue for us back then, but it worked. The dark side was that it cost $3.99, which for one iPad is fine, but I manage 200+ iPads. I thought it was worth it, and luckily so did my boss. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve used it personally to watch Broncos games online (shhhh).

And then I read a post by +Dan Gallagher who mentioned using the Puffin Academy App, which was free.

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Same sad little Puffin, but this time, revamped. The Puffin Academy app is a curated space for educational sites, and it is restricted. When you try and go to YouTube, it says “No Result!”…which also means if I tried to watch my Broncos games, it would have the same response. Phooey.

Why is Puffin Academy so great for education? For starters, it’s FREE. Thank you, CloudMosa, Inc. Second, educational publishers or content providers have to apply and be approved before being curated. That means that no icky sites can appear, so in theory, if your district is controlling over allowing Safarai or YouTube on iPads, this could be a fantastic alternative. You could Restrict Safari, but still be able to access educational websites AND be able to view flash animations.

Who knew this sad little Puffin face could bring so much joy?

Jigsawing

For those of you educators out there, describing how to do a jigsaw activity for the first time with students can be a bit confusing. I, at times, have even confused myself and had to write out the groups on the board a few times when I hadn’t had enough sleep. I wanted to include a jigsaw infographic in a science unit I am revising and couldn’t find a decent image anywhere.

So, I made one. Enjoy.

Jigsaw Infographic

I made it with Google Drawing, so if you’d like to make a copy for yourself and alter it in any way, please feel free to do so.

iMovie with First Graders

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Yes, you read that correctly.

iMovie with first graders. We sent 3 classes of first graders to the Apple store in the fall to learn how to use iMovie. What does that look like? Well, it looked kind of chaotic and kind of awesome. The kids were amazing. The teachers and parents who accompanied us were amazing. Some of my favorite moments revolved around the students just playing with sound effects and giggling uncontrollably. Yes, the words used by the Apple Trainers were way above the kids’ heads, and above most of the adults as well, but that didn’t really matter. And yes, the kids were more excited about getting t-shirts and wrist bands than editing film, but it didn’t matter. They had a blast while learning a new tool.

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Fast forward to March. Students will now be using the iPads to create their videos for their PBL unit on beautifying the playground.

Each group of 4 students has created a drawn out plan of how they would beautify the playground, incorporating their learning from FOSS Pebbles, Sand & Silt, New Plants and Solids & Liquids. They’ve also written a persuasive letter to community members to contribute either money or landscape materials to their idea.

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They will be using iMovie to videotape themselves reading their letter and showing the drawn plan while describing how the playground will be changed and why. The groups will compete against each other within their classes and the winners will compete against the winners from another class, and then will be submitted to local companies. Hopefully they will receive money or supplies or both, but if not they will need to go back and revise their plans, budgets and strategy and try again.

The kids and teachers used iMovie on the computers at the Apple store, not on iPads. So now the trick is to have them transfer information from one device to another. Good thing they look so similar…ahem. So for the teachers (and students if they’d like), I made an intro video tutorial for iMovie 2.0.