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.

Untitled 2

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.

Untitled

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?

iMovie with First Graders

IMG_3314

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.

IMG_3392

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.

boulders

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.

Zydeco Inquiry App

This is hands down one of my favorite apps. It was designed with science inquiry learning in mind, but the awesome thing about it is that it can be used for ANY content area. The teacher (or student) creates an investigation with a guiding question and possibly add a hypothesis or supporting questions, then users in the investigation collect data and observations in the format of audio, movie, photos, or text which is all stored in the app. Once the students are in wifi, all their data is collected together so they can see what each other collected as well. They then type in their claim (which may or may not be the same as their hypothesis), and are able to tap in any piece of evidence from the investigation- regardless of file type or the person who collected the evidence. Once they’ve pulled in their evidence, they must write in their reasoning for why the evidence supports their claim. Genius. I mean, genius.

Cursor_and_Untitled

This can be used for literacy, social studies, music, etc. What is so great is that curriculum and assessments are continuously striving towards students showing their understanding through evidence…which is why this app is so perfect. It provides enough basic structure for students to support their thinking with evidence and reasoning.

For more information regarding Zydeco, go to their site http://zydeco.soe.umich.edu/ You may notice that the site says UMich…aka the University of Michigan. Yes, this app was designed by science educators from the University of Michigan and it was funded by an NSF grant. Which means it was fairly well thought out. Also, the developers are really nice guys who are always trying to improve it and are open to feedback and suggestions.

You can also access the app through the web at https://www.myzydeco.com/users/sign_in which is awesome, especially if you forget your iPad at work, or a student is using it.