Monday, November 19, 2012

Interactive Books - Reading and Creating Stories

Thanks to the teaching team at Whangarei Heads School for sharing these interactive storybooks with me. Collins Big Cat have 8 FREE story apps that not only promote a love of reading, but are also incredibly interactive. My favourite part of these apps is being able to encourage the children to create their own stories with the inbuilt 'story creator'. You can create your own scenes, add your own text and then record your stories. Check out the You Tube clip below created by Collins Books and have fun exploring.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

App Harvesting

A group of Whangarei teachers recently had an 'app harvest' session.  Here are a few of our favourite apps shared on the daySmile  - I thoroughly recommend getting together with teachers in your area to share apps you and your students are using to support teaching and learning.  Not only do you discover new apps you also get to see 'how' other teachers/students are utilsing these apps.  AND the most important part of these app harvests is meeting teachers from other schoolsSmile  A fantastic professional learning opportunity.  As the list below is a picture - you will need to head on over to the Virtual Learning Network where you can download the PDF version to follow the links easily.

Monday, October 29, 2012

iBooks 3

The iBooks store has finally 'arrived' in New Zealand.  While the app has always been available,  the purchasing of books was not an option.  This has now changed and while not all publishers have their content with iBooks, there is a good starting range.  There is also a range of self-published books, created with iBooks Authors.  These self-published books include textbooks, recipe books, children's stories etc.

The release of iBooks 3 has seen alignment with iCloud so that your notes, bookmarks and placemark is synced across all your  ios devices.

It is worth browsing the iBooks Store if you haven't already.  You might like to check out the free sample of Life on Earth, a multi-touch interactive book that showcases the future of textbooks.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

MoMA Art Lab iPad App

The children and teaching team at Manaia Kindergarten continue to be an inspiration to me in my role as an Early Years Facilitator. A great ECE blog to check out to see the incredible learning happening. Manaia Kindergarten have had an iPad for sometime now and it is great to see the children working collaboratively using the MoMA Art Lab App to create their artwork. I have just downloaded this app and looking forward to working with it with children.  Check out the You Tube clip below for a quick 'what it's all about':-)


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dinosaurs in NZ Classrooms!

Sharon - our Hamilton Early Years Facilitator under attack in Auckland!

I have had heaps of fun exploring the AR Dinopark App with students at different schools throughout Whangarei.  The excitement and buzz is amazing as the dinosaurs crash on into the classroom.  The strategy of taking photos and then using these photos as creative and imaginative writing prompts has proved very successful.  We have used the Pic Collage App to put our stories together.

Check out some of our posts on the Whangarei Primary School blog.  We would LOVE your comments.

Augmented Reality in Room 9

Michael's Triceratops Attack!

Ocieana and Claire's Dinosaur Story

I have recently visited with @AllanahKing in Nelson and she has also had fun with dinosaurs at Appleby School.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Amazing Spider-man AR

I have been playing around with augmented reality for a few months.      We are at the beginning of AR possibilities and future developments will be exciting.  As much fun as I have had with it, I have wondered how it could be used in the classroom.

While at the Slide2Learn conference in July, I attended a workshop on AR facilitated by Nathan Jones.  Jones talked about how he uses AR in the classroom with his students.  Using AR to spark ideas for story-writing was one of the ideas he shared.

The Amazing Spider-man AR is a great app for Spiderman lovers.   By downloading the free app from the App store, and printing the series of free markers from the site, users can shoot spiderman's web, swing across buildings, capture baddies and climb brick walls.  Lots of ideas for story starters here.  I can see that reluctant writers could be drawn in to story writing this way.

The iPad as a Tool for Education

Longfield Academy in the UK have implemented an iPad programme. This report, published by Naace in July 2012, outlines how the iPads have been used for teaching and learning in the two terms since the programme started.

 The Executive summary is as follows:

"This study, one of the most extensive yet regarding the use of tablet devices finds that with the majority of pupils at the school now having iPads there has been a significant and very positive impact on learning together with further significant and still developing changes in pedagogy. In particular it was found that:
  • The overwhelming majority of teachers regularly use iPads in their teaching
  • iPad use is particularly strong in English, Maths and Science
  • There is high demand from students for iPad use to be extended further
  • Teachers have identified significant benefits for their workload and have also
    identified cost savings
  • Use of the iPads is increasingly being developed for homework and beyond
    school activities
  • Students are more motivated when using iPads
  • The quality and standard of pupil work and progress is rising
  • Both staff and student feel they can work more effectively with iPads
  • Levels of collaborative working have improved
  • Appropriate use of Apps aids learning
  • All find the iPad easy to use
  • Minor technical issues have arisen, often due to user error, but are readily dealt
  • Effective project management has been critical to the success of this development.
    The outcomes at Longfield clearly demonstrate the value of the iPad as an educational tool and the role that it can play in learning and teaching." (p. 4) 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


ABC Spy is the perfect app to support children learning the ABC.  What I like most about this app is how it gives the opportunity to create your own ABC library of photos.  Each letter is introduced in the normal way - the letter and the sound of the letter but then... wait there's more!  You actually get to use the camera to take a photo of an 'something' beginning with that letter.  You have the possiblility of creating a folder for each child and each child taking their own photos.  I really support apps that allow for the creativity of children.  Give this one a try and let us know what  you think.  It's as easy as ABC!
Step 1 - Choose a user or create a new user by clicking on the + button - it will give you the option of adding a photo to each user.
Step 2 - Start spying!
Step 3 - Listen to the letter and the sound of the letter and then Add a Photo by tapping the camera...
Step 4 - Take your photo - once you have taken your photo you get the option of choosing a frame and typing in what your photo is.  Once you have finished you can move on to the next letter/sound.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Lego Super Hero Movie Maker

This Lego app - the Super Hero Movie Maker -  uses stop motion to record movies.  This app is simple to use and it takes no time to create a movie.  It works well on all iDevices and best of all it is free.

Users can select from a range of title pages, soundtracks and filters, all with a super hero theme.

Check out a quick movie made in less than two minutes by one of my children (I am sure the storyline will get better with practice :-)

YouTube Video

Postnote:  After making the original movie above and showing it to others , adiscussion was had about clarity of photos and the need for the story to flow with two children working together for the next version .......... will be interesting to see where this develops.

Also check out the animation from Room 7 at Normandale School where they have started using the Lego Super Hero Movie Maker.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Location:Lego Movie

Monday, April 16, 2012

Skeletal Head & Neck Pro III

Skeletal Head & Neck Pro III  is a free app that enables users to explore the head and neck skeleton.  There is lots to this free app including:

  •  rotating the skeleton can be rotated for a 360 degree view
  • slice the skull for different views
  • drawing tools
  • labels with vocal pronunciation 
  • and if you are really keen there is a quiz to test your knowledge.  

Great for sharing with children.

Slicing the skull

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cross fingers

Cross Fingers is an addictive tangram puzzle.  There are levels for everyone including levels for children, novices and pros.  Great for building maths skills as the pieces are moved into position.  There are lots of challenges to be had, and new levels to unlock as you progress through the game.  It is currently free through iTunes

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102 Interesting Ways to Use an iPad in the Classroom

A great resource collated by Tom Barrett.  Check out the 102 ways here and add any others you may utilise.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lets Tans Deluxe

Lets Tans is another tangram puzzle that involves moving pieces to make one shape.  There are different levels of play from beginner to experienced.  Options include the classic 7 piece tangram through to tangram silhouettes.  Timed levels, with hints available if needed.


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Just trying a new way of sharing apps.  What do you think?  Photos and words or video recordings?  What is easier for you?  Would love your comments...

Auto dance can be downloaded for iPhone/iPod touch here or Android here.

'Make your friends dance - even the ones that can’t. Simply record your friends doing stuff and the Autodance app will sync their movements to a choice of dance tracks. Then, like magic, they'll be shaking their stuff in their own instant dance music video.'

Sunday, March 18, 2012

iPads for Learning - A Guide for Getting Started

Great read - thanks to Alannah King and the VLN.  Provides lots of food for thought as well as reflective questions to really delve into the pedagogy behind using an iPad for learning.
"1-to-1 is about learning, not technology.  Students need a curriculum that meets the demands of an increasingly globalised and interconnected world in the 21st century."
We should not be mapping the use of new technologies onto old curricula,rather, we need to rethink our curricula and pedagogies in the light of the impact that we know technologies can have on learning and meaning‑making in contemporary times 
(Yelland, 2007).
iPads for Learning Getting Started

Monday, March 12, 2012

Te Pataka a Milly me Molly

Te Pataka a Milly me Molly is a collection of the Milly and Molly stories in Te Reo Maori.  Once the app is downloaded, users can select any number of the 30 books to download to their iDevice.  Not only do the books have delightful illustrations and narration in Maori, they can be read in a number of ways.  Options for reading include user reading, touching each word to hear how it sounds or have the book automatically read from beginning to end.  As each word is read, it appears larger on the screen so the child can follow along with the story.  The collection of stories also have the added option of being able to record yourself reading the story - particularly good if you want to practice your reo, or to have a family member read the story to the child (great option for when special family members are not always nearby to read everyday to the child).

I have found it difficult to access the books when not connected online so I would recommend that you be connected online to read each book.


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Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Story

My Story is a very reasonably priced ($1.99) app for creating books easily.  Books can be shared via email or saved as an iBook (a free app).  Once saved an an iBook - your story can be read on your iPad anywhere, anytime:-)

I love the fact that you can import your own photos, draw your own pictures, add text and record your voice.  It is very simple to use and has very clear symbols that children can follow with ease.

A great digital storytelling app for all ages:-)
Step 1 - Simply tap 'My Story' to give your story a title

Step 2 - Create your cover page you can tap the paintbrush symbol to open your options for painting or tap the photo symbol to see your options for taking a photo or adding a photo from your collection.  To change colours - simply tap the colour you would like to choose - scroll along to see new colours...

Step 3 - Add text to your cover page by clicking on the bottom right arrow - It will open up this screen, simply tap the 'ABC' to begin typing...  Once you have finished click the arrow again to go back to your cover page.  You can then click 'cover page' in the bottom left hand corner...

Step 4 - To add another page simply click the page symbol in the top right hand corner and continue to add pages to your story...

If you want to add your voice to your pages - simply click on the red microphone symbol...

Step 5 - When your story is finished you have the option of reading it or sharing it....

Step 6 - Click on share and choose how you would like to do so - HAVE FUN CREATING!

UPDATE: The publishers are working on a print function and in the meantime have some video instructions of how to print.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pic collage

Pic collage is a free app that makes it easy to turn your photos into a collage which can be shared via email, Facebook or twitter.  Photos can either be taken using the iPad or iPhone Camera, or imported from the media library.  Once photos on the the screen, they can be edited, clipped, resized, moved around, set as the background or rotated.  A range of options include selecting from a range of backgrounds, adding text and stickers.  The photos can be moved in front or behind other photos with just a simple tap.  This is a great app that is easy to use for all ages.  Download and give it a try today.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Elements

Theodore Gray's The Elements is a beautifully detail and informative eBook on the periodic table.  The elements appear on the home screen.  Tapping an element enlarges it so it appears on the entire screen rotating 360degrees.  The main facts about the element such as it's weight, melting point and density appear to the side of the screen.  The next page of the eBook contains detailed information on the element, as well as more clear photographs. All the elements shown can be rotated by touch.  At anytime, the user can return to the home screen.  This app also has the Lehrer song 'The Elements' so you can sing along while watching all the elements go by!

The Elements is a pricey app - about NZD18 - but if you want to learn more about the periodic table, then this app is one of the better ones I have found,  the visuals are stunning.


'There's antimonyarsenicaluminumselenium,
And hydrogen and oxygen and nitrogen and rhenium,.......'
 from Lehrer, The Elements Lyrics

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Radio NZ

One of my colleagues, Justine Mason, shared this fab free app with me today. The Radio NZ app not only lets you listen to Radio NZ programmes live, it allows you to select and listen to content from previous shows. If you miss an inteview or report, add it to your playlist and listen when the time is convenient.

The app works on iPad, iPhone and iTouch.


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Monday, February 27, 2012

Science 360

Amazing images are shared by the National Science Foundation thought the Science360 app. A range of images and videos appear when this app opens.  By clicking an image, information appears telling you more about it. Images are updated regularly so there is always something new to explore.


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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bug builder - paint and decorate

This app has been designed for very young children. The child selects a shape for their bug and decorates it by choosing colors and drawing. Tapping the screen brings the bug to life as feet, feelers, legs etc are added to it and the bug moves around the screen.  Taking a photo is an option before returning to the main screen to start again.

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