Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"App Talk" and Review- Skitch

This is a free app designed for iPhone and iPad.  The app allows you to snap a photo or use one from the camera roll, draw/mark/annotate/caption on it, and send it by Message, Facebook, Twitter, Email, Evernote Link, or other App.  Evernote created the app so that's why the Evernote link.  Besides the photo ability, you have the option of maps.  You can type in an address or search for nearby places. Then you have the ability to annotate, etc. as with photos or pictures.  The Web feature allows you to snap any web page and annotate, etc. as well.  You can view a PDF in another app, tap "open in" or share, then select Skitch.  The Draw option has many features.  You can select color, type, stamp, arrow, borders, and more.  Then you can share in any of the formats listed previously.
Positives:  I love this app!  I use it frequently on my iPhone.  For example, I'm at a game and I see someone I know but I can't remember their name.  I take a quick photo of the person that is seated in a group.  I use Skitch to draw an arrow to the person and send it to my husband to identify the person.  Problem Solved!  There are tons of uses for this app.  For education, the possibilities are endless.  It's user friendly so even the youngest (PreK), would be able to use it.  One example is taking photos around the school of shapes and using Skitch to point the arrow on the photo to the correct shape, or taking photos of words that begin with a certain letter and then typing the word over the photo.  Share a diagram and let students label parts using Skitch.
Negatives:  To mark a PDF, there is a nominal one-time $1.99 upgrade charge.  If you use PDFs frequently, it would probably be well worth the fee.

Below is an example using Skitch to mark a photo:
I give Skitch a Thumbs Up!

Monday, June 9, 2014

"App" Talk and Review - Tellagami

Over the next few weeks while most teachers are on summer break, I've decided to review some educational apps.  My hope is that teachers can use my reviews to find some worthwhile tools they can implement into instruction when school returns in August.

My first app review is Tellagami.
Positives:  This is a free app for the Ipad/Iphone.  It is an Avatar that can be designed in appearance by gender, skin tone, hair, clothes, etc.  You can then choose the background you want to use.  There are several backgrounds in the app to choose from including nature scenes and different room settings.  You can also choose a background from the camera roll as well.  Once you set up your avatar and choose a background, you can begin recording up to 30 seconds with your voice.  I have used this app in several ways.  Students have created a short summary on a book to share.  They pretended to be a character from a book and stated their point of view of something from the storyline.  Another idea was partnering up and one student would ask questions about a certain part of the book or chapter, and the other student would answer.  The students love creating the avatars and hearing the avatar speak with their voice in animation.  It is also user friendly with easy to follow icons.
Negatives:  There are limited saving options.  The only way to save your work (Avatar recording), is to  post on Twitter/Facebook, email it, SMS/message it, or save to the camera roll.  The time constraint of 30 seconds for recording really limits what you can say and students tend to talk very fast in order to get everything recorded.  We have had some technical issues as well.  Several error messages will pop up or students get kicked out of app and have to start over.  This doesn't happen all the time, only occasionally, and could be caused by the network capability at the school.

Here is an example of Tellagami:

Overall, I would give this app a thumbs up and encourage you to download it today!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

End of Year Tips for Tech

Before you head out for that summer vacation, spend a little time cleaning up your gmail account.  Put emails in folders that you need to save and have available when you come back in August.  Also, get rid of emails no longer needed.  Then empty your trash and delete permanently to free up space.

Another tip is to bookmark frequently used and important sites.  When you come back to school, you may not remember these and you will have them available to use as needed.

Saving documents to your Google Drive is a must!  It allows you to access these documents from any computer, tablet, phone, etc.  so you can work on the go.

While you have leisure time, check out Kathy Schrock's site and sign up for her emails.  She has wonderful classroom tips on using technology!

Enjoy your time off with your family, rest, relax, and do something for yourself!