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CDETB Curriculum Development Unit | Apps of the week
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Friday, 27th November 2020


Daily Random Facts – Learn new interesting trivia

Download and get started – set the amount and time of day for your daily reminders. Then select the topics you like. Choose between ‘science’, ‘society’, ‘nature’, and ‘history’. You can pick as many as you want.

You will get facts in the form of simple statements which you can rate (like/dislike) and add to your own collection. This option, however, is only available in the paid Facts Premium version. If you want to learn more, you can click on the info icon, which links to websites which seem to be somewhat scientific. More free categories and different types of background wallpaper are available at the bottom menu. Widgets can also be customised to fit your screen.

There is no clear indication of how these ‘facts’ are being chosen, so they are truly random.


Could be used for: online pub quizzes during the Christmas period or just for fun!

What I liked about it: fun to scroll through.

Watch out for: it is easy to incidentally sign up to the paid version.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://www.randomfacts.app/


Friday, 20th November 2020



If you have students in your classroom who struggle with their handwriting when filling in a worksheet, SnapType could be a useful aid.

Download the app. Some explanatory slides outline how it works. Simply use the camera of your device to take a picture or else upload a worksheet from email.

You can now manipulate this by tapping into it and then adding a textbox. You can type into this and drag the box around if you wish. Change the background colour to make it fit. Deleting text is easy – simply tap and hold for 2 seconds. Zoom into your creation to make it easier to read.

If you click on ‘markup’ (go to ‘pdf’ in the ‘share’ menu), you can draw on images by tapping the pencil button and add your signature. The ‘done’ button is in the upper left hand corner (difficult to see on my device).

Your student shares their creation by emailing it to you, by uploading it, or by printing it off.

Could be used for: people whose handwriting is illegible (*mine!* says the librarian:)) – or perhaps students with dyslexia.

What I liked about it: helps you with filling in any kind of form, including written assessments.

Watch out for: you might want to use the paid for version, which allows for more storage and has a whiteboard feature that makes the document look like paper.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: http://www.snaptypeapp.com/



Friday, 13th November 2020


EthiCart – Sustainability made simple

Achieving sustainability is one of the key policies of many countries. Two students from Trinity College Dublin came up with the idea for “… a user-friendly app that gives quick, accessible and easy to understand information around food products sustainability and ethical standards. If you want to shop more sustainably but lack time to research and a find place to get the information you need, EthiCart enables and empowers you to buy products that align with your values.”

Simply download it. A short tutorial explains how the app works. You can scan a product or use the search function. Or browse the food categories, e.g. ‘hot beverages’ or ‘cereals’. A product’s sustainability profile – and more sustainable alternatives (‘top pick’) – will be displayed. The profile contains information on production, packaging, and the company behind it. Rating factors are explained, together with information on recycling and plenty of other tips. You can also request a new product to be added.

Could be used for: teaching about sustainability, supply chains and climate change.

What I liked about it: once rolled out nationwide, this could really be a game changer. Also, it is a superb example of an app developed by students.

Watch out for: unfortunately, as it is a pilot version, it is currently only working with the food outlets on TCD’s campus.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://ethicart.ie/


Friday, 6th November 2020


Microsoft Teams

One of the side effects of the pandemic is the rise in the uptake of online working. As teams are dispersed across several sites, new ways of connecting need to be found. Many CDETB staff members are currently working from home. Microsoft Teams was chosen as the platform for teamwork. It is part of Microsoft 365 for Education.

Download the app to your device. Sign in with your .cdetb.ie email address – if you don’t have one, please contact IT in Head Office.

Creating a new team is simple: click on ‘create team’ on the dashboard and decide what kind of community you would like to start: ‘class’, ‘professional learning community’, ‘staff’, or ‘other’. Give it a name and a description (which will help other people identify what it is for). Decide on whether this is a private or public group. Most teams within CDETB are probably private ones as they are relating to a specific centre or task. Start inviting others to join.

You can phone or video call your contact by simply clicking on the ‘receiver’ icon beside their name. This person does not have to be part of any of your teams. Find other CDETB staff members by clicking on ‘add contact’. ‘Activity’ shows you who has posted new information in your team. You can chat with your members. Upload files and share them with others. Videos can also be added.

The calendar pulls in the information from your Outlook email calendar, so you can check when a meeting is scheduled to take place.

There are many other apps that connect to Teams, which you might want to use with your groups, e.g. OneNote.

Could be used for: connecting with staff who are working from home and for meetings with remote teams.

What I liked about it: as it is part of CDETB’s suite of work tools, IT support is at hand if you have any problems. And it is really easy to use.

Watch out for: being part of too many teams might make it hard to manage your time.

Available from the App Store, on Google Play, and for download for desktop use.

More information here: https://teams.microsoft.com/uswe-01/downloads



Friday, 30th October 2020


Dublin Discovery Trails


With the Halloween holidays upon us, but restricted as we are to staying local, why not try out an app that lets you explore Dublin by foot?

Simply download Dublin Discovery Trails and allow/don’t allow notifications.

An orientation route, called ‘Dubline’, connects many of the city’s main attractions. It follows the ‘great journey’ that runs from the east to the west across Ireland. Different ‘experiences’ show you slices of Dublin’s history: Rebellion focusses on Dublin Castle and O’Connell Street; Story of Dublin runs mainly along Dame Street and Temple Bar; Empire encompasses the Liberties and City Hall, Trinity College, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and St. Stephen’s Green; and Echoes of War features the historic buildings between Heuston Station and Kilmainham. Three more focus on Dublin’s North side and well-known characters of the city. You can download all of this content from the main page. The files include both audio files and photos The image gallery contains photos and other images of famous places and people related to each tour.

The map function uses your location to point you to nearby points of interest. There is not much interaction with this app – but the recordings are done well.

Could be used for: You can build your own itinerary by clicking the ‘star’ icon, which could be a fun thing to do with children.

What I liked about it: The recordings are available in Irish, English, German and French.

Watch out for: The map didn’t load on my device.

Available from the App Store and on the Google Play.

More information here: https://www.visitdublin.com/see-do/dublin-discovery-trails


Friday, 23rd October 2020


Collect by WeTransfer

When you come across interesting images or videos, songs or other audio file, articles or email attachments, you might download them to your device. Why not share them with your students? Collect helps you organise content through simple visual boards.

Download the app and sign up. You can start collecting straight away. Add single items for later use. Alternatively, create a new board and add items with a few clicks: video files, pictures, notes, other files, or bits you have found on the Internet. There is a scan function with uses your camera. You can edit and review that scan. Give your board a title and a description.

If you are ready to share, decide on whether you want to allow others to edit your board or not. The app then creates a link which you can pass on via social media, by email, by creating a QR code, or through your video messaging app (which means you can add it to your Zoom or Teams meeting)

Could be used for: sharing ideas with students and for project work.

What I liked about it: it is dead easy to use.

Watch out for: as always be careful what you download from the Internet.

Available from the App Store, on Google Play, and for your PC or MAC.

More information here: collect.bywetransfer.com



Friday, 16th October 2020


Quizizz: Play to Learn

Download and open the app. The usual reminder of notifications appears. Decide whether you are using this app for school or work, or neither.

When you choose ‘school’, you can immediately join a specific game (you need a code for that) or one of the free ones available in many school subject areas: Maths, Social Studies, Languages, Science, Computer, Creative Arts, and Career and Technical Education. There is a ‘practice’ level and you can also challenge your friends. Questions are usually timed. The grade level is indicated on the right hand side.

As a teacher you need to create an account on the website for which you can use your college email or Gmail. A short tutorial explains the main features. You can search the quizzes library for any topic or create your own. Give it a name and chose your subject area. You can now add your questions or simply clone them over from the resource bank. The quiz editor has many options: multiple choice, check box, ‘fill in the blank’, polls, open-ended, or slides. Add images, a grade level, and time restrictions. You will get a report on how each students performed on each question.

Could be used for: formative assessment during periods of remote teaching.

What I liked about it: the ‘read aloud’ option could be used for students with visual impairments.

Watch out for: students cannot input, so this is more appropriate for fact recalling.

Available from the App Store, on Google Play, and online.

More information here: https://quizizz.com/


Friday, 9th October 2020





Short promotional videos are all the rage at the moment. Jump on that train by signing up to PowToon. Log in is via Facebook, LinkedIn, Gmail, or by signing up on the website (where you can use your Office 365 account). You can decide what kind of notifications you want to receive.

A PowToon consists of slides which you can manipulate and which play as a video. Importing a PowerPoint presentation is currently in the beta version.

There are categories of free templates available and they are clearly reflecting current times: ‘remote & office’, ‘remote learning’, ‘explainer video’, ‘marketing video’, and ‘presentation’. These are easy to customise – simply replace images and text by selecting from a wide range of options. This might be a good start for someone who has never used this software before. Your ‘workspace’ records your creations, so you can always go back and change things around. If you are feeling more creative, PowToon gives you a selection of ‘looks’, which should get you started.

PowToon Connect is the app version of PowToon, which allows you to upload media (photo, video) and record a voiceover for your video. Create a PowToon on the website first.

You can export your video to social media channels or download it as a pdf or PowerPoint presentation. If you want to save it as a video you need the paid version.

For a very simple example check out this one created years ago: http://cdetbcdu.ie/e-library/the-cdu-library/

Could be used for: short, snappy videos or infographics.

What I liked about it: really easy to use as it is quite self-explanatory.

Watch out for: for more sophisticated videos and removal of the PowToon logo you might want to go pro (paid version).

Available from the App Store, on Google Play and online.

More information here: https://www.powtoon.com/



Friday, 2nd October 2020


GooseChase: scavenger hunt

With a new school year come new challenges, no less so during a pandemic. Your students might still only be on campus occasionally, so why not have a little scavenger hunt to make them feel welcome or let people explore their own neighbourhood?

As a teacher you need to sign up with a new account on the website below. A short video explains how GooseChase works.

Creating a new game, which can be branded and timed, is straightforward: add a picture, name, description – and location (the app uses GPS) if you want it to be found by others. You can also password protect it, which would make sense in an educational setting. Each game consists of missions which attract points, basically activities you want your users to do. You can also select missions created by others from the mission bank. These range from taking a picture of two black cars side by side to looking up definitions in a dictionary. ‘Game script’ is about the sequence of events to take place and you can include automatic messages. Check the submissions of your participants on the dashboard.

Students can now play as a guest using the app – you need to provide them with a game code. They can join missions either as part of a team or individually.

Enabling your location lets you see what other games are currently active in your area.

Could be used for: orientation week, field trips, or team building exercises.

What I liked about it: this could also be done online and socially distanced.

Watch out for: using activities that invite strangers to get involved.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://www.goosechase.com/ and https://www.goosechase.com/edu/game-library/


Friday, 25th September 2020


FreshGrade Connect: Remote learning portfolios


Download and approve/disapprove of notifications. Teachers need to sign up first.

Create a class first by naming it, selecting your grade (American system, but it includes ‘Vocational training’) and teaching subjects (includes ‘library literacy’, yay!). The option to include standard documents can only be ticked for US, Canada and Australia. Adding your students is easy: you can copy and paste from an existing list or simply type in names.

There are three submenus available. ‘Class feed’ allows you to get in touch with your students. Students’ works are available under ‘portfolios’. They can upload audio files, videos or photos. ‘Assessments’ gives you two models you can adapt: score-based, which appraise activities based on one or more criteria to calculate overall grades, or standards-based, which uses learning standards with an overall grade per standard. You can organise your assessments by date, group unit, or group term. There are preinstalled test scales, but you can also create your own.

Parents can also get connected so that they can monitor their child’s progress. This app allows for integration with Google Drive and OneDrive.

Could be used for: assessment for remote classes.

What I liked about it: seems to be very straightforward.

Watch out for: as always encourage students to be vigilant when online.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://freshgrade.com/ and here: https://learning.freshgrade.com/courses


Friday, 18th September 2020


 Zigazoo Classrooms


Hailed as a ‘TikTok for Kids’ by its creator, Zigazoo aims to give “families and classrooms the ability to share video-based responses to projects built by leading museums, zoos, educators, children’s musicians, and education organizations.”

Download the app. You can join the global community or a specific classroom or pod. For the second option you need a code – this will be of interest to teachers.

If you continue without a classroom, you need to log in through Facebook, Gmail, or your Apple account (if you are using an Apple product). Select ‘notifications’ if you want to get these. You can start by choosing channels, which include some of the company’s own education resources.

The big red camera button allows you to create your own responses. You can also flag videos if you think the content is inappropriate.

Could be used for: short video-based exercises that students can answer through video and share responses with their classmates.

What I liked about it: restricted classrooms will engage your students: https://www.zigazoo.com/classrooms

Watch out for: younger or more vulnerable students should not be allowed to post videos to the open channel videos.

Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://www.zigazoo.com/


Friday, 11th September 2020


Lumosity – Brain Training

Your brain is probably getting a good workout at the moment, but in case you need to get these little cells into shape, here is an app that you might enjoy. All exercises are scientifically designed. You can set yourself a reminder on when to train.
Download and open it. You need to create an account or sign up with a Gmail, Facebook, or Apple account.
It asks you for your birthdate in order to match you with the right age group. Just click on ‘next’ if you don’t want to divulge your gender and other information.
There is a free 10-minute fit test to check where you are at: memory, speed, attention, problem solving, flexibility, math, and language. Your baseline will be tested in three cognitive games, which will then be compared to other members. A short tutorial introduces each game. The score after each shows how you fair in relation to others in your age cohort.

The games are short and fun to do. They are deceptively easy… You can go back and try again:)

With a premium subscription you get a personalised daily workout and more detailed reports.

Could be used for: keeping our brains active. Students could hold a competition to see who scores higher.

What I liked about it: fun.

Watch out for: if you don’t want to pay, you are limited in your choice of exercises.

Available from the App Store, on Google Play or online.

More information here: https://www.lumosity.com/en/


Friday, 4th September 2020





In this new remote working environment, most CDETB colleges and centres are now using Moodle for their teaching.

The CDU Moodle site is a repository of learning and teaching resources. If you don’t have access yet and you are a CDETB staff member, please email Eva with your “.cdetb.ie” email address and you will get a new account. Thanks to an upgrading process that all CDETB Moodle sites underwent in late summer, we can now offer access through the Moodle app.

Download the app from the store and open. You can decide whether or not you want to allow notifications. Type in the Moodle site you are interested in, e.g. curriculum.etbonline.ie. Enter your username and password as you would using a browser on your PC.

You should now see your personal dashboard. When you click on your profile, you should see your details. That action opens up the CDU Moodle website in your browser, so you might have to open the app again to see the other areas.  When you click on any of the courses you are enrolled in, you can access all content. See all the other participants – you can directly message them.

You can upload files and photos as well as audio and video recordings to your app when you select the “box” icon on the right hand side.

The course categories are hidden under the ‘site home’ tap, beside the ‘dashboard’.

The CDU professional development calendar is cloned into the calendar section on the app, so you should be able to see all events organised by PD co-ordinator Carrie Archer.

If you used this app with your own college Moodle, you could try out the grading and site blog features.

Log out by navigating to the “three dashes” symbol to find the ‘log out’ option.

Could be used for: not only for accessing teaching aids on the CDU site, but as a teaching and assessment tool with your own students if your college has the app version enabled.

What I liked about it: clean interface. Lots of documentation on how to use Moodle

Watch out for: You can see the courses you are enrolled in by clicking on “all courses”, but it is not as obvious as it is in the PC version what is a category and what is a course, so navigation is a bit more difficult.


Available from the App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://download.moodle.org/mobile

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