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CDETB Curriculum Development Unit | Apps of the week
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Friday, 24th January 2020

 

Jumprope: How-to Videos

New year, new you. Want to learn how to do things or simply share a skill you have? Jumprope allows you to create quick how-to videos: anything from food and drink to beauty and fashion to technology, fitness, parenting, and gardening.

You need to sign up first –either with your Facebook account or by email. A short survey assesses your preferences. You need to decide on a username and set a password.

The main menu entails a search function (look up things or browse by category), a creation button and notifications. There is an interactive video which explains how to create your own hidden under the ‘profile’ button. Help is at hand when you need it: simply hit the question mark symbol and a chat function opens.

The video tutorial is self-explanatory. The app needs access to the camera and microphone on your device. You can add music to accompany the visual information, choose your text from a range of writing styles, and import recordings and photos. Reorder the steps if you wish.

Drafts can be deleted by pressing on the right hand upper corner of the image. You can upload your video and share it on social media.

You can also look for a short video if you wish to explain something. Each one indicates how many steps are involved. Navigation can be a bit tricky – it seems you cannot stop a video once you have clicked on it.

Could be used for: students exploring topics and as a teaching aid.

What I liked about it: It is easy to create videos – and they look professional.

Watch out for: A lot of the videos are advertising goods, so you might need to talk to your students about this.

Available from the Apple App Store.

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

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Friday, 17th January 2020

 

 

Wabisabi: student portfolio assessment

 

From their website: “Schools around the world use Wabisabi to provide real-time portfolio based evidence of learning, make assessment transparent, reporting a breeze, and to keep parents and learners in the loop. Put your learners in charge of their learning, and of their future. Connect your class to any class in the world to learn from, with, and about each other.”

You need to decide to sign up (with a Gmail account or other email) as a ‘learner’, ‘teacher’ or family member’. I chose ‘teacher’. Nothing happened after that, so I switched over to the website and logged on there.

Set up a new classroom and select the age group. A short tutorial follows. Devise a class activity and add learners. Upload or create units and give feedback, either publicly or privately. It is quite intuitive and should be fun to play around with.

Could be used for: allowing students to create portfolios.

What I liked about it: real time feedback – even if your students are in a remote location.

Watch out for: the app didn’t work on my device.

Available from the Apple App Store.

More information here: https://wabisabizen.com and https://www.wabisabilearning.com/

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Friday, 10th January 2020

 

Freegal – free music

 

From their website: “Freegal® is a free music service from your library. All you need is your library card number and possibly a PIN if your library utilizes them. Freegal offers access to about 15 million songs, including Sony Music’s catalog of legendary artists, and over 40,000 music videos.”

Use your (free!) public library card to log in. If you provide your email you’ll receive twice weekly notifications of available downloads.

There is much to discover – music albums, songs and videos as well as audiobooks. Click on “browse” in the menu at the bottom. You can select “trending” or “new arrivals”, browse further by genre or use one of the playlists. “Featured” items might entice you to check out music you wouldn’t have before. There is a straight forward search function. Artists have their own page, which lists all songs, albums, playlists and videos available for them.

All music is available for streaming or download. You can also create your own playlist.

I looked for one of my favourite bands and was seriously impressed. The sound quality was excellent. There is a limit for downloads (4 per week), but streaming is unlimited.

Could be used for: everyday use. No need to pay for any other music streaming service.

What I like about it: all of this for free through your library membership!

Watch out for: for non-commercial purposes only (license for personal use).

Available from the Apple App Store and Google Play, and on Amazon. Or from the website: https://dcpl.freegalmusic.com/home

More information here: https://www.freegalmusic.com/home

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Friday, 13th November 2019

Baby and child first aid app

Christmas is nearing – and we might be out visiting family and friends with babies and toddlers. What if there is a health emergency? Hopefully you will never need this, but just in case: The British Red Cross has released an app to help adults find quick answers.

The first tap is “tap here if you find yourself in an emergency”. Presumably this would connect you with emergency services, but this might only work in the UK.

The menu is hidden on the left hand side, so you need to swipe to the right. The ‘learn’ submenu has more information than the ‘emergency’ tap, which gives you only the most important steps. In alphabetical order it lists the most common emergencies. A video shows what you need to do, but there are also written instructions interspersed with animated graphics. A Q&A tackles some common misunderstandings – e.g. under “nose bleeding”, it discourages parents from making their child tilt the head back (something some of us had learned in First Aid lessons back in the 80s…).

The ‘prepare’ tap gives practical advice about possible hazards, such as electrical incidents and fire, but also everyday scenarios, such as “home and garden”, which e.g. reminds people to keep a list of local emergency numbers. There is also a test feature, where you can check your knowledge. You can also record a child’s medication and allergies as well as contact information.

Could be used for: an app you might want to check out before anything serious happens, but is easy enough to use to help you in an emergency.

What I like about it: it uses videos and written information, which allows for quick learning (especially when you are in a panic).

Watch out for: no oral clues to help people with visual impairments navigate the app. And, of course, it is no substitute for doing a First Aid course.

Available from the Apple App Store and on Google Play. There is also an version for adult First Aid.

More information here: https://www.redcross.org.uk/first-aid/first-aid-apps

 

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Friday, 6th November 2019

 

Met Eireann app

 

Winter has truly arrived. Keep an eye on the weather with this handy aid by Met Eireann.

You need to allow the app to access your location in order to get your local forecast. Also, allowing notifications to be sent to you also might be useful as these include weather warnings.

The main screen shows a lot of information: national, marine and environmental (think pollen, UV and potato blight!) alerts; maps; a current outlook and a six day forecast for your area; as well as national, regional and marine & sea area summaries. The last one is very detailed and includes inland lakes. A ‘farming weather’ sub menu concludes the main overview.

Click on any of these categories for a fuller picture. The Ireland maps are particularly well done – a general overview is followed by rainfall radar and forecast as well as wind, temperature and pressure forecasts. There are graphs and numbers, but all is quite self explanatory.

You can also lookup locations on the island of Ireland – just use the search function in the top right corner.

Could be used for: outdoor activities (check on conditions before you head off), but also for discussions around weather and climate change.

What I like about it: easy to use.

Watch out for: could be complimented by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute’s app (https://www.yr.no/?spr=eng) for more accurate readings.

Available from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

More information here: https://www.met.ie/

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Friday, 29th November 2019

 

Typorama: Text on Photo Editor 

Download the app. It automatically opens on the ‘stock images’ page. These are royalty free photos you can use (e.g. nature pictures). There is also a search function which looks through content from ‘Pixabay’ (also free access). Pick one. This is the canvas you use. You can also take your own pictures – the app then needs access to your camera.

You need to decide how you will use your creation – original size image, as a background wallpaper for your phone, or as part of a social media post. This will shrink the image to the required format. Next you need add the style of text and colours as well as shadow, gradient and ‘3D rotate’ effects. Erase bits of your work that you don’t want. The ‘background’ tap allows for overlaying pictures, filters and other adjustments. The menu is self-explanatory – and playing around with images is real fun.

When you are happy with your result, you can save it to your device and share it on social media.

Could be used for: any type of visual information you want to share with students or the wider school community.

What I like about it: you really need no design skills.

Watch out for: you have to upgrade to Typorama Pro to unlock more content and to remove the company’s logo from your creation.

Available from the Apple App Store.

More information here: http://www.apperto.com/typorama/

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Friday, 15th November 2019

 

 

Today in History

 

From their website: “The BEST way to get key facts about iconic global events and fun facts from across the centuries, delivered right to your mobile device.”

The app runs a short tutorial at the beginning. Its main focus is on historic events. You can set the daily reminder (up to 5 events) and choose when and how often you receive notifications (you need to enable this option). Sign up with your Facebook or Twitter account or by email. You can also browse as a guest. Another short tutorial then highlights the main features.

‘Events’ list incidents that happened on today’s date, ‘Headlines’ show some of them in more detail.

‘Births’ and ‘deaths’ tend to list musicians, actors, sports people and a few politicians.

Categories, such as e.g. countries, cities, empires, religions and wars, group historic events together.

There is also a search option, which could entice students to follow up on information. The “quote of the day” is hidden in the main menu on the left hand side.

It is not clear what selection criteria are being used by the app – also, in terms of geographical spread, there seems to be a preference for North American and European content. As a starting point for discussions, however, it could serve a purpose.

Could be used for: history lessons, but also other subject areas and home work. And pub quizzes!

What I like about it: you can go back and forth in time. And lots of links between entries make it easy to follow a story.

Watch out for: although the app provides a connection to Wikipedia, for more in-depth information you might need to consult additional sources.

Available from the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

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

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Friday, 8th November 2019

 

Science Glossary

 

 

Science Week (follow #ScienceWeek on Twitter), coordinated by Science Foundation Ireland, will take place 10-17 November 2019. Helping you to get into the swing of things, here is a handy app from science eduation website Visionlearning.

It is basically a glossary of terms used in STEM subjects. Simply touch ‘index’ in the left upper corner and an alphabetical list of words pops up on the left hand side. Scroll down or use the blue alphabet to select a specific letter. There is also a search function.

Each entry is succinct, but there are graphics and links to other terms. A great addition is the sub menu, which links to the website, where you will find extended articles, quizzes and other resources. A fabulous repository for anyone teaching or learning STEM subjects.

Could be used for: STEM subjects.

What I like about it: written by researchers and academics, all resources are targeted at non-scientists and explanations are easy to understand.

Watch out for: nothing to report:)

Available from the Apple App Store.

More information here: http://www.visionlearning.com. They also have more free science resources when you sign up as an educator, including podcasts.

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Friday, 1st  November 2019

HAPPY MID-TERM BREAK

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Friday, 25th October 2019

 

Zooniverse – people-powered research

 

The first thing to decide is whether or not you would like to receive notifications. Given that the purpose of this app is to work on new projects, it’s probably appropriate to allow these. You can always change this under ‘settings’, which is found in the menu on the right hand side.

Zooniverse is based on the wisdom of crowds. Researchers invite people to participate in their work: “from classifying galaxies to counting penguins to transcribing manuscripts.” Simply select an area of interest – they range from arts to natural science to social science. A beta review section tests projects in development. Citizen scientists are asked to watch videos or look at photos. There are no special skills involved and no prior knowledge necessary. Tutorials and field guides are available for each project. I selected ‘floating forests’, which looked at whether kelp, which builds these forests in the sea, was visible on the images provided as this could be an indication of warming oceans.

The ‘publications’ section contains a database of online articles of studies which have been written acknowledging the work of citizen scientists. There are different subject areas to be explored: space, climate, humanities, nature, medicine, and meta (which is looking at citizen science as a topic).
You can work as a guest user or register. The second option will if you want your contribution to be recognised in subsequent publications. For teachers it might make sense to sign up. Additionally, you could decide to start your own project. Information on how to do this is on their website. External project links might provide you with some inspiration.

Could be used for: getting students to think about how much work goes into discovering something new.

What I like about it: a real sense of contributing to science as all of these small steps add up.

Watch out for: it’s a bit frustrating to select a category and to see that the project has been concluded – ‘in-browser experience’ leads you to the website: https://www.zooniverse.org/projects

Available from the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://www.zooniverse.org/

For lesson plans click here: http://www.zooteach.org/?_ga=2.40999010.1757696563.1571914832-475386910.1571914832

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Friday, 4th October 2019

 

ChatterPix – give your photos a voice

This is an app for younger children (with a simple, slightly babyish interface), but don’t let that deter you using it with older students. Chatterpix is a fun way of adding audio to a picture by making the photo “talk”.

A short animated video introduces the app. You can reload this by clicking on the arrow at the bottom of the screen. You need to give the app access to your camera and the microphone on your device. Take a picture (or choose one from your gallery). The next step involves drawing a line with your finger where the “mouth” of the photo will be. A hand appears to show you how to do that. You then need to record a short (funny?) message by clicking on the ‘microphone’ icon at the bottom of the screen. A three second countdown starts. The recording can last for up to one minute. Check your audio by clicking on the big arrow. If you want to redo it, simply use the microphone again.

If you’re happy with your creation, add some more features in the next step: change the colour of the photo or throw in some decorations and text. Your final product will be added to the ‘gallery’, where you can export it to your camera roll (and then share on social media).

More information about the team who created the app as well as their social media contact details are hidden behind the “i” icon. The “our apps” logo in the right hand corner of the screen leads you to Khan Academy’s Kids App page. There is also a version for children aged 6-12 called “ChatterPix Kids”.

 

Could be used for: people of all ages having a bit of fun with photos.

What I like about it: it could not be easier to use.

Watch out for: as always, make sure you have permission when taking pictures of others.

Available from the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: http://www.duckduckmoose.com/blog/creative-ways-to-use-chatterpix-in-the-classroom/

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Friday, 13th September 2019

 

Civilisations – discovery history

The BBC are running a fascinating programme on human civilisation – and this is the app accompanying it. From their website: “Civilisations is an epic new series spanning 31 countries on six continents, and covering more than 500 works of art. Presenters SIMON SCHAMA, MARY BEARD and DAVID OLUSOGA will explore humanity’s desire to create. Alongside, the Civilisations Festival will bring museums’ treasures to life through innovative digital products and events.”

Agree to their terms first. You can decide whether or not to give them access to your camera – you should, because this app uses AR technology. And this is the exciting innovation which makes it so interactive. A tutorial helps you set up your device. You can listen to and/or read the instructions, which makes it accessible to a variety of learners. The introduction is really very well designed and easy to follow. Simply point your camera to a steady background (such as the floor) and the first artefact will appear in 3D on it. As by magic, I suddenly had the sarcophagus with a mummy inside in the library. And I took a picture of itJ. You can move, scale and rotate the item with your fingertips to explore it further.

The ‘book’ icon contains a short written explanation and further references.  There are more hidden special features and audio guides which the ‘spotlight’ helps you to discover. The ‘globe’ symbol brings you back to the main menu where you can select further topics, such as early civilisations, human body, faith, encounters, progress and modernity. A virtual globe shows you where each item was found. You can reset the app by selecting this option in settings.

Could be used for: Both History and Art classes.

What I liked about it: Very well designed and beautifully presented. It is a fantastic addition to the popular TV series.

Look out for: Some users might get dizzy when using AR technology.

Available from the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

More information here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/GThNCvQtxsgJfJrxCxFJb2/civilisations-masterworks-of-beauty-and-ingenuity

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Friday, 6th September 2019

 

SketchAR – drawing tool using AR technology

SketchAR helps you learn how to draw. No matter how talented or ungifted you think you are, this tool really gives you results.

The app asks you first whether you are left- or right-handed. The main menu is at the bottom of your screen. The category ‘school’ allows you to browse lessons and start on step-by-step drawings. ‘Courses’ start at beginner’s level, so should be doable for most people. Only the beginner course is free, though – more advanced ones require payment. ‘Lessons’ offers more templates.

Follow the instructions and start drawing using simple shapes. Choose between different types of pencils and markers – change the colour if you want. You can now use them by using your finger as a drawing aid. You can view a time lapse video of how you created the image and even share this via social media and email. This could be great fun for students. Your drawing can be further manipulated by clicking on the icons on the right hand side. The ‘library’ has many more patterns ranging from figures, flowers and animals to more complex sketches. If you allow the app access to your photos and camera, you can use your own pictures as inspirations.

Drawing with AR, however, makes it even more fun. A virtual assistant is very keen on helping – a short tutorial is hidden under ‘draw with AR’. Point your device to the floor, the wall or to a piece of paper (depending on what you’ve chosen in the sub menu) and see what your oeuvre looks like in a virtual reality environment. It takes a bit of time until you are able to hold your device and draw virtually at the same time. You are basically copying what you see on your screen.

Could be used for: creative students and teachers alike. It could also be very helpful if you want to create art on your classroom wall.

What I liked about it: really helpful for getting to grips with drawing using only your fingertips.

Look out for: paid services.

Available from the Apple App Store, on Google Play and from Microsoft.

More information here: https://www.sketchar.tech/

There are also video tutorials available in ‘settings’ as well as a chat function.

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