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Wednesday, 23 February 2011

iPad Air Sketch

Air-Sketch-screenshot I make a point to blog about free and hopefully easy to use web apps.  However, I recently discovered this app for the iPad which I had to share.  Unfortunately, it’s not free but if you have an iPad and a room with an interactive whiteboard I would encourage you to consider buying it.
What the Air Sketch app allows you to do is to turn your iPad device into a virtual whiteboard.  The app is extremely easy to use and apparently intuitive which cuts back on you having to spend time on trying to figure out how it works.

The best feature about this is that it is wireless. Basically, it means that you can connect your iPad device wirelessly to a variety of devices including a projector.  It means that you can use the device to demonstrate things to a classroom while moving about the room. Now I have taught in rooms with a computer hooked up to the interactive whiteboard. I used to sit at the computer and we would put notes up on the screen or I would stand in front of the board and use a stylus.  However, the idea is that with the Air Sketch I can wander about the room and use it while teaching. Or the students could use it show their ideas to the class.  Now I do know that some interactive whiteboards come with wireless tablets that do the same thing.  This is for those teachers who only have an iPad and an interactive whiteboard.

Before you buy it, check that it will work on your school network.  One of the requirements is that it requires a browser running HTML5, which is basically what we would call a modern browser like, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.  If your school uses Internet Explorer there is a chance it is an old version and might not work. If you aren’t familiar with this type of technology check with the local IT staff. I’m sure they will be more than happy to help you out.

Springpad – save anything anywhere

  springpadit I often have these great ideas, but l have never gotten into the habit of writing them down.  Couple this with a healthy dose of forgetfulness I often find myself slapping my forehead metaphorically and literally saying ‘why didn’t I write that down?’
I recently discovered Springpad which is a free web based application that lets you save your ideas, things you like, things you hear and the things you see. It is similar to Evernote but compared to Evernote I find it easier to navigate and more visually appealing.  Plus currently all the features are free on Springpad unlike Evernote.
You can access it on multiple devices and at the moment it is available for the iPhone, iPad and Android phones.
Check out the official blog for ideas on how you can use Springpad.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011


Aviary is all about providing 'artists of all genre's' with free online creation tools. As English teachers we explore texts. All types of texts.  Written, visual, spoken etc. Part of this exploration involves us asking students to respond to texts in a variety of ways. Through writing, music, art, and any other venue we can think of.  

What I really like about Aviary is that it is accessible for everyone.  You can you use the image editor and create  artwork. Or use the the Image Markup tool and upload an image and edit it - see example below. The music creator lets you make music or you can use the audio editor to make a radio station.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

My Fake Wall - Creating the Fake Facebook Wall

Social Networking. These are two very simple words that contain a lot of meaning. When I grew up social networking involved mobile messaging and the occasional email.  Now social networking has evolved.  Not only does it allow us to communicate but also gives us a tool to form our own social and cultural identities and put it out there for the whole world to see.  As adults we understand the complexities of doing such a thing, but do teenagers?

I think it is important to embrace Social Networking and incorporate it into our teaching.  In my subject area a great way to do this is to get students to create Facebook pages for key characters from a text.  This is harder than it sounds.  Creating a facebook page for fictional character requires a deep understanding of the text and of the character.

My FakeWall is in the beta stage but the cool thing about it, is that it lets you create fake Facebook pages without having to create real accounts.    Try it out and I challenge you to try and use this in your teaching.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The Google Apps Market Place

The Google apps market is THE place to visit when you are looking for free web applications.  The purpose of this website is to help business-like schools run more effectively and in the case of education provide us with tools to challenge the way students learn.

If schools run their business through Google Apps the idea is that by simple clicking a few buttons you enable web based applications across schools if you wanted to.

While Google Apps is focused on helping business run their business on the web more efficiently they have recently released an Education category for schools. Schools can now more easily access apps that help their students and classes learn more effectively.

Google Place Market Place - Become an App Ninja