Thursday, January 26, 2012

I now have one three year old student who is able to make a movie independently. He toggles between Hello Crayons and Puppet Pals easily. If they knew how to read and write I'd be completely obsolete!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Here's a fun app! I use it to make personal videos, but I also used it to make this short video about Spain for my Lorca elecvtive (the photos are all mine). Oh...and there's a free App, too!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fellow TLCers-

Tonight I have finally had time to complete my homework assignment for the online class I am taking about mobile devices. It is thought provoking to read the articles, to share ideas and to collaborate about best practices, our fears and our failures in learning to navigate and implement mobile devices in the classroom. It is most certainly paralleling the conversation we have all been having together this year. I would like to share my initial comments (that I shared with them) and get your feedback about two compelling articles I read.

First, my post:

As a World Language Teacher, I have embraced the use of technology as a tool for practice and review since the late 80's . I have been most interested in learning about tools I can use to enhance students' oral and aural skills. Computers and laptop carts allow students to explore beyond the confines of the classroom and to hear authentic voices in the target language (not to mention the visual aids). What is fascinating about mobile devices like the iPad and iPhone is the portability and possibility of increased collaboration. This year, I have just 6 iPads in my classroom, but they are being used daily to access some of our most popular and beloved FL sites like,, Voicethread, and our class Wikis and Google Sites. We have also used them for photography and video recording of student dramatizations. They are light and can be passed and shared more easily than the laptops. At this writing, I am skeptical about the composition capabilities, although I have recently discovered Cloudon and I am going to give it a try (I like the added bonus of it's link to Dropbox).

I have been careful to try and use only applications, websites and other realia that will fully engage students and enhance the learning environment. I have also found that using technology has enabled me to address different learning styles, but I have also learned that some students learn best with "older" tools like notecards. I have tried hard to add slowly, but I, too, sometimes feel like there is so much to learn and so little time. I suppose that like many others, I believe that pen, paper, book and conversation slow down the rapid pace and allow us to stop and think. I would like to take advantage of this course to learn more about mobile devices and how they might improve or even just enhance learning.

The reading, Four R's in Mobile Learning, was compelling. Just as we would with pen and paper, students act as recorders (getting all the info down) , reinterpreters (enhance and review), recallers (remember and review) and relaters (sharing), however, quite amazingly, it all happens on one device! Wow! But what about the student who can't find anything in their binder? Will they find it on their device? Will they know how to access all the places they need to on the device? Will they do it? I have been asking my students to "blog" on our class wiki and to use it to view videos, upload work for sharing and collaboration. they do it (most of the time), but I still think the face-to-face interactive conversation we have is the most valuable. What about our brains? Can we handle all this multitasking or the "deluge of data?"

Being the organizer that I am, I am hopeful that my mobile devices will someday simplify instead of complicate my lessons and life. I also hope that I will be able to use them simply as tools and not lose my connection (or valuable time) with human beings and nature!

And now the article (the other is a link above from the NYT): The Four Rs of Mobile Learning

I now have two five year old students who can be independent in making PP movies. The only hang up is their illiteracy. When they work alone their stories do suffer as they have to organize it all in their heads Nd then hold that information, doling it out scene by scene as they record the movie. It must be good brain exercise though. It's very exciting to me and to them that they can be in charge of the entire process themselves. The loss of story content is a concern though, as I see this as a tool to encourage story writing. Ah well, they'll be writing soon...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Just Another Tool

Slowly but surely iPads are beginning to make more of an appearance in our 4th and 5th grade classrooms.  I am finding the device useful in two ways.  The first is how handy it is when facilitating conversations, and the second is how it enhances collaboration among students.

We recently began our study of Morocco.  I have been using my iPad, connected to the Smart Board, to maneuver between Google Earth, YouTube, and an app called Elementals. We have been discussing the chemistry of food through Moroccan cooking starting with an exploration of the Moroccan tea ritual.  I asked my students to consider whether the creation of the tea was a physical or chemical change.  We watched a number of videos on YouTube, found the locations of where the video was recorded on Google Earth, and explored some of the elements that create the ingredients on Elementals.  We have also baked a number of goodies to explore chemical change.  Alton Brown's Good Eats continues to be a wonderful resource.  Moving between each of these applications is much easier on the iPad than on the laptop, and have let us focus on conversations that come from having seamless access to these online apps.

In math class we continue to use Math Drills and Puzzled Lite. We are using Google searches to start researching the authors of our Literature books.  We have also continued to use Voice Thread but have added PuppetPals to the toolbox so student may share the books they are reading.  Some have even attempted to use 123D Sculpt to create the main characters of their books but have found the app challenging.  I have noticed that the energy our students bring to these tasks is much more potent than when they used blank sheets, photocopied papers, or laptops.  I have also observed that students are more willing to extend their thinking and to welcome new ideas.  I feel the dynamic nature of the iPad, moving from app to app, mimics the flexibility we want our young thinkers to possess.

Check out this article, iPads Changing The Game For Learning At Longfield
It focuses on a school that has provided an iPad for each student!  They received overwhelming support from the local community, and explain how the devices empower all students to learn regardless of socioeconomic status, age, etc.  The educators also note that the iPads allow the natural tendency of sharing to take place.  

After we re-vision how students share and gather information we can remodel the space this important work takes place in.  Let me know what do you think of this radical idea:   

Friday, January 13, 2012

This morning one of my five year old students made a PP movie INDEPENDENTLY. She navigated between two different apps, did all the saving, recording and saving HERSELF and came to show me the finished movie. Wow.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


With a new year comes new perspectives and new goals.  It is a time to review, reflect, and to toss out if necessary.  We weed through closets, basements, and trunks making a new start for 2012.  Things pile up and once out of sight they are out of mind.  The same is true with my iPad.  With months of searching for apps that could benefit the classroom and my life I have gathered quite a collection.  Now it is time to sift through what I found and make some choices. 

My Teacher Hat
The apps that, if my iPad were on fire, I would run in and rescue:
Evernote          Puppet Pals

The old stand by – there when you need them:
Google Earth          Puzzled History USA Lite      Super 7 HD
Math Drills             Fotopedia Heritage

The apps that I have high hopes for but have yet to find purpose:
123D Sculpt          Join Me
Qwiki                    Comic Book

The need to test drive apps:
Toontastic             Living Earth
Mini Monsters      Solar Walk
Star Walk             3D CellStain
Coloruncovered   Educreations
Voice Thread

My “Other Life” Hat (is there such a thing?)
The apps that, if my iPad were on fire, I would run in and rescue:
Zite           Epicurious

The old stand by - there when you need them:
NPR       Stitcher
TED       PBS Kids

The apps that I have high hopes for but have yet to find purpose:
Cool Hunting        Total Recall

What would you put in each category?

For more apps discovered by TLC visit the spreadsheet -

Friday, January 6, 2012

Advanced animation app?

So after a few months of experimenting with my EC students using Puppet Pals, I have a five year old student who needs a better animation program. She navigates between Hello Crayons and Puppet Pals more quickly and easily than I do and is requesting more advanced features than are available on PP. She would like to make individual limbs move on characters etc. If anyone finds a more advanced animation app let me know!

My first blog post

Ah ha! I finally have the ability to post on this blog! Just think, now I can inflict the minutia of my Puppet Pal experiments on a broad audience! Stay tuned...