October 3, 2012

Getting started with a new Nexus 7 Tablet

This past summer I was a presenter and participant at the first Maine Google Apps Summit held here in Yarmouth, ME. The days were information filled and I learned from every presentation and conversation. This is a great model of professional development is being offered in locations all over the world by EdTechTeam in collaboration with Google Apps for Education.

At the end of the three days Mark Wagner invited participants to submit applications for implementing classroom set of Google Nexus 7 Tablets into a K-12 setting. I wrote a statement of purpose for their use in a fourth grade classroom and was asked to write in more detail as a finalist. In September I was notified that we would be receiving a set of 25 devices to pursue the goals I had outlined.

The delivery of the devices has been delayed by supply issues, but last week I purchased my own so that I could begin to become familiar with the options it will offer in the classroom when they arrive. I was pleased to find that most of the productivity apps are free from the Google Play store. I currently have the following apps (some of which were pre-installed):

  • 50 States
  • Adobe Reader
  • Amazon Kindle
  • Audioboo
  • Calculator
  • Calendar
  • Chrome
  • Clock
  • Cloud Print
  • ColorNote
  • Countries of the World
  • Currents
  • Dropbox
  • Earth
  • Edmodo
  • Email
  • Evernote
  • Gallery
  • Gmail
  • Google 
  • Local
  • Maps
  • Math Bingo (pd)
  • Math Mate
  • Messenger
  • Milion Moments
  • Navigation
  • OneNote
  • People
  • Play Books
  • Play Magazines
  • Play Movies & TV
  • Play Music
  • Play Store
  • Pocket
  • PowerVocab
  • Puffin Free
  • Settings
  • Skitch
  • Socrative
  • Talk
  • TED Talks
  • Voice Search
  • Voice Search Advanced
  • Wallet
  • Words Words Words
  • YouTube
I am looking for more educational apps that can be used to develop Math, Writing and Reading skills with fourth graders, but my biggest focus will be on the productivity apps of searching, notetaking, recording voices and the various ways we can access ebooks. Richard Byrne's Android for Schools blog is a good resource and I appreciate that he is out there checking out apps and learning options

I will be purchasing cases for the Nexus 7s as we have a practice of providing cases for any student 1:1 devices. One question we will need to resolve is setting up individual accounts for students that allow for some form of institutional purchases of apps if we determine that we want some for all students that are not free.

I was looking for apps that would read books aloud and I have found Blio and a voice for the text to speech. The app is free and the voice is $2.99. I downloaded a few books and this has potential for guided reading books for students to use at home and in the classroom.

The fourth grade classroom has been selected and I have been meeting with the teacher to plan for the tablets, but the students and parents do not yet know about this exciting opportunity.


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