October 13, 2012

Fall Apps for First Grade Learning

Apps that we have purchased for the first grade classrooms this fall:
  • ABC Spelling Magic (Short Vowel Sounds) - free
  • ABC Spelling Magic 2 (Consonant Blends) - free
  • ABC Spelling Magic 3 (Blends & Syllables) - free
  • All My High Frequency Words
  • Cimo Spelling (Lite)
  • DoodleBuddy
  • DraftPad
  • Futaba- Word games for kids
  • iKids Puzzle
  • Google Earth
  • Know your Math Facts
  • iBooks
  • LetterSchool
  • Little Patterns
  • Mathwise - free
  • Math Bingo
  • Montessori Approach to Addition Charts
  • Montessori Approach 100 to 200
  • Montessori Approach to 100 Board
  • Montessori Crosswords
  • Motion Math - Hungry Fish
  • Pocket Charts! Beginning Letter Sounds 
  • Pocket Charts! Long and Short Sounds
  • PopMath Maths Plus
  • PuppetPals
  • Scribble Press - free
  • Sight Words by Photo Touch - free
  • Storykit - free 
  • Sushi Monster - free
  • Tell Time Little Matchups - free
  • Telling Time Photo Touch  
We added some apps specifically for teachers. The apps that were free are on all 20 iPads, the few paid apps are only on one iPad per classroom:
  • Dragon Dictation - free
  • Educreations - free
  • Explain Everything
  • Pages
  • Puffin Browser - free
  • Quickvoice Recorder - free
  • Show Me Interactive Whiteboard - free
  • Skype - free
  • The Weather Channel - free 
Most of the apps were available for volume purchase so we bought 20 copies of those for the price of 10. So far we have introduced LetterSchool, Little Patterns, iKids Puzzle and MathWise in classrooms. It is working well to assign five students to each iPad and store any saved games for them when they return. The next challenge is to figure out flexible grouping based on student needs and then appropriately managing the settings for each group.

October 9, 2012

Educational Passages

Update: October 8, 2012 from the project Newsletter:

5 Maine Maritime Launches

The “State of Maine” training ship launched 5 mini-boats approximately 250 miles north of the Bahamas on May 11th.  Within 10 days these boats got “battered” off the Carolinas by tropical storms Alberto and Beryll which blew all 5 boats across the Gulf Stream and on to the Carolina beaches.  A charter fishing boat captain told us in his 46 years he had never seen the seas so rough.  One of our boats was found by surfers on Cape Hatteras, two ended up on uninhabited islands and another went ashore on Myrtle Beach.  The 5th boat stopped reporting several miles off the beach and probably founded coming ashore.  Four of the five boats were recovered undamaged with their rigs intact attesting to their solid construction and their ability to transit our world’s oceans.
Two boats were taken to Charleston, South Carolina and put back aboard the “State of Maine” to be re-launched off Cape Hatteras, another boat was re-launched by surfers, and the 4th boat was released by the School of Coastal Studies on Cape Hatteras.  These 4 boats traveled up our east coast to Newfoundland where 2 made landfall and are currently being repaired and readied for re-launching in early October and the other 2 appear to be on their way to Europe.  All these boats can be monitored at http://www.ne fsc.noaa.gov/drifter/drift_ep_2012_1.html.

June 3, 2012

A group of 4th graders who are in the Communications and Math Lab groups with Molly Smith (Talents grades 3-8) have taken on the task of following one of five drifting miniboats that were launched this spring. The boat was launched Saturday, May 12 by the crew of the State of Maine (Maine Maritime). The kids are in contact with the captain and they are working on latitude, longitude, rate of speed and some of the other concepts of navigation.

Based on a workshop session at a conference on Science and Literacy held at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute a few months ago we decided to look for a way for our students to participate in a "miniboat expedition". For more about this project, see the website and articles below:
This project costs about $1500 a boat, but the volunteers who run it (Dick Baldwin, sailor; Lyman-Morse Boats; Maine Maritime Academy; Midcoast School of Technology, etc.) do all the work for free and the cost to our school is $350 for the GPS unit that travels on the boat and a monthly fee to monitor it. There will be opportunities at YES and HMS for that small group of students to share the project with others as it connects to curricula, we bring in guest speakers, etc.

The GPS unit on our boat connects to a company that will show the track of the boats in the project (at http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/drifter/drift_ep_2012_1.html).
We don't know how many months to expect the boat to be en route, one boat arrived in Ireland after 5 months, another one took a year to travel from Puerto Rico to Portugal. The hope is that if a boat makes it to Europe the students can connect with the school that retrieves the boat.

As of May 30th the miniboats have been moved by hurricane winds are are all beached on the Carolina coasts. Today there was an article in the Hatteras newspaper about the people who found the Yarmouth boat on the beach and the next steps for getting it back out onto the ocean.

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.