App Review: Truss Me!

Physics Teachers and Students need to Truss Me!

cross posted at: classthink.com

Truss Me! is an iOS app which is taking the educational market by storm. It fits into the ideology of Gamification; using an engaging method to solve problems.

This app offers two modes to users: freestyle & challenges. In freestyle mode, you can build structures to support weights while in challenge mode you try to earn nuts (get it, like nuts and bolts). The higher the score the more nuts you earn (0-3). Your score is determined by two factors: the weight of your structure and the amount of movement the object makes when released.

Starting Assembly

When you first open the app to the main screen you have three options before you: Freestyle, Challenges, and Help. I would recommend going through the help tutorial. It will introduce you to the various aspects of the app; joints, pins, bars, and weights…

Read more at classthink.com

Thinglink Project in 3rd Grade

Recently, Thinglink has started to provide resources for educators. They now have a teacher account which can create linked student accounts. Thinglink generates usernames and passwords for the students. They can use the web or app version to create their interactive posters. I found the app version to be less distractive for the students, but there were a few items I wished the app had. First, you could not open and edit an image. Which meant students who didn’t complete their poster in the time period had to exit the app and hope it isn’t closed completely and their progress lost. Second, you couldn’t add a thinglink to a channel. Channels are a stream of interactive posters, this makes it easy for the teacher to collect all images in one place. Finally, there is no way within the app to change the touch icons; this wasn’t a big deal, but variety would be nice. Here is an example I made with the students watching to see how to create one:

The students researched their own planet. They were required to add another image with caption, other than the background poster. They needed a website with caption, text, and a video if they wanted. Their interactive poster’s URL was turned into a QR Code and hung up in the school.

Star Chart & Educreations Apps Project in 3rd Grade

Using two apps: Star Chart & Educreations and working with a few Third Grade classes I was able to create a project which targeted on presenting research gathered from multiple resources on a Constellation of their choosing through a screencast. Here is an example I created to show the students how to use the apps: http://www.educreations.com/lesson/view/mr-g/18101873/?s=ux985U&ref=link

The teachers had resources gathered from their school library and some selected websites. The researching required a period and a half for the students. The students had a packet with guided questions and a four slide template. Their screencast had to include the following:
– Name & nickname of their constellation
– Discoverer & year discovered
– Stars (if too many, give at least five)
– Picture with ‘connect the dots’
– Image of object/person/animal it represents
– Story behind the constellation

When completed the students’ screencasts were turned into QR Codes and hung up in the school to share their work. What do you think?

2014 Global SEE Summit

SEE: SMART Exemplary Educators

SMART Technologies offers a global summit in the summer available to members of the SEE Program. This year’s summit is offered July 20th-26th at their world headquarters in Calgary, Canada. They offer all expenses paid for 74 educators. The application process requires a 2:00 min video. Here is my submission:

Voting will take place starting March 18th. The top 25 voted videos will get acceptance to the summit. Then the other 49 educators will be selected by a committee. Wish me luck!

App Review: Easy Annotate for iPad

Originally posted at: ClassThink.com

Easy Annotate is an app for the iPad designed to do just what it says — allow the user to easily annotate PDFs. But what makes this app stand out from other PDF annotating apps is the ability to have two PDFs opened at the same time.

By turning the iPad to landscape view, one PDF is viewed on the left and one on the right, and both can be annotated.

Getting Started

The first time you open Easy Annotate an interactive user guide is displayed. The old mantra, ‘Learn by Doing’, comes into play. You do need to give it your time and attention. The guide comes in at 19 pages of very useful and important techniques to get you acquainted with the app…

Screenshot-2014-03-14-at-18.09.41

Read more at ClassThink.com

SNOW DAY TECH DAY

Well, it’s official. This weather stinks. Winter needs to end. I was ready last weekend to hear the news that Punxsutawney Phil was ready for spring, but alas, no such luck. Instead that little rat was scared back into hibernation by his own shadow and we were graced by not one, but two lovely snowstorms this week. Now, don’t get me wrong…in a normal winter I love snow. I get excited for it. I dance around outside with the snowflakes swirling around me, in my own little snowglobe world. Not this year. Now I stand outside, bundled, chipping ice and frozen snow off of my driveway and cursing the weather for the number of snow days my school district is accumulating, cutting into my summer vacation.

Our total so far is 5. 5 additional days added to our school year. This week we had a snow day on Monday, 2-hour delay on Tuesday, snow days on Wednesday and Thursday due to a lack of power in the district, and finally with power restored we were supposed to return to school today, Friday, with a 2-hour delay. That was until 8:15 this morning when we got word that our school was closed yet again, this time due to a water main break across the street. No school for students. Teachers had to report to another school in the district for in-service. We weren’t excited.

Our disappointment and disgruntled behavior this morning quickly melted into enthusiasm and dare I say excitement as we learned about 3 new technology tools for our district: Skype in the Classroom, Office365 and its SkyDrive; and Screencasting through Screencast-O-Matic.com.

By far, the most popular was the idea of having a SkyDrive, increasing our district storage space from our 4gb personal drive on the district servers to the 25gb cloud storage provided through Office365.

My favorite however, seems to be the idea of screencasting my lessons. I love the idea that I can record my lessons and share them to students who may be ill, injured or homebound. I can send tutorials for skills that my students are struggling to grasp. I can create test reviews and more to be shared with my classroom community. It’s awesome and simple to use – two of my favorite adjectives when it comes to technology in the classroom. Press record, capture up to 15 minutes of material, save and send. Or, better yet, I can post it to my classroom website.

Now that I’ve shared it with you, I hope you’ll check it out. I’m off to go record something….

Guest Post By: Jennifer Quaresima