Tag Archives: Apps

Your own app – WHY not?

5791320785_0af75e63e5_bShe is now 3 month old almost 4 month old, our little one. It’s a gift and I’m very thankful that I get to experience this journey. On the other hand I definitely miss my work at school and as much the professional input and exchange I always got from my colleagues, my PLN through Coetail, Twitter, etc. It’s time to get into it again at least online. Time will tell whether I can make it regularly but nothing wrong with giving it a try. Here I am again.

 

Photo Credit: César Poyatos via Compfight cc

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So proud of my students … Course 5 Final Project

For a while already I’m so proud of my Grade 4 students (and about myself) and finally I can tell you about it. The two Grade 4 German classes advanced level published their eBook about interesting facts about the brain.

iTunes

Screenshot from the iTunes Store

The classes created, collaborated and contributed and it’s my hope that this publishing experience was something where learning started and future learning will happen.

Who can’t wait, here is the Link to the ebook on iTunes: Interessantes über das Gehirn.

Achievements

Here a quick overview of what was happening in the classroom:

The students …

  • read nonfiction as learning about the brain
  • watched videos as learning about the brain
  • inquired into features of a nonfiction page
  • inquired into a chosen topic
  • applied the reading strategy “determine importance”
  • summarized nonfiction information
  • organized and created a nonfiction page with Book Creator
  • practiced and improved their German by using the language

=>  experienced the publishing process of a book
=> created a resource that will be available for download across the world

Here again the link to the iTunes Store: “Interessantes über das Gehirn“. The students will be more than happy to see that people are actually download the ebook and maybe even write a review. Thx.

Planning

The whole planning started in mid december with an empty “Understanding by Design” unit template which was very helpful in terms of thinking through the entire project. I had done the unit before therefore I knew the content and could focus more on redefining and recreating the unit. If you want to have a closer look on the planning, feel free to do this here:

Reflection

The whole project ended with a video which describes it and reflects on it.

YouTube Preview Image

The students, my colleagues who were involved and I indeed had great learning experiences – we were all risk takers and learners in order to go a step further in terms of teaching and learning. Many things like learning through a flipped classroom, creating and publishing an eBook as well as working with a limited amount of iPads or own iPads students brought to school happened for the first time.

My colleague and I were amazed by the high level of motivation of the students. The fact that they watched movies to acquirer knowledge about the brain; the fact that they could chose their own topic to inquire into; the fact that the eBook will be published to a real audience; the fact that they got the chance to work with an iPad motivated them immensely. The students were learning and improving the German language through using the same.

One challenge I didn’t expect: the parents. The majority agreed to publish it on iTunes and also to mention the whole or only the first name. One student in my class didn’t even want create a nonfiction page with the iPad. “And my parents don’t want this either.”, he said. He couldn’t explain why and the parents never approached me and until today I don’t know what the reasons are. The student create then the page on paper.
Another parent couldn’t understand why it has to be published on iTunes. Unfortunately it seemed to be difficult for them to articulate their concerns. I have an idea of their concerns and maybe I still will get a chance to talk to them.

Obviously I took it for granted that parents agree to authentic and meaningful learning, partly also because they chose a PYP school for their child. I see now the need to let parents now even more and in detail what our ideas of teaching and learning these days are. Creation yes, (internal) collaboration yes, but I wonder now how important is contribution to a real audience for the parents (and for teachers)?!

Thank you COETAIL for a wonderful and exciting learning experience!

What comes next? Well, luckily the Coetail experience won’t end here! I’m excited to read and watch about the other final projects as well as to follow other educators within Coetail and around the world. Contribution will be a bigger part of my online life and I hope that once in a while I’ll inspire other people like so many great teachers and educators inspire my life.

So let’s keep in contact through Twitter (@blaho_blaho), through Google+, and email (blahoblaho at gmail.com) or whatever will be invented. It became so easy! Btw. I was the only one at our school who did the Coetail Course so I wouldn’t mind a Google Hangout to celebrate a little bit. Who is in?

 

Coding as a teacher?

First time I got in contact with coding/programming was at school (BASIC? I can’t even remember … ) early in the 90ties. It always interested me but for whatever reason I never got into it. Dad, why didn’t you buy me a computer? Just kidding. I became a primary school teacher – no programming at university or similar at that time at all. 2004 I got a second contact when I started working for a software company (Tcl, php … ) as a trainer for their software but I never really had to program. When I decided to go back to work as a teacher I was convinced that I will never get in contact with coding/programming again.

I was so wrong!

“I think everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer
because it teaches you how to think.”
— STEVE JOBS, THE LOST INTERVIEW

www.code.org

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First I read the following article (and so many more) few month ago: What 90% of Schools Don’t Teach and it makes it very clear: There will be a huge demand for programmer in future!  Therefore: Are Coders The Scribes of Our Time?  Interesting question as well. Do I teach the students to code? No. I could find excuses. Well, I never really learnt it. Well, I’m a language teacher. And so on. Not yet. One of my goals for the next school year probably will be to get into coding apps for the iPads for primary school students. So far I discovered a few apps:

Hopsctoch

Hopscotch allows kids to create their own games and animations. Kids unleash their creativity with this beautiful, easy-to-use visual programming language.

Kodable

Kodable is a free educational iPad game offering a kid-friendly introduction to programming concepts and problem solving. For kids ages 5 and up, and tools for grownups too!

Cargo-Bot

Cargo-Bot is a puzzle game where you teach a robot how to move crates. Sounds simple, right? Try it out!

Daisy the Dino

Learn the basics of computer programming with Daisy the Dinosaur! This free, fun app has an easy drag and drop interface that kids of all ages can use to animate Daisy to dance across the screen. Kids will intuitively grasp the basics of objects, sequencing, loops and events by solving this app’s challenges. After playing Daisy, kids can choose to download a kit to program their own computer game.

Bee-Bot

The new Bee-Bot App from TTS Group has been developed based on our well-loved, award-winning Bee-Bot floor robot. The app makes use of Bee-Bot’s keypad functionality and enables children to improve their skills in directional language and programming through sequences of forwards, backwards, left and right 90 degree turns.

Cato’s Hike

“Who says that computer programming should only be left to the adults?… although Cato’s Hike is geared towards children, it can definitely unlock the little programmer in all of us.” — AppAdvice

Move The Turtle

Move The Turtle is an educational application for iPhone and iPad that teaches children the basics of creating computer programs, using intuitive graphic commands.

 

And I just found www.kidsruby.com … So good that I’m on vacation at the moment …

Anybody any experiences with those apps? Which one do you prefer and why?

The second contact I got very recently is Google Apps Scripts.

Google Apps Script is a JavaScript cloud scripting language that provides easy ways to automate tasks across Google products and third party services and build web applications.

It’s seems to be amazing what is possible and how much effort people put into the programming and then sharing it for free so everybody (every teacher) can use it.

I wish I would have learnt programming/coding on a deeper level. The apps will be a good start to get into it and let’s see where the journey will bring me. It is never too late, right?

Have you ever thought that you will code as a teacher?

 

Is it difficult to create an app?

Create your own app

App created by a 1st grade student

Beginning of March 2013 I set myself several goals regarding educational technology. I had started the Coetail Course beginning of February and realized that there is so much out there to explore. 2013 will be my year of getting into educational technology. So far I’m not disappointed at all. Opposite is the case: It’s learning without ending. It’s inspiring, exciting and enriching. Some things I already tried in school.

One goal from March was:

I played a little bit here and there with different Google Apps but I felt that is not enough to get an overview. Therefore I signed up for the Gafe Class – Google Apps For Education Online Course.

If you know Jeff you can imagine that he recommends us to use Chrome. I got introduced to Chrome couple of years ago. A friend (Ben @ombd – I highly appreciate his tips) of mine said: Nobody is using Firefox anymore. Chrome is the new browser, faster and securer. It seems to be a Battle of the best browsers: IE vs. Chrome vs. Firefox vs. Safari.

I discovered the Chrome Web Store a while ago and they are indeed awesome. You get any imaginable application which is integrated in Chrome and allows you a faster access as well as additional functionalities. The apps are also a never ending story. I can get lost in that store. Exciting and dangerous at the same time. Here just a quick overview what I use for my productivity online. Unfortunately I haven’t gotten a lot of chances to use Google Apps with my students yet. In future …

I am using so far:

  • Google Drive, Gmail, Gmail Offline
  • AdBlock – Blocks advertisements on all websites.
  • Evernote Web – Usually I use Evernote which is installed on my computer. Evernote Web is useful, but gives me only access to synchronized notebooks which makes sense.
  • Evernote Web Clipper – This app allows me to save a website (whole page, an article, just the URL or as pdf) directly into Evernote.
  • Tweetdeck – best tool to organize Twitter.
  • Feedly – RSS Reader – best tool to get all news of blogs and websites
  • Readium – Allows me to read eBooks (epub) in the browser.

With/for the students:

  • Timer – timer countdown, alarm clock, stopwatch
  • YouTube
  • iSpeech – For my students who have difficulties with reading. Text is read aloud for them.
  • Evernote Clearly – Converts articles on the web into a easy, readable and printable look.
  • Connected Mind – Tool to create a mind map. Haven’t had a chance with the students yet though.

Check out the Chrome Web Store! What apps are using using for teaching and learning! Thx.