Tag Archives: iPhone

Learn to Build Apps for iOS 10 at Stanford for Free

stanford-itunes-uStanford has released a new iTunes U Course Developing iOS 10 Apps with Swift. In this free course, learn how to craft Apps for iPhone and iPad on Apple’s newest operating system. iTunes U courses are self-paced and free via the iTunes store.

iTunes U is a great way to expand your skill base via free, world-class University courses. Try it out today!

Blind Kids, Touchscreen Phones, & the end of Braille?

This week’s WNYC’s Note to Self focused on smartphones and their role in educating and


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

empowering blind students. It was a fascinating look at how smart devices are both helping and hindering students’ academic and social development. Smartphones and tablets have offered a lower point of entry for students for assisted learning. Additionally, smartphones have allowed blind adolescents to feel “normal” and just like their peers. At the same time, these tools have limited students’ growth in other necessary academic enterprises. For example, their reliance on speak to text or text to speech have limited blind student’s growth in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. This is a fascinating look at the benefits and pitfalls of using technology in helping students with disabilities access educational tools. You can download the episode for free, here.

Google Makes TeleStory & Toontastic Free for Everyone

Great news about these creative tools!

Jonathan Wylie

toontastic free telestory free

In surprising news today, Launchpad Toys announced that they had been acquired by Google. Ordinarily, this may not be of much interest to educators, but as of today, Toontastic and TeleStory are completely free for iOS devices and that includes all the in-app purchases that were previously a paid upgrade! Both apps are great storytelling apps for any classroom that uses iPads. Both apps are current favorites with educators, but their newly free features are about to earn them a whole lot of additional fans.

GOOGLE buys launchpad toysToontastic, if you have not previously tried it, is an amazing digital storytelling app for the iPad. Teachers everywhere love this app because it is simple to use and has a built-in story arc that actively encourage students to build a well-structured story. I have seen Toontastic used in Kindergarten all the way up to high school. Such is the versatility of this app…

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Want your kids off their Smart Phones? Then put yours away!

When I was a child I lived in a two story home with my parents and three siblings. Around 7 o’clock, my mother or father would ask the available to child to “go get your siblings for dinner.” We then ran to the stairs and promptly yelled at the top of our lungs, “DINNER!!!” My parents then scolded “Don’t yell!

Walk up the stairs.” But here’s the real kicker, if all of us kiddos were upstairs mom and dad didn’t walk up to get us; no, they stood at the base of them and yelled up as well. No wonder we always ignored their instruction and screamed for one another instead of walking up the steps. We followed our parents’ lead.

I tell this story because as a Tech Director I am often asked by fellow teachers, administrators, and even parents how they can curb a child’s smartphone behavior. The best advice that I can give (and the hardest for adults to follow) is to model the behavior that you expect from a child.

If you want your child to have conversations during a meal, then all phones (not just theirs) should be put away. Pick a designated location that they are stored, preferably outside of the room so that a ding or a buzz won’t distract. If you are going to dinner, bring *one phone* for an emergency. All of the others stay home. The present phone doesn’t sit on the table, it should be put away. I like to zip mine up in a handbag so that it’s not readily available and I can’t pull it out if tempted. If you think that the distractify culture isn’t a problem at restaurants, check out this article written by a New York restaurateur that outlined the impact of cell phones on restaurant turn over.

In addition to meals, pay attention to where else you use your phone. A recent article in the Washington Post reported some disturbing trends in adult use of smart phones; nearly 1/3 used it during a child’s recital or production and more alarming more than 1/2 used it while driving! Likewise, how often in a long assembly have you snuck in a quick text or checked your email (I know I’m guilty of this)?

The reality is that children do learn what they see. Just as we teach children to be courteous (say please and thank you, wait your turn, etc), be sure that you demonstrate and model appropriate and respectful use of your smartphone: don’t read email/texts/social media at the table, don’t use your phone while you’re driving, and certainly do not ignore a child or student (at ballet recitals, school plays, or assemblies) in favor of the device. Not only does this demonstrate to them what courteous smartphone use it, it will provide you some weight when you correct their behavior.

The 7 best places for finding iOS apps

Some great tips if you own iOS devices!

History Tech

I get the chance to spend a lot of my time working with Apple products and how they can be integrated into instruction. This means, obviously, I also get the chance to work with lots of educators who are looking for just the right tool and just the right app. And we always memorize together the mantra – “it’s not about the app, it’s about what kids do with the app. It’s not about the app, it’s about what kids do with the app.”

But there is still a need to know what sorts of things are out there. So today, seven of my favorite places to go to find just the right tool for what you want kids to do.

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5 iOS Movie Editing Apps to Explore this Summer

Summer is a great time to play with and explore new software and hardware. Most educators have a more flexible summer schedule and can devote time to bigger projects. Many of my colleagues have expressed a desire to have their students produce movie projects (see my post – “Student Documentaries in History Class“). Often, they are concerned about learning how to make a movie – that it will be complicated and they will 5918469469_71ccb96c6d_bbe expected to teach new software on top of their established curriculum. However, most movie editing tools are intuitive and the best way to learn is by doing! If you have some free time this summer, it can be a great opportunity for you to learn how to play with one of these great tools and plan how to incorporate it next school year.

If you have an iPhone or iPad, here are five great movie editing apps to help you become a star director. Special thanks to my friend, photographer Christian Santiago of Solar Highway Productions for his suggestions!

iMovie ($4.99, Free with New Devices) – Apple’s iMovie is the traditional video editor for iOS devices. It’s easy to use and designed for beginners yet with enough cool features to let you develop some mad editing skills!

Videograde ($4.99) – This app allows you to easily edit and enhance the colors of your videos and export them in beautiful HD.

Magistro (Free, in-app purchases and premium upgrade) – A photo editor combined with a video editor, Magistro lets you easily create impressive, professional looking video. The premium upgrade allows you cloud storage and online editing capabilities.

Cute Cut (Free) – Not only does this support traditional movie making, but it allows you to add some cool features like drawing and picture in picture capabilities!

Vizzywig ($29.99) – At nearly $30, Vizzywig has the highest price tag. However, it also has some of the greatest tools and features that are offered on high end video editing software like Adobe Premier. If you feel like you’ve gone as far as you can with a basic layman’s video editing tool, then Vizzywig is a great intermediate step!

iTunes U Courses for High School

d2_160Apples iTunes U allows individuals to access content from educational institutions around the world – for free. If you’re interested in incorporating iTunes U in your classes or even creating your own, check out this free course by Cheryl Davis, iTunes U Courses for High School.

This course introduces iTunes U courses to teachers and provides examples  of iTunes U courses that work well in the high school curriculum. The course also covers creating iTunes U courses.