Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fantastic Apps for Education and Life

Hello everyone!  It's been almost a year since I last updated but I have a good reason for my absence.  I had a beautiful baby boy, Nathaniel.  Over the course of this journey called Motherhood I've discovered amazing apps for iPhone/Android phones.  I'd like to highlight two which can be used for personal pleasure and in the classroom.

The first, and perhaps my favorite is Groovebook.
You know how you have all those photos on your phone?  These photos became so meaningful to me once Nate was born.  Like most parents, I snapped away anytime he did something adorable.  Then I thought, when in the world will I have time to print these photos and put them in a baby book?  Then Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point waxed poetic about Groovebook.  This app has been a blessing.  First of all, you get a book of 100 of your phone photos.  The book is a mere $2.99/month subscription.  You can print multiple copies OR 100 of any photo you have in your library.  Here's the best part - Groovebook prints a time/date stamp.  OMG - this means that you don't have to remember the date of the event.  On top of that, the pictures have perforated edges so you can share the photos.
Yes, I can see your mouth hanging open at this joy but I'll do you one better.  I'm going to give you a free Groovebook.  Download the app and use the code DAVIS1 for your first book free.

Now the educational side - this is a great app to use for a storytelling project.  Most students have a digital camera or camera phone these days.  Teachers, if you're willing to shell out $3, you can encourage your students to act out/photograph literary elements and print the book. Math teachers, have students take photos of certain angles to show that geometry is everywhere. Science teachers, have students take photos demonstrating the scientific method (sequence).  Elementary teachers, have students take photos of colors (various shades or reds, blues, etc) or shapes.  English teachers, take photos of nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. There are a million ideas out there.  I used the camera quite a bit as a classroom teacher and Groovebook would have been a blessing a few years ago.  Check out this page for more cool ideas.

Now on to my other favorite new app: Postcards on the Run.  I don't know about you, but I enjoy sending and receiving postcards in the mail. But the process of finding a postcard, purchasing and adding a stamp will run most folks $2 for each card.  With Postcards on the Run, you're able to snap your own photos, upload them, type your own message and sign it for $1.49!  Guess what else?  You can add video to your card for free.  This video is uploaded to the Postcards on the Run site then linked with a web address and QR code.  You also receive Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest links if you wish to share the video prior to receiving the card.

Now the educational side: Field trips immediately come to mind.  Assign your students a research assignment dealing with the trip.  Have them take a photo of a statue, museum exhibit, etc.  Then, record video of what they learned.  You can link the photo to the video and have an educational movie day in which students share what they learned with their classmates. I would also take the above ideas from Groovebook and have students add video to enhance their photos.  Click the photo below to view the video attached to the postcard Nate sent his Grandparents for Valentine's day.

I'd love to hear how you plan to integrate these apps into your curriculum.  Please reply in the comments and share with other educators.

Happy Valentine's Day!