browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

Tagged With: apps

Hour of Code: How Students Can Build Their Own Apps

In my high school teacher forums, as part of the discussion on preparing kids for college and career, we talk a lot about the huge shortfall in applicants for a growing list of tech jobs. Despite robust pay, excellent work conditions, and the value they place on creativity, jobs sit open. How do we get kids excited about careers that traditionally sound boring and math-oriented? Websites like Code.org have a great approach to making coding accessible to all kids but still, too few students think they are smart enough to do these jobs.

Time to reveal a secret I learned over the years. When I let students play Minecraft, Scratch, or a handful of other top-notch games, they eagerly — even happily — complete the programming and coding parts without ever considering it “math” or “smart”. I’ve seen them spend hours building a virtual world exactly the way they want it without getting bored or distracted.

By High School, the choice between college and career is foremost with life-changing consequences based on what the student decides. Often the choice depends upon the student’s goals. This topic could fill volumes but today, I want to focus on the job of building apps. App Developer is listed as number three on ThinkAdvisor’s list of the best jobs of the future, with a projected growth of 57% through 2020 (according to the BLS). There aren’t a lot of jobs where people can make money doing what they love.

Aside from future jobs, there are great reasons why even kids who want to become doctors or lawyers (or farmers) would benefit from learning the lesson of app building:

  • Apps teach real-world skills like design, marketing, video production, project management, presentation skills, and special media use.
  • The app building process requires creativity, innovation, critical thinking, and problem-solving — all fundamental to success in lots of jobs.
  • Good app developers are collaborators, willing to work with others to ensure the app is accomplished on time and according to specs.
  • Good app developers are decision makers, not afraid to be risk-takers in building something no one has done before.

As I dug into the background of “app building” to prepare this article, I found that it doesn’t just refer to the little buttons you click to see about today’s weather or add numbers or find your friends (well, find their phones). App developers are the first ones who try out the latest trendy devices. Wouldn’t you love to experiment with 5G on your smartphone or play with Samsung’s foldable phone? Or how about wearable devices like the embedded chips intended to replace employee cards? An app developer used all of these before they ever went on sale. App developers can work for software companies, retailers, in healthcare, in the travel industry, for the entertainment industry, or in financial services. CNN Money has called “app developer” the best job in America.

Once you’ve explained to students what it really means to be on the cutting edge of the high-tech world, let them try one (or more) of these six great app creation tools:

  • App Inventor (from MIT)
  • Code HS (an app building curriculum)
  • Glide (how to create apps from spreadsheets)
  • MAD-learn (a beginning to end app development program for K-12)
  • Thunkable (a curriculum)
  • TinyTap (geared for teachers but fine for the right student group)

(more…)

Categories: High School, Problem solving, Web Tools | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

33 Resources for Read Across America Day

Many people in the United States, particularly students, parents and teachers, join forces on Read Across America Day, annually held on March 2. This nationwide observance coincides with the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Here are some great reading websites for students K-5:

  1. Aesop Fables—no ads
  2. Aesop’s Fables
  3. Audio stories
  4. Childhood Stories
  5. Classic Fairy Tales
  6. Fairy Tales and Fables
  7. Listen/read–Free non-fic audiobooks
  8. Starfall
  9. Stories read by actors
  10. Stories to read for youngsters
  11. Stories to read–II
    (more…)
Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, Holidays, Reading, Websites | Tags: , | 2 Comments

39 Resources for Read Across America Day

Many people in the United States, particularly students, parents and teachers, join forces on Read Across America Day, annually held on March 2. This nationwide observance coincides with the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

Here are some great reading websites for students K-5:

  1. Aesop Fables—no ads
  2. Aesop’s Fables
  3. Audio stories
  4. Childhood Stories
  5. Classic Fairy Tales
  6. Fairy Tales and Fables
  7. Listen/read–Free non-fic audio books
  8. Starfall
  9. Stories read by actors
  10. Stories to read for youngsters
  11. Stories to read–II
  12. Stories—MeeGenius—read/to me
  13. Stories—non-text
  14. Story Scramble
  15. Ziggity Zoom Stories (more…)
Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, Holidays, Reading, Websites | Tags: , | 5 Comments

Top 10 Websites and Apps of 2017

Throughout the year, I post websites and apps the Ask a Tech Teacher crew’s classes found useful, instructive, helpful in integrating technology into classroom lesson plans. Some, you agreed with us about; others not so much. Here, I’ll share which sites you-all thought were the most helpful in efforts to weave tech into the classroom experience. Between these, they had over 240,000 visitors during the year. See if you agree:

  1. 12 Websites to Teach Mouse Skills
  2. 16 Great Research Websites for Kids
  3. 10 Tech Tools for Your Math Class
  4. 67 K-8 Hour of Code Suggestions–by Grade Level
  5. 6 Ways to Make Classroom Typing Fun
  6. 16 Websites on Natural Disasters
  7. 9 Best-in-Class Digital Storytelling Tools
  8. 84 Math Websites for K-8
  9. Hour of Code Suggestions by Grade Level
  10. 13 Ways to Use Canva in Your Classroom

Have a wonderful 2018!

(more…)

Categories: Websites | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Top 10 Websites and Apps of 2016

top-ten-2016Every week, I post a website(s) or app(s) that my classes found useful, instructive, helpful in integrating technology into classroom lesson plans. Some, you agreed with me about; others not so much. Here, I’ll share which sites you-all thought were the most helpful in efforts to weave tech into the classroom experience. Between these twenty, they had over 240,000 visitors during the year. See if you agree:

Websites

  1. 12 Websites to Teach Mouse Skills
  2. 67 K-8 Hour of Code Suggestions–by Grade Level
  3. Hour of Code Suggestions by Grade Level
  4. 16 Great Research Websites for Kids
  5. 84 Math Websites for K-8
  6. KidzType–the Keyboard Practice Site You’ve Been Waiting For
  7. 31 Websites for Poetry Month
  8. 15 Websites to Learn Everything About Landforms
  9. 5 Programs That Make Digital Note-taking Easy
  10. 14 Websites That Will Excite Students About Tech

(more…)

Categories: Websites | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

52 Resources for Read Across America Day

stone-figure-10542_640Many people in the United States, particularly students, parents and teachers, join forces on Read Across America Day, annually held on March 2. This nationwide observance coincides with the birthday of Dr Seuss.

Here are some great reading websites for students K-5:

  1. Aesop Fables—no ads
  2. Aesop’s Fables
  3. Audio stories
  4. Childhood Stories
  5. Classic Fairy Tales
  6. Fairy Tales and Fables
  7. Interactive storybook collection
  8. Listen/read–Free non-fic audio books
  9. Magic Keys–stories for youngers
  10. Mighty Book
  11. PBS Stories–Between the Lions
  12. Signed stories
  13. Starfall
  14. Stories read by actors
  15. Stories to read for youngsters
  16. Stories to read from PBS kids
  17. Stories to read–II
  18. Stories—MeeGenius—read/to me
  19. Stories—non-text
  20. Story Scramble
  21. Storytime for me
  22. Teach your monster to read (free)
  23. Ziggity Zoom Stories

(more…)

Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, Holidays, Reading, Websites | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Top Ten Websites and Apps of 2015

top ten 2015Every week, I post a website(s) or app(s) that my classes found useful, instructive, helpful in integrating technology into classroom lesson plans. Some, you agreed with me about; others not so much. Here, I’ll share with you which sites you-all thought were the most helpful in efforts to weave tech into the classroom experience. Between these twenty, they had over 200,000 visitors during the year. See if you agree:

Websites

  1. Hour of Code Suggestions by Grade Level
  2. 21 Holiday Websites For Your Students
  3. 20 Great Research Websites for Kids
  4. 84 Math Websites for K-8
  5. ProdigyGame.com
  6. Teach Financial Literacy with Banzai
  7. Resource Review: Mentoring Minds
  8. Website Review: Grammarly
  9. Need to Create Lesson Plans? Try Frolyc
  10. 8 Tech Tools to Get to Know Your Students for Back to School

(more…)

Categories: Websites | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

3 Apps That Encourage Students to Read

readingReading is defined as “the action or skill of absorbing written or printed matter silently or aloud.” Sounds dry, maybe even boring, but once a child learns to read, they get much more than an understanding of words, sentences, paragraphs, grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. It has been credited with providing an escape from reality, exercising the mind, saving lives, bringing people together, answering problems, and predicting success in school. It alleviates boredom in the bits of free time that pop up between soccer and dinner and it can be done alone or in a group.

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends…”
― Charles William Eliot

According to Early Moments, reading is associated with the following traits:

(more…)

Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, Reading | Tags: | 3 Comments

5 Favorite Classroom Apps

appsApps are out of control. When you think you have just the right one for your classroom, a better/faster/snazzier version pops up. Often for free. It’s not like a decade ago when every teachers’ favorite tech tools were MS Office, KidPix, Reader Rabbit, and the internet.  Apps changed all that. Suddenly, the list exploded to include names like Voki, Tellagami, Wordle, ScreenChomp, Evernote and scores more that are weekly pushed aside by a new generation.

So before I unfold my favorites, here are guidelines to what I expected, culled from top education sites like Edutopia, Google Education, Educational Technology, and EdWeek:

  • free or small fee
  • support the ‘4 C’s’–creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration
  • offer compelling content (although this is subjective; ‘compelling’ varies teacher-to-teacher and student-to-student)
  • are not distracting or overwhelming in colors, music, or activity
  • offer levels that become increasingly more difficult, providing differentiation for student needs
  • stand the test of time
  • positive parent reports
  • few ads–and those that are there do not take up a significant portion of the screen
  • intuitive to use with a short learning curve, encourage independence
  • easily applied to a variety of educational environments
  • doesn’t collect personal information other than user credentials or data required to operate the app
  • rated ‘for everyone’ or ‘low maturity’
  • no in-app purchases or billing

Based on these criteria, here are my top five:

(more…)

Categories: Critical thinking, Reviews | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

TurboScan–Great Class Management Tool

scan appTurboScan

Scanning app

$2.99

A teacher friend is already stressed–and the year is only half over. Her school is putting together digital portfolios for every student which will include representative work monthly in each subject. That means posters, math papers, art projects, tests, summatives must be scanned into the server and filed in each student’s digital portfolio. Not so bad if there are enough scanners and computers to get it done. Which there aren’t. My friend has to wait in line, squeeze this work into breaks, or stay late or come early to try to get her portion of the work done.

One $2.99 iPad/iPHone/Android app would take care of the problem. It’s called TurboScan. Using the iPad (or Smartphone) camera, you take one-three pictures of a single- or multi-page document, tweak it so it’s the way you want it, email it to wherever you need it or save it to the camera roll and transfer it that way. Instead of hours, she’d be done in minutes.

(more…)

Categories: Classroom management | Tags: , | 1 Comment