Terri's Take... » ipad /blog Living a Proverbs 31 Life in a Romans 1 World... Sat, 12 Jul 2014 08:30:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Our Favorite Apps /blog/2014/04/our-favorite-apps/ /blog/2014/04/our-favorite-apps/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 23:32:29 +0000 /blog/?p=1817 rain2It’s Springtime! And while I would rather have my kids out playing under the apple blossoms or even in the Oregon rain puddles, we often find ourselves trapped in the house or the car and need to accomplish something educational (well, the outdoors is loaded with great educational opportunities, but there are times when we need something more measurable). We are trying to hold onto some semblance of school around the Johnson household through the end of May at least, but we are needing to change things up a bit in order to keep everyone’s attention.

I’m excited to share some of the fun things we are doing to keep school interesting, but first, I promised that I would share our favorite educational mobile apps as Part III of the Teaching With Tech series. So, you’ll have to wait until next week’s blog post for ideas that do not involved anything technical (of which, there are many!).

Teaching with Tech, Part I – Favorite Educational Youtube Videos

Teaching with Tech, Part II – Mobile App Best Practices

These are the apps that we use on a daily, weekly or regular basis. They are listed in no particular order, except that we listen, read and memorize the Bible first. Oh, one other thing… these links are all apple because we have an ipad, but if you have an android, just search through the Google Play store.

Our Top 12 Mobile App List:

 

1. Bible.Is or YouVersion for Bible memorization and Bible read-through.

2. Classical Conversations for Cycle 2 memory work

3. BrainPop for general (random) educational information.

4. StarWalk for finding/learning about stars and planets in the night sky

5. Frog Dissection for odor-free and gross-out free frog dissection for high school Biology class

6. Spelling City for weekly spelling lists

7. Letter School and Wet-Dry-Try for handwriting and letter practice

8. World Book for events that happened on this day in history.

9. Helpful aids such as Dictionary and Calculator

10. Kindle and iBooks for reading fiction and nonfiction

11. Quest Magazine for learning fun things from history

12. Timeline Builder for assembling our history timeline.

 

Great news! Timeline Builder has just finished undergoing a major revision and will be updated in the app store by May 1st. To celebrate, we are reducing the price to $3.99 until April 29th. Get version 2.0 now and then receive the upgrade (version 3.0) free when it becomes available around the end of April or beginning of May. Here are some of the fantastic upgrades that you will appreciate:

Font selection – choose from a large selection of fonts for timeline titles, events and descriptions.

Color selection – choose from a large selection of font colors for all of the above too.

Event title wrapping – add as much information to the title now as you want as the text will wrap rather than expand to the sides of the screen.

Higher resolution retina graphics for today’s crystal clear, ultra-sharp retina devices.

Better control over box closure, so that it doesn’t happen by accident when typing in a description.

More date format choices.

Updated for iOS 7.1

 

Question: What are your favorite apps, either Apple or Android?

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Mobile App Best Practices /blog/2014/04/mobile-app-best-practices/ /blog/2014/04/mobile-app-best-practices/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 23:23:02 +0000 /blog/?p=1809 Part II of Tech Series

(Read Part I on Favorite Youtube Videos here)

I am probably a lot like you. I have a love/hate relationship with technology! I’m the gal who has oodles of bookshelves with books that I cannot bear to give away. I love the smell of books, both new and old! My school cabinet is loaded with curricula in all subjects and blank spiral notebooks ready to be filled in with freshly sharpened pencils.

I would rather hear the squeals of children jumping on the trampoline or sliding down the zip line in the backyard, than the cacophony of sounds emitting from the computer speakers.

I feel greater joy when I find my children reading to each other or listening to an audiobook together than I do when I find them playing a video game on the computer in the living room.

But I have to admit that I love my tablet and the educational apps we use for homeschooling. They make my life simpler and the kids think they are extremely fun. Mobile apps are also exceedingly affordable. A couple dollars spent in the app store can deliver a boatload of information for the kids and a quiet 15 minutes a day for mom.

ipad-checklist

Here is how we use mobile apps in our homeschool. These are my best practices learned over 4 years of iPad use:

  1. 1. Password-protect the tablet or smart phone. I don’t want my children on a mobile device without my knowledge. Password-protecting the device allows me to keep track of who is using it and for what purpose. Another family practice is that any device that can access the internet stays in family rooms.
  2. 2. Use the built-in timer function, if necessary. If the app is game-like, then your child might get carried away and spend more time on the tablet than you would prefer. Set a timer for 30 minutes to alert you both to the lapse of time.
  3. 3. Organize your device for educational success. Place your favorite educational apps on the front page and file games and other “fluff” in folders on successive pages. Folders both condense and tuck away apps that you would rather not draw your kids’ attention away from the apps that you believe have greater educational value.
  4. 4. Use apps strategically. We always work on our Bible and other memory work on the iPad before watching videos, for example. We also get all bookwork completed before pulling out the ipad.

A little thought and organization goes a long way toward using mobile apps successfully for school. Ask your friends what their favorite educational apps are and don’t be afraid to spend a few dollars on a highly recommended 4 or 5 star app. But the great news is that there are many free ones of great value to choose from as well. Apps can help make school fun, but should only be part of the whole school experience.

Question: What are your best practices for mobile app use? How do you use them most effectively in your home?

Watch for Part III where I share the apps we use in our home on a daily or weekly basis.

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Help us determine the topic of our next magazine /blog/2013/12/second-magazine/ /blog/2013/12/second-magazine/#comments Fri, 13 Dec 2013 01:22:09 +0000 /blog/?p=1658 This past September, we had the privilege of publishing our first magazine. While we have produced books, ebooks, maps, timelines, apps and courses, we had never published a magazine. The learning curve was somewhat steep, but it was fun to learn the process and figure out how to get ourselves on a schedule so that we can consistently publish content each and every month.

The magazine we decided to publish is called Quest Magazine: The Ultimate Way for Kids to Learn History. It is a magazine for kids and families to learn and enjoy history together. It’s interactive too, which makes it even more fun for the kids. Currently it is published exclusively on Apple’s Newsstand, but next month we will be launching the Android version (and the crowd cheers!).

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/quest-magazine-ultimate-way/id691304628

Quest-ad-chalkboard

And here’s the incredible part – last month Quest Magazine reached #1 in the app store in its category. How exciting that was for us!

Now, we have the option to publish a second magazine. We aren’t sure which direction to go. A companion magazine to Quest covering the subject of science would be nice. Maybe something like this… Knowledge Magazine: Family Science from a Christian Worldview.

However, we also have a passion for small business. I mean really small, like “micro” business. You know, the kind of business that you can (should) start from home and grow as you have the time and money. It’s a backward concept in today’s world where new start-ups pitch ideas to investors, get large amounts of funding and then start big. These businesses are either wildly successful or crash hard.

We believe in starting a business because it promotes the kind of lifestyle you want to enjoy at this time in your life, rather than waiting until you retire. Businesses that allow you to spend time with your family while you still have kids at home. Businesses that start small, in a spare room or garage, with little to no debt are a joy to work in. They grow as they succeed, expanding from a solo entrepreneur to a virtual team who all work remotely and live satisfying lives free from long commutes, angry bosses and strict office hours. These are the kinds of businesses we love to help people start and grow.

So, another possibility for our second magazine would be to provide articles on this theme. It could be general for all microbusiness owners or geared especially toward women. Women are starting businesses at a faster rate than men and yet most business magazines are written primarily for a male audience.

Frankly, I devour business magazines. I just love them! But it would be fun to provide a science magazine for families too, which leaves us undecided. So, would you please chime in if you have an opinion? Here are the three choices at this time:

mag-ideas

So please use the form above to vote on the topic of our next mag and leave us any ideas you would like for us to consider in the comment box below. Thank you!

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Android? /blog/2012/11/android/ /blog/2012/11/android/#comments Mon, 05 Nov 2012 17:55:19 +0000 /blog/?p=874

So, the question we get all the time is when will be be developing apps for Android. The simple but incomplete answer is, “Soon, we hope!”

Yes, we realize that Apple’s market share in tablet sales has fallen and hovers around 50%, meaning that our customers who own tablet computers are split down the middle between Apple and Android devices. We certainly don’t want to ignore 50% of our customer’s needs, that’s for sure.

Now, the more complicated answer is this… We have two amazing Apple developers that we work with, neither of which are up to speed on Android programming at this time. So, that means either a learning curve for our developers or finding a new one to translate our current iOS apps into Android. Both of which are possible, but will require additional funds. Plus, it is not as simple to program for Android tablets as their sizing and screen resolutions are not consistent across devices. While Apple keeps their size and dimension ratios consistent so that apps can be programmed for just two sizes – iphone and/or ipad, the open Android market includes devices of all shapes and sizes, which is a graphics and programming nightmare. There are over four standard tablet sizes and many, many phone screen sizes, which makes programming for Android more time-consuming and expensive. Not impossible though!

We are striving to release an app for ipad that hits it out of the park. That would provide the needed funds AND confirmation to expand to additional devices, knowing that the app would be beneficial for Android users as well.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/timelinebuilder/id572520921?mt=8

Hopefully, TimelineBuilder will be that app! So far it is getting fantastic reviews! Here are a few…

“Fantastic! I’m so stinking excited about this App! I LOVE timelines, and even more, I love teaching every subject while using a timeline to make correlations to similar events that when I was younger, never made sense to me. Great idea KQ, thumbs up!”

“Nicely done! My family of 5 live in an RV, hardly the place for a wall timeline. I have attempted to start Books of Centuries with the kids many times over the last 11 years of homeschooling. This little gem just might do the trick.”

“Enjoyed the ease of use and the helpful links to websites that allow for picture insertion of copyright free art! That was a brilliant idea. Having a keyboard for an iPad would be beneficial for anyone using this timeline. Great work, I enjoy the apps you produce. Keep up the good work!”

“Great idea! This is a wonderful way for multiple children to have their own timeline. My children love using the iPad for both fun and school. This will be a great resource.”

“This app is great! I like how it gives a description of the person. The visuals are spectacular!”

“A travel-friendly timeline! We homeschool because of travel. Finally, a timeline that will travel with us. I love the info provided for each person or event. This is a GREAT app. See history in the order it happened.”

“We are beginning round 3 of world history with my eldest son. Although he loves history and has no trouble remembering facts and dates he has not been able to successfully keep a timeline for himself. We have a family timeline that I keep but I have really wanted something that he would do himself. When I showed him this app this morning he was so excited. Immediately he figured it out and it was the first thing he wanted to do at the conclusion of the lesson. Thank you for a fun, educational and easy to use timeline.”

“Just downloaded and tried this out today. I love it! It is great to be able to make a very portable and editable timeline on the iPad. The pre-made timeline apps by Knowledge Quest are very nice, but the ability to make our own is fantastic! Would love to see some basic historical figures included as part of the app, just so one doesn’t have to search for images so much. Looking forward to using this in our history studies.”

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5 Ways to Add Apps to Your School Day /blog/2011/01/5-ways-to-add-apps-to-your-school-day/ /blog/2011/01/5-ways-to-add-apps-to-your-school-day/#comments Wed, 26 Jan 2011 00:38:11 +0000 /blog/?p=393 ipad-checklist

We’ve talked about why it makes sense to use mobile apps to enhance our children’s education and how to keep them safe online.  Now it’s time to talk about how to practically incorporate these fun educational apps into a typical school day.

This can be done whether you homeschool your child, or work on homework with him after school, or are looking for some beneficial distractions for her while you run errands or attend after-school events and lessons.

Educational apps can enhance your child’s education no matter your particular circumstances!

Here are 5 ways to begin using mobile apps to further your child’s education:

1. Move games and other fluff into folders on your device (or remove them altogether) so that your child can focus on the fun apps that actually serve a purpose – engaging his mind and furthering his education.

2. Bring your smartphone or ipad with you when you run errands, go to doctor’s appointments, music lessons, and sports practice.  Let your child know which apps she may play with.  Load up your ipad with a good amount of apps available on topics such as math, science, language arts, etc.  You may even want to keep a nice selection of picture books available.  Check our website for apps in all of the above categories and more.  Your child will not get bored with these.

3. Start, or break-up, your day with a fun educational video, such as BrainPop.  This is a good way to learn something new in an entertaining way.

4. Use apps for reference, such as WordBook to look up the definition of a word; WorldBook: This Day in History to find out what important events happened on this day in history; MyCalculator to figure out a difficult problem (if calculators are acceptable for your child’s math level); or GeoWalk to find a particular location on the globe.

5. Use your mobile device to read books and listen to audiobooks.  We are reading through the Bible this year using Bible Is and use the Kindle and iBooks apps for other books we are reading-aloud.  This way, we can take several books with us on one small portable device.

And finally, here is a great tip for classroom teachers!  Some apps, such as TimelineBuilder can be connected to a VGA adapter and projected to a screen so that you can use it for your entire class and everyone will be on the same page (so to speak).

Alternatively, if you have more than one iPad available for your classroom, you may want to check into the volume discounts (up to 50%) available through Apple’s Volume Purchase program.

You can check out all of our apps here, including our new history magazine – Quest:

/Apps.html

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