Terri's Take... » tablet /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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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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