Tech Salad

With Crunchy Bits and Bytes

Month: February 2012

Ubi-quitous Devices

High school hallways often defy explanation. Some days, though, I’m very happy my office door opens directly to a high-traffic area.

This  morning, four girls walked past my door singing. I grabbed my iPod and asked if I could capture their impromptu practice. I got 29 seconds of Ubi Caritas before the bell interrupted.

Sure, having cameras everywhere can sometimes lead to mischief. In this case, I get to share the girls’ beautiful performance with the world.

Exploring Europe

Students in Ms. Curfman’s class (blog) have been exploring Europe in their World Studies class. Today we brought the iPads and we are working on comparing European countries to the United States.

Working in pairs, students are using the data provided in the GeoMaster app, along with the If It Were My Home website, to create a table in Adobe Ideas. The table will contain the statistics they find most relevant in deciding where they would live if they were to move from the United States to Europe. Next, students will use Google Docs to write a paragraph justifying their choice based on their findings.

As students finish, they may play the games in GeoMaster, locating European countries on a map, or identifying capitals and flags.

Logo Draw

How do you know you have a good app? I like an app that does something a traditional worksheet didn’t, and it let’s kids be creative while mastering a concept. One of my favorites is Logo Draw.

With a very limited choice of commands, students move the turtle and its pen to create intricate designs and gain a thorough understanding of geometric concepts.

Here is a neat design created using Logo Draw.


This, of course, is not new. Just look up Logo and children’s programming in your favorite search engine. What is new is the facility with which students can create and share these designs on an iPad.

Update: John Hendron asked on Twitter why I thought Logo Draw might be fun. I think it is fun applying what you learn, not just learning for the test. If I can apply what I’m learning about angles, degrees, rotation, symmetry, distances, etc, to make something pretty, why not? It certainly beats answering the odd problems on page 156 for homework. The result is beautiful and memorable.

This app would lend itself beautifully for a cross-curricular lesson bringing Math concepts into the Art classroom. We have done this once before in Goochland, using the DesignBlocks website with students in Ms. Tolson’s class.

From YouTube to Your Blog

At yesterday’s eBooks class, teachers asked about using YouTube to share videos created in their classrooms. Here’s a video to guide them though the process from start to finish.

My Prequel to the Pigs

I just created a book on the iPad using Book Creator on the iPad. We are having a really fun time here at Randolph Elementary School. Check back next week to see more books created by teachers and students.

You may download my book about the three little pigs leaving home.

History Lives

At the start of the 2009-10 school year I created a wiki page linking to some online repositories of digitized primary sources. I love history and I am always sorry to hear kids say they find it boring.

Last week, Letters of Note, one of my favorite blogs around published a letter that has been tweeted, blogged, facebooked, and on and on. It is an amazing letter written by a man born into slavery, living as a free man in Ohio. The man, Jourdan Anderson, wrote the letter as a reply to his former master who wanted him back. Of course, Mr. Anderson wanted no part of that, but his reply is one that makes the reader want to stand and cheer.

All that posting and reposting of the link has led to many conversations, and led a few people to dig deeper. Here’s a great post with the follow-up from Jason Kotke.

We are lucky, or maybe I should say spoiled. We can find all this with a click. We should make the most of this and teach history in ways that pull students in.

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