Hack your iPad with The Everything Machine App
Aug28

Hack your iPad with The Everything Machine App

The Everything Machine is a rather cool maker app that allows children to create simple instructions to hack the sensors in your iPad to create something much more fun. Using the simple visual programming language it’s possible to combine your device’s camera, microphone, speakers, gyroscope, and screen to make a light, a stop-motion camera, a kaleidoscope, a voice disguiser, a cookie thief catcher, or anything else you can think of! More than one iPad (or iPod Touch) can be connected – so you can play with friends.  Connect your devices to play a prank or talk in secret codes. Add logic gates and routers to build more complex machines. Simple components can be dragged onto the screen. Tutorial videos pop up in the corner of the screen if needed to provide help. There are plenty of inputs and controls that can be linked together such as the camera or microphone.The camera can be used as a light detector, colour detector or even a face detector. Sound and motion can also be detected. The app allows multiple devices to be connected, and can even send outputs to an Apple watch! For example the code below uses the camera as a light sensor, and switches on the on-screen fan when it detects light. The app also includes logic gates such as NAND and NOR gates to allow for more complex circuits to be built that rely on several inputs. There’s a comprehensive manual and tutorial videos to help get started. It’s very quick to get started, but you’ll need to follow the guides to get the most out of it. It’s a really interesting app with a lot of potential. I like the fact that it uses the sensors already built into your iPad and allows them to be used in creative ways.  If you teach coding and computing then you really do need to take a look at this app! Sadly it’s not a free app. But it’s not too expensive. The Everything Machine app costs £2.49 and can be downloaded here. Thanks to Mark Anderson (ICTEvangelist) for making me aware of the app with this blog post.    ...

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Plotagon – A free animation app for the iPad
Aug07

Plotagon – A free animation app for the iPad

Plotagon is a free iOS app that lets you create impressive animations on an iPad. It works in a very similar way to websites such as GoAnimate and Xtranormal. Create different characters, put them into scenes and write the dialog. The computer then generates the speech from the text. The app is free but it does have in-app purchases, which may deter some teachers from using it. However there is an education version available which has an annual subscription for a class. There’s also a free trial available right now if you want to try it out. With Plotagon students can easily create animated videos while improving their writing and storytelling skills. Teachers could ask children to create discussions between several characters to explain concepts, demonstrate learning, or just to tell a story. Students who are shy or have special needs can “talk” and share via Plotagon. They can type what they want to say and have an avatar speak their words for them! If you are interested, you can download Plotagon here. Or check out their website to find out more. If you’re interested in using apps for digital storytelling, then check out 10 Creative iPad apps for Digital Storytelling for more ideas. Hat Tip to Larry Ferlazzo for making me aware of Plotagon....

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4 Great Augmented Reality Apps for teaching Science
Jul23

4 Great Augmented Reality Apps for teaching Science

Augmented Reality is the term used by apps which overlay content on top of real world objects. Imagine viewing a textbook page through your iPad and the pictures come to life with sound and animations. This can have some great educational uses. From bringing spacecraft or animals into the classroom, to bringing worksheets to life with interactive 3D models. The tech is still in its infancy. At the moment you still need to view things through some kind of device – a tablet, phone or webcam. Can you imagine what this would be like when viewed through something like Google Glass? But that’s something for the future. There’s many different apps out there, but here are a few of my favourites that could be used to teach Science. Elements 4D Elements 4D is an AR chemistry app for iOS and Android devices which provides a fun way to look at various different chemical reactions. The app uses blocks that are inscribed with the symbols of 36 elements from the periodic table. The site will eventually sell ready-made cubes, but you can download paper templates for free here. When viewed through the app, these blocks instantly transform a simple, inanimate object into dynamic, dimensional, 4D representations of each element. Place them close together and they’ll react! You can read more on Elements 4D here Zookazam ZooKazam is a fun app for IOS that allows you to bring wild animals into the classroom without all the mess and inevitable legal action. When the targets are viewed through the app, an animal will magically appear. You could get a whale on your desk, or a hippo in your school hall! If you are teaching about animals with your class then this is an app well worth getting. Children could create images of different habitats, and then use the target to bring the correct animal into the scene. They could create images of different animals and then label them to show their main features – use them for classification. It could even be used as a prompt for creative writing. You can read more about ZooKazam here Nasa Spacecraft 3D NASA’s Spacecraft 3D is a free app for iOS devices that lets you learn about and interact with a variety of spacecraft that are used by NASA to explore our solar system, study Earth, and observe the universe. The app includes Curiosity, Hubble, Cassini and more!  Hold your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch up and point it at the marker and the spacecraft will appear. Choose from different animations to show how different parts of the craft work – such as Curiosity’s robot arm or antenna...

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Create Royalty-Free Music with the Launchpad iOS App
Jul08

Create Royalty-Free Music with the Launchpad iOS App

Launchpad is an iPad and iPhone app that lets students quickly create their own music by combining beats, basslines, melodies, vocals and FX loops. Free, easy-to-use DJ-style FX help you make every tune unique. At any time, the app can record your music and share it easily to YouTube, Facebook and Dropbox. The music produced is royalty-free, so this would be a great way for students to create tunes to use as background music in other digital projects, such as short films, podcasts and games. The basic app is free, with additional features such as importing your own audio and additional beat packs available via in-app purchases should you need them. The free version should be good enough for most students to create their own tunes with ease! Hat tip to Mark Anderson (@ICTEvangelist) who blogged about the Launchpad app here. Download Launchpad here....

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Create great polls and quizzes with Riddle
Jun08

Create great polls and quizzes with Riddle

Riddle is a new website that allows teachers and students to quickly create their own PlayBuzz and Buzzfeed-style quizzes, lists, polls, and more. Riddle makes it quick and easy to create powerful, interactive content – even from a smartphone. Even better, it’s free There are several different things you can create with Riddle. Polls: A simple tool to get a quick snapshot of opinion. Vote for option A, B etc. Commenticle: Find and share any great article, then get your readers’ opinion. Lists: These are easy to create. 10 facts about the Romans, 5 properties of a solid etc. Would be great for revision – even better if the students create their own and share! Quizzes: Test your students’ knowledge of anything. Personality tests:Perfect for history and social studies – student or teachers could research and create “What is Your Medieval Alter Ego?” or “Which Henry VIII wives would you be?“ Embed codes can be created to allow them to be embedded into a class blog or VLE page. Here’s an example poll: Teachers can create these for the students, but some of them would also be great to put into the hands of the students themselves to see what they could create. The Lists for example would be great for revision or plenary activities: “5 things I’ve learned about mountains” etc. You can access Riddle here. Let me know what you think in the comments....

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Pinterest for Teachers : A guide
May29

Pinterest for Teachers : A guide

If you haven’t seen it already, Pinterest is a social network that allows users to curate their own idea banks by “pinning” websites found on the internet to virtual boards. Each pin uses a main image to act as a visual reminder of the resource, and contains a link back to the original site. Pinterest acts as a bookmarking site – allowing you to build up banks of useful resources and, this is the best bit, share them with others. You can have as many boards as you like, each on a different theme. So you could set up a board for Science, one for Literacy, one for Maths etc. Boards can also be private, if you want to pin things that you don’t want to share with others. Like Twitter, Pinterest works best when you start following people. The pins that these people post will then appear in your timeline. You can then browse these pins, and anything that catches your eye can then be “re-pinned” to one of your own boards. You can choose which boards you want to follow – you might choose to follow someones teaching resources board, but not their Hair and Beauty board for example. This way you can keep your timeline relevant to your own interests. Pinterest also has a useful search feature. You can search by broad topics, such as “education” or “science“, but you can also carry out keyword searches to find more specific ideas and resources. Examples Science Lesson Ideas and Resources Classroom Display Ideas Teaching Coding Teaching Spanish Teachers could set up boards on different subject areas, and share these with colleagues. Like Twitter, Pinterest lets you build up a network of other like-minded educators, and can enable you to quickly access a wide range of ideas for your own lessons. Repinning resources you find useful is easy – just click on them and choose “Pin it”. You can also install a plug in for your web browser that gives you a Pin It button to use when you are browsing the internet. When you find something useful just click it and choose which board to pin it to. If you are interested, you can find all my boards on Pinterest at pinterest.com/dannynic So what do you Pinterest for? If you use it already, share your favourite boards and pinners in the comments below.        ...

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Add Your Voice to a Photo with the Talking Cutie app
May15

Add Your Voice to a Photo with the Talking Cutie app

Talking Cutie is a fun free iPad app that lets you add voices to images. Simply take a photograph, and then record up to 60 seconds of narration over the top. You can then add a talking face to the object – choosing from a wide range of different features.   This would have lots of uses in the classroom. Children could add a short description of an artefact in history, historical characters, famous people, they could describe different animals and plants in science. This would be great for foreign language work, with the children speaking short phrases in the target language. The app changes the voice, so children who hate hearing themselves shouldn’t have a problem when the finished video is played back, as it doesn’t sound like them. Here’s an example of Talking Cutie in action: http://www.whiteboardblog.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/ani-2015-05-14-142809.m4v The finished video can be uploaded to YouTube or Facebook directly from the app if you want. For classroom use, just being able to use the feature to save it to the Camera Roll should be enough, but you can also send it to Dropbox if you want an easy way to get the file off the iPad and onto a regular computer. As a class you might want to make a few of these, and stitch them together into iMovie. You can download Talking Cutie here. It’s great fun, and it’s free, so do check it out! Thanks to Joe Dale for tweeting about the app last week and making me aware of it. What do you think of Talking Cutie? Let me know about any other similar apps in the comments below!  ...

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The Breaking News Generator from ClassTools
May14

The Breaking News Generator from ClassTools

Russel Tarr’s Classtools site is one of my go-to websites. I’m a big fan of the countdown timer and random name picker tools, and have used them on many occasions. The Fakebook and Twitter generator tools are also great. Just added to the site is the Breaking News Generator. This allows teachers and children to create an image that looks like something from a 24 hour news channel. It’s great fun and has a lot of potential. The images that you create can be downloaded, or shared via a generated URL. You could also screen capture them straight into your IWB software. This would be great for providing a summary of a story, or historic event. Pupils  could create a one line summary of their findings in a science investigation, alongside a photograph of it taking place. Teachers could use it as a lesson or discussion starter or even use it as a way of displaying learning intentions. You can try it out for yourself at www.classtools.net/breakingnews There’s loads of other tools there too, so go to www.classtools.net and take a look!  ...

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Explore Your Eyes with this Interactive Guide
May14

Explore Your Eyes with this Interactive Guide

This resource from Lenstore provides an interactive guide to the human eye. It takes you on a journey through the eye, with detailed explanations for each of the different parts. Rather than the usual cross-section view, you can explore the eye in first-person, zooming in through the pupil all the way to the optic nerve. The pop up labels give a short description of each part, with a link to find out more. This would be very useful for science teachers when talking about the eye, combined with a more usual cross-section diagram, such as this one. You might also enjoy this resource : http://www.visiondirect.co.uk/the-human-eye See more at www.lenstore.co.uk/how-your-eyes-work...

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Thousands of Science, History and Art Images from Wellcome
May05

Thousands of Science, History and Art Images from Wellcome

For teachers looking for interesting images to use in their lessons, the Wellcome Images website is a great place to start! Images are grouped by Science, History and Art, and cover a wide variety of topic areas. The collection contains historical images from the Wellcome Library collections, Tibetan Buddhist paintings, ancient Sanskrit manuscripts written on palm leaves, beautifully illuminated Persian books and much more. The Biomedical Collection holds over 40 000 high-quality images from the clinical and biomedical sciences. Selected from the UK’s leading teaching hospitals and research institutions, it covers disease, surgery, general healthcare, sciences from genetics to neuroscience including the full range of imaging techniques. These images could be useful for GCSE or A-Level science teaching. All low res images on the site are freely available for download for personal, academic teaching or study use, under several Creative Commons licences. Hi-res historical images are also available to download from free of charge, for any usage, under a Creative Commons Attribution Only – CC-BY licence. Other higher quality images can also be accessed, for a fee. You can access the image library at wellcomeimages.org  ...

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Explore the Sun with the DIY Sun Science iPad App
Apr20

Explore the Sun with the DIY Sun Science iPad App

DIY Sun Science for iPad allows children (and teachers!) to investigate and learn about the Sun, using live footage, archive images and practical activity ideas. The app was developed by UC Berkeley’s The Lawrence Hall of Science in association with NASA. The observatory module allows children to view live (or very recent) images of the Sun from NASA’s SDO satellite. They can select images taken using different wavelengths of light and compare the different features that they can see. The app also contains a video and image gallery which allows the children to view collections of images and videos of the Sun from various observatories on Earth and in space. This helps the children to learn about the various features of the Sun, how scientists are studying the Sun, and view videos of the Sun from the past 48 hours. As well as the on-screen content, the app provides 13 free, easy to use, hands-on practical activities. Each activity includes material lists, step-by-step instructions, and detailed explanations. Activities include making prisms, exploring eclipses and building a solar oven. Do make sure to follow all safety precautions for any experiments involving the Sun. This is a great free resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the Sun. Download it and take a look for yourself! You can download DIY Sun Science from the app store for free....

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Make Great Looking Digital Stories with Adobe Slate for iPad
Apr07

Make Great Looking Digital Stories with Adobe Slate for iPad

Adobe  Slate is a new free Digital Storytelling app for the iPad that makes it easy to combine words and images into a story that can be published as beautifully laid-out Web content. Using Slate, children could create great-looking reports, mixing images and text to great effect. Slate creations are links that can be shared easily via email, embedded in websites, or posted on social media channels. Here’s an example student report created in Slate. Through professionally designed magazine-style layouts with elegant fonts, beautiful colours and eye-catching motion, Slate content automatically adapts to any device for a high-impact reading experience on tablets, smartphones or computers. The Slate app features a collection of themes that set the tone for your story. The interface makes it simple to add text, choose the right photo layout and apply different looks and motion effects. Key features include: Stunning professionally designed themes allow users to simply tap to select from multiple font combinations, fun colours and motion to ensure stories stand out from the crowd. Arresting photo layouts and covers deliver options that help photos pop, making them the highlight of the story, including grid or window view. Users can also add a caption overlay on images. Adaptable design that looks great on any device, ranging from a phone to large desktop monitors. Adobe Slate is available as a free download in the App Store. The app requires iPad 2 or higher and iOS 8. To learn more about Adobe Slate, visit adobe.com/slate. As another Digital Storytelling tool, Adobe Slate is well worth exploring. Let me know what you think about Slate in the comments below!...

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