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  • jenbarker 1:51 pm on October 11, 2012
    0 votes

    On a funny note I heard that the new Mercedez-Benz will have integrated abilities to cloud compute.   Really I guess it was just a matter of time. Here is link to an article describing it.  

    Continue reading Cars Crusin with the Cloud Posted in: Week 05:
    • manny 7:19 pm on October 12, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Interesting article Jen but I am left wondering whether this is really necessary. You can pretty much access all these features off of your mobile device, why would you want it built into your car. Furthermore, how does this help in reducing the number of distracted driver accidents that take so many lives every year. There must be some sort of shut off in which you cannot access it while driving. Although I am all for technology, sometimes it can be a little too much. Then again, the auto industry is highly competitive and look for any gimmick that will give them an advantage over their competition.

    • jenbarker 9:02 am on October 13, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Manny you bring up many good points. I also would hope there is an auto shut-off while driving. I agree it is yet another distraction that I don’t think we need.

  • coralk 1:32 pm on October 7, 2012
    0 votes


    Since my kids are preschool age (2 and 4) I thought I’d do a review of some of my favourite educational pre-K apps: • Monkey Math School – my kids both love this app. I wonder if my 2 year old is actually learning anything or if he is just playing (at this point I […]

    Continue reading Pre-K app review Posted in: Week 05:
  • teacherben 5:24 pm on October 6, 2012
    0 votes

    Tags: , DIY, games, programming, week 5   

    For those who are interested in making apps without programming, one of the first and most powerful options is GameSalad (http://gamesalad.com/)  It uses the same sort of drag-and-drop into a flowchart that you have seen in other applications.  It is huge.  60 of the top 100 apps in the app store we built with GameSalad, […]

    Continue reading some other tools for creating apps you should see Posted in: Week 05:
    • Pat A Son 6:20 pm on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      These tools certainly puts creativity into the hands of the non-programmer and in the world of education the potential is limitless.

      Thanks for posting

    • stammik 10:30 am on October 7, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Many excellent resources and comments – thank you.

      I look forward noodling around with GameSalad this afternoon, while the smell of turkey drifts into the office!

  • jenbarker 3:22 pm on October 6, 2012
    0 votes

    Given this week’s topic I was wondering if anyone is this course has been using Ipads in their classrooms.   I am scheduled to receive a class set of Ipads at the end of this month from my district.   We will have them for two months. My question concerns the fact that when students […]

    Continue reading Question about Apps and Student Creations Posted in: Week 05:
    • teacherben 4:57 pm on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      It depends on the app. Some have a cloud backup and some don’t. So, in some cases, you can still access your work by logging in to a website, and if you install it on another device, you can login and get all your work back. With others, it’s gone.

      There’s stuff like this (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/book-creator-for-ipad/id442378070?mt=8) that allow you to create books right on the device that can then be shared. This one costs money though.

      We usually do our content creation on computers and put it on the handhelds to see and share (such as ebooks and games.)

      It’s pretty surprising how widespread the iPad adoption has been in the classroom and yet how little Apple has worked out the nuts and bolts of how schools would be using them and how they could support that. Usually this is one of their strengths. They still don’t have any official word about syncing and devices per account. We have a few dozen in our lower elementary and we sync them all to the same account. It’s great for us, since we only pay once for an app, then run it on a ton of devices. Sooner or later, they will need to come up with a special system for large deployments and hopefully this will solve your problem as well. They only just acknowledged the fact that some users share a device and allowed for multiple accounts in a recent update.

      Good luck.

    • jenbarker 5:15 pm on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I’ve also wondered about licensing issues with the apps. I heard that we are allowed to legally sync an app to ten devices but that is it and this is actually a new Canadian law within the past year. I spoke with our tech consultant in our district and he said that the bulk purchase prices works out to be higher than buying the app and sharing with the amount of devices it allows (i.e. 5). Education is a vast market and one would think Apple would be doing everything they could in this area.

  • Lisa Nevoral 2:36 pm on October 6, 2012
    0 votes


    Hi All, There is a site called Common Sense Media that provides information about the current issues in the media if you sign up and subscribe to their emails. There is a section that is devoted to learning ratings on “Apps for Learning”.  This might be useful for some of you. The site is: http://www.commonsensemedia.org/ Lisa

    Continue reading Common Sense Media – Apps for Learning included Posted in: Week 05:
    • jenbarker 3:24 pm on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for sharing Lisa. I checked it and it is a great resource. – Jen

    • jenbarker 3:26 pm on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I forgot to mention that I loved the features. You can search by age of the child, skill set you’re looking for, subject, genre and/or topic.

  • Shaun Pepper 10:08 am on October 6, 2012
    0 votes

    I like the way the app shown in the video allows the student to interact and engage with the content. This idea of engaging students into the learning by interaction rather than lecture is an interesting one. Any one else have any other apps that try to do this?

    Continue reading Self Motivation in Education- TED Talk Posted in: Blog Café, Week 05:
  • manny 8:47 am on October 6, 2012
    0 votes

    Tags: , itunesu   

    I thought I would share this app that I have used in the past to develop a visual and media arts course. I was lucky enough earlier this year to attend a workshop on iTunesU at the appple campus in richmond, B.C. I have since been experimenting with its inner workings and find it to be […]

    Continue reading iTunesU Posted in: Week 05:
    • C. Ranson 9:38 am on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Manny,

      This is great, thanks for sharing. I was just on the itunesu website, is this only accessible through an ipad?

      • melissaayers 11:10 am on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Catherine – you can also access it through the iTunes store on your computer via iTunes software if you have it installed.

      • manny 6:18 pm on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Catherine,

        Unfortunately, the actual course can only be viewed via an ipad, ipod, or iphone. The course manager that allows you to set things up is online and can be completed on any desktop. The lack of cross platform applications that Apple has integrated into their products is definitely a downside. I am starting to wonder how much time and energy I want to expend on this as not every student has a mobile device.

    • kstackhouse 9:50 am on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Very cool! Thank you for sharing this.

  • adi 5:34 pm on October 5, 2012
    0 votes

    For the founder parade I was going to talk about the founders of ‘Chomp’; a really useful search engine of apps i came across  . However, as it was not related to education, I changed my mind. I was going to share the site with you for this week, but it’s gone! Apparently Apple bought […]

    Continue reading Ventures that come and go Posted in: Week 05:
    • Jonathan 6:33 pm on October 5, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      It’s sad when the big companies gobble up the small ventures. The one that stick in my mind is Sparrow an Apple mail client for iPhone and Mac desktop. When Google bought it out it was truly for the talent. It’s good that the talent isn’t going away, what makes it sad is that the great apps that they built will no longer be developed. 🙁

      Another one that sticks in my mind is one for iOS. It was on a jailbroken iPhone where users could bring down a control panel from the main screen to access many functionalities. Apple offered him a job, he stopped developing his “app” but now we get to see it baked into iOS. It’s a up and down thing but it’s sad to see the small “guys” disappear into the big companies.

    • Peggy Lawson 3:40 pm on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I fully agree adi – sometimes a successful venture is one in which the founders assume they will not have a long, independent shelf-life, instead creating a product or service that either due to usefulness or avoidance of competition is expecting to be bought by a larger fish. I’m not sure, Jonathan, how sad those entreprenuers are when they get gobbled up. Many may continue working on their products in an environment that can provide them with better funding, or they are free to go off and come up with yet another new idea or two. I understand what you suggest about them feeling sad when their original ideas get buried when bought out, but I suspect many (most?) true entreprenurs are more married to the idea of making money than of birthing a viable product.


  • Scott 6:05 pm on October 4, 2012
    0 votes

    Tags: , , , iOS,   

    Rather than typing a comment to discuss and review a few of my favourite apps, I thought I’d post a short screen recording and chat about them:  http://youtu.be/yoiaoihTPrw?hd=1 The apps discussed are: Thicket – A free interactive gesture based audio creation app. 123D Sculpt – A free 3D sculpting app. Leafsnap – A free interactive field […]

    Continue reading iOS Edu Apps Worth Checking Out Posted in: Week 05:
    • teacherben 7:09 pm on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Nice list. The Autodesk 123D apps are great. There are desktop version for some of those too, but it’s nice to see some good content creation tools finally coming to these handheld devices to challenge the notion that they are only really consumption devices. I only just read about move the turtle this morning from the Geekdad blog on Wired. I wish I had an iPad to try it on (still waiting for my budget stuff to get processed:(

      Here’s a list of IOS apps for education that another tech guy in my school sent around a couple weeks ago. There are some good things on it:


      • stammik 11:32 am on October 5, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I’m a big fan of the Geekdad blog as well, along with Wired in general, for tech news. Flipboard and Zite are my picks for Apps that aggregate news feeds, to try and keep up on these rapidly changing topics. Truth be told however, my teenage students are my best resource – I learn so much from them!

    • Jonathan 7:52 pm on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Just bought Move the Turtle and I’m loving it! I’ll have to spend more time on it– might bring it into the iPads at school 🙂 I like the programs that teacher basics of computer programming. Teaches so many different concepts while trying to learn to program. Scratch is a good example of this for sure.

      Thanks for the list.

    • kstackhouse 11:07 am on October 5, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      This is great! Thank you for sharing. I think that the tree id app is great. When I was little my Dad asked if I could name the trees we saw while driving….”Of course I can, ” I replied. “Bob, Mark, Jessie, ….” He got a good laugh over that. I wasn’t trying to be funny i didn’t know what they were. Maybe this will help. 🙂

    • sophiabb 7:02 pm on October 5, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Love the list. I will be purchasing “Move the Turtle”. Let’s see what my kids and I can come up with.

    • melissaayers 5:35 am on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Great format/video for posting your thoughts thanks Scott!

    • Lisa Nevoral 2:26 pm on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply


      Great idea to use a YouTube video as your response. Very original and awesome use of technology!

      To add to Scott’s comments, I will review a couple more of the apps that were suggested this week by the Apps OER team.

      Periodic Table App – At first I thought this app was too simplistic, but then I thought about what it supposed to do. It is to teach it’s users about the periodic table. There were some great features such as a quiz on naming elements, abbreviations of elements, and atomic #s. As well, there was a description of each element as well as a sound byte of each element name. There was a video chemistry section that explained more information than what would be found on the periodic table. What I would like to see as a link or add on that helps learners in naming compounds and formulas. Maybe I should make an app for that…

      RealCalc – I really liked this calculator app. Student’s don’t need to go out and buy another instrument (ie. calculator) since they can use this on their IPhones, IPads, Androids, etc… I guess the next question is if teachers will allow them to be in the classrooms. I have had many debates with colleagues about students being allowed to bring mobile devices into the classroom. This is at the middle school level.


    • Ranvir 7:47 am on October 8, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Scott, i really liked the short and snappy review of the educational apps you showed in the video. I am planning on using some of these for my 8 yr old to supplement classroom education. i am going to try LeafSnap today as that is an excellent example of how you can use something like google goggles to learn nature. finally, thanks for sharing the ipad apps list as it seems to be invaluable resource as well.

    • stammik 5:03 pm on October 9, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for your positive feedback Ranvir!

  • Kent Jamieson 10:56 am on October 4, 2012
    0 votes

    Tags: , interactive, , whiteboard   

    Thank you App OER for leading the way…i’ve already shared some resources with colleagues that have helped them immensely.  I wanted to share the applicaiton ‘ShowME’ as it has made life a little easier, and allowed my students to ShowMe their work/thinking. ShowMe is a powerful application which basically turns your iPad into an interactive […]

    Continue reading ShowMe Posted in: Week 05:
    • manny 11:19 am on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Kent,
      I have primarily been using screen chomp to conduct the activities that you have described. A colleague of mine introduced me to Show Me last year and I was impressed with the additional features it has. When using screenchomp, a student records their narrative on a subject area and then uploads or emails it to me for viewing and assessment. This app allows students to share their screenchomp with others via facebook and is great for collaboration. However, I found that Show me takes this collaboration to another level. There is a database of lessons that have been created by teachers and students on almost any topic taught from K-12. This app can be used as a reference for students when they are struggling on a specific topic. Research indicates that students learn best from each other and this app provides the platform for this to happen. A truly innovative and powerful application!

      • Peggy Lawson 11:16 am on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        ShowMe, or Kent’s alternate Explain Everything, would have such great potential for student assessment as you suggested Manny. What a great tool for allowing students to create a portfolio. Easy to capture narrated demonstrations of their work – the process, their thinking – not just a static final product. Very powerful indeed!


    • Kent Jamieson 11:47 am on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Explain Everything is another similar application which i’m trying. It is linked to Evernote, Dropbox, Box and YouTube. Really, it’s all about choice for my students. Some of them are still comfortable using paper and pencil, so that’s they way they do things…although my hunch is that its their parents holding on to some of the more traditional ways of completing homework.

    • Mike Rae 1:29 pm on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      We have talked a little about this in the course, but have any issues arisen of kids/parents that can’t afford an iPad? how do you deal with that? also, do you see these apps eventually being available for iPhones?

      • manny 10:18 pm on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I think you touched on an important point Mike. What do we do with those kids who can’t afford these devices? Unfortunately, in this day and age, that puts them at a disadvantage if we choose to pursue these emerging technologies. From my experience though, there are two ways that we can approach this dilemma. The first is that we don’t integrate them into our practice because it is not fair to those students who don’t have the hardware to participate. In this scenario, we really end up putting all the students at a disadvantage from a global collaborative perspective. This approach is more of an excuse based approach in which I don’t see districts finding the need to supply the hardware/software required. However, if you this is the avenue you wish to take and are sincere in your approach, a good administrator acknowledges the effort and can usually make things happen.
        I do agree with you in the cross compatibility issue that Apple has – lets face it – they want to corner the marketplace! Usually, apps developed for iphone will work on the ipad but not always vice versa. Couple this with other cross compatibility issues and the logistics of everything gets confusing. It seems as though they have fixed some of these nuances with their latest iOS6 update but their are always improvements to be made. What is encouraging though is that App developers usually make product updates based on reviews and feedback. This is an area where we need to take more initiative as we do have a say in what we consume.

    • Peggy Lawson 5:44 pm on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      As I’m reading through all of the posts this week – so many good ideas, apps, etc. This isn’t a new revelation for me, but it keeps re-surfacing – how is the average teacher able to manage all of this constant information, such as good apps for this and that? I know there are twitter, blogs,website, etc. and maybe existing apps that give recommendations about good stuff for specific uses.

      My point being – where is the “THING” that will help with information overload?


      • melissaayers 11:05 am on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Peggy,

        I agree this is definitely one of the issues with apps that there is currently no easy way to find the all the good apps that are appropriate for your needs, nor keep on top of all the apps being created and released on a daily basis. There is no systematic way to rate, review or catalog them. I hope in the future their might be some type of “librarian/virtual assistant” or library cataloging system or more finely grained & professional classification of apps we can refer too.

    • tomwhyte1 7:17 am on October 5, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I was wondering if anyone has used this app to create or facilitate a flipped classroom learning environment? It was great to hear about the collaborative nature of this app…

      In terms of the have and have nots… Recent research is showing that due to the constant decrease in tech prices, that the new have and have nots, will be those students that have teachers teaching with technology, and those that do not…


      • manny 8:24 am on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Tom,
        because of the cross compatibility issues with apple products and the fact that not all kids have mobile devices as Mike mentioned earlier in the thread, to facilitate a flipped classroom I think youtube would be the best option. YouTube can be viewed from any device with an Internet connection and just makes flipped learning more accommodating.

    • kstackhouse 11:04 am on October 5, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for sharing this Kent. It seems like a great tool for students to be able to use this. As Mike mentioned having the devices available is a concern. Most schools don’t have them at all or only a few if they do. Some students may have them on their own. I know that I have an iPad but by kids aren’t at the age where they would be doing work on it…yet. I think that there will be a continued stream of these types of apps as it does allow for the user to capture their ideas as they work through problems/situations. Thanks again!

    • C. Ranson 9:53 am on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Great information in this discussion. ShowMe sounds like a must check out!. Peggy, I need that “THING”!

      Kent, just curious about a few things if you don’t mind. What grade do you teach, how many of your students have an ipad. The idea of posting an assignment and then students having the ability to work on it interactively and sending it back to you sounds amazing, especially for those students that struggle in Math.


      • Kent Jamieson 11:21 pm on October 7, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        i teach grade 4, but in a private school it is a little different. i am definitely surrounded by the ‘haves’. Each grade 3 to 6 student has an ipad this year and its been amazing to see it flourish already. we’re just learning about what really works in the classroom and its often the students that will find the really useful applications. i’m also the tech coordinator for the junior school and am also looking for that THING. trying to stay current isn’t issue, however. its being able to honestly say that the technology you use in your classroom is genuinely making the learning better. is it a tool? or could paper and pencil serve just as well.

    • Ranvir 8:09 am on October 8, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Kent, cant thank you enough for sharing this fantastic app. i just installed it and viewed a video on teaching basic algebra – how to create input, output tables; generate a rule and finally an equation. i am definitely going to use these videos to teach my kids…

      in addition, i concur with the discussion that it is going to be challenging task to have a level field for all kids. My kids go to a private school and one can appreciate the difference in teaching as compared to public schools.

  • pcollins 7:58 am on October 4, 2012
    0 votes

    I loved the opportunity to try out building an app. Last year some colleagues were talking about how easy it can be, but I seriously thought it would be way beyond me. Just for fun, I started an app for my town (unpublished) that allows people to follow and comment on food trucks. You never […]

    Continue reading Appshed a hit – Posted in: Week 05:
    • Mike Rae 1:33 pm on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      we posted some apps for you to try that may or may not be applicable to the classroom. Also, there have been some other suggestions from our colleagues in the course. I invite you to give them a try and let us know what you think.
      Great to hear that you had success in creating an app with Appshed. I too thought the process was more daunting than it ended up being, and when that happens it can turn into something that is actually fun. thanks for the feedback.

    • jhodi 9:13 pm on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply


      I know that my school has a school-wide app that provides contact information (for the school and individual teachers), a calendar of dates, and other important information that is great for keeping parents informed. The app that I attempted to create this week was an attempt to link my online resources that I use for my class currently with an app that students could access easily from anywhere. I enjoyed this experience in the fact that I would like to actually have an app such as this, but I think that my app making skills could use some work.


    • teacherben 10:57 pm on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      It isn’t working for me. i clicked on ‘new’ app and got a page full of html. I tried a couple browsers and got the same thing. Anyone else having issues with it?

    • Lisa Nevoral 1:44 pm on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi PC,

      I found that Appshed worked better for me than Appbuilder. Appbuilder took a long time to load, even with different browsers.

      The possibilities for creating new apps seems endless, as your example for your food trucks indicates. Finding educational ones to either use in your classrooms or guide students towards seems a little daunting to me right now. I can see benefits of how apps could be used for learning (ex. – supplement instruction and materials), but the transfer from what I see as benefit and how to get it to the students is something I will have to think about.


  • Suhayl Patel 9:14 am on October 3, 2012
    0 votes

    I am finding this week (unit) to be very fascinating and something that wouldn’t have been part of the course content even a couple of years.  Mobile learning is taking on a life of its own and students and teachers are both reaping the rewards.  I find now that with the plethora of educational apps […]

    Continue reading E-clicker Posted in: Week 05:
    • visramn 1:33 pm on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Suhayl,

      I think you are absolutely right. Learning and teaching has changed so much due to the abundant resources that keep surfacing and accessibility is getting better. I know as a teacher I have had a lot of issues when it comes to obtaining the resources needed to use beneficial technology. Thanks for sharing your experience with e-clicker. That is definitely a resource that can help all students get involved and that was not available even a few years.


    • Peggy Lawson 5:22 pm on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I liked your comment Suhayl, about likely not having an “app” component to this course a few years ago. I think this is an important aspect of this course – the recognition that we must continually be an EVA. Technology changes occur so frequently, there will always be a need to evaluate ventures that are appropriate or not for our own particular situations – whether as an investor or as a purchaser. It will be the basic skills we learn from being an effective EVA – and not the evaluation of the specific items we are analyzing – that will be the lessons we want to take from this course.


      • Suhayl Patel 7:20 pm on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        You’re absolutely right Peggy. I learned very early in my role in the learning and Innovations department that you can’t be like the Raccoon who puts his hand in a tiny hole to reach for a shiny object. When raccoon grasps the shiny object and makes the fist to clench it, he won’t be able to get his fist out because of the size of the hole and the size of its fist. No matter what, the raccoon will not let go of the shiny object in order to get his hands out. The same things apply to evaluating educational resources and tools. Although novelty and attractiveness are appealing, we have to learn to focus on our intent when it comes to actually leveraging the tool. I highly recommend reading Micheal Fullan’s book Stratosphere. It talks about adopting technology as a pedogogical tool to bring about (educational) change, and how they all must be pieced together for effective use and iplementation.

  • visramn 9:08 pm on October 2, 2012
    0 votes

    I really enjoyed creating this app. The program I used was not the most user friendly. It was very slow but I had fun creating the app and the best part was seeing it function on my phone. I have always wondered how apps were created but never thought to look into it. This activity gave me the opportunity to learn that […]

    Continue reading My app Posted in: Week 05:
    • kstackhouse 4:40 am on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply


      Great work on your App. What beautiful art work! I love that you were able to include a video into your app. Did you notice if there was a limit to the amount of videos or pictures that you could use in the app?

      • visramn 8:02 am on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Thank you. I actually had a lot of trouble with loading the video. I had to Google how to do so a couple of times. It turns out that YouTube videos can only be used if they are public and on your channel. It took some work but I was determined to make it work. As far as I know, there is no limit. The app basically links to any videos you have in your YouTube channel and loads the video from the internet. Hence, I am assuming there is not limit. For the pictures you could have multiple galleries so I am thinking the storage capacity is probably pretty good. Then again they may put on a cap as a means to encourage people to buy their paid version. Thanks for your feedback.

    • melissaayers 4:54 am on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      NUreen, I echo Ken’s great work – you seemed to have managed to find your way around the builder no problem and figured out the various media you can embed. Btw I love your video too – it’s really creative, did you make this for a MET course?

      • visramn 8:04 am on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Thank you! I created the video in a MET course I took two years ago. That was actually one of my favorite courses because I got to play around with software and create videos. I love hands on tasks that have an artifact as an end result.:)

  • jhodi 8:17 pm on October 2, 2012
    0 votes

    I found this experience extremely frustrating.  I started out trying to create an app with appmakr.com, but after spending half an hour and getting nowhere, I quit and decided to try an alternative.  I found that this website was not very user-friendly or intuitive.  I could make minor changes, but any larger change that I wanted to make required me […]

    Continue reading App Adventure Posted in: Week 05:
    • kstackhouse 4:44 am on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Thank you for sharing your experience. It is good to get user reviews like this to help others decide which app creator to use. I looked at you app. It is nice that you can add a news deed with important dates. I could see this type of app being a great resource to help teachers remind students of what is taking place and also provide them with some tools and resources to help them.


  • jenbarker 11:11 pm on October 1, 2012
    0 votes

      Tonight I felt a great deal of frustration when creating an app on TheAppBuilder… see my comments on the App Adventure Discussion and my pitiful app.   Anyway, I just checked my email and they sent me this (see picture).   I think this information will be helpful and I am going to attempt to […]

    Continue reading Follow up to my app adventure post… Posted in: Week 05:
    • kstackhouse 4:56 am on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Sorry to hear that you were so frustrated. Let us know how it goes with the additional information you were sent. I think this is a good example of how some sites are designed compared to others. Having a chance to try out different app makers is a good experience here where there is no risk or cost. This allows you to make the mistakes and try things out now before selecting one you may use in the future. Also comments like this will help others. Thank you for the information.

    • jhodi 8:27 pm on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply


      I also experienced a lot of difficulties with this. I originally tried appmakr.com, but did not find it very user-friendly. I would try to make changes, but nothing would happen, or I could not figure out how to make changes. I did not try TheAppBuilder, but I did try AppShed, and it was significantly more user-friendly. After getting consumed by this for a few hours, I have come to the conclucion that developing an app is a skill that must be worked on and acquired over time. It is something that interests me, but I feel like I would need to research this process much more before another attempt would be worth while and less frustrating.


    • Jonathan 8:58 pm on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Jen/Jhodi —

      Sorry to hear about the “not so friendly experience”. We debated about this step as a group but decided it would be neat to experience building an app. Now it’s good to note that this isn’t a “True” app building experience but a simulated one. Similar to how many of us “build” web pages these days. We use “builders” that allow us to drag and drop features more or less like a what you see is what you get “WYSISYG” functionality.

      I too built an app through both of those services and found them to be sluggish but it was doable. I guess the question is .. is there a market for these “app builders” out there. And I’m not quite sure. Developers are out there and it is a skill that people can pick up (takes time). But dedicated youngsters (Grade 4-5) are able to put some apps together using coding as well.

      All in all this was a simulated experience but if we can walk away with one idea.. “it isn’t easy”. Even in a simulated environment. Please let us know if we can support you in the app development process though.

  • melissaayers 6:49 pm on September 30, 2012
    0 votes

    App Adventure Experiences – please share with everyone your creations and experiences during this process.

    Continue reading App Adventure Experiences Discussion Posted in: Week 05:
    • jenbarker 11:00 pm on October 1, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      So I just spent the past 30 minutes or so playing with TheAppBuilder. I found it a bit slow and not totally user friendly. When I thought I had uploaded a picture, the image didn’t appear. I also didn’t like that I could only upload my YouTube channel and not one specific video. I think for a beginner like myself I should have tried the easier versions suggested. I will try the others out and do a quick comparison.

      Anyway, here is my first attempt at an app.

      • tomwhyte1 7:47 pm on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Quick question, how did you get the webapp addition of your final product. I for some reason, cannot figure out how to do that…

      • teacherben 8:09 pm on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I have been playing with it this morning. I also found it clunky and slow. But like any good tech teacher, I handed the project over to a student. Our school does not yet have an app so I asked her to investigate this program to see if it would be an appropriate tool for our needs.

        On my own, I got far enough along to get a few pages created and set up some RSS feeds. Then I loaded the app on my phone. All it did for the feeds was redirect to the web though–pretty lame. I wonder if the final exported version of the app will load feeds so you can read them when you are offline.

        If anyone is interested in learning a little coding, there is a very simple programming language called Processing that allows you to export your programs for Android. KhanAcademy just released a ton of resources for teaching programming with this language. The nice thing is that you can make highly personal apps and only share them with people you are close with. I made a little game for my toddler where I took a picture of him and when you click on different parts of his body, everything disappears except for that part and it says the name of the body part. I even recorded him saying the names of the parts. This is one of the real advantages of Android over IOS. You don’t have to worry about getting a developer license and you don’t have to worry about getting your app into the app store to share it. You can just give it to whomever you want and they can install it on their device. With Apple, you can only do this with web apps and that isn’t really the same thing. They are pretty limited in what they can do. With Android, you can make apps for a specific target audience. You can make an app for your kindergarten class about friendship and use pictures of all the kids in your class, then put it on the tablet you keep in the classroom.

      • jhodi 8:31 pm on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply


        I also experienced a lot of difficulties with this. I originally tried appmakr.com, but did not find it very user-friendly. I would try to make changes, but nothing would happen, or I could not figure out how to make changes. I did not try TheAppBuilder, but I did try AppShed, and it was significantly more user-friendly. After getting consumed by this for a few hours, I have come to the conclucion that developing an app is a skill that must be worked on and acquired over time. It is something that interests me, but I feel like I would need to research this process much more before another attempt would be worth while and less frustrating.


      • Pat A Son 11:51 pm on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Thank you for sticking it out with this part of our week’s activity on apps. I too had issues with TheAppBuilder. However I simply look at it as part of the learning process as this ETEC 522 class explore this new technology called apps.

        Feel free to extended the adventure to discover and use the app creation tool of your choice

    • melissaayers 4:45 am on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Jen,

      Sorry to hear you did not have too much fun with the appbuilder last night – this is something we all found when we tried it as well. It takes a bit of getting used to and it is a little restrictive in what you can do.

      However just for you information in case you want to go back and try you can embed individual Youtube videos If you take a look at the TED-Ed sample app on a number of pages I have embedded videos. To embed a single video you need to:

      1) go to the Youtube video (on Youtube.com)
      2) click on the “Share” button under the video.
      3) click on the “embed” button next to the link given
      4) copy this html code snippet
      5) go to the appbuilder item that you want to add the video to
      6) in the text editor click the “html” button in the tool bar and a small text pop up window will appear. Paste the html code snippet you copied in here and save.
      7) you should now have successfully embedded a single Youtube video in your app.

      Sorry for the long details I wanted to just post screen shots of how to do this but I seem to be unable to post images in the weblog comment posts.

      For the picture not appearing you might just need to refresh your browser as it does not always update automatically.

      Hope that is of some help. Do not hesitate to mention/share any further issues you come across we are here to help as much as we can.

      Also great work for diving in there and giving the appbuilder a try!

    • tomwhyte1 10:33 am on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I have created the app, but when I went live with theappbuilder… I only get one screen advertising their company, not what I built… However, when I trialed the app… it worked fine…


    • tomwhyte1 10:38 am on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Never mind, think I figured it out…

    • tomwhyte1 7:50 pm on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      To facilitate my apps ability to be seen on multiple platforms, I have used appshed to generate a HTML 5 version of it… the link is here:


      Thoughts? (it is my hope to have students use this to see their homework, etc…)

      • kstackhouse 4:51 am on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Thanks for sharing Tom. This looks like a great tool to support your work and provide students with resources they can use.

    • jhodi 8:30 pm on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I am not sure if I posted my original message in the correct location (I posted it under Week 05), so here it is again!

      I found this experience extremely frustrating. I started out trying to create an app with appmakr.com, but after spending half an hour and getting nowhere, I quit and decided to try an alternative. I found that this website was not very user-friendly or intuitive. I could make minor changes, but any larger change that I wanted to make required me to search out how to do it.

      Once I switched to AppShed, I found the app creating process to go much, much smoother. I really liked how it provided you with an editable screen shot of what the app would look like on the actual phone. It was easy to edit the various sections since each section has its own individual edit button. It was easy to switch the functions and tools within each section as well in order to modify the section to what I wanted.

      Here is my sample app (I just put a few things on it, I would like to build upon each section):


    • Colin 9:43 pm on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I too tried creating an app on theappbuilder.com and after playing around for 20 minutes I did finally create a basic photography app though it would take much longer to create something worth showing. Then I tried appshed.com and I agree that it is much easier to design as they show how the app will look right on the screen. It was more enjoyable working with this program as I found it more user friendly.
      I have never heard of these sites before so I am glad that you shared as I have already incorporated it into one of my assignments. I will be interested to hear how my students like it and what apps they will design. It definitely teaches students to think through their design and plan out exactly what they want to do as you can’t just quickly enter click a few buttons and be done.

      • kstackhouse 4:53 am on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Great to hear that you are able to use this in your teaching practice. One thing that we noticed while researching and mentioned in our intro video is that designing an app takes careful consideration. As you mention the students will have to have a clear plan in mind in what they hope to accomplish before going ahead with creating their app.

    • visramn 7:53 am on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Sorry, I posted this in the wrong place yesteday.

      My app
      I really enjoyed creating this app. The program I used was not the most user friendly. It was very slow but I had fun creating the app and the best part was seeing it function on my phone. I have always wondered how apps were created but never thought to look into it. This activity gave me the opportunity to learn that it really is not that difficult to create and app. My app is not as complex as most but I still feel like it is an accomplishment. I used ‘TheAppBuildrer’ program to create my app. The link to my app is: http://webapp.theappbuilder.com/apps/cca8540d-3bea-41ad-8621-6b38301dd296 Thanks.


    • Mike Rae 11:36 am on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Im glad to hear that so many of you got your hands dirty with trying to build an app. Our purpose wasn’t to have you bang your head against the keyboard in frusteration, but rather (as most of you have done), move on once it gets too much, maybe try a different site to compare what you liked and what you didnt.

      I’d be interested to hear how students respond to wither using an app that you guys have made or the process of making their own.

      Does anyone think app creation could have a place in curriculum outside of IT classes?

    • lullings 11:48 am on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      HI Mike,

      I definitely do see a place for app creation outside of IT classes.
      When creating an app there are many essential skills that have to be thought out – such as problem identification, need assessment, simplification of task, user needs etc.

      The building of the app would just be the fun part and the interesting part where as the real learning would be from breaking down the problem and delivering it to the audience.

      After a task like this a student becomes more of an independent critical thinker and opens their mind in relation to the possibilities that they would have taken for granted previously – like their mobile device.


      • Kent Jamieson 11:54 am on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I find with so many elements, or essential skills as Stuart explained, there is a great opportunity for social skills, organizational skills, and collaboration skills to be practiced and applied. As well, with a subject-specific application you would need to integrate other subject areas into the process. So yes…definitely, get it out of the lab and into the classroom.

    • lullings 2:16 pm on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I used the app builder to build a commercial style app. I took a design studio just to see how it would cope with the different elements.

      The wizard is very clear and thought out. The instructions are not complicated and work well. It is a complex process but app builder hides the complexity and delivers on usability.

      Downside of this process, similar to creating a website in weebly or wix, is that there is very little options to steer away from the structure that is given. There is little to no creative input allowed on the functionality. But then again allowing these sort of adjustments might create issues with the app being ‘accepted’ into the Apple store.

      Good to experience the structures and to see the elements necessary such as the splash pages, icons and sizings. I enjoyed it.

      Have a look see for yourself – http://webapp.theappbuilder.com/apps/163ed2da-bd8c-4142-8d96-0eca02f9d4bb


      • kstackhouse 6:58 am on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Thanks for sharing. Yes, like weebly there are some fixed elements that restrict the user in some ways. I think for someone that is not an expert in coding and design it is a big help. I know that a couple of years ago I didn’t think I would be able to host a website or app of my own. For me taking some hits on being over-structured is worth the fact that I wouldn’t be doing this without a program like this.

      • visramn 3:36 pm on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Nice app. I too thought that the tool I used was a slightly rigid as well. It has pre-structured components that you can choose from but does not give you the leeway of adding something different.This might have been because I used the free version. However, I think as a first trial this activity was great.
        Thanks for sharing.

      • melissaayers 11:22 am on October 7, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Stuart, if you are confident in html and/or html5 most of these application creators and website creators like weebly give you a bit more freedom and creativity, however this is still usually somewhat restrictive on certain elements and structures depending on the host/provider.

    • Jenny Brown 6:25 pm on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I tried to use appshed as everyone seemed to find it more intuitive to use and I would agree. With a little searching around it is pretty easy to set it up. Most of my time was actually trying to figure out what to create. Anyway, here is my mini app on three good mountain biking sites: http://appshed.com/appbuilder/8516

      • visramn 3:39 pm on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Great job. I agree the tasks seems a lot more difficult than it is. I had a hard time deciding on what to make my app about also. Looks like you found a topic that you know lots about. Thanks for sharing your app.

    • Jenny Brown 6:30 pm on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Sorry the link doesn’t look great on a laptop as it is optimized for mobile phones. Here is a link to the preview – hopefully this will look better: http://appshed.com/appbuilder/preview/8516

      • kstackhouse 7:00 am on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply


        This app looks great! Thank you for sharing. It is great when our only problem is deciding how great we will make an app. 🙂 You have done a nice job on this.

    • Eva Ziemsen 7:52 am on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply


      I used AppShed, after reading of others’ experiences with it. My initial experience was not great, as I deleted everything I created by mistake. As well, I found it to be a bit slow, but it could be my Internet connection. I found this exercise very interesting and useful. There is nothing better than actually trying to create an app, in order to learn about what is involved. I did not realize it was ‘so easy’ (and yet also so hard) to develop an app. I thought it was easy, in the sense that you do not need to know how to code, etc. It is difficult because there are glitches and also one must plan the design beforehand in order to best maximize the nature of APPS.

      I created an app for a website that I have developed over time. It relates to film production. My app is the product of about 1 hour of fiddling around. Obviously this is just a sketch of an app idea, as I think it would require several weeks to refine.


      I hope you are able to see it. I want to create a kind of homepage for the app, but I think I have to have less icons/tabs at the bottom in order to do that. If anyone knows other ways to have more icons on screen, please let me know.


      • melissaayers 11:26 am on October 7, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Great work Eva, you seemed to have managed your way around AppShed no problem and found out how to content and embed videos. Unfortunately there is a restriction of only being able to add 5 tabs to this app creator.

    • Doug Connery 8:17 pm on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I used AppShed as many before me have had good experiences. I messed up my first attempt pretty bad last night so left it and came back again tonight. Success of at least a prototype, it was fairly easy once I got my head around it.

      Below is the link, it is not pretty but it works! This is a simple app that links to the different programs that my School offers.


      As Eva mentions above, it would take several weeks to refine. And like anything new, the first few attempts take some time until you get a deeper understanding of the functionality of the program.

      I would like to thank Group 1 for a great module and a wonderful learning experience in the world of Apps. Without this, I would have continued to wander through the world of technology not knowing that building an App is really not that specialized a skill. Anyway you have set the bar high for the rest of us to follow!


      • melissaayers 11:29 am on October 7, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        HI Doug, great to hear that you are able to try out something new with our OER! Thanks

    • jenniferschubertubc 2:04 pm on October 5, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I spent a good amount of time playing around on AppMakr just to see how easy/difficult it would be to make an app. (It probably would have been better if I had a real idea of WHAT I wanted to make beforehand… BUT I did have a GREAT time figuring out how to transform one of my tumblr blogs into its own app!) It was a bit frustrating at first, as is the case with many new experiences in technology, but when I started seeing things come together and work, displaying my content, I’ll admit I got a bit giddy (as all fangirls know well how to do)! 🙂

      I chose not to publish my app as, being a tumblr fansite, it would violate terms of service as it would infringe on intellectual property/copyright. It was very interesting to see, however, how easy it would be to set up something to deliver to a broadcasting company/publicist/publicity house in order to “sell” them a readily accessible database of content for viewers/fans. The ideas are flowing…

      Thank you for presenting us with this fun, and informative, challenge! I am seeing new possibilities for what I have only previously viewed as leisure activities.

    • adi 7:26 pm on October 5, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I finally got around to playing at trying to make an APP (http://appshed.com/appbuilder/8764/?8764-ODcwNDY=-s) . I wrote ‘trying’ because it clearly takes a lot of time to build. What I learned is that organizing all the files, pictures and material for the APP before starting would have made the process much quicker. I literally just placed a couple of icons and attached a file to each; the idea was to create an app for EFL/ESL students to look up grammar, essay writing questions etc. I did not upload anything else because it would have meant looking for material with no copyright.The application was much easier to use than I expected.
      Thanks for this great activity. The only way to learn is to dive in.

    • jameschen 12:08 am on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I tried creating an app with the web-ware AppMakr and found the experience to be quite interesting. I have never created an app before, and had always thought that having programming skills was a prerequisite. I was wrong.

      AppMakr allows users to create apps simply by answering a few short questions. The more time spent on selecting the pre-determined affordances, the more functionalities will be enabled on the app. Appmakr also allows users with programming skills to create apps in various programming codes. These are important educational features because those without programming skills can now experiment with creating an app and learn different programming codes through the process.

      The only concern I have for this web-ware is that it might enable hackers to use the app created by a novice to hack into people’s devices because of insufficient security measures of the app caused by a lack in programming skills. But perhaps this too can be regarded as a learning opportunity for users who are serious about creating apps, so in all I think this web-ware is a good educational resource.


      • melissaayers 11:33 am on October 7, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Great point about security James, I hope (and have not had time to verify) that the apps created through these sites follow strict security guidelines and protocols for each of the apps created. I am sure they have in-build security and data protection precautions.

    • Peggy Lawson 4:16 pm on October 7, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I apolgize – twice – up front. A hectic week, so while I’ve been interested in learning how to create apps for a long time, and never new how to get started and your links were a great way to get started (!!), I didn’t. But I will return, as I am fully intrigued and want to give your sites a real trial.

      2nd – While I understand the purpose of this class is to learn to think like an entrenprenuer, or an EVA, for me it really is all about “how can this be used in the classroom??” (for me it’s always a K-12 classroom). I love how you’ve introduced us to these sites that allow you to create apps – what excellent ways to totally engage students in problem-solving, creative thinking, collaboration. Sites such as those you’ve provided are simply amazing opportunities for students – those who are interested – to simply fly. Thank you Week 5!


  • melissaayers 6:49 pm on September 30, 2012
    0 votes

    If you have any questions or problems during this activity feel free to ask for help from your fellow classmates and our EMT team.

    Posted in: Week 05:
    • adi 3:29 pm on October 1, 2012 | Log in to Reply


      Thanks for organizing this week’s work. Just a couple of things. I struggled to find where to start, because I believe we’re supposed to launch from the wiki, as mentioned in section 3 above. I went to the wiki and could not find your page activated. I returned to your introductory video and saw the link to your launch pad. once there, I tried to download the Rubric on the page you sent us to, and i’m afraid and error message appeared. I’ll go to activity 2 meanwhile.
      Being the first group is not easy; all your work looks really interesting.

      • Jonathan 8:35 pm on October 1, 2012 | Log in to Reply


        The Weebly is where we are hosting our OER (etec522appsoer.weebly.com). It should have been activated but all should be working now (I just went ahead and made sure it was activated again.. just in case).

        There are three sections that you will find inside our Weebly:
        1) Market Research
        2) DIY App – Build Your Own App
        3) Discussions

        The rubric is located within the first section (Market Research). We didn’t build this rubric but we found one off of the website. You are right, it looks like the link is dead now 🙁 I’m not sure why.

        There is one that is written up on the website that can still be used right off of the website (under the link). It can definitely be used as it is the same. Simple Yes/No…

        Hope that helps! Sorry for the dead link (that wasn’t planned!)

        • adi 8:37 pm on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          No worries, I’ll use the questions underneath. Thanks for writing back 🙂

    • jenbarker 5:40 pm on October 1, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hello, I also tried to download the rubric but it wouldn’t work. I noticed that there are questions beneath that we could use to guide our evaluation of the apps. Would you like us to do this?

      • Jonathan 8:36 pm on October 1, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Jen —

        Not sure when the link went dead. There is a rubric written underneath as you’ve noticed. Fortunately, that is the same rubric as the one that you can download. We had intended for the printout to be downloadable but they are both the same.


    • Doug Connery 7:36 pm on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply


      If you want an alternative “App Rubric”, just Google it. Here are a couple of examples:




  • melissaayers 6:47 pm on September 30, 2012
    0 votes

    Dragon Dictation allows the user to dictate anything from emails, blogs, texts.  you can post or save to your clipboard to be copied where you need it.  Meant to be a time saving app.

    Continue reading Dragon Dictation App Review Discussion Posted in: Week 05:
    • tomwhyte1 8:30 am on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      App Title: Dragon Dictation
      Publisher/Developer: Nuance Communications
      Version: 2.0.23

      Operation Analysis:

      This powerful, yet free, application allows students with weak fine motor skills, cognitive delays, or inabilities at transferring thoughts effectively to paper, to easily write sentences, entire papers, or answer problem sets through speech-to-text; unfortunately. Furthermore, the app itself is easy to navigate with decent help/tutorial information, allows the information to be emailed, cut, copied, facebooked, and even tweeted. On the negative side, this app requires individuals to speak very clearly or else it misunderstands the spoken words, an issue with students who have speech difficulties
      Pedagogical Analysis:

      Dragon Dictation as mentioned previously, is a powerful app, in its ability to accommodate diverse learner needs for students at all age levels. As well, by allowing students to verbalize their thoughts, and provide a written record of these events, students can increase their understanding of a topic, facilitate higher order thinking, and if paired with appropriate assignments, can increase engagement/interaction, collaboration, creativity and problem solving.

      Personally, I find it easier to talk my idea’s out loud, instead of staring at a blank piece of paper. Therefore, for individuals such as myself, this tool is an effective and quick way to explore and develop powerful written works.

    • jenbarker 6:28 pm on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Tom – I have have also spent some time trying to use Dragon Dictation. Although I agree with a lot of what you have said I found that the program made many mistakes, even when I or the children spoke slowly. I work with elementary students and when I have used it with them, they get frustrated when it doesn’t type what they have said. I know they have a paid version (which I’ve heard is a couple of hundred dollars) but apparently it is outstanding. I have a friend who did her entire Master’s Thesis paper using this.

      My son is a great thinker but has written output delays so I have seriously considered buying the version of this app. It would allow his teacher’s to see that he does have great ideas and voice when it comes to telling stories.

      • Jonathan 9:04 pm on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Jen — I’ve been playing around with the iPads recently (we got a few) — and it just occurred to me that Siri is now built into the new iPads (version 3). This effectively replaces Dragon Dictation at least on the iOS devices. I found that Siri works quite effectively on the Apple Laptops as well now as well.

        Just some thoughts. I think your son would definitely benefit from it. One thing that I’ve also experienced is that Siri works better with a slower voice. I’m sure you’ve noticed this with Dragon Dictation as well.

        Perhaps a free Siri will save you some money.

    • teacherben 7:28 pm on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I once downloaded a copy of Dragon Naturally Speaking for my 2-finger typist stepdad. He stayed up all night trying to train it to recognize his South African accent to no avail and endless frustration. He read the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech about a thousand times. It was sort of comical listening to him shouting that speech at the top of his lungs, peppering it with profanity when it couldn’t understand him and made him say every other word over again… On the other hand, my much milder Ontario accent is easily picked up by the new Dragon plugin for my Android phone, although I hardly ever use it.

      On the investment front, this has left opportunities for companies like ‘Keda Xunfei’ to specialize in voice recognition software for other languages (they make Chinese voice recognition software that is similar to Apple’s Siri.)

      • sophiabb 6:27 pm on October 5, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I’ve had a similar experience to that of your stepdad. I have a very distinctive Jamaican accent and tried Dragon Naturally Speaking a few years ago with limited success. I have been looking around for a voice recognition software for my daughter; she is dyslexic and is now in grade 8. Her verbal (oral) output is great but struggles to produce on paper. Her school uses Dragon Naturally Speaking. While her accent is more ‘Canadian’ I fear that her success will be limited. Yes, great investment opportunity here.


    • Ranvir 9:54 pm on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      This is an interesting discussion and I will add my two pennies on the experience I have had using this app. I agree that it is a valuable tool for students to get their thoughts on paper quickly before they lose them, however, it’s important to say the words slowly and clearly for the app to not make too many mistakes. I have had lot of frustration with this app and found it easier to write rather than repeat the words multiple times and make corrections.

      Anyways, I guess if you can learn how to use it well, it can become a valuable tool for capturing notes, doing homework and project work.

    • kstackhouse 4:56 am on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for the great points everyone. Yes, it will be interesting to see how Siri and other programs will impact this company. Hopefully as a business they see this competition and have begun planning on how they will maintain a competitive choice. Is there a version of Siri for the Android market at this time?

      • Suhayl Patel 8:48 am on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        There is a few apps in the Android Play (market) that can do similar things as Siri. One is Iris. I believe this started off as just a small group of individualsand in about 8 hours they created this app. There is also S-voice for the Galaxy s3 and it works really well. I found that I can dictate what I want into the phone and the phone is pretty accurate with what it types out.

        • kstackhouse 7:04 am on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          Thanks. I figured their had to be other options. I have an iphone 4 so I have only used the simple speech recognition available on it. Accuracy is such an important component with these services. I have a co-worker with a bit of an accent although he would never admit to it. He found Siri very difficult to use. He was complaining that it wasn’t working, I tried the same commands and it worked great. Is there a way to calibrate Siri and the other programs?

    • Colin 5:13 pm on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I did three different recordings of the text found in the post above. Dragon dictation was fairly accurate on both my slow speed and medium speed voice. The only errors I notice are that it doesn’t do a good job of ending sentences and any kind of punctuation. When I went to a faster voice then I received this

      “Dragon Dictation allows you to dictate anything from e-mails blogs text you Bowcester save to clipboard to copy Greanead it meant it time-saving app.”

      At certain points it had some problems and came up with some interesting results. I think it is great for someone that likes just talking and having notes taken. Though for me when I write notes I also organize them so they make better sense. The options for formatting are rather limited. I don’t see any uses for me in my classroom unless a student has writing issues.

    • Eva Ziemsen 6:32 am on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I have also used Dragon before, while traveling, as I wanted to record story ideas. Unfortunately the software made many mistakes and it became more of a farce to see what it was actually writing down. My hope was to use this app with brainstorming assignments, and also for students to use as a form of logging ideas quickly. In terms of creative writing, I would see many uses for this app, since many people come up with ideas in quick bursts. For example, perhaps when waking up from a dream, it would be handy to have this app available and then later, use the material in an actual written form. I think this app would help the many students that feel their writing is weak, which often causes them to avoid writing. In this case, they would see that they have great ideas and encourage them to write further. Lastly, it would be idea for recording dialogue scenes for screenplays. You could improvise with actors, and simply have it all recorded and written out. If the errors could be worked out further on this app, I would use it in many capacities.

    • pcollins 7:32 am on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I’ve incorporated Dragon into my tutoring, specifically for what Colin identified…. missing punctuation and grammar mistakes. Then we spend time looking over the text and polishing it. But it can by a tad trying because of having to slow down the conversation to a point that the text isn’t filled with too many mistakes. I am also a bit curious about how relying on apps like Dragon changes our learning methods and potentially our brains. If we are slowly moving away from handwriting with students, will there be ramifications? In my other class right now the focus is on potential “rewiring” of our brains because of the incorporation of technology. It’s interesting to think about.

    • manny 11:26 am on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I have experimented with Dragon Dictation and it is useful for students with written output problems but does have its limitations. Along with the limitations mentioned above (words must be spoken clearly and slowly), I found that the biggest obstacle was finding a space for the student to make their recording. In a functioning classroom, there is lots of chatter and background noise which interferes with this apps functionality. A student wanting to use this at school would need a quiet space in order for to maximize its effectiveness. I found that students who had written output problems resisted using this app as they did not want to leave the classroom and be seen as “different” from the other students.

    • jameschen 12:52 am on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I have experimented with voice recognition software before, and have always been disappointed by their results. From my experience, accuracy in such software is determined not only by a person’s accent but also the speed and tone of voice in which a person dictates. Even more frustrating is when the software mistakenly recognizes what has been said for something else which necessitates additional commands to delete the unintended text input. Although the time spent on training such software would increase its accuracy, I think the usage of such software will instead have more impact on training a person’s tolerance and patience with technology.

      On the flip side, I have heard that English language learners have used such software to train their own English speaking skills. An example of this can be found at http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2012/05/10/use-googles-speech-recognition-tool-to-play-a-game-learn-english/


    • joeltremblay 5:43 am on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi there all,
      I used Dragon Dictation over the past week and have found it extremely useful for both long term and short term solutions to complex problems. When considering complex issues, I have found that the full version of Dragon, rather than the app, is best used on the computer because of it’s ability to learn from your speaking tendencies. It slowly builds up a vocabulary of your accent the more you speak with it and the longer you use it, the more effective it is.

      Being a film teacher I need to do reviews and critiques of my students films on a fairly regular basis so that they can improve them consistently and thus become better film teachers. While the app version was not very useful for this sort of thing, the computer version was as it allowed me to write out complex critiques in about half the time than would have taken with typing alone. I’m quite a fast typer (60 plus words a minute) as well so this came as a surprise to me.

      That being said, the app version has it’s uses. For example, my wife and I stopped using regular to do lists this week and both installed dragon in an attempt to add some efficiency to our lives and it worked marvelously. I think the key with this app is knowing what it’s limitations are and taking advantage of them when you need them but not trying to shoe horn it into something other than what it is capable of. In fact, that should be the mantra for most apps honestly.


    • joeltremblay 5:45 am on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      By the way this entire reply was done with dragon dictation 🙂
      * Film students not teachers as it states.

    • C. Ranson 7:25 am on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Everyone,
      This is great dialogue, I downloaded Dragon Dictation and few other apps this week to my iphone that I thought were more applicable to adult education. I agree with Joel Dragon Dictation does have its limitations but can be useful for to do lists, reminders related to course content, such as websites, articles to look up, quotes that you may want to use in a paper, ideas that you want to capture in the moment, important concepts from a lecture. Keeping in mind cell phone are permitted in adult education classrooms. It certainly is a good option if you don’t have Siri. This activity was a great opportunity to learn about and try different apps.


  • melissaayers 6:47 pm on September 30, 2012
    0 votes

    Magic Piano is an application that lets you create music by giving you a piano at your finger tips. You can play freestyle on one of the three keyboard layouts or follow one of the songs from the songbook.

    Continue reading Magic Piano App Review Discussion Posted in: Week 05:
    • Jenny Brown 5:52 pm on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      App Title: Magic Piano
      App Publisher/Developer: Smule, Inc
      Version: 4.0.8

      Curriculum Compliance: Unknown, perhaps for a music teacher in K-6 there may be some relevance (a fun way to listen to some songs) but it definitely does not teach the proper way to play the piano or the other instruments available. The app is free to download and there are a few songs that are free but you must pay for most of the songs.

      Operational: The low down – easy to use by a wide variety of students and keeps track of your achievements.

      – Navigation is easy to use
      – There is no on-screen help or tutorials
      – There are multiple ability levels
      – It does respond to errors such as playing too fast or too slow
      – Your songs can be saved and listened to by other people
      – It will keep a history of your songs and associated points
      – It would provide options to those with special needs – someone without the dexterity and/or cognitive ability would find it easier than playing a real piano. There is the option of playing freestyle that doesn’t require vision and ESL that are familiar with apps would be able to easily move around the site.
      – There isn’t really any support materials

      Pedagogy: The low down – It won’t make anyone a real piano player but is a fun way to learn rhythm and create your own music (and perhaps pretend you are Chopin). It may be useful with young and autistic children.

      – I don’t think that this program in any way simulates learning to play a real piano; it is more of a fun, interactive tool to listen to a song or create your own song (freestyle). It does allow people to play a variety of songs from pop culture to classical pieces and would be appropriate for ages 3 (with assistance) and up.
      – I don’t believe it would increase a student’s understanding of how to play a piano, I think it would rather give them a false understanding of how to play a piano.
      – It may give students a better understanding of rhythm of songs but not how to play the actual notes. It is similar to rock band where you must hit the note at the right time so there is a high level of engagement with the song.
      – You can listen to others playing songs but there is not the ability to play together or share ideas
      – The freestyle option does provide an opportunity for creativity and imagination
      – As it keeps score and gives you feedback when you are too slow or too fast, it, in a sense, gives you a chance to think about how you could do better next time, but this reflection is not required.
      – Feedback and assessment are provided

    • kstackhouse 4:59 am on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for this analysis. You are right, the app is not intended to train one to be a pianist. It is a fun app though. I showed my daughter and she and I ended up spending about 45 minutes working our way through various songs. I tried their another game by the same company, Magic Guitar. While it was pretty cool it also had way too many ads. I quickly deleted that one.

    • lullings 8:11 am on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Magic Piano is excellent.
      It really envelopes the excitement and challenge of game education learning.
      And who gives a dam as to whether you will end up being a pianist or not afterwards – its not about that. If you want to be a pianist then play the dam piano.

      What it does do is give a fun reflection on what excitement a good pianist has in playing songs.
      It’s an introduction into the mechanics and construction of songs, tempos and notes.
      This is done through well thought out short goals that have to be completed to advance in the levels.
      It keeps the interest and definitely is engaging.

      I would think more along the lines of it being a bridge. It would get people interested in music in an engaging and fun way. If they liked it and it sparked their interest they might look to playing a keyboard or piano. Everyone who played Magic Piano for a while would benefit from this experience with their learning curve of playing the real thing.

      This app doesnt want to create pianists but successfully encourages music appreciation and interest.

      Well done Smule Inc.


    • Mike Rae 12:01 pm on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I think you hit it on the head Stuart: not gonna create a beethoven, but makes engaging with music a lot easier. Last I checked, pianos and keyboards were pretty expensive (and heavy), so instead of making that investment, Magic Piano could be a much better option.

    • Colin 5:48 pm on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I found the app entertaining but it would be nice if they have more songs for free. I agree it won’t make anyone into a pianist and I wish they at least showed a keyboard so you could see what keys you are hitting and where. Though as a bridge it does teach students about timing and also finger dexterity. I am not a pianist but I believe they tried to do the spacing relative to what it would be on a keyboard. The other part that I liked is how I could change up the tune when I didn’t just play the 4 keys as a chord. In a elementary music classroom I could see them spending maybe one or two lessons on this before moving on.

    • jenbarker 6:34 pm on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      My daughter and I tried this app and were bored very quickly. Initially our enthusiasm was high but after five minutes we were tired of playing the same song. I find apps like this really bothersome as they try to hook us in and ultimately want us to spend more money. My daughter read some of the other titles of popular pop songs and wanted me to buy them for her. It began a discussion of how many apps market their products… which she didn’t understand 🙂 It is because of apps such as this example, that I have the button for in-app purchases switched to OFF.

    • jameschen 7:30 pm on October 5, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      After reviewing the demo video and evaluating the app using the App Rubric, I feel that the Magic Piano app should not be considered an educational tool. As Colin and others have mentioned above, the app is at best something to be used for entertainment purposes only because it allows users with no music background to get a sense of what it feels like to play the piano (i.e., touching the screen once = playing one note). The main concern for me from an educator’s perspective would be the app’s ‘keyless’ approach to playing the piano because the skills one gain from this app cannot be transferred to enable the user to play an actual piano. It might, however, allow the user to get better scores playing Guitar Hero, for example.

      In my opinion, if the app displayed a section of the keys of a piano as its interface and that the keys respond to the notes being played the educational value of the app will be dramatically increased. From an entrepreneur’s perspective the addition of a keyboard would enable users to learn how to play the piano (at least using just the right hand) of the songs they pay for, which would in turn motivate the users to want to download more in-app products and songs because the skills they gain can be transferred to an actual piano.


  • melissaayers 6:47 pm on September 30, 2012
    0 votes

    GoodReader – The file server that handles many types of files including: documents, pictures, movies and sound clips.  Annotation and organization features built in.    

    Continue reading GoodReader App Review Discussion Posted in: Week 05:
    • tomwhyte1 7:16 am on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      App Title: Good Reader
      Publisher/Developer: Good.iWare
      Version: 3.18.2

      Operation Analysis:

      I have personally used this App since starting the MET program, and have found it a great way to read and markup multiple types of files for the various papers and research activities in which we are required to complete. Unfortunately, other than reading, and highlighting papers for key information, this App has limited curriculum correlations.

      In terms of its operation, GoodReader has easy navigation to access papers, apply markups, and even share entire papers, or key sections of documents. Furthermore, GoodReader accommodates those individuals requiring larger text, and a decent help section for those requiring aid in the use of the App. Unfortunately, due to the limited nature of the App, it does not accommodate multiple ability levels, does not truly respond to errors in spelling and markup, and does not track the individual’s usage.

      Pedagogical Analysis:

      As a pedagogical tool, GoodReader accommodates diverse learner needs in its ability to allow students to utilize various tools within the App to markup important information, or to add notes to further their understanding at either a basic or advanced level. Considering the nature of the app, I would limit its use to Middle School Students and above, as I am unclear as to how this might benefit younger students at this time.

      Overall, I have found this App very beneficial to my studies, as it fits a specific need and does not try to be anything more than what it was originally meant to be.

    • Jonathan 9:09 pm on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Tom —

      To add to what you are saying, I’ve also been a user of GoodReader since the start of the MET program. It definitely gives us the ability to manage our files.. in a file system (something that is nonexistant at least to users inside iOS). One thing that amazes me is that GoodReader developers keep pumping in updates. I don’t even use half of the features, but it’s good to know they are there. For example they keep adding different ways to access files. Accessibility gets a high rating here.

      I think you nailed it with this bit “does not try to be anything more than what it was originally meant to be”. This is the essence of an excellent app. Good apps only try to do one thing right, that’s why they are so beautiful. In some ways you could argue that GoodReader does too many things, but I think at the base of it — it’s functionality is there and it works well.

    • Ranvir 12:23 pm on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Excellent analysis Tom! I have used Good Reader app since I joined the MET program and have been very satisfied with the app. As you rightly mentioned, it does it well what it is meant for…. The additional features that I found very powerful were the integration with Dropbox, Box.net and Google Drive. I used to download the course pdf files on my Dropbox folder and annotate while on transit to work on my iPad. When I reached my office/ home, I would sync the folders and continue working on my desktop.

      • tomwhyte1 7:24 am on October 5, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Thanks for letting me know about the sync option, I have had the opportunity to explore that feature… I wonder, are apps becoming as complex now as regular desktop software, I that the programs full functionality is either unexplored or never used…


  • melissaayers 6:47 pm on September 30, 2012
    0 votes

    Skitch – Allows you to take screenshots for annotation and diagraming purposes. Sharing is now enabled through Evernote.

    Continue reading Skitch App Review Discussion Posted in: Week 05:
    • tomwhyte1 7:49 am on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      App Title: Skitch
      Publisher/Developer: Evernote
      Version: 2.0
      Operation Analysis:

      This is an application I have consistently used on my Mac, and was very excited to see its move to the iPad. On the Mac, I found Skitch to be very intuitive in its navigation, something that translated well to the iPad. Unfortunately, any help/tutorials to assist those with limited technical abilities could not be found within the app, nor were there any audio/video controls or elements to add into the screen captures. Skitch though, does use the iPad’s built in spell checker, as well; it allows material to be shared through evernote (which can also be used to show the history of the user), public links, airplay and even email. With Skitch being on the iPad, those individuals with limited motor control can markup, and comment on various images, websites, etc, a great feature for students of any age.

      Pedagogical Analysis:

      In terms of assisting education, Skitch allows students to comment both visually and verbally to anything that can be screen captured on the iPad, as well; the intuitive controls allow students of all ages to easily utilize this App. Furthermore, when the markup feature is combined with the Apps ability to easily share, students can receive peer and teacher feedback easily, allowing students to increase their understanding at a basic and high level.

      Overall, this App appears to be a basic screen capture tool, however if given proper assignments, or tasks (such as – locate the issue in this Rube Goldberg, and explain why this might be an issue), a student’s creativity, ability to problem solve, and work collaboratively can easily occur.

    • lullings 11:32 am on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I have never used this app before. I can see how it would be useful for illustration and highlighting purposes. I have been an evernote user for a long time now and Skitch is of similar high quality. Useful but limited application. I would see its potential as an instructional rather than as an educational tool.

      • Jonathan 7:50 pm on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Skitch now exports to Evernote by default! I noticed this recently as it requested that I setup an Evernote account (I use to have one.. but I forgot about it). Skitch is really great for a quick snapshot in class of student’s work and being able to show it off on a whiteboard. You get the options of annotating it right away. For students, the ability to annotate a photo they just took is really nice as well. ie. Have the student’s show off different sections of an animal — it could be part of a bigger project for them.

        On a side note about Evernote. Do you find it really useful? I never paid for Evernote and I felt it was definitely necessary to pay into Evernote before the useful features will activated. Are you using the free or paying? Is it a “can’t live without it” service?

    • Colin 5:30 pm on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      This was my first time using Skitch and at first I was not that impressed. I installed it on my Iphone and I found that it lagged a lot before it would show me what I have done. Though after reading your reply Tom maybe it works better on an Ipad. I do agree with your pedagogical analysis as it would be easier to mark some of the students work as I could just write on it and send it to them. When I finally get an Ipad then I will be sure to try it again.

      • tomwhyte1 7:29 am on October 5, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        For myself, I have only used skitch on my desktop grab images for presentations, or to include into department meeting agenda’s, or to highlight issues for our IT department. As for use on the iPad or iPhone… I am not sold yet…

        Does anyone have any instructional ideas of how this might be utilized?


        • Lisa Nevoral 7:24 pm on October 5, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          Hi Tom,

          Your analysis of Skitch was quite accurate. I can see the use it would have at meetings to capture information being presented, to capture things written on whiteboards, or images/information projected on screens.

          One thing I did not like about Skitch (but maybe I haven’t used it enough) was the ability to change the text font size.

          An idea that I thought might work well with Skitch was in a math class. A student or groups of students could work on an open-ended question where the solution was found in multiple steps. The students could take pictures using Skitch on their IPhones, IPads, mobile devices, etc. of each step they performed to find the solution. Because it is an open-ended question, there would be many different solutions and representations. For each stage of the solution students could add notes for later use or other students or the teacher could provide feedback or corrections.

          Just a thought,


    • adi 7:02 pm on October 5, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I had never used Skitch and really liked it. In EFL/ESL or other language teacher it could be used in lots of ways: labelling things for learning vocabulary; listening practice having students label things in a picture the teacher describes; for note taking and lots more. The only drawback is having to buy the special pen; I’ve used ‘Drawsome’ using my finger and it’s quite hard to do.

  • melissaayers 6:47 pm on September 30, 2012
    0 votes

    Paper – Designed to replace a pen and a piece of paper, Paper is a drawing application designed to capture your ideas as sketches, diagrams, illustrations, notes or drawings which can all be easily shared across the web.

    Continue reading Paper App Review Discussion Posted in: Week 05:
    • tomwhyte1 8:49 am on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      App Title: 53paper
      Publisher/Developer: Paper by FiftyThree
      Version: 1.1.1

      Operation Analysis:

      I have never used, nor even heard of this application before this week, however after playing around within the application, I found it an interesting way for students to both verbally and visually express themselves regarding any topic they can fit on the provided page (as it functions similar to a journal or note book). As well, 53Paper, provides easy navigation, and assists people with a limited but helpful guide in terms of the applications features. Furthermore, this App, allows a students work to be shared through tumblr, facebook, and twitter, as well if your school has blocked these social media sites it is possible to share though email as well. As well, this App allows an individual to continually add pages to the book, which allows a history of the work to be collected over a significant period of time.

      Pedagogical Analysis:

      Pedagogically, the ability to allow students to express themselves is a powerful tool within many of today’s classrooms. Unfortunately, if a student has weak fine-motor skills or limited artistic talent, they may become frustrated with this approach and refuse to utilize the App as intended. However, for most students, this approach allows for students to represent their ideas and thoughts in ways that are meaningful to them, sparking higher order thinking, engagement, problem solving and even creativity.

      For myself, this App is a blend of art and mind-mapping. Personally, I am not very artistic and would find limited use, however for many students I teacher, I feel this app would allow them a freedom they rarely experience within a traditional classroom.

    • kstackhouse 5:04 am on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      My son loves this app. He makes drawings for us all the time. Similar to the art he brings home from school I can display this art on my iPad. I have one of his drawings as my wallpaper. We only have the free version so the number of brushes is limited but I think it is still a great way to create.

      • tomwhyte1 10:24 am on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I found the number of brushes to be disconcerting. Yes I understand, it is an easy way to not only figure out if you like the program, then add functionality as you needed, but a good approach to monetize. However, I found it frustrating…


        • kstackhouse 7:12 am on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

          It is exactly what you say. They include one brush and hope you will buy more. I have had the app for a few months. I was kind of hoping that they would release another brush for free. My fingers are still crossed. My son plays with this app all the time. He asked me the first time about the brush, I told him that we weren’t buying more and he was fine with it. He has been working with the “materials” that were provided with the first installation.

          It is interesting though that he has his sketch book there and my daughter can also have her own separate one. That is one feature that I like. You can have multiple journals and multiple pages within each one.

          • Kent Jamieson 12:13 pm on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

            Ken, if you do upgrade there is a fantastic ‘watercolor’ brush that really makes the artwork look amazing. We have an iTunes account between a few teachers and we often share costs. I tend to use the free brush and the watercolor, so if they do open it up to buying individual brushes…that is definately the one to get next.

          • Jonathan 7:45 pm on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

            Ken —

            I always remember being really stingy about paying for upgrades but I will say this.. for 53 Papers — it’s worth it. It’s one that I don’t regret at all. I don’t spend enough time in this app and I am no artist, but this app sure does make me feel like one. Maybe buy your son the pack for his birthday or Christmas :).

    • Eva Ziemsen 6:38 am on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      It’s interesting, because I also found this application frustrating. Either I was not using it properly, but for some reason I only had ONE brush to work with. Does one need to buy more brushes? I also thought this app would be great for brainstorming and keeping records of my ideas, but after playing around with it for a few days on my ipad, I gave up on it. I think it is very ‘good looking’ for an app, and the products that others seem to make with it are very beautiful, but I did not find it intuitive. It reminded me a bit of a digital scrapbook, which I would use in a heartbeat, if only I could use it with greater ease. Are there tutorials to use it?

      • kstackhouse 7:09 am on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I’m not sure if there are tutorials or not. I let my son use it for a few days. He then gave me the tutorial. I think you are right, it is a great doodle scrapbook. That is how we have been using it. I wouldn’t use it for taking notes, or brainstorming but just a place to draw and be creative. Thanks for your feedback.

      • Kent Jamieson 12:18 pm on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Eva, you should be able to upgrade by simply pressing on the other brushes. It should direct you to the app store for purchase. It is a costly 6.99. However, by importing pics into an app like Keynote i’ve made some pretty cool slideshows. I’d recommend using a Stylus as well.

      • Jonathan 7:46 pm on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Eva —

        Start off by using it as a doodling app. In my classroom, I use it to draw diagrams. Whether it is Science, Math, or Socials Studies — I always manage to use this instead of drawing on my whiteboard. It just looks nice and my students are always enamoured with it. The map packs as Kent mentions are pricey — but it’s well worth it. Everything is very doable.

    • visramn 4:21 pm on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I had never heard of this tool. I think it has a lot of potential for students of all ages and for students with special needs. It is a great way to jot down thought or even draw visuals of a person’s thought process.

  • melissaayers 6:47 pm on September 30, 2012
    0 votes

    Firefly is an app created by the Kurzweil Education System.  It is meant to help readers access to their instructional materials and their Kurzweil library.  Schools are using Kurzweil 3000 to help students with their learning needs.

    Continue reading Firefly App Review Discussion Posted in: Week 05:
    • jkotler 4:24 am on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      After going through all of the different apps, I found that from an educational (and not necessarily personal) standpoint this was the app that impressed me the most. Among other things, I really liked that operationally it is easy to navigate, has a flexible user management system, offers audio, cloud storage and especially that it can be used by students with physical limitations. Similarly, in regards to pedagogy, I found that it is well designed and I was impressed with the focus on individual needs such that the student can choose from different voices, choose the pace, speed and the display size, look up definitions when needed etc. Thus, overall I think this app can be quite useful for students at many different levels.

    • kstackhouse 5:00 am on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for your feedback. I know that the Resource and Methods teachers at my High School use the Kurzweil desktop program for struggling readers. It is a great tool that I have personally seen students succeed with. That is why I was so excited to see that there was a mobile app for this great service.

    • tomwhyte1 8:10 am on October 2, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      App Title: Firefly
      Publisher/Developer: Kurzweil
      Version: 1.01

      Operation Analysis:

      The Firefly App, upon first glance, looks to be a decent text-to-speech program that assists students who either struggle with reading, or are unable to read, due to an ELL status or cognitive reasons. As well, Firefly, is an easy to navigate app, that contains help files built directly into the program to assist with its operation. As well, if one has the proper login information, reading programs exist for learners at different levels and abilities, meeting them where they are currently at in their education. However, I was not able to determine if the App tracked a student’s progress over time, but this might be a feature when logging into the actual website.
      Pedagogical Analysis:

      As I do not instruct any language class, I can only assume that this tool would be beneficial to accommodate students at different reading levels, however I am unsure if this app allows one to load in their own documents, which if possible would make this text-to-speech app very powerful. Unfortunately, the app itself does not promote higher order thinking, interaction, collaboration, creativity, problem solving, or feedback. However, this app if combined with an effective assessment or task based activity to easily allow students of all reading levels, to complete and excel.

      • adi 6:52 pm on October 5, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I wondered the same thing about login into the students’ documents, and even listening to them read; otherwise why bother reading out loud? This aside, it has a lot of awesome features like the ability to translate text; being able to customize readings; the choice of voices and more so, that it’s FREE!

    • rebecca42 11:53 am on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I was also incredibly excited to see this app! We use Kurzweil for a group of students in our school and I have found that it is very empowering for the majority of students who use it. I’m not well-versed on it, but I know how successful students feel after using it. We have an issue of drops in our classroom for installing a Kurzweil reader, perhaps this app can help to bridge the gap!

      • kstackhouse 7:14 am on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        Great to hear! Hopefully this will be a resource that you can take advantage of. I know that our school has been using the desktop version. We don’t have class set of iPads or iPods at this point. But this is a great suggestion that parents can load on their own devices to help their children if the school can’t provide it.

    • sophiabb 6:58 pm on October 5, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks Apps OER for guiding/reminding us on what great educational resources apps can be. I also like the possible affordances of the FireFly App — really a Kurzweil app. Kurzweil seems to be a great tool for students with language processing/learning/output challenges and see this as a great resource for all teachers – not only teachers of language. While it is not totally free — you have to have a Kurzweil account — it great that you don’t have to pay for this app, if you already have an account. I would like to see an android version of this app so that it can be used on non Apple tablets. Is there a smartphone version in the making?

    • C. Ranson 9:13 am on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I too found the Firefly app very inspiring and would be very useful in specific learning situations. It was easy to navigate and well designed. The positive aspects of this app are the capability to address individual student needs, various reading programs, an assessment component, and feedback for the learner. The app has some great features that will assist the learner through look up definitions and translate text; cloud storage is another added feature. The app website refers to private and public documents being accessed through Firefly, wondering what private documents includes?


  • melissaayers 6:47 pm on September 30, 2012
    0 votes

    Spanish Tutor –  learn or refresh your Spanish, anytime and anywhere with your own personal language lab

    Continue reading Spanish Tutor App Review Discussion Posted in: Week 05:
    • Colin 5:20 pm on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I did download the Spanish tutor app hoping that it would be a neat app that could teach me some Spanish. The app is more about testing your knowledge of Spanish than teaching you the basics. Not knowing any Spanish I was able to guess a lot of the correct answers but I wouldn’t be able to say the word or even remember it later. The app would be better if it would pronounce the word for you and give you some basic lessons before a test. I think this free app is just to get you to buy their other apps and on it’s own is not that useful. You can use it to test students but you can also do that with other programs where you have more control over the content.

    • Mike Rae 1:39 pm on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I agree Colin. I do have a background in Spanish, so I found it useful for getting the rust off the knowledge that was buried in brain somewhere. It was amazing how much came back to me though. For beginner Spanish in high school I could see it as a possible review tool, either at home or in the classroom if kids have the proper devices.

      You are probably right where they offer something the free version to lure you to spend a little money and help their bottom line.

    • teacherben 7:22 pm on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I see that Rosetta Stone has apps for iOS and Android, but they appear to be companion products for those who have already purchased the full versions. It allows them to do some similar activities on their handhelds, but they are stripped down a bit. I wonder if this is a shrewd business decision or a missed opportunity. The software really is in a class of its own, but it is also priced in a class of its own. Maybe they don’t want to cut into their revenue share by offering an app that is cheaper, but sooner or later, there will be some really good apps to challenge their dominance in this area. Spanish Tutor may not be there yet, but one of these little guys will come out with something sooner or later that might.

      If anyone is learning Chinese, or interested in learning Chinese, Pleco has an incredibly powerful and sophisticated app that is worth checking out:


      Their app even allows you to use the camera on your device to take a picture of a Chinese character and it will translate it for you and then allow you to add it to your own personal set of flashcards to study later. Rosetta Stone doesn’t have anything like that!

    • visramn 4:14 pm on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I downloaded this app to try it out. I found that it has a lot of options to help a person learn or brush up on their Spanish. Personally I do not know any spanish and would need to work on it a lot if I wanted to learn to speak and comprehend the language. I do not know if an app like this would help me learn to the degree that I could communicate fully but it could definitely teach me some words and some easier phrases. I think the app would be better for people who already have some background in spanish.
      I believe this app has a lot of potential in a classroom because it is hands on engaging way to expose students to Spanish vocabulary.

    • Paula Poodwan 8:27 pm on October 6, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I did not download this app to try it out as I have many good websites that I can use to learn Spanish already ( I recommend Duolingo for learning Spanish for free). So I just tried out the “Spanish FREE 24/7” and I quite like it. There is enough information for anyone wanting to learn the basics of Spanish before actually buying a paid version. I find the Basic Phrases and Questions to be very useful. I will definitely buy the paid version when I have more time to study more in the future ( after finishing this course).

  • melissaayers 6:46 pm on September 30, 2012
    0 votes

    Engrade – unifies all of the people, tools, data, and curriculum in your schools on one user-friendly platform and now available on your Iphone, Ipad and Android

    Continue reading Engrade App Review Discussion Posted in: Week 05:
    • cunnian 9:02 pm on October 3, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I found that, in my limited testing, that the Engrade app was quite simple and intuitive to use and communicates student progress in a clear way to parents and students. In short, I would be quite happy to use it as a parent or as a teacher.

      This was a frustrating app to test because to really test it, you need to use Engrade (which I do not). I decided to set up a dummy account for this purpose, and I was delighted to see that Engrade now has a Canadian domain, making it an option that I could legally use for my own classes in Canada. After setting up an account, I quickly found out that the Engrade app only works on the US domain 🙁 After deleting my Canadian dummy account, I set up an American one and did some playing around. It would be great if they could expand the coverage of their app, but I am sure that is something that they are already considering.
      All of this made me think about some of the complexities of how apps are used internationally and how designers need to try to consider these as they construct these tools. Unfortunately, because they are small programs, after one bad experience or a small amount of frustration on the users’ part they can be quickly trashed.


      • adi 5:40 pm on October 5, 2012 | Log in to Reply

        I tried to set up an account too, and couldn’t. However, I do think that allowing teachers, administrators, parents and students access is great, so are all the things that can be managed in one area. It is a shame it’s not accessible in other countries. Any idea why? Maybe I should pitch it in Mexico 🙂

    • kstackhouse 7:18 am on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for taking the effort to test this out. You are right that it is a problem for app designers that they must consider not only their current market but also future market. Hopefully with the release of a Canadian domain they have the plans to expand their app coverage.

    • pcollins 7:23 am on October 4, 2012 | Log in to Reply

      I was pleasantly surprised by this engrade app. I’ve used engrade online for years and I’m a bit embarrassed to say I had no idea they had developed an app for their program. i wonder how many other programs have created apps that I’m clueless about?

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