Posts Tagged ‘Apps’

New App Encourages Kids to Flush their Teacher Down the Toilet

March 31, 2014

 

flush the teacher

Whilst I think that an app allowing users to flush teachers down the toilet is in poor taste, I don’t have a major issue with it. As important as it is to advocate the respect of teachers, let’s not pretend that we didn’t all have teachers we absolutely detested.

As much as teacher respect is vital and teacher harassment is repulsive, we must be able to see the humor of such games and learn not to take ourselves too seriously. What I take exception to is the violent options featured in the game such as the use of a slingshot. A bit of adolescent humor is fine, but violence crosses the line.

A TEACHER who developed a controversial phone app in which students can flush a teacher down the toilet or shoot them with a slingshot is being investigated by the Department of Education.

Ross McGuigan has taught in private and public schools for almost 40 years and currently teaches at Kincumber High School on the Central Coast.

He claims his app helps children vent their frustration at disliked teachers without taking action in the “real” world.

His “Flush the Teacher” iPhone and Android game encourages users to upload a photo of their teacher, which is then superimposed on an animated character and flushed down the toilet or harassed with slingshots. The department has taken the matter seriously enough to investigate Mr McGuigan’s role in developing it.

“The department does not support any activity that might encourage disrespect to staff or other students,” a spokesman said.

Mr McGuigan said he had been cleared of any “inappropriate actions”.

 

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Click on the link to read Are Violent Video Games Worse for Children than Violent Movies?
Click on the link to read Parents Shouldn’t Be in Denial Over This Very Real Addiction

Click on the link to read Video Game Addiction is Real and Very Serious!

Click on the link to read Internet Addiction and our Children

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Teaching History: A More Enjoyable Affair With Visual Tools

February 11, 2014

child ipadd
Photo courtesy of flickingerbrad via Flickr Creative Commons

Reader and prolific blogger Jennifer Birch was kind enough to submit an article especially written for us. History is a subject that seems to turn off students, but as Jennifer writes, that doesn’t have to be the case:

 
If there is a subject that benefits the most from visual medium, then it has to be History. It’s not a secret that many students find this particular field of study uninteresting, dull, and irrelevant. Of course, to us educators, that is not the case. But because history is comprised of entangled events that stretch endlessly from the time of the Neanderthals, it is hard for teachers to avoid the pitfall of history teaching for young learners –boredom.

Forget the tiresome dates and trivial facts; what’s more important is that the students realize the importance of these events and their relevance to the present. There is a reason why the History Channel is such an engaging piece of the television – it’s interesting. In this age of smartphones, tablets, and the rise of visual media, we can transfer the same charm that the History Channel creates for us into the classroom. Here are some of the best tech tools that take advantage of 21st century technology, helping out teachers to get students more interested:

American History in Video

This app is a cornucopia of historical footage, comprised of over 5,000 (and counting) videos on demand for free. It offers a wealth of archival footage, newsreels, olden broadcasts, images of important events and many other visual aids. Rather than letting students read up on a boring wall of text, American History on Video will show them exactly how it happened and how people at that time reacted. Hook up your laptop on your iPad and play the most exciting videos for the class. Expect many raised hands when the question and discussion time comes.

Event-specific Apps

Whenever a historical event is being discussed, know that there is a good chance that a dedicated app is already made for that. For schools that employ the BYOD model, it is recommended that teachers guide their students in downloading these apps for a better understanding of the lesson. For example, the Gettysburg 150 app “acts as a Gettysburg Battlefield assistant for visitors.”

Sheldon Jones, Verizon’s Public Relations Officer, said in his article that other historical apps such as the Civil War Trust Battle App and the Historic Gettysburg Walking Tour app are perfect for discussing the American Civil War.

Secret Builders

Role-playing games are great tools for teaching history, especially on topics that tickle the imagination of young kids such as the Greek and Roman era. Secret Builders enable children to do just that – create a virtual world where they can participate in the economy, talk to prominent people, create art and many other things. Recommended for students on the first to fourth grade, they will get a clearer picture of how it was to live during the romantic era.

Time Tube

This website is the epitome of engaging students through visual means. With Time Tube, students can type in a moment in history; and a series of related videos will be laid out on a timeline. Very easy to use and informative, this tool is even recommended for teachers to expand their knowledge on a particular historical event. Teachers can also create a custom timeline which students can access, acting as a learning aid and lecture guide.

Chrono Zoom

Created by Microsoft Research, the app contains massive amounts of curated content about thousands of topics including most of those in the curriculum of a history teacher with the help of international researchers. Middle-school teacher Samantha Shires vouches on the effectiveness of the tool. “Chrono Zoom breathes life into history,” she said.

The main brain behind Chrono Zoom is Professor Walter Alvarez from the University of California Berkeley. He was one of the proponents of the theory that an asteroid was the cause of the extinction of dinosaurs.

 

History is far from boring and dull. It’s our job as educators to present this fascinating subject to learners in an interesting and engaging manner. With tools such as the ones mentioned above, it is easy to create an enjoyable history class. What other tech tools for history did we miss? Tell us your favorites in the comment section below.

 
About the Author

myMINIavy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Birch was a volunteer teacher and Ed-tech researcher. She spends most of her time writing and reading. Read more of her musings on Techie Doodlers. Contact her on Twitter or Google+.

The Toothbrush that Makes Sure Your Kids Brush Properly

October 10, 2012

 

So much for the speedy lackluster brush to satisfy your nagging mother:

The Beam toothbrush might be a boon to parents who are trying to get their children to brush, and it may inspire every owner to take more care of their pearls.

But be warned, if you shun your teeth too much – the device could let your dentist know you have been bunking off.

The device connects wirelessly to your phone, literally putting the ‘tooth’ into ‘Bluetooth’.

The reluctant brusher can then time their strokes and monitor their daily progress – although be warned that the toothbrush is not electric, so you still have to do the manual brushing yourself.

The makers said: ‘Today, the average person brushes their teeth for only 46 seconds, but is 50 per cent more likely to brush their teeth for a full two minutes by using just a simple timer.

‘Oral care is considered patient-centered, since oral health is impacted significantly by your daily hygiene habits.

‘Data from the Beam Brush is designed to raise awareness for your oral care.’

The Top 50 Best Apps for Children

August 5, 2012

Courtesy of The Guardian comes 50 of the best smartphone/iPad apps for children. Below is a snippet:

EDUCATION

Farm 123 app logo

FARM 123 – STORYTOYS JR iPhone/iPad – £1.49. Farm 123 aims to be a digital version of pop-up books, based on a character called Farmer Jo and his animals. It’s aimed at pre-school-age children, teaching them to count from one to 10 with cows, pigs and eggs.

Funimal Phonics app logo

FUNIMAL PHONICS iPhone/iPad – £0.69. Children and parents are well-used to phonics alphabet-learning now, and this stylish flash-cards app gives the discipline a friendly animal face. It’s also notable for its inclusion of both US and UK English accents when speaking sounds.

Little Digits app logo

LITTLE DIGITS iPad – £1.49. This marvellous numbers app gets your child to count by placing fingers on the iPad’s touchscreen, with cute cartoon numbers appearing, depending on how many fingers are pressed. Simple maths tasks give it an educational angle too.

My A-Z app logo

MY A-Z iPhone/iPad – £1.49. There are lots of alphabetical flash-card apps for iPhone, but this one stands out for its personalisation. Children can add their own photos and sounds for letters – a picture of their dog and its bark for “D”, and so on.

Numberlys app logo

NUMBERLYS iPhone/iPad – £3.99. Despite the name, this beautiful app is more about letters than numbers. It’s a mixture of games and storytelling to explain the origins of the alphabet, with a visual style influenced by films like Metropolis and the original King Kong.

Times Tables: Squeebles Multiplication

TIMES TABLES: SQUEEBLES MULTIPLICATION iPhone/iPad/Android – £0.69. This UK-developed app is aimed at 5- to 11-year-olds, providing a series of multiplication questions to earn stars and rescue cutesy characters from a nefarious Maths Monster. Up to four children can save their progress on one device.

The Singing Alphabet app logo

THE SINGING ALPHABET iPhone/iPad – £0.69. A stylish app that does what it says on the tin: letters that sing. Specifically, they sing their own phonetic sounds, and can be combined to make harmonies and tunes. Given five minutes, your child will be singing along too.

Counting with the Very Hungry Caterpillar app logo

COUNTING WITH THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR iPhone/iPad – £1.99. Eric Carle’s famous book about a fruit-munching caterpillar has been turned into a fun educational game with a mathematical skew. Your child identifies, counts and adds the foods over five levels, ensuring it appeals to a range of ages.

Around the Clock app logo

AROUND THE CLOCK iPhone/iPad – £1.49. This time-focused app wears its educational spurs lightly. It’s a collection of 24 mini-games, one for each hour of the day, from toothbrushing to pancake making. The idea is to familiarise children with the clock.

Barefoot World Atlas app logo

BAREFOOT WORLD ATLAS iPad – £2.99. If you have a child who is just becoming interested in geography, this is an essential buy. It’s a digital globe with music and animation, drawing kids in to the meat of its text and photographic entries on countries, people and nature.

Change4Life Fun Generator app logo

CHANGE4LIFE FUN GENERATOR iPhone/iPad/Android – Free. Part of a wider Department of Health initiative to get families out and about, this app suggests more than 100 activities for children, filtering them by indoors/outdoors and the number of participants. A summer-holiday lifesaver for parents.

Cooper's Pack: London Children's Travel Guide app logo

COOPER’S PACK: LONDON CHILDREN’S TRAVEL GUIDE iPhone/iPad – £1.49. For parents taking their children to London as a tourist, what better guide than a stuffed dog named Cooper? This travel app is a story-based guide to London’s history and attractions, with plenty of interactivity to keep children reading.

Famigo Sandbox app logo

FAMIGO SANDBOX Android – Free. If you’re handing over an Android device to a child, Famigo Sandbox is invaluable. It filters the apps on your phone to only show those suitable for children, locks off other features, and recommends new apps they might like.

Move the Turtle app logo

MOVE THE TURTLE iPhone/iPad – £1.99. Can five-year-olds start learning to program? They can with this app, which aims to teach the basics of computer programming by planning tasks – all presented by a friendly turtle character to spark their imagination.

The Happy Face app logo

THE HAPPY FACE iPhone/iPad – £0.69. Most parents have used a reward chart for their children at some point. This turns the idea into an app for use while out and about, moving children’s photos onto a happy or sad face according to their behaviour.

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain app logo

YOUR FANTASTIC ELASTIC BRAIN iPad – £1.99. Aimed at five-year-olds and up, this is a book app all about brains, using illustration and animation to explain some complex science, while throwing in “brain workout” games to help children stretch their grey cells.

Click on the link to read all 50.

 

Click on the link to read Top 10 Educational i-Pad Apps

Click on the link to read Smartboards Must Become More than Just Classroom Decoration

Click on the link to read There is Still Some Love for the Forgotten Class Whiteboard

Top 10 Educational iPad Apps

July 17, 2012

An impressive lineup of education apps as selected by gameclassroom.com:

1. BrainPOP Featured Movie, FREE
Made with the iPad in mind, this app delivers fresh, animated movies every day on topics including earth awareness, financial literacy and more. Kids take interactive quizzes to show what they know.

2. SUPER WHY!, $2.99
Rhyme, spell, write and read with PBS characters Alpha Pig, Princess Presto, Wonder Red, and yes, Super Why for an entirely entertaining educational experience. Kids won’t even realize they’re learning.

3. Dr. Seuss’s ABC and The Cat in the Hat, $2.99 each
What happens when you combine classic children’s books with cutting-edge technology? Storytelling magic! USA Today, Huffington Post and mommy bloggers count themselves among iPad/Seuss fans.

4. ABC Phonics Animals Free Lite, FREE
A group of parents created these talking and spelling flashcards. On the iPad, ye olde arte of learning becomes animated, interactive, lively and fun.

5. Star Walk, $2.99
This guide to the night sky shines brightly among iPad’s constellation of educational apps. It’s a window into more than 9,000 stars, planets, constellations and other celestial bodies.

6. RedFish, FREE ($9.99 upgrade for all 50 activities)
Teaching kids ages 3-7 to count, read, spell and even compose music has never been quite as much fun as it is on the iPad. What would Beethoven have done with an app such as this?

7. 123 Color HD Talking Coloring Book, $0.99
Fans of this iPhone app will want to check out the iPad version, with all-new high-resolution drawings that are five times larger than the originals.

8. World Book – This Day in History, $0.99
Thanks to the encyclopedia giant’s interactive calendar that includes pictures, sounds, music and features, history may not seem so ancient to kids.

9. iLiveMath Animals of Africa, $1.99
Stampeding toward an iPad near you, this app combines math with zoology for a hair-raising learning experience (which is currently being enhanced for Apple’s latest and greatest).

10. History: Maps of the World, FREE
Travel back in time with historical maps of all kinds. High-resolution maps on the iPad just might be the next best thing to being there.

Click here to read about The Meteoric Rise of the Educational App.

New Website Launched Gives Bullied Children Support

March 16, 2012

I embrace anything that will help victims of bullying to overcome, or at least manage their situation:

The Bullying No Way! site was launched today as part of the national day of action against bullying and violence.

It offers facts about bullying for children and their parents and tips on how to deal with it or who to talk to.

The site will also have a choose-your-own-adventure game for students to learn how to deal with bullying and moderated forums where children can discuss their problems with peers.

West Australian education minister Elizabeth Constable said the website would promote strategies to help different jurisdictions and education authorities develop ways to address bullying.

“School communities are working hard to make school environments safer, more supportive and respectful for all young people and adults – places where everyone is free from bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence,” she said.

“The new Bullying No way! website contains the latest information on bullying and violence and is a useful resource to support school communities in this important venture.”

Dr Constable chairs the council of Australian education ministers, which launched the website.

The council will also launch an iPhone app which will let students access instant information about bullying and what to do about it.

The new website is at www.bullyingnoway.gov.au.

The Meteoric Rise of the Educational App

January 25, 2012

We are in the midst of an educational app bonanza. The educational app is fast taking over, with the startling statistic that more than a quarter of all parents have downloaded apps for their children to use. In a recent study entitled, iLearn II: An Analysis of the Education Category on Apple’s App Store, the popularity of the educational app was discussed as was recommendations for future growth.

Below are some of the findings of the report:

1. Apps are an important and growing medium for providing educational content to children, both in terms of their availability and popularity.

  • Over 80% of the top selling paid apps in the Education category of the iTunes Store target children.
  • In 2009, almost half (47%) of the top selling apps targeted preschool or elementary aged children.  That number has increased to almost three-­‐quarters (72%).
  • The percentage of apps for children has risen in every age category, accompanied by a decrease in apps for adults.

2. Early learning apps for toddler/preschool are particularly prominent. Developers should consider potential saturation of this market.

  • Apps for toddlers/preschoolers are the most popular age category (58%), and experienced the greatest growth (23%).
  • General early learning is the most popular subject (47%), and there are significantly more general early learning apps than the second most popular subject (math, 13%).

For those interested in a more comprehensive summary of the report please follow this link. If you would like to read the entire report please click on this link.

Students Should be Treated Like People Not Numbers

December 6, 2011

I just read a piece too good to cut into excerpts. It’s written by Sheila French and is about the way she has learnt to approach parent-teacher conferences. She discusses the need to put grades and data to a side and instead, concentrate on talking about the child.

Below is the entire article. It is absolutely worth reading:

In elementary school Parent-Teacher Conferences come and go every year. This year I tried something new with the parents of my third graders at De Laveaga Elementary School. Rather than discussing test scores, grades and assessments I told the families I would like to talk about their child as a PERSON.

There’s no doubt about it, instruction in the kindergarten through high school is data driven. Our students have ID numbers, are assessed at least three times a year, and all of their data is kept on line. Our students are ranked anywhere from far below basic, basic, proficient to advanced.

But how are they as people? 

Are they able to work well with others?

Do they have the skills to make friends and create lasting relationships that will be needed throughout life?

Or our these children little turning into little robots who have “apps” for everything from studying their times tables to practicing for the SAT’s? Do these children of today need to memorize anything when they can run to their laptop and “Google” something?

I say there’s way too much emphasis put on test scores and grades. Let us step back and take a closer look at what our goals are as educators and parents. I don’t think I stand alone when I say that we would like to educate and parent children who have work-ethics, life skills and are well-rounded.

If you go to talk to your child’s teacher, go prepared to talk about your WHOLE child.  Go with a list (just like you’d go to the doctor), ready to ask questions about your child’s social behavior inside the classroom as well as outside on the playground. 

Before your parent-teacher conference, I suggest that you take the time to sit down and talk to your children. Ask them about their favorite classes. Where do they struggle? Do they have friends? Who are they? What do they do at recess? Of course these questions are not limited to pre-conference discussions. They are good conversations to have with your children on an on-going basis.

The playground is just as important as the classroom.

Chances are, the teacher will be more than happy to share some insight about your child as a whole person, not just another test score. Parents, take this opportunity to learn about your child from someone who cares about your child’s social, emotional and education development. This will ensure that our students become GOOD people even in this crazy data-driven world.

Ms. French has echoed many of the points I have made on this blog (although she writes more eloquently). She is absolutely right to point out that the playground is as important as the classroom.

I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I have.

The New App that Gets Kids To Do Their Chores

October 29, 2011

Even the best parents and teachers struggle to get kids doing menial tasks on a consistent basis.  From making their beds to putting their lunchboxs back in their bag, it’s amazing how difficult it is to get children to be responsible for small yet important tasks.

That is, until an app was designed to assist desperate and exhausted parents:

You may find this shocking, but getting my 11- and 9-year-olds to do household chores is like pulling teeth. Rotten kids!

That may change now that I’ve got You Rules Chores on my iPhone. This clever new app turns household chores into a game, rewarding each kid a designated number of coins for each completed job. Whoever finishes the week’s chores first is the winner. (Of course, we all know who the real winners are: mom and dad.)

The app features cute graphics and music, and after a parent gets set up as the “referee,” each kid gets to choose an avatar (from only six available, alas).

Steve Jobs’ Education Legacy

October 7, 2011

Condolences to the Jobs family on the untimely death of a good, decent person who made a telling contribution to innovation and society.  Amongst his crowning achievements, it must be noted, that Jobs leaves a distinct legacy in the education sector:

The death of Apple founder Steve Jobs is an education story as well as a business story.

Among the Jobs tributes flooding the Internet Wednesday night was this from the parent of an autistic child. Although the son does not talk, the parent wrote, he uses Apple’s iPad to communicate.

“Thank you Steve Jobs for helping my son,” the parent wrote on CNN’s iReport site. “You have given us hope we thought we would never have.”

The parent summed up Jobs’ impact on the son very simply: “Steve Jobs saved my son.”

 Jobs’ influence on education is likely to increase after his death. School districts in Florida and elsewhere are turning to the iPad to both engage students and replace textbooks — keeping them more up-to-date at a lower cost.

State Rep. Jeff Brandes, a Pinellas County Republican, believes the devices have the potential to significantly reduce the cost of educating children as less money is available in the state budget.

My daughter has been enriched and engaged by the great variety of educational apps.  I would have loved to learn to read with the tools she has at her disposal.

Thank you Steve!


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