Learning Games and Apps for Kids http://www.avatargeneration.com Educational Apps & Games Reviews Mon, 23 Feb 2015 22:49:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Quick Math Jr – Promo Code Giveaway http://www.avatargeneration.com/2015/02/quick-math-jr-promo-code-giveaway/ http://www.avatargeneration.com/2015/02/quick-math-jr-promo-code-giveaway/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 11:31:09 +0000 http://www.avatargeneration.com/?p=14627 Quick Math Jr. is a new learning app from Sydney-based developer Shiny Things, aimed for children aged 3-6 years. Quick Math Jr. helps children learning foundational mathematics through a collection of fun, interactive mini-games. With adaptive difficulty to quickly place children at the right level and keep them in their zone of proximal development, Quick [...]

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Quick Math Jr IconQuick Math Jr. is a new learning app from Sydney-based developer Shiny Things, aimed for children aged 3-6 years. Quick Math Jr. helps children learning foundational mathematics through a collection of fun, interactive mini-games. With adaptive difficulty to quickly place children at the right level and keep them in their zone of proximal development, Quick Math Jr. helps learners progress from simple number identification to formal arithmetic.

We have 10 Promo Codes to Giveaway to readers, just click the links below to redeem.

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7. http://redeem-now.com/e20b62ad9bb5
8. http://redeem-now.com/a2a037ce2ae7

Some more information about Quick Math Jr:

Click here to view the embedded video.

+ Key Number Concepts

Practice counting, skip counting, subitizing, ordering numbers, mental arithmetic, formal addition and subtraction, and more!

+ Handwriting Recognition

The handwriting recognition engine allows players to write their answers directly on the screen, so it’s perfect for handwriting practice too!

+ Create Your Own Monsters

Win new features and personalize your monster characters. Watch as your creations appear in the game! Unlimited player profiles makes it easy to save your monsters for your next game.

Quick Math Jr Quick Math Jr -sequence Quick Math Jr monster maker Quick Math Jr handwriting Quick Math Jr bus game

Quick Math Jr. is available to download from the educational category on the App Store, and is designed for both iPhone and iPad.

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4 Top Educational Tools for Visual Learners http://www.avatargeneration.com/2015/02/4-top-educational-tools-visual-learners/ http://www.avatargeneration.com/2015/02/4-top-educational-tools-visual-learners/#comments Sat, 21 Feb 2015 07:00:16 +0000 http://www.avatargeneration.com/?p=14610 With the assistance of mobile technology, visual learners are given more opportunity to make the learning experience easier, more interactive, and fun. These people are able to comprehend words into pictures in their head and vice versa, according to a study by Penn Psychology. They are able to learn faster with the help of visual content, [...]

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With the assistance of mobile technology, visual learners are given more opportunity to make the learning experience easier, more interactive, and fun. These people are able to comprehend words into pictures in their head and vice versa, according to a study by Penn Psychology. They are able to learn faster with the help of visual content, either as a photo or a video. This is not at all surprising as a recent study by the American researchers revealed that a human brain is able to process images in 13 milliseconds.

Today, there are applications that are able to help simplify the learning process while on-the-go for visual learners. Here are the top educational tools you must try:

Memrise

Learning a new language is made more interactive by Memrise. Available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, this application enables any kind of learners (beginners, intermediate, and experts) to learn and practice another language such as Chinese, French, Spanish and more. It has a community of learners that interacts and shares their ideas and learnings together. Each translated word comes with an audio and image file for faster understanding of the language. So far, the developers take pride with more than 285 million words learned via their applications, with their over 300,000 courses.

O2 Learn

Are you into watching experts spill their secrets on YouTube? Then, you will enjoy using the O2 Learn app exclusively for iOS. With a goal to build the UK’s biggest digital classroom, O2 in the United Kingdom created a platform wherein students and teachers are able to learn together by watching and sharing their videos on the website. Created under the company’s Think Big initiative, the O2 Learn was reported by the Business Review Berkshire to inspire Windsor Girls’ School saying that it has help them “to learn a whole host of new skills.” The subjects are varied, ranging from Art, Science, Business, Technology, Drama, Literature, Geography, History, Internet Safety, Music, Math, and even Politics and Economics lectures are shared on this platform.

Ubooly Talks!

The Ubooly Talks! is not your ordinary learning tool, as it doesn’t come with a set of reviewers and tests. However, it is a revolutionary educational application that learns along with the student. Originally designed for toddlers, adults will also enjoy this Ubooly as it turns your smartphone into a friendly learning companion with a face. It comes with various Play Packs, such as Alphabet, Counting, Grammar, Space, Spelling, Stories, and some fun activities like Superhero Camp and Gardening. It is free to be installed in the iTunes and Google Play Store.

GRE Prep – Vocab Flashcards

Need an effective review buddy for the upcoming GRE? This vocabulary flashcard application will be your study partner the whole night. Its main aim is to assist those who are preparing for the GRE to improve their vocabulary faster while studying less. They are introducing the concept of ‘Confidence-based repetition’ technique. The platform created by Brainscape takes pride for its curated content that were assisted and produced by researchers from Yale, MIT, Columbia, The Princeton Review, as well as some of the world’s experts on the subject matter.

For a more extensive learning coverage, the developers are offering a premium version of the app – the GRE Vocab Genius, which costs $9.99 at the iTunes store.

There are other applications out there that offer almost the same experience. In fact, we’ve even featured the Corinth Micro Plant for Windows 8 devices, which is still one of the best Science app for visual learners who wants to know the microscopic appearance of plants. What’s your recommended app for visual learners?

Exclusively Written for Avatar Generation by JenniBirch

Jenni is a UK-based writer who has been fascinated with the many apps that the industry has been producing ever since the first app she downloaded: Facebook. She aspires to become an app developer someday and is planning to someday contribute to the many educational apps available today. Follow her on Twitter!

Photo Credit: jnxyz via Compfight cc

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5 Smart (And Fun!) Uses for Student Blogs http://www.avatargeneration.com/2015/01/5-smart-fun-uses-for-student-blogs/ http://www.avatargeneration.com/2015/01/5-smart-fun-uses-for-student-blogs/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 08:00:22 +0000 http://www.avatargeneration.com/?p=14199 Some would argue that the 21st classroom isn’t complete without a classroom blog. Students can use it to hand in assignments, explore the more creative side of assignments, and learn how to be a good digital citizen. The best part: there are many blog platforms to choose from—WordPress, Blogger, Edublogs—and most of them are free. [...]

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Some would argue that the 21st classroom isn’t complete without a classroom blog. Students can use it to hand in assignments, explore the more creative side of assignments, and learn how to be a good digital citizen.

The best part: there are many blog platforms to choose from—WordPress, Blogger, Edublogs—and most of them are free. Use these five ideas to take full advantage of this simple tool, making homework and in-class assignments more exciting and educational.

1. Teach Something to Another Student

Encourage students to demonstrate their knowledge of a subject by teaching another student instead of turning in a homework sheet or report. For example:

  • Break the class into two groups, giving each one a different reading assignment.
  • Further split the students into groups of two, each one with a different reading assignment.
  • After finishing the reading, each student has to write a blog post to their partner explaining the main points or exploring a topic that you suggest.

This gives students a chance to approach their homework from a different perspective.

2. Monthly Classroom Book Club

Get students excited to read more with a monthly classroom book club. Each month, one student chooses a book—perhaps from a pre-approved list that you make—the class logs their reading manually or online with a program like Whooo’s Reading, and one student writes a book report as a blog post.

Students then take turns commenting on the blog post, adding details and information they want to include or feel was missed.

This not only ensures every student shows their knowledge of the reading, but can be a lesson in good digital citizenship. “The blog is one way to help students navigate this [digital]landscape. Seeing how others use blogs by reading them and commenting on them, provides students opportunities to practice these essential skills,” says Starr Sackstein, New York Director for the Journalism Education Association.

3. Coverage of Current Events

This is not only a fun assignment for students, but covers the informational text Common Core standard. Use the blog post as a way for students to summarize what they learned from the article while teaching a number of other important lessons, such as:

  • Google search/online navigation: Find an article or publication online
  • Copy and paste: Add the URL to the blog post
  • Formatting: Add a photo or bullet the main points
  • Creativity: Rewrite the article headline to use as the blog headline

4. Turn in Homework Assignments

Stop being frustrated with students handing in crumpled pieces of paper. Instead, have them do written homework on the blog. This allows you to grade homework wherever you have an Internet connection and can be an opportunity to get more creative with homework assignments. Alter standard assignments with formatting requirements:

  • Bullet the main points.
  • Find a picture of what you think the main character would look like.
  • Share the link to an article that explores the most important subject of the book.

5. Weekly Reflection

Check in with your students once a week with a weekly reflection assignment. Each student submits a blog post about what they learned that week. You can let them write it in any format they want—bullet points, poem or summary paragraph—or give them a prompt.

Blogging can inject excitement into assignments students are used to doing. Use these five ideas to get started, and don’t be afraid to explore all the ways you can use blogging to benefit of you and your students.

Bio: Jessica Sanders is the Director of Social Outreach for Learn2Earn. She grew up reading books like The Giver and Holes, and is passionate about making reading as exciting for young kids today as it has always been for her. Follow Learn2Earn on Twitter and Facebook, and send content inquiries to social@learn2earn.org.

 

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Top 5 Apps For Dance Teachers http://www.avatargeneration.com/2015/01/top-5-apps-dance-teachers/ http://www.avatargeneration.com/2015/01/top-5-apps-dance-teachers/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 16:00:06 +0000 http://www.avatargeneration.com/?p=14115 Teachers across the United States are constantly finding new technology to bring to their classroom and assist with the teaching process. Similar to other subjects, dance teachers have a variety of mobile apps to choose from. From ballroom style dance and ballet to teachers who focus on young students, the following 5 mobile apps for [...]

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Appd For Dance TeachersTeachers across the United States are constantly finding new technology to bring to their classroom and assist with the teaching process. Similar to other subjects, dance teachers have a variety of mobile apps to choose from. From ballroom style dance and ballet to teachers who focus on young students, the following 5 mobile apps for dance instructors will help both improve classroom focus and alleviate much of the work involved with teaching a dance class:

Pocket Salsa

Pocket Salsa is one of the best apps for dance teachers. It features over 150 different salsa moves along with relevant videos teaching the user how to integrate each move into a salsa dance. Dance teachers will find this app useful because they’ll be able to integrate the moves taught in person with the videos in the map, allowing students to practice on their own at home.

Pocket Salsa Pocket Salsa Pocket Salsa Pocket Salsa Pocket Salsa

Ballroom Dancing

For less than a $4, dance teachers can have the basics of every ballroom dance step right in their own pocket. Use this app to help teach your ballroom students over thirty basic dance moves from all the major genres, including Salsa, Samba and Swing. Your students will appreciate the chance to practice ballroom dancing by watching and dancing along with the videos that come with the app.

Maple MP3 Player

A perfect mobile MP3 application for any dance class, this unique application allows dance teachers to play music broken down by playlist, genre and customized folders. This app is especially favored by ballroom dance teachers because they can break down the music being played by dance categories, from Rumba and Salsa to the Waltz and more.

Dancing Video Lessons

Dancing Video Lessons is one of the best apps for dance teachers that allow users to download various videos of basic dance moves from all types of genres. The creator of the app updates videos on a weekly basis, allowing users to learn new dance moves all the time. While this app is great for downloading and sharing dance videos with students, teachers can use it as well to help them stay fresh on new moves and refine old ones.

Tap Dancing for Beginners

Tap dancing is a popular dance for younger students. Tap Dancing for Beginners is great because it includes over 20 tap dance instructional videos for beginners. From basic steps and the three tap riff to drawbacks and the ball change step, this app has it all and is a great value for under $6. Dance teachers will find it especially useful for students who need more practice and have a harder time picking up the basics of tap dance.

Apps for dance teachers are changing how instructors teach all types and genres of dance to their students. From beginning students to the most advanced professionals, mobile apps are always a great addition to any dance teaching arsenal.

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4 Tools & Apps for Enhancing Instagram http://www.avatargeneration.com/2015/01/4-tools-apps-enhancing-instagram/ http://www.avatargeneration.com/2015/01/4-tools-apps-enhancing-instagram/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 08:00:01 +0000 http://www.avatargeneration.com/?p=12496 These four tools will enhance your Instagram experience and use it to its full potential. 1. Iconosquare While Instagram has a basic structure which aims for social networking, viewing all shared images can be cumbersome. Iconosquare is a website that allows users to view all shared images as well as their likes and comments. It takes Instagram [...]

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These four tools will enhance your Instagram experience and use it to its full potential.

1. Iconosquare

While Instagram has a basic structure which aims for social networking, viewing all shared images can be cumbersome. Iconosquare is a website that allows users to view all shared images as well as their likes and comments. It takes Instagram from the smartphone and enhances it on the computer. This can be helpful when students are using the app in the classroom and are looking to submit photos to the yearbook or create a collage. Teachers and faculty may find it useful for sharing photos throughout the school and giving others a view into their classroom.

2. Quick

A great way for students to reflect on Instagram images or to link images to classroom content is to insert text on the image itself. Quick allows you to write text over images and post them to Instagram. A must for any classroom.

3. INK361

INK361 is a great practical app for Instagram users who wish to print their photos. Instagram has several privacy policies that hinder users from saving others photos, including their own, onto a computer. If a classroom is using Instagram to explore a topic, INK361 would be a great option to not only view and save photos but also to print them. You may want to provide keepsakes for students at the end of the year, or alternatively, a student gift for a teacher, and this would be a perfect option.

4. Instaport

Due to the privacy policies in Instagram it is difficult to download images to a computer that aren’t already on a smartphone or other device. Instaport allows users to connect with their Instagram login and not only view photos but also download them. This would be helpful to a teacher using Instagram in the classroom with multiple smart devices.

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Everything YOU need to know about Teaching with Instagram http://www.avatargeneration.com/2015/01/everything-you-need-to-know-about-teaching-with-instagram/ http://www.avatargeneration.com/2015/01/everything-you-need-to-know-about-teaching-with-instagram/#comments Sat, 10 Jan 2015 20:42:52 +0000 http://www.avatargeneration.com/?p=12377 Instagram, a social picture-sharing platform, has moved from being a place where people share selfies and pictures of their cats, to become a valuable social networking resource. It works as a visual Twitter, a trendier Pinterest and a unique way for teachers and students to connect and share information. In fact, Instagram is developing a [...]

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Instagram, a social picture-sharing platform, has moved from being a place where people share selfies and pictures of their cats, to become a valuable social networking resource. It works as a visual Twitter, a trendier Pinterest and a unique way for teachers and students to connect and share information. In fact, Instagram is developing a regular presence in classrooms around the world and teachers are finding creative ways to put it to good use.

Professional Networking and Idea-Sharing for Teachers

Teachers have started using Instagram like they use Pinterest, to find and share creative ideas. However, instead of pinning and viewing links to webpages and videos, Instagram allows them to share examples of projects and activities actually going on in their classroom. With Instagram, teachers can find ideas for creative bulletin boards, arts and craft projects and other hands-on activities. They can also document examples of student work or, with parental permission, share photographs of students in their classrooms. While the goal of Instagram is to share photographs, teachers who label their photos with relevant hashtags will also find that it serves as a great tool for organizing ideas and accessing them for years to come.

Instagram is also a place where teachers can connect with other teachers. Every Tuesday during the school year, a large number of teachers participate in Teacher Talk Tuesday. They take and upload photos of what’s going on during their school day and tag them with #teachertalktuesday. Others following the tag can then get new ideas and see what is going on in schools across the country on that particular day. This also helps teachers find more people to follow on Instagram, building their professional network.

Educational benefits of Instagram

Teachers can also use Instagram with their students for educational benefits. Instead of adding photos to Instagram themselves, teachers can task students with documenting what is going on in the classroom, including experiments, projects and hands-on activities. Students can even use Instagram on field trips, sharing photos of what they find interesting or going on a scavenger hunt and using Instagram to document their finds. Parents can get in on the action by following the class Instagram account to see what happens in class each day.

Looking in more detail at the possibilities of Instagram for education, the use of visual images could potentially improve the interpersonal development of students. Group activities such as making an Instagram project about your school, the wildlife in the school garden or the different backgrounds students in the class come from help develop group cohesion and collaboration. The most obvious application would be in Art classes where students can learn about composition, lighting and framing. Manipulating images with Instagram filters and cropping tools is a good method of promoting student creativity. Giving students the same set of images and seeing how each student creates a different visual piece can be a great way of promoting artistic and creative intelligence. Instagram is not limited to art or photography classes. Math students can use real world visual examples of fractions, geometric shapes and lines to explain their understanding of math theories. Foreign language classes can use Instagram images to remember new vocabulary, or describe key features of a culture.

But sharing information is a two-way process, and teachers can follow the class account to learn a little more about what students found important enough to document that day. At the end of the class period, some teachers may choose to use Instagram in place of a traditional exit slip, having each student take a picture to share what he or she learned in class that day. The photos students and teachers add to Instagram then become evidence that learning is taking place in the classroom and can be used as part of portfolios or during parent-teacher conferences and teacher evaluations.

Creative Writing and Learning

For teachers who want to boost students’ creative and critical thinking skills, Instagram can also be a helpful tool. Instead of writing traditional research papers or narrative essays, students can share the results of their research or tell their stories through photos. Photo essays can be created in nearly every subject area, with students posting photos to show their understanding of a subject and adding captions to include key facts or other pieces of information.

The photos found on Instagram can also be used to inspire creativity, having students choose a photo and then write a short story or poem based on what they see. Using Instagram’s search feature, students can also search for photos by hashtags and find photos to help them learn more about a particular topic or to use as part of a report or research project.

Learning does not always require books or other text-based documents. Students can learn and express themselves in many ways, including through visual images. Instagram gives students access to thousands of photographs every day and allows them to add their own photographs to the mix. By taking and responding to photographs, students learn to communicate in a different way and have the opportunity to boost their critical thinking and creative skills. Teachers can also get in on the Instagram action, using the photographs to share all of the great things they are doing in the classroom and glean ideas from other teachers.

Finding Educator Instagrammers

Using applications like Iconosquare and Websta to search instagram images on our computer can be a helpful way to find new instagram images. These sites bring up hundreds of images from different instagrammers related to user created tags which can then be followed for future reference. Some of our favorite instagrammers include:

  • The Pinspired Teacher is a 4th Grade teacher with funny, creative and inspirational images.
  • Any artistic teachers should keep an eye on Seusstastic’s Instagram page who has some colorful images that will stir up ideas for classroom design and lesson planning.
  • Math and Science teachers will enjoy browsing images of what 4mulafun’s class are up to and get ideas for their own classrooms.

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How BrainPop is Breaking Global EdTech Barriers http://www.avatargeneration.com/2015/01/how-brainpop-breaking-global-edtech-barriers/ http://www.avatargeneration.com/2015/01/how-brainpop-breaking-global-edtech-barriers/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 09:00:34 +0000 http://www.avatargeneration.com/?p=12374 Educational games and resources have gone through a transformation from clunky game play and poorly designed content in their early days, to breath-taking visuals, clever interactive content and exciting storylines today. But the proof of the pudding can really only be from how these games perform in the classroom through feedback from teachers and students. [...]

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Educational games and resources have gone through a transformation from clunky game play and poorly designed content in their early days, to breath-taking visuals, clever interactive content and exciting storylines today. But the proof of the pudding can really only be from how these games perform in the classroom through feedback from teachers and students. This is where real-life case studies of educational technology games are showing how they can positively (or negatively) transform a classroom. Many games, tools and apps give testimonials from teachers describing their satisfaction with the product. However, when these recommendations show positive results with students with varying educational needs and in culturally-different countries, it shows that the technology is something special.

BrainPop is a highly popular educational platform with an array of different brainpop games, brainpop videos, lesson plans, research and apps all in one website. The site contains resources for Science, English, Social Science, Math, Engineering, Technology, Health, Arts and Music, all linked to educational standards with a handy standards tool. Many of the games have won prestigious awards, such as their highly commended Guts and Bolts game which introduces students to the functions of human body systems. The site does not just focus on providing the games, but also supports educators with a community site which gives training to use the resources in the classroom, classroom ideas, educator conferences, and tips for teaching with games.

Click here to view the embedded video.

The platform has been used in over 25% of US schools, proving its popularity with US educators, but it is its work with schools worldwide that has shown some of its more interesting outcomes resulting from educational technology.

In Haiti, a country which has had its fair share of difficulties in recent times, BrainPop is being used by L’Ecole de Choix, or “The School of Choice,” to encourage a ‘learn by doing’ approach. Many of the children in the school come from a background of extreme poverty, where electricity, plumbing and other basic services are absent from their homes. Some come from a farming background, where they have important responsibilities to help with the running of the farm. Many had never attended school before, and had divergent levels of educational ability.

The school sought educational resources that would be easy to learn with little guidance from teachers, but also be relevant to their curriculum and engaging enough to motivate students. BrainPop was chosen and introduced to teachers through webinars, where each teacher selected different BrainPop resources to integrate into their own lessons. Language teachers used BrainPop Francais and BrainPop in English to supplement French and English lessons, Science teachers supplemented their lessons with interactive resources on the life cycle of insects and BrainPop movies are used to encourage discussions and hands-on activities in the classroom.

Teachers from the school found that by using BrainPop students were becoming less reliant on the teacher and becoming more active within their own learning. Through using an educational model which differed from a traditional model of repetition and memorization, students would go and use BrainPop on their own and learn by themselves. The schools’ Principal Clisbee describes the transformation in the school by using this type of learning model: “When the school first opened, the children appeared sullen and very quiet. Since we make learning fun at Choix in a school environment that is bright and engaging, the students now smile and laugh and fully socialize with each other and the adults at the school. They have fun, and it shows on their faces and in the way they carry themselves.”

In addition to increasing student motivation, engagement and interaction, BrainPop is aligned with common core standards, similar to the Haitian curriculum, which allowed the teachers to systematically assess student learning. As many of the students would not have been to school before, and a wide range of different ages, levels and abilities were present in the classroom, this alignment to educational standards allowed teachers to identify students who were underperforming and who needed extra help and guidance. Using BrainPop in this classroom environment has demonstrated that elearning can be successful  in developing countries with support for teachers and well-developed, curriculum-focused multimedia resources.

Click here to view the embedded video.

BrainPop uses a variety of colourful animated characters in its games and videos, and it was for this reason that The Children’s Institute, Verona, New Jersey used the technology for their students with students with learning, language and social/emotional challenges. Computer specialist Randall Palmer explains: “Most of our students are on the autism spectrum which means that they have strong visual processing skills,” he stated. “That’s one of the reasons the movies work well with our kids. BrainPOP is very straightforward and engaging; it follows the same sequence every time, and so students are comfortable with that. Our kids like the characters of Tim and Moby, and I really think they identify with Moby because his ability to communicate is limited.” The school found that BrainPop movies were able to sustain student attention long enough for learning to take place, and students often chose the technology as a free time activity.

What is interesting about the case studies presented by BrainPop is their diversity. Rather than just being used by typical K-12 students and classrooms, their resources are being used by all types of students with different educational needs. It is heartening to see how an educational technology company is providing for all types of students, and is working hard to make their resources accessible to all.

BrainPop is available for subscription under a variety of different pricing models. However, for schools that do not want to make a full subscription to the platform, there are a range of BrainPop apps that can also be purchased for a smaller amount such as the BrainPop Featured Movie app.

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Shapes – 3D Geometry Learning Math App http://www.avatargeneration.com/2014/12/shapes-3d-geometry-learning/ http://www.avatargeneration.com/2014/12/shapes-3d-geometry-learning/#comments Sun, 28 Dec 2014 21:00:44 +0000 http://www.avatargeneration.com/?p=12359 SHAPES is a geometry app developed by Setapp, a technology company from Poland. SHAPES – 3D Geometry Learning allows kids to discover different three dimensional solids like prisms, pyramids, solids of revolution and Platonic solids. The app was verified and approved by the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science at Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznan. It was specifically [...]

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SHAPES is a geometry app developed by Setapp, a technology company from Poland. SHAPES – 3D Geometry Learning allows kids to discover different three dimensional solids like prisms, pyramids, solids of revolution and Platonic solids. The app was verified and approved by the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science at Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznan. It was specifically designed to support teachers in the classroom, but can also be used as a tool for self-study. Check out their workshop for children, using the SHAPES geometry app.

Download Shapes – 3D Geometry Learning on iTunes.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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10 Exciting Resources for Teaching with Graphic Novels http://www.avatargeneration.com/2014/12/10-exciting-resources-for-teaching-with-graphic-novels/ http://www.avatargeneration.com/2014/12/10-exciting-resources-for-teaching-with-graphic-novels/#comments Sun, 28 Dec 2014 20:21:32 +0000 http://www.avatargeneration.com/?p=12343 For generations students have been slipping comic books between the pages of textbooks letting their imaginations run wild with superheroes and exotic adventures. With the growing popularity of graphic novels, reading the modern equivalent of comic books in class is no longer limited to the disinterested or unmotivated students. Graphic novels have given teachers another [...]

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For generations students have been slipping comic books between the pages of textbooks letting their imaginations run wild with superheroes and exotic adventures. With the growing popularity of graphic novels, reading the modern equivalent of comic books in class is no longer limited to the disinterested or unmotivated students. Graphic novels have given teachers another exciting tool to help engage students with educational content. These novels are not limited to superheroes either; they have been designed to cover a variety of topics including classic literature, historical figures and scientific discoveries, and can also be used outside of the language arts classroom.

Connecting with a Different Type of Reader

Bringing graphic novels into the classroom helps teachers appeal to multiple types of students. Not only do disinterested students benefit from graphic novels, but they can also be a tool to reach students with limited attention spans, visual-spatial learners and poor readers who find long pages of text intimidating. This type of text may also appeal to English language learners or students who need additional help processing a text.

When students read graphic novels, the pictures provide visual clues to help students grasp the overall meaning of the text. However, having pictures to look at does not ‘dumb down’ or make the reading process easier, it just requires students to access different skills as they read. In fact, students who are strong readers may benefit from reading graphic novels as well. The way the text is presented will challenge them to look at a text differently and look for new ways to decode the text.

Bringing Graphic Novels into the Classroom

Graphic novels can be brought into the classroom in multiple ways. In an English/language arts classroom, teachers can use graphic novels to supplement the texts students are currently reading. For example, a student struggling with Romeo and Juliet may be able to pick of a version of the popular play in graphic novel format and use it to get a general idea of what is going on. Teachers may also choose to study graphic novels as a genre, choosing a popular graphic novel to read as a class, analyzing it just as they would a traditional book, or having students individually choose graphic novels to read and use them to write unique book reports or conduct a literary analysis.

In other subject areas, graphic novels can be a way to teach important concepts or provide students with information. For example, some graphic novels have been written about historical events or scientific principles. Even popular comic book series are getting in on the educational graphic novel action, with The Avengers being used to teach money skills. While they may not be as complex as professionally published graphic novels, teachers who like to draw may even be able to create their own form of graphic novels or notes to help students learn.

There is no need for students to sneak Spider-Man or X-Men comic books into their textbooks. Both those who love comic books and those who need something a little different to read can legitimately read comic books and graphic novels during class without missing out on instruction. The genre helps students connect with the material in virtually any subject area in a new way.

Recommended Graphic Novel Apps and Resources

  1. MAUS is a graphic memoir of the story of a concentration camp survivor and his family. It is a powerful oral history of the holocaust and World War II, and also describes the psychological effects of war such as survivors’ guilt and adapting to new environments through pictures and handwritten text. The Pulizer Prize winning story has some resources for teachers on their website on how to teach this difficult and emotive topic, and has some study questions to use in lesson plans.
  2. Education giant Scholastic publishes a wide range of graphic novels for young students including a lively take on the Arthurian Legend Knights of the Lunch Table, the story of secret agent Missile Mouse, and the dental drama Smile (a must for anyone with braces!). Middle school readers have a good choice of titles including the mysterious Amulet, and the beautifully illustrated The Good Neighbors.
  3. Persepolis, a graphic novel about the Islamic Revolution, details the life of a girl during the war between Iran and Iraq. It has won many awards, and has sold over 1,500,000 copies. Recently it appeared in the headlines when teachers were told to remove it from the seventh grade curriculum and classrooms because of graphic images and language. We would recommend that this text would be more suited to older students.
  4. Science has not been forgotten about in graphic novels, with a stunning illustrative account of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species, and a historical account of time in Introducing Time: A Graphic Guide. Larry Gonick’s science series ‘The Cartoon Guide To…’ describes lots of key science topics such as physics, chemistry and statistics.
  5. Social skills and relationships have also been touched upon by Middle School Confidential who have created a series of graphic novel apps based on their popular books. These follow the lives of a group of 7th graders and their social stumbling blocks like confidence, bullying, friendships and family problems. A comprehensive leaders guide is available for teachers looking to stimulate discussion and
  6. Graphical novel adaptations of classics such as The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, Treasure Island and The Jungle Book have been beautifully illustrated by Campfire. These bring a breath of fresh air to sometimes difficult and complex storylines and characters.
  7. Although the Teaching Graphic Novels blog has not been updated in some time, it still has some great resources for any teacher looking to expand their teaching repertoire with graphic novels.
  8. Rob Koo’s blog gives some excellent tips on teaching with graphic novels including a handy ‘How to Read a Comic Book’ free PDF for students.
  9. Get Graphic is another comprehensive blog for teaching with graphic novels. It has a variety of workshop resources that are a must for any teacher looking for teaching guidance with this medium.
  10. A great little app for teaching math through the medium of a graphic novel is ‘Who killed Professor X’. The project on which the book is based took third prize in the 6th Microsoft European Innovative Teachers Forum in Vienna in 2009 and is a great example of how graphic novels can be used to teach any subject.

 

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5 Free Educational Technology MOOCs for the New Year http://www.avatargeneration.com/2014/12/5-free-educational-technology-moocs-for-the-new-year/ http://www.avatargeneration.com/2014/12/5-free-educational-technology-moocs-for-the-new-year/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 10:21:56 +0000 http://www.avatargeneration.com/?p=12333 MOOCs, or Massively Open Online Courses are the next generation of online courses. Completely free, MOOCs are hosted by universities who guide learners through a wide range of different subjects. MOOCs allow you to interact with other individuals to talk about the course, and some universities often give a certificate of participation at the end [...]

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MOOCs, or Massively Open Online Courses are the next generation of online courses. Completely free, MOOCs are hosted by universities who guide learners through a wide range of different subjects. MOOCs allow you to interact with other individuals to talk about the course, and some universities often give a certificate of participation at the end of the course.

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In the New Year, there are some great courses that you can choose from to improve your online teaching and educational technology skills. Here are the best of the bunch:

1. Minecraft For Educators University of Hull

This Canvas MOOC, hosted by the University of Hull looks at using Minecraft in education, and helps teachers gamify learning experiences using the popular game. “You could be a Teacher in Primary school looking to get kids interested in History, or a High School Teacher looking to run lunch clubs in coding and crafting, or maybe you are a parent who is home-schooling their child and would like to use the power of their favorite game to get them interested in writing fiction.” A must for any teacher looking to spice up their learning resources.

2. K12 Blended and Online Learning University System of Georgia

Blended learning has been a popular way of moving instruction from the traditional chalk and talk style teaching, to a more reflexive, discursive way of teaching. This 8 week course gives learners an introduction to Blended and Online  Learning for K12 students and was developed based on standards written by the International Association for K12 Online Learning (iNACOL).

3. Emerging Trends & Technologies in the Virtual K-12 Classroom  UC Irvine

Keeping up with all the new and innovative technologies for the classroom can seem like an uphill struggle, but this MOOC from UC Irvine explores new innovative learning spaces and tools for the K12 classroom. Learners will compare and contrast tools for use in K-12 virtual instruction, as well as examine best practices for implementing and managing these tools.

4. Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills  University of Melbourne

The University of Melbourne has put together a comprehensive course which looks at nature of 21st century skills and their assessment, with a link to teaching styles and approaches suitable for a classroom in the 21st century.

5. Introduction to Learning Technologies University of Saskatchewan

Designed by the University of Saskatchewan, this MOOC introduces learners to learning technologies such as blogs and blogging, Twitter, social bookmarking, wikis, Skype and Google Hangouts, personal learning networks, digital literacy, and digital citizenship, which can help support student collaboration.

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