Ansel and Clair: Cretaceous Dinosaurs

Ansel and Clair: Cretaceous Dinosaurs

What it is: Cognitive Kid, the creators of the Ansel and Clair’s Adventures in Africa, have just launched their latest app: Ansel & Clair Cretaceous Dinosaurs.  Just like the Adventures in Africa app, students are dropped in the middle of a story where robot Clair and alien photographer Ansel travel back in time to take photographs and document their adventure so they can teach others about Cretaceous dinosaurs.  Throughout the game, student take photographs of the things they are learning about and arrange them in a travel log to document their travels to share with everyone on their home planet, Virtoos. Before traveling back in time, students get to visit a modern day fossil dig site where they meet Dr. Lindy Bones, a paleontologist.

The graphics in the app are beautiful and students are included in immersive game play all the way through the app.  The game is simple enough for young students (pre-k- Kindergarten) but engaging and informational enough to hold the attention of older students (1st-2nd grade) as well.  This is the first of three dinosaur adventures for Ansel & Clair, each new adventure will teach about another Jurassic  period.

How Ansel & Clair Cretaceous Dinosuars can enrich learning:   This app does a wonderful job of teaching students all about the Cretaceous Jurassic period.  I have yet to meet a child who isn’t captivated by dinosaurs, they are fascinated by them!  Ansel & Clair Cretaceous Dinosaurs capitalizes on this interest through a fantastic interactive app where they will learn all about this Jurassic period, fossils, and paleontologists.   The game is guided by Ansel and Clair so even young students know exactly what to do in their adventure.

I love the way that the app drops students right in the middle of a story.  They get to go along with their animated friends back in time to learn about the Cretaceous dinosaurs.

If you teach a unit on dinosaurs or fossils, this app is a must include!

Devices: Compatible with iPad, requires iOS 4.2 or later.

Price: $1.99 ( a steal!)

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Ansel and Clair: Cretaceous Dinosaurs in your classroom!

Tapose: Collaborative Content Creation with Multitasking Built in!


What it is: Tapose is a fantastic (currently the BEST I’ve seen) journaling app for the iPad.  Tapose goes above and beyond the other journal apps that I’ve seen with a few key features:

  • It offers customization- When a student creates a new journal, they can choose a custom cover for the journal and one of six paper types (graph, legal, lined, blank, textured, colored).
  • The interface is beautiful.  Really, this app is very well designed.  All of the tools are hidden until you want to use them so there is no clutter taking over the screen as you work.  When using the drawing function, students can turn on wrist protection so that they can write or draw in a way that is most comfortable without throwing off the touch screen input.
  • Students can draw, highlight, type, add sticky notes, video, or images to the journal.
  • My favorite feature: multitasking within the journal!!  Students can view the journal they are working on in one half of the screen while surfing the web, searching a map, looking up a contact, using a calculator, or viewing work from another journal at the same time!  It is quite simply, awesome!
  • Journals are searchable, can be viewed by an index of the pages, can be shared with others through email, printing, Dropbox, or Evernote, and can be collaborated on.
  • The wrist guard can be tailored to how a student writes with three options for both left and right handed students.
  • One of the COOLEST features is the ability to copy things to a clipboard to paste it into the journal.  Students can cut out a specific picture from a website or map and paste it directly into their journal.

Tapose is the most brilliant blend of everything you want from a paper journal combined with the best of what you can do when a journal is technology enhanced.

How Tapose can enrich learning:   Tapose is a wonderful place for students to do and store work.  (Teachers too!)  It gives them a place to draw, write, take notes, do research, do math problems, or keep a science or art sketch book.  Students can keep separate notebooks for each subject, assignment, block, or inquiry unit.  The app keeps all of students work neatly in one place and gives them a way to share it with you and the world.  For young students, Tapose makes a great place to “publish” books.  Students can combine handwriting with type and drawings for an outstanding digital keepsake.

I like that students can include video and photos that they have taken in the journal.  At Anastasis Academy, our students often create field journals.  They take pictures to document the process or learning and can go back and annotate their images, add reflections, and combine it with research they find online.  The app makes it easy to do all of this from within the journal so they aren’t jumping between apps.  If a student has taken (or created) a video, it can be embedded directly in the notebook with the rest of their learning.  So brilliant!

This app is a great one for math journals.  Having the ability to do a side-by-side screen share with the Internet means that students can watch a Kahn video, solve problems stored online, etc. and have a place to make notes, work out problems and even graph.  If they need to, they can pull up the calculator to check their work or to help them work complex problems. Students can turn in all of their work easily or print out final copies.

Tapose is also a nice place for teachers to plan out and share lessons.  You can surf the web while jotting down ideas for your classroom and easily share with other teachers through Dropbox, Evernote or email.

Tapose could be a great place for students to construct an eportfolio because of the ability to easily combine different mediums.  Parents, teachers and others who view the eportfolio can easily search, using the search feature, to find exactly what they are looking for.

Devices: Compatible with iPad, requires iOS 5 or higher

Price: $2.99 ( a steal!)

Ubooly- iPhone/iPad plush toy

What it is: Ubooly is a new stuffed toy that comes to life with the help of an iPhone or iPad.  This is one smart toy! Every month, interactive content is downloaded over wifi to keep Ubooly fresh and engaging.  Content includes games, stories and adventures.  The goal: “to get kids excited to learn through engaging content.”  Your iDevice becomes the animated face of the Ubooly.  Ubooly works like Siri- only it is cuter!  The initial download will include over 4 hours of content including games, jokes and stories.  Later, additional content packs will be available as in app purchases.  In addition to the app, Ubooly has an online lab where kids can train their toy to learn new languages, play games and make treats.  Over time, the online world will include educational content that encourages children to learn through discovery.  Ubooly is active play. It is engaging. It leads kids to critical thinking.
In the next 13 days, you have the opportunity to help make Ubooly a reality.  Right now this fantastic little creature is on Kickstarter, waiting for funding. They are SO close! If innovative learning solutions resonate with you, help bring Ubooly to life!
How to integrate Ubooly into the classroom:  My mind is racing with the possibilities that this kind of learning brings to the classroom.  Your students have a personal learning side kick!  I love the way Ubooly can be customized by the child. From the face that displays on the screen to the lab where students can train their Ubooly, there are opportunities for the learning side kick to be exactly what every child needs them to be.  Imagine those students who are hesitant to read aloud because they aren’t confident in their skills.  What would a learning side-kick who doesn’t judge them do for their confidence and willingness to practice?  HUGE!
Ubooly could become a great catalyst for individualized learning in the classroom. A “second teacher” for students.  A new blended learning model.  A new learning as play model.  Way cool!
The other implication: Ubooly would be fantastic for students on the autistic spectrum or with social/emotional struggles.  Ubooly is a great bridge for communication for them!
Support Ubooly now and help make this new way of learning a possibility for all students!

Please leave a comment and share ideas you have for using Ubooly in your classroom.

Bloom’s Taxonomy of apps

How to integrate Bloom’s Taxonomy of apps into the classroom: Bloom’s Taxonomy is by no means the best or only way to categorize websites, apps or other educational tools.  However, I often find that for my purposes, it is a really nice way to organize tools so that I can find them later.  It also keeps me (and my students) thinking about the learning process and keeps us all from getting stuck in a one-type-of-learning rut.  Bloom’s is also extraordinarily handy for categorizing apps that don’t fit neatly into a subject matter or that fall into several different subject categories.
In the apps, I have given you a little guide.  If an app cost money, I’ve added a $$ on the app.  The others are free.  The free apps are just as wonderful as some of the paid!
Keep the guide of apps handy for those parents who ask for your best app recommendations!
Tips:   Use the Bloom’s Taxonomy app guide with my Bloomin’ posters!  Stay tuned for BIG versions of the posters coming soon with my launch of the Learning Genome project on Kickstarter! Woot!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Bloom’s Taxonomy of Apps in  your classroom!

Conduit Mobile: Create your own apps

What it is: Want to see something really super cool?  You can create your very own app for multiple mobile platforms in, I don’t know, 7 minutes flat! Seriously.  Conduit Mobile makes it incredibly easy to create your own app out of a blog, class website, wiki, etc. and publish it to share with others.  It honestly could not be easier.  Type in the URL you want turned into an app. Click go. Customize and tweak to your hearts desire and publish.  That. Is. It.  Holy cow it is easy!  You all are going to look like super geniuses when you turn your classroom blogs/wikis/websites into mobile apps that parents and students can access easily from anywhere.  Better yet- turn your school website into a mobile app and then you will be super genius of the school.  That is an impressive title.  Once your app is published, you have the ability to send push notifications to your app users (field trip reminders anyone?).  You can also easily track the analytics of who is using your app.  You can even enable advertising to earn revenue in accordance with your apps installation and performance.  It never hurts to have a little extra mail money around for all those classroom supplies we buy!
How to integrate Conduit Mobile into the classroom: Conduit Mobile makes it easy to meet your students and families where they are-on mobile devices.  Make classroom content and news easily accessible by running your site through Conduit Mobile-it does all the hard work leaving you an app for Apple devices, Android, Windows mobile, bada and Blackberry.
Do your students have blogs or wikis that they have created?  Help them publish their hard work into an app.  I’m thinking this would be a really NEAT way for our Jr. High students to turn their blog ePortfolios into apps that they bring with them to high school interviews.  Now that would be impressive!  It is so easy to do, there is just no reason not to!
As a school, publish your school site as a mobile app where parents can get quick-at-a-glance information, review policies and get the latest news.
Tips:  To publish your app to the various app stores, you will need a developer certificate.  These differ in pricing depending on the app store you are aiming for.  Conduit mobile even makes this process easy, walking you step-by-step (with pictures) through the process.  Once you are connected to each app store, you can publish as many apps as you would like.  If you have a class full of students who would like to publish a mobile app, it may be worth creating a class developer license that everyone can use to publish.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Conduit Mobile in  your classroom!

Appvent Calendar: A new free app waiting for you every day!

What it is: It is Advent season again.  This means that BlackSmith Games has launched their app-a-day Appvent calendar.  Each day a new app is released and is downloadable all day for FREE!  Very cool.  Not every app released is appropriate or useful for the classroom, but they are always fun!  Even if you can’t use them in your classroom, they are worth downloading on your own device- you just can’t beat a boatload of new apps for free during the holidays.  The apps are great for passing time in all of the LINES that this time of year seems to bring.

Price: FREE each day

Wishing you all a joy-filled holiday season!

Travel the World with the Flat Stanley App!

Flat Stanley

What it is: Everyone is going iDevice crazy!  Want proof? Flat Stanley has traveled around the world and now finds himself in the app store!  Flat Stanley is a project that schools around the world have participated in, generally it consists of sending a flat, paper Stanley through snail mail with the goal of getting his picture and story with others around the world.  Flat Stanley  has been used by educators around the world to help students learn about travel, while discovering different cultures to develop a love for reading.  With this new app, students can learn about the world through the eyes of Stanley in a way never before possible.  Way cool! Students can create their own Flat Stanley (or Flat Stella), they can change Stanely’s features and clothes and even give him a name and bio before sending him out into the world.  Students can share photos through Facebook, Email, Twitter and Flatter World within the app.   In Flatter World, new Flat Stanleys have been spotted. If students take enough pictures, they can unlock the new Flat Stanleys to take photos with.

The Flat Stanley app is COPPA compliant, which means that it is happily usable for kids under the age of 13.  An approval crew monitors and approves images shared through the app for an extra layer of safety for students.

How Demibooks Composer can enrich learning: There is no easier way to get involved with a Flat Stanley project!  The Flat Stanley app makes it SO simple to take pictures with Stanley and re-post them that you are bound to get nearly 100% participation.  The integration of social networking tools means that Stanley can travel the world in no-time and expose your students to more corners of the world than ever.  Using Flat Stanley with your students can introduce them to geography, world cultures, languages and landmarks.  Your students can use Flat Stanley’s travels as a creative writing prompt, making up stories about where Stanley has been.  Read the Flat Stanley books for a great literacy tie-in!


Devices: Compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, requires iOS 4.0 or later

Price: Free (iTunes Link)

Quixey: App Search Engine

What it is:   Have you ever attempted an app search?  It is a miserable experience, unless you already know what you are looking for, you are out of luck!  Quixey changes all of that by powering app searches across multiple platforms (Android, Bada, BlackBerry, Chrome extensions, Chrome web apps, Facebook, Firefox add-ons, IE add-ons, iPad, iPhone, Mac, Symbian, Web, WebOS, Windows, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone).  Quixey works with manufacturers, carriers, search engines and platforms to create a custom app search solution.  Quixey uses what they call “functional search” just for apps.  When you useQuixey, you don’t have to know the app’s exact name or “official” description to find the app.  Quixeyscans blogs, review sites, forums and social media to learn what each app can do and how people are using it.  The Functional app search isn’t dependent on keywords.  When you search an app, you can type in the kind of app you are looking for.  Easily narrow your search by device.  Next to the device, you can see how many apps are related to your search making it simple to see how much digging you will need to do.  Next to each app that comes up in your search, there are snippets: short pieces of information that help you decide if the app will do what you need it to.  Need to narrow it down even more? No problem,Quixey let’s you organize by paid or free apps, or filter by a custom advanced view.  Very handy!

How to integrate Quixey into the classroom: If you or your students use ANY of the above platforms,Quixey is a must!  Hunt down the exact app you need quickly and easily.  Have a mixed platform classroom? Quixey makes it simple to see where app crossover is possible for the classroom.  This is one handy search engine!

Be sure to bookmark Quixey on classroom computers for easy access to an anytime search. When you find an app you are interested in, click for more information, screen shots of the app and a link to the app store.  You can even tweet the app out or share it on Facebook!

Demibooks Composer

 Demibooks Composer

What it is: This may very well be the single greatest iPad creation tool yet.  Demibooks Composer is the first iPad based authoring software.  Do you know what that means???  It means that you hold in your hands the ability to create interactive books!  Weeeee!  Students and teachers can use this powerful authoring app to create interactive book apps (yes, I said apps) that include realistic physics, animation, sound and visual effects.  This app lets you create books that take full advantage of the iPad’s capabilities.  Finished stories can be shared to a Dropbox account, iTunes or published as an actual book app that can be purchased in the App store.  Seriously, how cool is that?

With Composer, students and teachers have powerful tools that let them create interactive tools without knowledge of programming.  Students will get a small taste of programming language as they use Composer with “if, then” commands.  Composer is intuitive enough to have your students creating their own interactive ebooks in no time. Bam!

Composer lets students:

  • select from a portrait or landscape book
  • Import images and audio from a computer or use photos from the iPad
  • Add text and styles
  • Create frame based animations
  • Build pages
  • Add a navigation system
  • Add complex behaviors (like turning physics on or off, adjusting bounce, friction and boundaries, gestures, taps, touches, hidden objects, etc.)
  • Add and edit audio including music, effects and speech
  • Preview your newly created book in all of it’s interactive glory
  • Export and save work to iTunes or Dropbox
  • Share work with others who have the Composer app
  • Publish your book to the App store with Demibooks PrintShop web service

How Demibooks Composer can enrich learning: This app gives your students the power to create true ebooks.  This is not just a book that can be read on the iPad.  This is a book that they can make interactive.  Students can publish creative writing, explanatory informational text, poetry, math story problems (and solutions), ABC books, phonics practice, story retells, historical narratives, etc.  The list could honestly go on and on.

Demibooks Composer lets your students create everything that they imagine.  It is a powerful tool that is intuitive enough for young students.  As students work in Composer, they will gain a beginning understanding of programming with if-then relationships.  Students will have to think as programmers, designers, illustrators, authors, mathematicians, physicists, and  animators.  Brilliant.


Devices: Compatible with the iPad, requires iOS 3.2 or later

Price: FREE– introductory price (iTunes Link)

Stick Pick app

Application: Stick Pick

What it is: Stick Pick is a great app for the teacher iOS device.  Teachers can randomly (or intentionally) choose a student’s name from a virtual can of Popsicle sticks.  Student sticks are tied to a mode and level of difficulty for each learner.  Each time a student’s stick is drawn, you will be shown over a dozen Bloom’s Taxonomy related questions that are tied to the learner’s individual ability level.

Questions can be linked to cognitive or linguistic needs to each student.  Teachers can have multiple soup cans (classes) filled with sticks (students).  During setup, teachers choose a category of questions that they want to focus on for the learner.  Questions can be based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, English as a second language skills, and a degree of difficulty can be chosen for each learner.

Formative assessment is easy to track because teachers can tap a corresponding correct, incorrect, or opinion button based on the student’s answer.  Teachers can also rate each student’s answer by selecting 0-5 on the critical thinking rubric (for Bloom’s) or an elaboration rubric (for English as a second language).  Student data is saved directly in the app and can be emailed.

How Stick Pick can enrich learning: Stick Pick is a handy tool for any teacher device.  Stick Pick can guide classroom discussion and formative assessment in really helpful ways.  Teachers can mark sticks so that they aren’t constantly calling on the same students or asking students the same questions over and over again.

Students can use Stick Pick too.  During small group work, students can take turns asking one another questions based on Bloom’s Taxonomy making group work more productive and on-task.

Record and send student progress to parents easily directly from the app.

Devices: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.2  or later

Price: $2.99 (iTunes Link)

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