muse: n. a source of inspiration

Choosing An App

Choosing An App

by Debbie Harris 

Edited by Ann D. Koffsky 

It’s so enticing: a new (free!) app comes along and sounds great. But how do you decide if it’s worth using in your classroom?

Be Selective

There are good reasons to be very picky about what tools you provide your students. IPads have limited storage space and can fill up very quickly. You want to make sure your apps are filling the right need and will be a good match for your students.

Decide: What is your goal?

What are you trying to accomplish? Think about how you would complete sentences like, “I want my students to be able to create a presentation/game/slide show that shows…” and, “My students will use this app to learn more about…”

Remember, just because technology looks inviting, doesn’t mean it will help you achieve your goals. 

Preview the content

If you’re choosing an app that is designed to share information and teach content, (as opposed to an app that helps students create their own content) you’ll want to make sure to preview it from start to finish to verify:

  • That the information is correct
  • That it is age-appropriate
  • That it’s taught in a manner befitting the topic

A cautionary tale:When Tablet Magazine reported on several apps that were designed to teach about the Holocaust, it noted that the playful game experience might not be the most appropriate choice of tool for teaching about something so serious. 

Additional Resources:

  • Commonsense Media is the first place you should head when trying to find an app for a specific purpose. This highly respected site has a terrific section where you can filter by age, type of media and skill.
  • The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has a number of resources available for educators who want to make sure they’re choosing the right tool for the task. This article is a good starting point.
  • Mindshift is a terrific resource for educators in general, and I recommend it for general education information. This Mindshift article on 50 great apps for educators has some really nice recommendations.
This is a “Technology Tuesday” post via Behrman House, edited by Ann D. Koffsky . You can find more Behrman House Technology Tuesdays here.

September 20, 2016 Posted by | Technology Tuesdays | , , | Leave a comment

Meme Generators

What is a meme? A meme is any symbol or concept that is copied, imitated and easily shared via social media. Often, it is a photo with a unique quote laid on top of it. A classic example would be a photo of a “grumpy” cat, with a quote complaining about well, anything, such as Mondays, annoying co-workers or lack of coffee. Memes can be a terrific tool to engage students and help them think about a subject in a new way. 

For a more complete explanation of memes, and how they work, check out this video. 

Three websites that can help you create your own memes are:

All three provide multiple, free-use photographs, and will place any quote that you type in along the top and bottom of it. (If you use social media, you’ll recognize many of the images offered).

To make your own meme, just click on “create” at the top of these sites, enter your text, and click on “generate.” The sites will then offer you the options of sharing it on various social media sites, or, downloading it to your own computer.

Be aware that if you choose to generate memes in your classroom, that memes created by other users are visible on these site. (Some are not the most appropriate.)

There are also many iOS apps out that will generate memes, including Mematic, Make a Meme and Meme Producer.

In Your Classroom

  • Generate a meme, and use it as a tool to introduce a new subject.
  • Encourage critical thinking by creating and presenting a “half-meme,” providing only the top line of the quote, and leaving the bottom line empty for your students to fill in.
  • Create your own “classroom rules” memes.
  • For an ice-breaker activity at the beginning of year, have each student create a personal meme.
  • As your students to imagine:  What kind of memes would Moses have created? How about Joseph?
This is a “Technology Tuesday” post via Behrman House, edited by Ann D. Koffsky . You can find more Behrman House Technology Tuesdays here.

September 20, 2016 Posted by | Behrman House Technology Tuesday, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: