MuseForJews

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

Links You’ll Love

ICE is coming! Yeah – you’re probably thinking, “Well, duh, I’ve been outside . . . I know.” No… ICE as in the Illinois Computing Educators. The annual ICE conference will be held in February in lovely St. Charles, Illinois (so it doesn’t involve a whole lot of travel, and no overnight stay). The ICE workshops take place just before the general conference and provide in-depth training in a variety of techie topics. ICE workshops are also a great way to use your professional development dollars. Check out the workshops here.

Kahoot.it is another one of those online multiple choice quiz sites where you can put questions in and your students play entering the game pin that you specify, and answering questions. I think it’s very engaging – you can type in Hebrew, there’s fun music, and it ranks players as you play the game. You can also put photos in to increase engagement, and a video option is in beta right now (that’s cool – play a video and stop in pre-determined locations to ask questions).

Where do good ideas come from? That’s a fascinating question, and one I think about often. Here’s an interesting video on the subject:

Google tip of the week: are you going batty with folders in your Google Drive? Here’s a neat tip that can help. Change the color of your folders by clicking on a folder and right-clicking on it (to right-click with a one-button mouse, hold down the control key and click). Lookie there – you can give a folder a star (which puts it in Starred in your drive), and/or you can change the folder’s color! Makes it easier to locate. Sadly, folder colors don’t show up (yet) on mobile devices.

November 21, 2014 Posted by | Links You'll Love, Mobile devices and apps | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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