Google Earth is a fantastic resource with almost boundless possibilities. The app opens with a view of the planet with the stars and Milky Way behind. By simply clicking on a point on the globe the view will pan in and show an overview of the area selected giving some names of places as suggestions to investigate.
Put grade 4 students in the role of visitors from another planet. They need to find a good place to land their spaceship. Let them use Google Earth to help them find a good spot and ask them to explain why they chose that place to land.
Image: Google Earth
Toontastic is a free app allows K-4 children to create their own cartoons based on stories from their own imaginations. The app allows them to create a structure for the story, choose a setting, choose characters and select music to go with the animation. Children also have the option of drawing their own settings and characters. The app does not include a text option - it is designed to mimic traditional doll play - children add there own dynamic stories as the the animation plays.
I could imagine this app being used in a grade 3 language arts lesson. With a partner or in a group, students could be asked to write their own script then animate it. Alternatively, students could create an animation and write a script to accompany it. Whilst the animation is playing on the smartboard they could narrate the action for the rest of the class.
Having this fun app in your tool kit means that you will never run out of journal topics. Simply shake the journal jar and it will come up with a new topic to inspire a journal entry. For example: If had a time travelling machine, would you go to the past or the future? What would you do there?
As well as with language arts journalling activities, a teacher could use this apt in a drama class. Students would shake the jar and then improvize a response. The improvisation could be done individually, with partners or in a group. Alternatively journal jar could be used in art class to inspire quick-draw cartoons.
Journal jar could probably be used with most grades - particularly with upper elementary and junior high students.
Flixlab is a free apt for iPhones and iPads that helps the user make hassle free movies and videos. The app will reduces work load by automatically adding music, transitions and effects before it is shared via social media. A feature of flixlab is that it allows users to make collaborative movies - pictures and videos can be quickly shared from multiple devices and then combined to make one movie.
Whilst on field trips (museum, zoo, river valley, Elk Island) students could use iPhones to take photos and short videos. Back at school, in partners or small groups, students could collaborate and make a movie using the best footage from each student about the place they visited. The movie could be shared with the rest of the class via a Smartboard or online via a blog.
Audioboo is basically an online dictaphone which can be used to make any type of audio recording. Interviews, journal entries, radio shows, music, nature sounds, poetry, story readings can all be recorded, saved, shared and uploaded. Audioboo allows users to make multiple recordings of up to 3 minutes long. Users can add a title, photos, a description and a location. The app is currently available for Android and iOS devices.
This app has numerous applications and a great potential to make learning mobile. Grade 7 students could interview members of the community,using mobile devices, regarding current issues. The impact of the oil sands, for instance. They could collect multiple perspectives with audioboo and then post the recordings on to a blog. The blog entry could include an introduction, a thesis statement (e.g. the oils sand do have a large impact on Albertan life), the different views of the people interviewed, and a conclusion that includes a summary of the findings and the students own viewpoint, in light of new perspectives collected.By using mobile devices students are able to move beyond the sphere of the classroom and school and move into the community - making learning mobile.