7 Creative Apps That Allow Students To Show What They Know

7-creative-apps-show-what-they-know7 Creative Apps That Allow Students To Show What They Know

by Tony Vincent,

While there are so many iPad apps that deliver content, one of the best uses for technology in education is to make something with what you’re learning.

This might include producing a video, authoring a digital book, recording a puppet show, creating a college, narrating a slideshow, designing a comic book, or somehow making your own media and study aids. Yes, there are loads of drill and skill apps, digital books, and electronic response systems that can be very useful in classrooms. What’s much more exciting to me are apps that empower students to be creative and expressive.

Albert Einstein’s said, “You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” Technology gives us many avenues for explaining our learning. It also can give us an audience, whether that audience is a grandmother, a classmate, or a stranger.

It’s powerful to process and prioritize what you’re learning and turn it into something to teach others. As a fifth grade teacher, I often had groups of students focus on different topics. Each group was responsible for making a product that would teach the rest of the class about their topic. I believe in giving students choices in how they convey information, and my students produced a large variety of learning artifacts.

I listed many of the kinds of artifacts students can produce on my poster, “Show What You Know Using Apps.” Many of the iPad apps on that graphic are probably familiar to you: Pic Collage,  Haiku Deck,  Book Creator,  Puppet Pals HD. In addition to those four, let’s look at three more apps you might not know so much about.


Students can make documentary and news segment style films with Videolicious  Students can record themselves giving a short introduction and then easily cut to a series of images and videos. The filming can return back to the student who can then record a short conclusion.

The free version of Videolicious has a time limit of 60 seconds. The time constraint can actually push students to include only the most important or interesting details. The other constraint placed on the free version is that each video can have up to 10 shots per video. Videolicious can save to the Camera Roll, allowing the video to be used in other apps and shared in a variety of ways.

Videos made with Videolicious can be fantastic for making how to videos, book reviews, field trip documentation, chapter summaries, public service announcements, science lab recaps, and vocabulary explanations.

Example Videolicious Videos:

Videolicious Suggestion: Videolicious gives the option of adding background music to your project. I suggest omitting the music. If you do include music, be sure to turn it down to a very low volume so that your voice is much louder than the music.


Students can add tags to images using ThingLink. Tags can be web links, comments, photos, or videos. ThingLink is a free iPad app and it’s also a website. Saving a ThingLink project requires an account because saved projects are posted on provides embed code so you can showcase projects on your own website.

ThingLink is rated 12+ in the App Store because it has the ability to search and embed YouTube videos. Used in a supervised setting, this should not pose a problem.

Students can use ThingLink to make interactive reports, digital portfolios, tagged maps, learning summaries, interactive book talks, talking artwork, history projects, study guides, and much more.

Tagged images in ThingLink can be wonderful for bringing together student products into one master project. For instance, Kevin Hodgson linked student portfolios together on a ThingLink.  I like that each student is represented with an avatar made using Bitstrips. I also like that Kevin embedded the ThingLink into a wiki.

Examples ThingLink Images:

ThingLink Suggestion: Since ThingLink uses any image from your device’s Photo Library, try using the Pic Collage app to combine images and add text. Save the Pic Collage project to the Photo Library and use that image in ThingLink. That’s what Casey McFarland did to make Functions/Non Functions.


Stick Around 

Students turn what they know into a puzzle with the Stick Around app. Puzzles are made in three steps:

  1. Use drawing tools and/or import photos to make a background.
  2. Add stickers with text, images, and or drawings.
  3. Indicate where stickers belong by making an answer key.

Puzzles are played by dragging the stickers from the tray on the right side of the screen onto the correct spot on the background. Types of puzzles that can be made include sorting, categorizing, labeling, and matching. Puzzles can be played on the same iPad, and they can also be shared to other iPads that have Stick Around installed. Since the end product is a game, students keep their audience in mind as they craft and test their puzzles.

Students can use Stick Around to make puzzles where players tag parts of the body, place items where they belong on a chart, label items in a photo, associate words and definitions, complete a graphic organizer, put words in alphabetical order, and so much more.

This app is a special one to me because I co-created it. After working with iPad apps for a few years, teachers kept asking for an app where they could insert their own content to make matching activities. I partnered with MorrisCooke, the app design studio responsible for the very popular Explain Everything app, to make my app idea a reality. In fact, if you are familiar with Explain Everything’s tools and menus, you’ll feel right at home in Stick Around.

Yes, teachers can make Stick Around puzzles. But we really hope more puzzles are made by students than teachers. Like other digital learning artifacts, creating a puzzle requires knowledge of the topic. Puzzles can have introductory web links and audio. Each sticker can also have weblinks, comments, and audio. In this way, a puzzle really is a way to explain something, which certainly helps the puzzle maker’s understanding of the topic.

Example Stick Around Puzzles:

Stick Around Suggestion: Some of the best puzzles use images. If you’re looking for copyright-friendly images, go to All images there are public domain so everyone is free to use them in any project.

VideoliciousThingLink, and Stick Around can equip iPad-using students with open-ended tools. Watch out because creating video documentaries, interactive images, and multimedia puzzles can make  learning quite contagious!

Tony Vincent is a former fifth grade teacher and is now a learning and technology consultant. His website is and you can find him on Twitter at; 7 Creative Apps That Allow Students To Show What They Know

3 Simple Ways Teachers Can Work With PDF Files


3 Simple Ways Teachers Can Work With PDF Files

Ed Note: This post was created and sponsored by Wondershare PDFelement

Teaching is a noble profession and can utilize the benefits of technology to improve teaching and learning. To improve teachers’ work, effort must be made to improve information sharing between teachers and students.

One great tool for information sharing is the use of PDF files. A teacher will likely need to develop notes for students, work with PDF files by creating new PDF documents, organizing, editing, splitting, merging and sharing PDF documents, and more. This article will look how a PDF editor can improve your work as a teacher, and will also describe some methods to make it happen.

How Teachers Can Work With PDF Files: 3 Scenarios

One reliable PDF editor that can improve teacher’s work is Wondershare PDFelement. Now, let’s look at the following scenarios and see how this tool can help the teacher.

Scenario 1: A teacher finds some useful material in a book and wants to share with the students in class, but it’s too long to write it down. What can the teacher do?


The teacher can use the Wondershare PDFelement OCR tool which is a tool that can convert scanned PDF files and allow users to edit text, images and pages of their scanned PDF files. The tool is simple for both beginners and professional users, as it has the ability to recognize text from scanned images file in PDF format.

Ans with the OCR technology, scanned documents can be converted into fully editable document that allows educators and students to edit, search, format, and resize the text. Below is the step by step guide on how this can be done.


Step 1: The teacher takes some photos of the material with their device of choice.

Step 2: Using Wondershare PDFelement, the teacher converts these pictures into a PDF (Portable Document File).

Step 3: The teacher then uses the advanced OCR to convert it into editable text again and edit the part that is required.

Scenario 2: A teacher would like to save all the homework from the students of the same class as a file on a computer to make it convenient to search in future. How can this be achieved?

Solution: Wondershare PDFelement can also help solve this problem. It has the ability to create new PDF files and convert them to other formats.

The supported output formats include Microsoft office word, excel, PowerPoint, text, RTF, Epub, Html and image formats like BMP, JPG, GIF, Tiff, and PNG. In this case, the teacher can create and convert the homework to PDF files, combine them, and save them all in a file.

The following is the step by step guide to help the teacher.


Step 1: Since you have multiple files needed to be saved as PDF format, open your Wondershare PDFelement and click the “Combine PDF” button in the home window.

Step 2: A pop-up window will surface. Click “Add files” and add the individual homework or, better still, drag and drop the files to the window. (You can also hold down the “Ctrl” key and click the individual homework files one by one before uploading them at one time.)

Step 3: Next, click the “Save” icon on the top of the window to save the file as PDF on your computer.

Scenario 3: A teacher wants to help their student modify an essay or other kinds of writing.

Solution: Editing an annotation function of this software will be useful to the teacher in this scenario. With this program, you can edit texts, pages, images etc. You can also annotate PDF by adding comments, highlighting PDF, drawing mark-ups and adding links.

Students can also comment on one another’s work through the same process in peer editing.


To modify PDF texts on an essay, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open the Essay, then click the “Edit” tab.

Step 2: Click on “Edit Text” to edit text on the essay.

Step 3: After editing any part select file, click the “Save” button.


Other features that could be useful for the teacher include creating forms for students, filling the forms, and signing forms or sharing documents from data team or professional learning community meetings. These are easy tasks that can be done with Wondershare PDFelement.

Wondershare PDFelement is an efficient all-in-one PDF editor that can help you work with PDF documents. It is easy to use, fast, friendly user interface and above all, as a busy teacher, it is an efficient tool that will improve your work at an affordable cost.

3 Simple Ways Teachers Can Work With PDF Files

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated us via payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will be good for our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


The Padagogy Wheel – It’s Not About The Apps, It’s About The Pedagogy

PW Wheel_only_V4.1

The Padagogy Wheel – It’s Not About The Apps, It’s About The Pedagogy

by Allan Carrington, TeachThought PD Workshop Facilitator

*Visit TeachThought Professional Development if you’re interested in our workshop options on the Padagogy Wheel.

The Padagogy Wheel is designed to help educators think – systematically, coherently, and with a view to long term, big-picture outcomes – about how they use mobile apps in their teaching. The Padagogy Wheel is all about mindsets; it’s a way of thinking about digital-age education that meshes together concerns about mobile app features, learning transformation, motivation, cognitive development and long-term learning objectives.

The Padagogy Wheel, though, is not rocket science. It is an everyday device that can be readily used by everyday teachers; it can be applied to everything from curriculum planning and development, to writing learning objectives and designing centered activities. The idea is for the users to respond to the challenges that the Wheel presents for their teaching practices, and to ask themselves the tough questions about their choices and methods.

The underlying principle of the Padagogy Wheel is that it is the pedagogy that should determine our educational use of apps. It’s all very well to come across an exciting new app and to think to yourself, ‘That’s really cool, now how can I use it in the classroom?’, but what you need to do at the same time is to think about how that app might contribute to your set of educational aims for the program you are teaching. It was in fact this very concern, my desire to help teachers make good decisions as to how to make the pedagogy drive the technology, and not the other way around, that led to the birth of the Padagogy Wheel.

So how does it work?

The Padagogy Wheel brings together in the one chart several different domains of pedagogical thinking. It situates mobile apps within this integrated framework, associating them with the educational purpose they are most likely to serve. It then enables teachers to identify the pedagogical place and purpose of their various app-based learning and teaching activities in the context of their overall objectives for the course, and with reference to the wider developmental needs of their students.

Gears_largeIt’s useful to see the Wheel as providing a series of challenges and questions, a structured set of prompts asking you to reflect on your teaching, from planning to implementation. These prompts are interconnected like mechanical gears where a decision in one area often affects decisions in other areas. Consider each area as a grid through which you filter what you are doing. There are five of these grids; let’s look at each one in more detail.


1. Graduate Attributes and Capabilities

Graduate Attributes are at the core of learning design. Graduate Attributes address the long-term, enduring aims of our educational activity. They involve thinking about the type of people that emerge from our educational programs – their ethics, responsibility, and citizenship, for example – and their employability in our current and future society. Teachers must constantly revisit the way in which their programs are contributing to the development of these attributes. They need to do the hard yards of articulating what they expect a graduate of a program to “look like” i.e. what is it that a graduate is and does that we regard as successful and meets the expectations of their communities as change agents and leaders. How else can teachers help students know what transformation ‘looks like’?

Many universities around the world are constantly working on their graduate attributes and are mapping their programs to them. The blog post If you exercise these capabilities.. You will be employed! where I interviewed Prof. Geoff Scott, is really eye opening for college educators as it highlights the attributes and capabilities the CEOs in the market place want in graduates, the things they look for in hiring. If educational leaders don’t have a clear picture of the qualities and capabilities of an excellent graduate of their program, then how can teachers help students strive for excellence and to be leaders in their worlds?

Every teacher needs to look at their courses and pedagogy and ask, “How does everything I do support these attributes? Is there any way I can build content and activities that help students become ‘excellent’?”

2. Motivation

Motivation is vital to achieving the most effective learning outcomes. It is valuable for teachers to regularly ask themselves “Why am I doing this again?” That is not a joke. I am referring to the choices of learning outcomes, development of activities and design of content e.g. writing text and even making videos. So the wheel introduces a 21st century model of motivation that science has developed and is so well presented by Dan Pink in the TEDtalk “The Puzzle of Motivation“.

Thinking through the grid of Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose (AMP) and filtering everything you do from idea-creation to assessment will, I believe, significantly help your teaching be transformational. Barbi Honeycutt on her FlipIt Blog has some good ideas on how to implement Dan Pink’s AMP principles in the Flipped Classroom model.

3. Blooms Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy is really a way of helping teachers design learning objectives that require higher order thinking. You start with ‘remembering and understanding’, which is the easiest category to serve with objectives but produces the least effective outcomes in achieving transformation. When supporting teachers, I recommend they try to get at least one learning objective from each category and always push towards the domain category of Creating, where higher order thinking takes place. This is the ‘By the time you finish this workshop/seminar/lesson you should be able to. . .’  type of thinking. Only after you have developed your learning outcomes are you ready for technology enhancement.

4. Technology Enhancement

Technology Enhancement serves your pedagogy. When you choose any app or technology remember to apply the app selection criteria. The model only suggests apps that can support the learning objectives and activities at the time of publishing. The Padagogy Wheel constantly needs updating with apps as they are released. Teachers also should think customization all the time – is there a better app or tool for the job of enhancing my defined pedagogy?

5. The SAMR Model

Developed by Ruben Puentedura, the SAMR model – standing for “Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition” – is a framework that assists teachers to assess the degree to which digitally-empowered learning and teaching is (or is not) moving beyond what can be taught using analog technologies. The SAMR Model is extremely useful when considering how you are going to use the technologies you have chosen. SAMR is a widely used model with a wealth of resources online, like Kathy Schrock’s excellent SAMR resources page. A very useful perspective about SAMR is through the eyes of the students. The 3.55 min Youtube video below, subtitled for when I teach about the Padagogy Wheel in China, explains:

Take each of your activities and think through how you will use the technology for each task. Ask yourself “Does this activity just substitute (i.e. students could easily achieve the tasks without this chosen technology) or can I augment or modify the tasks to improve the activity and increase engagement?” Finally sieve your curriculum building activities and your teaching practice through the SAMR grid of Redefinition. Is there any task you can build into the activity that without the technology would not be possible?Sieve_Large copy

The history of the Padagogy Wheel

In 2012 on a teaching trip to the UK, I got the idea of putting apps around the outside of Bloom’s Taxonomy Wheel and organizing them according to his cognitive domain categories. The taxonomy was based on Kathwohl and Anderson’s (2001) adaption of Bloom (1956) and it was their work that combined Remembering and Understanding.

The first version of the Padagogy Wheel had at its core Bloom’s cognitive domain categories and teachers started their exploration of the wheel by making decisions about learning outcomes from each of those categories. They were aiming for those outcomes that promoted higher order thinking skills, in the ‘Analyse’ and ‘Create’ domains. I was the first to show 65 educational apps around the outer rim of the wheel. These apps were categorized by their strengths in helping learners reach better outcomes. I knew I was onto something useful by the requests for my permission to use this info-graphic after the seminars.

Back in Australia I thought about ‘what is good teaching’ and ‘what is its core concept’. I added Graduate Attributes and Employable Capabilities for version two, then Motivation and the SAMR Model for version three. Two years and 150,000 downloads later I updated the apps and doubled the number available per category for version four. I also added further advice on app selection criteria.

I want to issue you with a challenge

Spend time thinking through how you can apply all five of the grids to your curriculum design, lesson plans and teaching practice. Learn more about each grid and take the Padagogy Wheel out for a spin. Please share your best practice examples. I would love to hear from you.

This year an objective is to build an online resource of how teachers have used the model, showcasing best practice and including research projects. We learned from our recent trip to China that they have over 14.5 million teachers. Yes, just teachers! And they all are extremely committed to change, hungry for professional development and collaboration. Your own work on the Padagogy Wheel could help many thousands of educators in China, as well as others around the world. This will help students become excellent practitioners and graduates, leading their communities into transformational change and could make the world a better place. After all isn’t that why you became a teacher?


Two Collaborative Learning Tools I Use To Motivate Students

Derek von Waldner teaches his students on the MobyMax program at Screven County Elementary School, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015, in Sylvania, Ga. (Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Two Collaborative Learning Tools I Use To Motivate Students 

by Derek von Waldner

As many educators know, students often come into a classroom ranging below or above a certain grade level. Even the most experienced of teachers find this disparity challenging. Self-paced and differentiated learning can help strike a balance among student grade levels, but the question becomes what specific strategies will guarantee success?

In my two years of teaching fourth-grade math and science at Screven County Elementary School, I have defined success as the moment students are confident enough in a subject to help other students. Through differentiated instruction methods, I encourage students who are on the enrichment path of learning to take on a leadership role among their peers.

The use of Chromebooks in my classroom allows students to learn at different levels, even though they are in the same class. While one student may be working on fifth-grade math, another student might be working on second-grade math. The use of technology enables me to assess the progress of each student, and also identify advanced individuals who can assist others with learning. (Ed note: We currently use this Chromebook in our office and love it.)

In a nine-week period, one student advanced from a fourth-grade to 4.6. grade level. Because he understood division and fractions, I placed him as the leader of a student group with no prior knowledge of this concept. Student leaders promote a collaborative classroom environment and often motivate lower grade-level students.

In addition to the Chromebook, to identify leaders and track the learning progress of my students I also use the instructional tool MobyMax. The integrated K-8 curriculum delivers targeted instruction based on each student’s individual needs. Real-time progress monitoring enables me to track each student’s mastery of key concepts, and students stay engaged and motivated by making rapid progress, earning badges and competing in classroom contests.

Although students learn individually with MobyMax, the system also offers opportunities to organize collaborative learning. Technology engages students in peer-to-peer discussions as well as one-on-one discussions with myself as the teacher. Plus, data from MobyMax specifies which students are doing well in a given subject and which ones are struggling.

Monitoring student learning progress is essential to ensure that differentiated learning improves achievement. This information can also inform strategies for small-group instruction. I am able to organize students based on ability, balancing out those students who can act as learning leaders and those who need help from their more advanced peers. The dynamics within these small groups promote student-led discussions.

Student-led discussions work because they spark confidence in those students who are able to speak to a new subject. Lower grade-level students benefit from these discussions as well because they are often inspired by the learning ability displayed by their peers.

While many educators identify differentiated learning as a method to cope with grade-level gaps among students, I have found that implementing specific differentiated instruction strategies obtains consistent results. In my classroom, student-led learning has proven effective in improving the learning progress of the class as a whole. Students at varying abilities mutually benefit from leading one another in the learning process.

This post is sponsored content via MobyMax.

Derek von Waldner is a fourth-grade math and science teacher at Screven County Elementary School in Georgia.

Two Promote Collaborative Learning Tools I Used To Motivate Students


Free Explain Everything Lesson Ideas For Your Classroom

explain-everything-lesson-ideasFree Explain Everything Lesson Ideas For Your Classroom

by TeachThought Staff

If you use Explain Everything–or you don’t but perhaps should give it a look–there’s a free iBook of lesson ideas that you might appreciate.

First things first: Explain Everything is a whiteboard and screencasting app that is a wonderful flipped classroom companion, allowing teachers and students to access content asynchronously. Push content and let them access it. And there’s a discount for educators if you meet Apple’s criteria (which makes sense).

In the developer’s words, Explain Everything “is an easy-to-use design, screencasting, and interactive whiteboard tool that lets you annotate, animate, narrate, import, and export almost anything to and from almost anywhere. Create slides, draw in any color, add shapes, add text, and use a laser pointer. Rotate, move, scale, copy, paste, clone, and lock any object added to the stage.”

And now they’ve released an iBook with lesson ideas to use the software, because caring is sharing.


The Free iBooks With The Free Lesson Ideas Part

So the iBook then? In their words, “the Apps in the Classroom series was created by Apple to provide teachers with a few ideas on how to integrate apps into daily classroom instruction. Inspired by Apple Distinguished Educators, this book is a collection of activities that let students ages 5 to 14+ use Explain Everything to demonstrate their learning across a range of subjects.”

You can get the Explain Everything app, and the free iBook here.

Also available: Visible Thinking & Learning in Your Classroom with Explain Everything – One Day Workshop

Free Explain Everything Lesson Ideas For Your Classroom


4 Coding Resources From The Khan Academy

coding-resources-khan-fi4 Coding Resources From The Khan Academy

by TeachThought Staff

The Hour of Code–or rather, week of code that is itself composed of hours–began yesterday. There are, according to the HoC website, 75004 individual events happening worldwide, which is stunning, and good news if you believe in digital literacy.

With that in mind, below is information for coding resources from the Khan Academy.

“Beginning (December 8th), millions of children in tens of thousands of classrooms across over 150 countries will be trying out code as part of Computer Science Education Week. We want to amplify this effort. Last year, 15 million students tried computer programming for at least one hour during Computer Science Education Week on Khan Academy and other platforms.

The Hour of Code is a global movement by Computer Science Education Week and reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries through a one-hour introduction to computer science and computer programming.

Learn about the simple steps you can take to prepare your class for an hour of code the includes easy to understand interactive talk-through demonstrations fun coding challenges and a creative final project.

Hour of Drawing with Code

Hour of Drawing with Code: This hour teaches your students to program using JavaScript, one of the world’s most popular programming languages. They’ll use JavaScript to program drawings, finishing with a fun draw-a-wild-animal project. This tutorial requires good typing skills and a keyboard. Recommended ages: 10+.

Hour of Drawing with Code Blocks: This is a variant on the first tutorial, but students get to drag and drop blocks of JavaScript code instead of type. Recommended for younger students and students on tablets. Recommended ages: 8+.

Hour of Webpages

Hour of Webpages: This hour teaches your students to make their own webpages using the basics ofHTML and CSS, finishing with a holiday greeting card. Your students need good typing
skills and a keyboard to program in HTML/CSS. Recommended ages: 10+.​


Hour of Databases

Hour of Databases: This hour teaches the fundamentals of databases, which are how apps store data about users and content.
Your students will use SQL to create tables, insert data into them, and do basic querying, finishing with a project to create a database for an imaginary store. Your students need good typing skiils and a keyboard to program in SQL. Recommended ages: 12+.”

4 Hour Of Coding Resources From The Khan Academy


A Reading Comprehension Tool To Simplify Text

reading-comprehension-toolA Useful Reading Comprehension Tool To Simplify Text

by TeachThought Staff

Need a reading comprehension tool to simplify texts for students? Something practical, along the lines of our “How To Google Search by Reading Level,” and Conversion Chart For Reading Level Measurement Tools?

You may find some use in rewordify.

In short, you copy/paste text to be “simplified,” and it does its thing. It attempts to simplify the text at the vocabulary level (as opposed to syntatical, structural, or idea level). Nonetheless, when vocabulary is the barrier, it does the trick. The replacements don’t always do what they should–simplify the text to make it more readable for struggling readers, or students reading beyond their natural level. Sometimes the definitions are themselves confusing, as they add an additional cognitive movement the student has to make, internalizing this now sterile definition back into some kind of meaning.

In our brief use, we’ve found it useful in the right circumstance. You can’t copy/paste a chapter from a book and hand it to a child to read as a “modified text” that has been “personalized” for them. It’d simply make a mess of the text, and likely ruin the reading experience.

What you can do, however, is use it to simplify short excerpts for individual readers, or for a whole-class read. You can also let students use it themselves as they will, or as a model of how passages can begin to be deconstructed.

The developers explain the features of rewordify:

  • Work with all your documents in one convenient place
  • Edit and delete your documents
  • Make any document public, so anyone can find it from the search box
  • Make any document link-only, so people need a link to view it
  • Make any document private, so people need a password to view it
  • Save vocabulary lists
  • Keep track of what words you’ve learned, are learning, and want to learn, and more!

A Reading Comprehension Tool To Simplify Text


5 Tools For Teachers To Create And Publish Apps Of Their Own

create-publish-apps5 Tools For Teachers To Create And Publish Apps Of Their Own

by Viviana Woodbury,

What with the almost universal proliferation of smartphones among students, even at the elementary school level, it would seem like a no-brainer for an educator to utilize mobile apps as effective and readily-accepted learning tools. And if an educator can’t find an app that does exactly what he or she wants, the logical next step is to develop and publish their own. Besides, what else do they have to do with all the free time with which all educators are blessed?

Now that you’ve finished laughing, let’s take a realistic look at how an educator can best go about publishing an app. First of all, it’s probably pretty safe to assume that most educators lack the time, if not the technical knowledge, to develop their own apps, much less to publish them. In fact, the very notion of having to write lines and lines of code would probably send most educators in a frantic dash back to grading their students’ papers. And even if they have the knowledge and time to actually create functional apps, they would also have to find a way to make the app engaging to their students.

And the process of actually publishing the app is a whole ‘nother ball game altogether. For these reasons, this post will focus upon a few tools that prevent the busy educator from having to create the wheel before getting his or her app up and rolling. But please don’t expect this to be a comprehensive list. There are just too many different methods available, The following examples are just to get you started.

For those who lack the time, knowledge, or incentive to write their own code, there are any number of app publishing resources available. The free ones are somewhat limited in the degree to which you can customize the apps you create, or place ads in the apps you create. The free software/service companies offer their paid premium versions for those whose needs aren’t met by the no-cost version. A few examples are given below.

1. App Development Software – Ironically, some of the most highly user-rated software programs are free, either open source or proprietary. One of the most versatile of these is the open source eclipse Classic. This software enables the user to create apps for most major mobile operating systems, including Android, iOS, iPhone, as well as desktop OS’ including Windows, Linux, and Mac. While it does require coding knowledge, it offers a wide range of plugins, as well as the required editor, debugger, and version control.

2. Appmakr – Robust apps for iPhone and Android devices. Even the free version allows you to publish a test app to see your finished product before publishing it in the App Store.

3. Appypie – Highly popular, especially among those who have no interest in writing code. Not only allows you to build your apps, it automatically publishes the completed apps to the appropriate app stores.

4. Appsbar – A free, simple app maker that allows the user to create, publish, and promote your apps, including on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

5. – Cloud-based, with a drag and drop visual editor using a wide array of available components. Though the app is developed in the cloud, the finished apps can also be exported and hosted elsewhere.

Of course, there are many other options, as well as other software and cloud-based services for educators who are comfortable writing their own code and handling the submission process directly through the various app stores, such as Google and Apple’s App Store. The only real limitations upon what you can do are your own level of expertise, how much time you are willing to devote to the process, and what you can spend.

In the end, a well designed and published app can be a useful tool that will go a long way toward engaging your students and inspiring them to learn the skills they will need as they continue their academic and professional careers.

Viviana Woodbury is a freelance writer and blog junkie from She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to; 5 Tools For Teachers To Create And Publish Apps Of Their Own


20 Ways To Use Edmodo In The Classroom

ways-to-use-edmodo-in-classroom20 Ways To Use Edmodo In The Classroom

Using edmodo in the classroom isn’t rocket science.

Edmodo is essentially an education-focused social media platform. This makes it much less of a headache to use in schools compared to twitter, Google+, or other more popular sites that bring with them various real-world hangnails. You share messages, post documents, and form groups to collaborate.

The presentation below from seyfert6 offers 20 specific ways to get your classroom started, from allowing planning committees to meet digitally, to gathering project-based learning materials or sub plans. If this is not blocked in your district, you may find it useful.

20 Ways To Use Edmodo In The Classroom

1. Student writing projects

2. Role-playing and reenactment

3. Backchannel discussions

4. Language practice

5. Grammar and punctuation

6. Communicate with parents

7. Books clubs

8. Mobile learning

9. Sick days & extended leave

10. Teacher collaboration

11. Planning committees

12. Tutoring and tutor communication

13. Project-based learning

14. Reading critique

15. Co-teaching

16. Substitute teaching hub

17. Science probes

18. RSS feeds

19. School clubs

20. Alumni groups

20 Ways to Use Edmodo from seyfert6; 20 Ways To Use Edmodo In The Classroom

112 Diverse Elementary School Apps For iPad

diverse-elementary-apps-for-ipad112 Diverse Elementary School Apps For iPad

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112 Elementary School Apps For iPad


10 Geography Games For Learning

geography-games-for-learning10 Geography Games For Learning (Across 6 Different Platforms)

Can your North American students locate Iraq on a map of the world? If the answer is yes, then they are in the minority according to a National Geographic survey.

The same survey found that 20 percent of young Americans think that Sudan is in Asia, and 48 percent think that the majority of the population in India is Muslim. American students consistently fall short when it comes to knowledge of geography. In fact, the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress rated less than a third of American students proficient in the subject area.

Educators in traditional and online schools can help boost the numbers by ensuring that geography is exciting and fun to learn, a feat that is made easier with the right tools. Here are nine educational geography video games for enlivening your lessons and raising your students’ geography IQ. While not as up-to-date as many of their math and science counterparts, it’s a start, yes?

ClueFinders: 4th Grade Adventures (PC and Mac)

Produced by The Learning Company, ClueFinders is a collection of educational software designed for children ages 8 to 12. In 4th Grade Adventures, kids solve puzzles and collect clues to stop an evil archaeologist. The game covers a number of different subjects, so while geography is not its sole focus, there are learning activities around U.S. states and cities and some major cities around the world.

GeoCycle USA (PC and Mac)

Targeting students 8 to 12 years old, GeoCycle, from EdVenture Software, invites players to travel across the U.S. on a flying GeoCycle. The game helps build map-reading and navigation skills while teaching states and their capitals, as well as rivers, deserts, bodies of water, mountains and some well-known sites. The game includes photographs and simple maps that help younger children become more familiar with the U.S.

GeoGuessr (Browser)

Developed by Swedish IT professional Anton Wallen, GeoGuessr provides visuals from around the world using Google Maps’ street view. The game shows an unidentified scene and invites players to guess where it is by placing a marker on a world map. Students can make guesses based on terrain, road signs and other clues, and score points based on how close their guesses are.

GeoNet (Browser)

GeoNet, an online game produced by Houghton Mifflin Social Studies, invites players to choose a U.S. region or continent and quizzes players on a variety of topics, including spacial information, physical and human characteristics, physical systems, humans and the environment, and more. A nice feature of this site is that when the questions are answered correctly, a balloon pops up offering more information on the topic.

I Love the USA (PC and Mac)

Designed for children ages 6 to 9, I Love the USA, from Global Software Publishing, invites players to find “Joe,” who has left clues around the U.S. as to his whereabouts. The game has numerous interactive features, such as a train that provides help information, an interactive weather mobile, and a variety of quizzes and puzzles. Players can visit major landmarks, track weather across the country and learn to identify states by shape.

Learn Geography (Nintendo DS)

Produced by DreamCatcher, Learn Geography offers a challenging way for students to learn about countries and people all over the world. The software includes educational quizzes and a number of mini games such as City Search and Paint the Flag, but its central game is a global treasure hunt, in which players solve geography clues that tell them where to fly next.

Mission Possible World Geography (PC and Mac)

Designed for ages 12 and up, this game from EdVenture features a spy theme. Players have to answer world geography questions in order to advance to the International Weather Research Base to save the world from global warming. Questions appear in multiple formats, and the primary focus is the location of countries, states and capitals, major cities, famous sites, and some topographic features.

National Geographic Challenge (Nintendo Wii)

From Ignition Entertainment, National Geographic Challenge uses the format of a game show to explore the world through geography and history. Best suited for multiple players (up to four), you can choose your level of difficulty. Stunning videos and rich educational content make this a visual and intellectual feast.

National Geographic: Kids Geography Games (Browser)

Less visually powerful but with a more accessible platform, the National Geographic website offers an assortment of games for kids, and its geography section has about a dozen on various topics. Particularly recommended is Go West with Lewis and Clark, which has players help make decisions during the expedition, and has links to more information and excerpts from their journal.

Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? (PC and Facebook)

Supervillain Carmen Sandiego runs an international crime ring, and players in this game from Encore Software are enlisted to help recover the stolen goods. Players follow clues relating to 50 countries around the world and can challenge themselves with puzzles and mind teasers. Designed for ages 8-12, the game is now largely played on Facebook, making it a good choice for online schooling.

Gaming has become a vital part of the modern classroom, and with good reason. Students respond favorably to gaming in any setting and can become motivated to learn when the right educational video games are introduced. Use these video games to motivate, inspire and engage your students as they soak in valuable geography knowledge.

Margaret Brewster is a freelance writer and non-profit consultant. She is a contributor at

The Future Of Learning

21 Smart Games For Game-Based Learning


21 Smart Games For Game-Based Learning

by TeachThought Staff

Game-Based Learning is a slippery beast.

For one, it promotes students playing video games, which is somewhat radical in many learning environments for anything other than recreation.

And two, there is seemingly a disconnect between what students learn while playing games (e.g., problem-solving, visual-spatial thinking, collaboration, resource management), and the pure academic standards most teachers are interested promoting mastery of.

In the middle, there is a simple truth that few things are as engaging–for adults and students alike–as a well-designed video game, which might just make the following list of smart, “learning games” curated by Sam Gliksman useful to you.

If you’re looking for somewhere to start, might we suggest Scribblenauts, Civilization Revolution, and Monster Physics?

21 Smart Games For Game-Based Learning

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4 Graphic Designs Apps For Students


4 Graphic Designs Apps For Students

by TeachThought Staff

Graphic design students require a variety of tools in their arsenal at all times, ranging from high-end laptops to smartphones.

Most K-12 schools and higher-ed institutions, however, are focusing on the use of tablets. This is because designers are now able to use more of a ‘free hand’ in tablet use due to the availability of additional screen space. This is especially helpful in item personalization and logo branding, for mechanical engineering or other commercial products, and perhaps most of all web design.

App development for tablets has surged in recent years, so you now have plenty of opportunities to take advantage. If you’re a graphic design student looking for some educational apps for your tablet related to your subject, here’s a list to help you out:

4 Graphic Designs Apps For Students

1. SketchBook Pro

Many of those who’ve used this app have purported it to be the best out there for graphic designer to create custom designs through painting and drawing. The app comes with a streamlined user interface and sophisticated drawing tools that are easy to use. You can create large canvas and set the layers dynamically.

There’s also an option to zoom up to 2500%. You’ll find more than 60 preset brush options which include diverse options such as markers, pens and pencils.  Stamps brushes and brushes are 90 in number additionally. Layers can be reordered, bended, duplicated and adjusted for visibility. You can import them from the photo library as well as the camera. Students will also be presented with event news through the build in sports panel. SketchBook Pro is available for both iOS and Android.

2. iMockups

iMockups is another great app for graphic designers and it allows them to make wireframes and custom mockups directly on the screen. There are several built-in templates pre-loaded which can be used and customized. The user can also clone them or copy particular features from the templates across different pages.

Students who need to come up with ideas and brainstorm at particular times can use iMockups for the purpose. A single finger can be used to access the elements while double fingers can be used for panning the canvas. You can even manage multiple projects at once and the project viewer allows you to navigate through them flawlessly. iMockUps is available for iPad.

3. PixelCalc

This app is quite effective for graphic designers whether they’re designing something for digital media or traditional media. If you want to transform inches into pixels or want to do it the other way around, PixelCalc will do the honors for you.

You get a proportional calculator on downloading the app. This calculator finds out exactly how much reduction of an image or artwork is required. You can resize anything using this calculator without sacrificing the originality of proportions. You also get reference charts such as shutter speed charts and print sizes chart.

PixelCalc is available for both iOS and Android tablets.

4. Color Pal

This is one of the free apps available for graphic design students. Through Color Pal, you’ll be able to select from a variety of color palettes for the project. If you’re too busy to brainstorm and find out the color combinations that will make your design stand out from the rest, this app will be your buddy and do the selection for you.

You’ll also find color values HEX, CMYK and RGB. All of them can be e-mailed quickly for any references required. Color Pal is used by both professionals and students and is available for Android.

Graphic designing and other educational apps will continue to grow as institutes introduce students to digital devices for creative learning.

John Walker is a community manager for ooShirts, a custom t-shirt design company focused on creativity and design for custom shirts. Jim has been involved in the marketing, design, and printing of shirts for quite some time as his interest in the business of fashion led him into the personalized shirt business.


5 Less-Known iPad Apps For The Flipped Classroom

Flipped Classroom Summary Image

Nothing can replace the physical presence of a teacher. But with so much technology available these days, some teachers and professors are choosing a different way to structure their classes by flipping them.

A flipped classroom occurs when a teacher flips the traditional class method (lectures taught in class, homework done at home) to allow students to watch lectures at home and do homework and activities in class. This enables the teacher to assist in the application of the lessons instead of teaching the lesson in person. But this doesn’t mean the teacher abandons the student and says “you’re on your own from here.” Many teachers and professors are using a number of different apps to teach students the lesson material or enable them to learn it on their own.

Here are just five iPad apps you can use to flip your classroom.

1.) ScreenChomp

The free ScreenChomp app lets you create video lectures with an iPad and post them on the ScreenChomp website for your students, where they can then download the recordings as MPEG-4 files. The app looks like a whiteboard and allows you to mark it up, post images or scroll through. This takes place in the form of a video, in which you can record your voice as you’re putting things up on the whiteboard. Students can also use ScreenChomp to help each other, just in case someone doesn’t understand the material and could use some additional help from a peer.

2.) Explain Everything

Explain Everything is an iPad app that costs $2.99. The app lets you photograph an assignment or note page and mark it up while recording your voice to a video. It’s similar to ScreenChomp but differs in that you can post the video lecture to YouTube, import or export nearly anything and use a laser pointer.

3.) Knowmia Teach

Like ScreenChomp and Explain Everything, Knowmia Teach is an iPad app that lets you create a whiteboard video. What sets this free app apart from similar apps is that it allows you to record a video of yourself as you navigate the whiteboard. You’ll appear in the corner of the screen so students can seen you while you’re putting text or drawings up on the whiteboard. The app also lets you to use several whiteboards to separate each step of your lesson. Overall, Knowmia Teach enables you to create a more personalized lesson.

4.) Doodlecast Pro

Doodlecast Pro is the perfect iPad app if you’re in a hurry to put together a lesson or if you want the simplest process possible. This app, which costs $2.99, lets you record your voice as you draw or write whatever you want. The lesson then instantly saves to your camera roll, where you can easily share it via email, Dropbox and YouTube. The app supports multiple pages and features a rewind button, to not only play back a lesson but also undo and redo anything at any moment. It doesn’t get much easier or more convenient than that.

5.) Doceri

The free Doceri iPad app allows you to put together hand-drawn lessons while recording your voice. What sets it apart from other apps on this list is that it’s interactive, meaning you can edit a lesson at any time. You don’t have to draw and speak all at once — you can add an audio file at any point. And if a student has a question about the lecture the next day in class, you can control your computer using your iPad and connect it to a projector. If necessary, you can change parts of the lecture right there in front of the class, so they can reference it later. Otherwise, you can share the lectures via Facebook, YouTube and over email.

With so many wonderful apps, the flipped classroom model becomes simple for both teachers and students. You can now focus your entire attention in helping your students apply the knowledge they’ve acquired in your lectures. That’s when they probably most need your help, anyway, and it allows you to get more one-on-one time than speaking to all of them at once. It’s truly a win-win situation that a number of teachers are implementing in schools all over.

Jon Fortenbury is an Austin-based freelance writer who specializes in higher education. He’s been published by the likes of the Huffington Post and USA Today College. Check out his blog on education and other topics.


30 Of The Best Flipped Classroom Tools


by edshelf: Reviews & recommendations of tools for education

Jake Duncan is technology integration specialist at Region 6 Education Service Center and actively curates tools for educators on edshelf. He also blogs regularly on technology and education.

Here are a set of websites, mobile apps, and desktop applications that can be used to create a flipped classroom environment. It includes standbys like Camtasia and Jing, two desktop apps for creating videos, as well as newcomers like Educreations, ShowMe, and Knowmia Teach to help you create instructional videos on iPads.

Jake also suggests other helpful nuggets, including the screen-sharer ScreenChomp, remote desktop controller Doceri, SMS messenger Celly, and the free social network Sophia.

What tools do you use for your flipped classroom?

30 Flipped Classroom Tools From edshelf

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Image attribution flickr user audiolucistore


25 Top Concept-Mapping Tools For Learning


25 Top Concept-Mapping Tools For Learning

by TeachThought Staff

Concept-mapping–or mind-mapping, idea-mapping, or some other variation that makes sense to you–is the practice of demonstrating the relationship between ideas in a map-like form.

Concept-mapping allows creators to articulate nuance, context, and interdependence between ideas in a very user-centered way. This makes them especially useful in education, whether you use them for pre-writing, research notes, or “back-mapping” a unit or unit assessment. They encourage macro-thinking, can provide a bridge to struggling writers who have trouble turning their thinking into prose, and are a powerful tool for visual learning.

In short, a well-done concept-map communicates the full context and nuance of an idea cleanly and visually, which can lead to other more in-depth study, such as extended research, expository writing, Socratic discussions, and other “academic actions” and literacy strategies.

Which makes the following list of 25 top concept-mapping (er, mind-mapping) tools helpful for teachers and students alike.

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25 Top Concept-Mapping Tools For Learning


46 Tools To Make Infographics In The Classroom


Infographics are interesting–a mash of (hopefully) easily-consumed visuals (so, symbols, shapes, and images) and added relevant character-based data (so, numbers, words, and brief sentences).

The learning application for them is clear, with many academic standards–including the Common Core standards–requiring teachers to use a variety of media forms, charts, and other data for both information reading as well as general fluency. It’s curious they haven’t really “caught on” in schools considering how well they bridge both the old-form textbook habit of cramming tons of information into a small space, while also neatly overlapping with the dynamic and digital world.

So if you want to try to make infographics–or better yet have students make them–where do you start? The 46 tools below, curated by Faisal Khan, are a good place to start. And with the sheer quantity and variety–from sources of data and models to tools that create them (including our personal favorite, piktochart), you can almost certainly find something to use in your classroom that’s not too pricey, that works for your grade level, and that isn’t blacked by your district’s incredibly frustrating filter.

Ed note: The original list has somehow become corrupted, so we’ve substituted the following list–only 36 tools, but the best of the bunch–visually, pikotchart, easely, etc.–are still here. If/when we can recreate the original list, we’ll do so, and delete this preface.

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Quixey | The Search Engine for Apps


The evolution of app searching, cataloging and curation is here.

There are hundreds of app review sites, software stores and many other places on the internet where you can search for apps and software applications. The problem is that while many sites promise fast search and app indexing most fail miserably at satisfying the needs of busy connected educators. The ones looking for educational apps, software and tools without having to spend too much time browsing a site.

That is where Quixey comes in as an intelligent search engine that allows you to search for Mobile Apps, Desktop Applications, Browser Add-Ons, Extensions and Webapps. The best thing about this search engine is the ability to narrow down searches by mobile device type whether it be Android, Blackberry, iPad, iPhone or Windows Phone.

The Desktop applications search category looks for the usual suspects in Mac and Windows, while the Browser Category search for Add-On’s and Extensions for all major browsers. Targeted searches for webapps look for both native and Salesforce webapps and that is a bonus. Search results are broken down by free and paid apps and clicking the thumbnails for search returns open an expanded detail view with a download link for the selected application. To learn more about Quixey head over to their website to give it a try.

I have made a short video to demonstrate how to use this amazing web tool. Please “Like” this video and hit “Subscribe” on my YouTube channel to receive links of new videos.