It’s the Monday Morning Roundup, and here’s a list of educational resources I’ve come across over the last week. In terms of apps, even if you only have one iPad in your classroom, you can connect your iPad up to a SmartBoard to use apps with the whole class. This is particularly useful when introducing a unit or wrapping one up.
1. Lesson Planning Resources – This week, the topic of digital lesson planning came up a number of times for me. I am not going to do a detailed review of each resource because lesson planning is very personal. Depending on grade level and subject area, different teachers prefer different formats. Here are some links to digital lesson planning sites and apps for your own review. Planbook, Planbook Touch by Hellmansoft, Hellmansoft, and Planbookedu. They range in price from free to $35 a year. While there are a number of other apps out there, most have received mixed reviews, and I’m hesitant to post them here. They are easy to find, however, if you go to the App Store and type in “lesson plan” in the search box.
2. Crash Course! – A series of videos on YouTube hosted by brothers John and Hank Green, these videos are usually around 10 minutes long and cover topics in both world history and biology. John Green is a popular novelist of young adult fiction, and the videos are very appealing to middle and high school students because of their fast pace, humor, and imagery. (Shout out to Becca and Tori for introducing me to this one. :))
3. Dickens’ Dark London – This app is a project of the Museum of London. It’s an interactive book based on the works of Charles Dickens, specifically based on his Sketches by Boz. Narrated by Mark Strong, the text appears alongside graphic novel illustrations in black and white. The part I like best is the ability to tap on an illustration and learn about the history behind Dickens’ stories and London in particular. Primary documents are embedded within short explanations of the realities of London in the nineteenth century. In addition, you can use a scroll button to go from an 1862 map of London all the way to a present-day map of London, giving students a visualization of how London has changed over time. Downloading the app is free and comes with the first short sketch. After that, each of the other four sketches is available for $1.99 a piece. I haven’t downloaded any but the first free one, but if I was an English teacher covering Dickens, I might use this app to introduce Dickens to the students and perhaps create an assessment that tied in the graphic novel aspect in some way.
4. Nova Elements – A lot of people know about the app The Elements: A Visual Experience. It’s an awesome app, but it costs $6.99. If you want a free alternative check out Nova Elements. It has an interactive periodic table and a game that allows students to “build” the elements as well as basic everyday products like plastic and caffeine. There’s also a series of videos hosted by David Pogue called “Hunting the Elements.”
5. Art Authority for iPad – I have not actually bought this app yet, but it is on my wish list. It was awarded the “Best iPad Reference App of 2011.” It includes over 1,000 works of art from the Western world, from ancient to modern times. The art works are categorized into 8 specific time periods. There is both a search tool and a comparison tool. You can zoom in on the art work to get a closer view. I think this could be incredibly useful for any teacher who incorporates art into the curriculum no matter the specific subject area. You can easily take a screenshot of the art work and add it to a Keynote or PowerPoint presentation. (FYI – To take a screenshot on your iPad, hold down the home button at the same time as you hold down the on/off button and release. The screen will go white. Check your photos and the image should be there.) The app is $4.99.
6. Internet History Sourcebook – This website has been around for a very long time, but it has been such a help to me in my own work that I wanted to post a link just in case there’s someone out there who hasn’t heard of it yet. A project of Fordham University, the IHS is “a collection of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented cleanly (without advertising or excessive layout) for educational use.” There are historical texts from ancient, medieval, and modern history. There’s also “subsidiary” sourcebooks on African history, Asian history, Islamic history, women’s history, and the history of science among others.
7. Londinium – This is another app put out by the Museum of London and the History Channel, and I think it’s probably best used with middle school students or younger. The app begins with a map of London, and just like the Dark London app, students can scroll through time and see the growth of London from the time of the Roman occupation to today. Embedded within the map are red and purple pins. The purple pins are excavation pins. Students click on the pins, rub their fingers across the iPad, and a real Roman artifact from London appears. A short blurb describes the artifact and places it within context. The red pins designate sound clips, illustrations, and short video clips about London during the Roman era. The app is free.
8. National Geographic World Atlas HD – If you have a subscription to Stratalogica or something similar, then you don’t need this app. But if not, this app is worth checking out. High-definition maps, good zooming abilities, and an easy distance calculator make this app a lot of fun. By holding your finger on any country in the world, you pull up an information window with tons of information about that country such as demographic data, exports and imports, GDP, and type of government. In addition, you can download maps to use even when you are not connected to the Internet. This app is $1.99.