What a Loser #9: 30 Hands

Posted on March 27, 2014 in Apps and Applications,iPads by Lisa Suhr

20140325-140305.jpgLoser #9 from our iPad March Madness is a nifty little app called 30 Hands. You know how you always have your favorite team in the NCAA tournament who you hope makes it all the way to the finals and you’re just sick when they get out early???? Well that is how I felt when I looked at the scores from this match up and realized that 30 Hands hand been knocked out of the running!!!

This app integrates with the iPad’s camera and microphone to create a final product that is a narrated slides how that exports as a movie file. If you ever used PhotoStory as a software, it sort of reminds me of that. I have proposed using this in an “app smashing” project using Haiku Deck to create images with text (because 30 Hands does NOT do text), with good results. Here is a link to a project one of our third grade classes did creating homemade bread, snapping pics during the process and writing and recording a narration to go with it. The end “movie” product was uploaded by their teacher to her YouTube account and then embedded in a webpages shared on our district’s website.


The 30 Hands app has great potential for documenting science products, giving an end product option for research, creation of public service announcements, and lots of ways for English/Language arts standards to be covered. I’m excited to see what kinds of projects our students start to do with this app when we are fully deployed 1:1 and teachers get more familiar with it!

What a Loser #8: Educreations

Posted on March 27, 2014 in Apps and Applications,iPads by Lisa Suhr


Educreations was another app I was sad to see go out early in our iPad App March Madness competition. It is a screen casting app with quite a bit of flexibility, especially considering it is a free app. It has a white board background onto which the user can draw, type, insert images, etc. It also integrates with the microphone on yry iPad so that y can record audio narration to go with the visuals. Teachers can use this app for screen casting lessons. Teachers who want to try a bit of classroom flipping where homework becomes the watching of a screencast so that class time can be spent on deeper instruction, activity, or discussions might like to try Educreations. If y have access to 1:1 iPads, try having students use Educreations to demonstrate what they have learned through the creation of their own screencast. (Takes making a poster to a whole new level!!)  Visit the Educrations website for more ideas about how other teachers are using this cool app!

What a Loser #7: Mastery Connect Standards Apps

Posted on March 22, 2014 in Apps and Applications,iPads by Lisa Suhr

20140321-064839.jpgAs part of our continuing iPad App March Madness promotion, I’m featuring the “losers” from our March Madness bracket as they are eliminated. The losing apps featured in this post are useful for teachers, but I consider them more of a teacher tool as opposed to a toll that students would use or that would really allow “modification or redefinition” of classroom tasks. This last statement refers back to the SAMR model that represents the way new technology impacts the classroom. The researcher behind this model claims that the normal progression is for new technology to simply become a SUBSTITUTE  for a task that was before done without technology. Accessing the standards on paper flip chart is certainly an option so, this app could fall into this type of task…the classroom isn’t really changed because of the use of this app. The task of teacher accessing the standards isn’t really much different. The A in the SAMR model is for AUGMENTATION. A slightly higher level of technology impact happens when the task is augmented in some way by the use if the technology. One could argue that these apps do augment the accessing of the standards because it is handy to have them in a tapable, scrollable, format that doesn’t require the teacher to lug around a 3-inch binder or flip chart. However, beyond that, these apps really can’t fall into the MODIFICATION or REDEFINITION categories of the SAMR model. In both of these levels, what students are asked to do in the classroom should change in some way. Either the teachers modifies a task in a way that was impossible to do with trout the use of the new technology or redefines the task completely because of things that are possible with the technology that were not previously possible. So while we hope that technology is allowing students in our classrooms to experience modification and redefinition of tasks, it is unlikely that these particular apps will be the cause of it! They are certainly still useful, though, and I hope you’ll check them out.

20140321-070012.jpg When you open the Common Core Language Arts and Math app, you’ll be presented with the choice of subject matter then grade level to select the standards list that you want to view.

20140321-070141.jpg Once you’re in the correct standards list, the screen operates in a split screen design where the standard displays in full on the right when you select it on the left. The Next Generation Science Standards app works generally the same way with a small variation.



When you first open the NGSS app, you are presented with the various ways these standards can be viewed. This can be a little confusing the first time you look at the standards until you have a discussion about the way your state is choosing to set up their standards.

After ch20140321-070714.jpgoosing the view you want, select the grade level and then you’ll see the familiar split screen view with the standard displayed on the right. A nice addition to the NGSS is the cross-curricular links to the appropriate ELA and Math standards if one exists for each standard you view.

The SAMR model links in this post are to Kathy Schrock’s post on the topic.  I love how she explains things and regularly follow her blog and work.  If you’ve never checked her out, please do!  If you’re really interested in Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s work with the SAMR model, his own web presence is found at

What a Loser #6: Puppet Pals

Posted on March 20, 2014 in Apps and Applications,iPads by Lisa Suhr

As part 20140321-060435.jpgof our continuing iPad App March Madness promotion, I’m featuring the “losers” from our March Madness bracket as they are eliminated. I must admit a small tear came to my eye as I realized that Puppet Pals had been eliminated. This is one of the most flexible, creative apps with tons of cross curricular opportunities for content creation by students. I have had teachers use it to work on reading fluency as they created shows using Readers Theater scripts, high school Spanish students recorded fairy tales in Spanish, a counselor used it to have students record social shows to reinforce what they had learned about bullying . . .several applications for use when you are willing to let kids show what they know by creating something for you.

Puppet Pals is super easy to learn to use but here are a few annotated screen shots to give you a crash course. The first steps are to allow the app to access your microphone when you open it the first time. If you tell it no when it asks, you will have to manually adjust your privacy settings on the iPad to allow it or it won’t let you record. Not the end of the world, but a bit of a hassle. Then begin the actual show by selecting up to 8 characters and up to 5 backgrounds to switch between while you’re recording.

20140321-060806.jpgRemember that “characters are anything that needs to. One on and off the stage during your show. If a story has an important object, consider making it a character even though it may not need to speak. For example, a group of second graders were telling a story that had a gold ring as a main part of the story, I took off my wedding ring and they snapped a picture of it to use as a “character” in the story. Which reminds me that another important feature that y get if you upgrade to the very worthwhile “Directors Pass” (which you can do as an in-app purchase), is use the camera to shoot pictures of your own characters and backdrops. Pretty engaging when kids take pictures of one another and then write a script to record using this app!

20140321-061250.jpg After you select the characters, you get to pick up to five backdrops to use. Again, you can pick from the several included or you can use the camera to shoot your own. You can record shows set in your own school, on the playground, or using student art work. One fourth grade class I saw made 3-D diaramas of each part of the story and snapped the pictures of them for the backdrops…what a great way to continue to encourage artistic expression yet still take advantages of digital age writing and publishing.

20140321-061555.jpg This last screenshot is just a shot of the recording screen with some annotations showing what the various controls are. Once you have a recording that you’re happy with, save your show. Later it can exported as a regular movie file to the photo roll for posting to the web, or using in another video editing app. Enjoy looking at a few old samples of student projects made using Puppet Pals:

Fourth Grade Project from 2012

More Fourth Grade from 2012 

2nd Grade Readers Theater Project from 2012


What a Loser #5: StoryKit

Posted on March 20, 2014 in Apps and Applications,iPads by Lisa Suhr

As part of our continuing iPad App March Madness promotion, I’m featuring the “losers” from our March Madness bracket as they are eliminated. Story Kit was certainly one of my pics to make it out of the first round brackets. But it was paired against Socrative Teacher/Student, the well-known and popular “clicker” app that can be used for formative assessments. StoryKit is more of a creative app, so they were two very different competitors. The results of this match up showed how popular both apps are, with a StoryKit only losing this match by one vote. It’s a good thing we had an odd number of votes . . .I didn’t have plans in place for how to break a tie if one occurred!20140320-164347.jpg

StoryKit is actually an iPhone app, so if you are looking for it in the App Store, you may have to work a little harder to find it on your iPad. But if you want students to create and record, this app does it all! Want to take photos and use them to tell a story or write a report? The app is fully integrated with the iPad camera. It also has tools to add text, simple drawing tools, and accesses the iPad’s microphone to allow for audio recording.  You can add pages to the story you are creating to make a book that can be shared online with a simple tap that creates a shareable link.

Users will want to be aware of two quirks to this app, though. The first: since it is an iPhone app it only operates in the portrait view, meaning you cannot use the wide-style keyboard for typing.  The second thing to be aware of, is that the text you write is not visible when you are using the recording tool. So if you want to record word for word what you’ve typed, you’ll need a pretty good memory, or you’ll have to write it out on paper. Ugh.

I’ve seen lots of first graders use this app with great delight and great success. Sometimes they draw their own pictures on paper and then take the camera picture of their own art work to put into their book! Sometimes they bring family pictures from home, lay them on their desks and snap  pictures of the pictures!! You can see some examples of student projects using this app at these pages on our website:

Foods I Like 

Christmas Stories

What a Loser #4: Tellagami

Posted on March 17, 2014 in Apps and Applications,iPads by Lisa Suhr

As part of our continuing iPad App March Madness promotion, I’m featuring the “losers” from our March Madness bracket as they are eliminated.  The Tellagami app is one I was surprised to see get eliminated so early in our competition, but I think not many folks have thought about it as an educational tool.

This screenshot shows some of the options available as you edit your “gami” to create the right background and character including the character’s clothing, skin tone, hair styles and eye color. After the setting and character are set, the recording tool can be used to record your own audio, or you can enter typed text to generate an computer spoken audio. I wrote about Tellagami in a earlier blog post I wrote for a digital differentiation class I was preparing. You can see a video made with Tellagami and embedded into a blogpost  by clicking here. 

What a Loser #3: Groovy Grader

Posted on March 17, 2014 in Apps and Applications,iPads by Lisa Suhr

As part of our continuing iPad App March Madness promotion, I’m featuring the “losers” from our March Madness bracket as they are eliminated. Our third “loser” featured is Groovy Grader. This simple app is pretty useful if a teacher still does traditional style assignments and grading. for many years as a young teacher I had a sliding paper grader that you could adjust for the number of questions on the assignment. On one side you could see the percentages for each number of correct answers and on the other side you you’ll see the percentages for each number of wrong answers. This app is basically a digital version of this tool. Here is a sort of poor picture of my old EZ Grader:


Here is one more quick screenshot from Groovy Grader with the number of possible answers on the assignment set to 27. I also opened the settings (often indicated in an app with a small icon of a gear, but in this app they are found under the small letter “i.”


What a Loser #2: Popplet Lite

Posted on March 17, 2014 in Apps and Applications,iPads by Lisa Suhr

20140317-122619.jpgAs part of our continuing iPad App March Madness promotion, I’m featuring the “losers” from our March Madness bracket as they are eliminated.  Loser #2 is Popplet Lite.

Popplet Lite is a free app that can be used for any web-styled graphic organizing you need to do. A single entry on the web is called a “popple” and can quickly be made by double clicking anywhere on the screen. As you can see from the screen shot on the left, popples can contain text, photos, drawings–just about anything you want. You can adjust their size, location, color and connections to other Popples as well. Once the Popplet is done, you can export the creation as a PDF that can be emailed or like I did for this we article, y can take a screenshot that saves to your iPad’s photos as an image. The free version doesn’t allow for unlimited usage, so you’ll have to keep the account cleaned out as you use it more and more. Here is a link that references some Popplet projects done by Wetmore second graders as part of their study of important African Americans earlier this year:  http://www.usd113.org/vnews/display.v/SEC/Wetmore%20Academic%20Center%7CStudent%20News.

Another tech integrationist put together a couple of nice tutorial pages on this app.  You can see his work and learn a little more about using Popplet here: https://sites.google.com/a/franklin.k12.wi.us/ipad-bingo/popplet

What a Loser #1: Google Earth

Posted on March 9, 2014 in Apps and Applications,iPads by Lisa Suhr

As part of our iPad App March Madness, I will be spotlighting each of the losing apps as they get eliminated throughout the month of March with a “What a Loser” post here on my blog. I’ll try to give some screenshots, some links to instructional ideas for the app, and maybe a link to student projects if we have some for the losing app. During this second week of March there will be eight “losers” featured.

Our first featured March Madness “Loser” is Google Earth.

Google Earth in the App Store: (Price: Free)
Click to “buy” Google Earth for your iPad.

Outside links you might find useful:

YouTube Tutorial on Using the Google Earth Apps


Because Google Earth is a Google product, if you have a GMail account, you actually have an account to save Google Earth projects at http://www.google.com/earth/ The app allows you to use Google Earth on an iPad and if you have projects saved, access them as well. Pinch and zoom features when the iPad is connected to the Internet allow you to zoom in on a location. Play with various overlays to look at things like roads, buildings, and map boarders. Rotate the earth to change views. Be sure to look at the link above to the LiveBinder resource with lots of instructional ideas for using Google Earth.

iPad App March Madness 2014

Posted on March 1, 2014 in Apps and Applications,iPads by Lisa Suhr

I love basketball as much as the next person. In fact I spent a lot of hours as a kid out on our patio shooting hoops with my neighbor because his dad, Coach Baldridge, or JB to those of us who loved him best, sent him up to make me shoot! But each year during March Madness I get a little tired of all the talk of who has the best defense, who has the most players in double digits each game, who’s juniors might forego their senior year to head straight to the NBA, and on and on! So this year, I’m proposing an alternate bracket for these discussions: A head to head vote-based competition between some of the favorite iPad apps that are being used in our district right now!

I’ve chosen 16 apps that I know are being used with enthusiasm here and there in the district, and I have pitted them (very un-scientifically) against one another in a head-to-head bracket. Each week of March, there will be a Google Form emailed to staff to submit their votes, and I’ll update the bracket. If there’s an app in the running that you haven’t used, you might want to find it in the app store (they’re all free) and give it a whirl! If you have a favorite app that you want to see win the competition, generate some discussion and tell your colleagues why they, too, should vote for your favorite! You can see a portion of the bracket in the image below (drag the image around to see different parts), but use this link to visit the entire bracket online: http://brkc.co/3541

At the end of March, the winning app will get a featured entry highlighting it here on my blog, and I might even create a video featuring how to use it and what it brings to the classroom!

Think I left off an app that should have been in the running? Leave a comment on the blog and tell folks why so it can be included in next year’s iPad App March Madness!

Updates every minute – View full tournament

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