Dare I Say It?

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Dare I say it has almost been a year since my last post! I have been busy (aren’t we all). Consumed in my classroom, learning new skills and strategies for tackling the Common Core in a special education classroom, I have neglected to keep this blog in action. The truth is, I have been on the verge of a decision, should I scrap the site and start a new? I decided recently, I would rather not. We are all a work in progress and this blog is a perfect example of my “work in progress” as an educator. From day one, just starting the blog, not knowing exactly where it was going to take me, to transitioning with a purpose, Technology and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing classroom, to iPads and apps in the classroom and now, to the Common Core State Standards and practices with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing population. That is right, the blog is once again taking a turn.

It is no new news that the country has embarked on an effort to standardize K-12 instruction through the development of the Common Core State Standards initiative. Since its inception, 45 states, the District of Columbia, 4 territories and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the standards for English Language Arts (CCSS-ELA) and Math (CCSS-Math) (http://www.corestandards.org/in-the-states).

In August, 2010, California Board of Education Adopted (CABOE) the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science,  and Technical Subjects (CCSS-ELA). However, since that time, most professional development opportunities focused on the hearing population of students. For this reason, in 2011, California State University, Northridge (CSUN), Los Angeles County Office of Education and LA Unified School District received a grant from the CABOE to provide professional development to teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. This grant is called Enhancing Quality with Teachers of Students  who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (EQTDHH). I had the wonderful opportunity to participate.

A total of 25 teachers and administrators from the LA service area began a 2 year endeavor to decode and implement the CCSS-ELA in our daily classroom instruction. Teachers came together from variety classroom settings. Some were itinerant, some oral, some TC, some ASL. We also spanned a variety of grade levels ranging from pre-school through high school.

Our discussions did not focus on modality rather common struggles DHH students face in education. Our first year focused heavily on the Speaking and Listening Content area. Wait a minute, Speaking and Listening? I know what you are thinking. The same thing I thought that first day! “I am Deaf. My students are Deaf. We use ASL to communicate. How does this apply to my students?” We spent approximately half of our first 8 hour word day discussing the definition of ‘speaking’ and ‘listening’. Thanks to an inspiring informational lesson on linguistics and metacognitive process, which I can not even begin to explain here, by one of the teacher leaders from CSUN, Sharon Klein, we determined to keep our minds open with the understanding that ‘speaking’ is considered a student’s expressive language–whatever that language is–and ‘listening’ is considered a student’s receptive language–whatever that language is. With that out of the way, we were ready to explore.

Our first year, wow, many discussions focused not on implementable practices and experiences but focused on the language inside the CCSS-ELA–vocabulary, or terminology– and analyze, what does it all means. After spending several 8 hour sessions deciphering the Speaking and Listening Standards it became obvious that terminology was a critical component of understanding the spiraling nature of the CCSS-ELA. When looking at one strand across grade levels, complexity is gradually increased at each level. This terminology distinguished one complexity band from another.

We of course, had many opportunities that year, while focusing on specific stands within the Speaking and Listening Standards to begin utilizing the standards within our own classrooms. Another component of the grant was technology. Technology is infused within the CCSS-ELA, and our technology tool of choice was the iPad. Many of us use the iPad within our daily classroom instruction, and as you already know, I teach within a 1-1 iPad program. One of my favorite aspects of these sessions was the collaboration with other educators of the Deaf. As you are probably all too familiar with, if you do not teach at a School for the Deaf, often this collaboration opportunity is at a minimum, if at all. Okay, I won’t fool you, I enjoyed the social nature of the sessions as well. However, it was wonderful to see how other teachers were using iPad apps in the classroom and which apps they were using with success. If you own an iPad, you know, there is much trial and error where purchasing an app. This can often not only be time consuming, but expensive as well. (Note to self: add to To Do List, create apps for Deaf students in mind)

As mentioned earlier, this has been a 2 year project. While our first year focused on understanding the terminology, recognizing the spiraling nature of the standards and exploring apps within the Speaking and Listening Standards, our second year primarily focused on the Reading and Writing Standards. During that time, I also had opportunities to participate in classes (yes geared toward the hearing), for Reading for Information and Literacy in History subjects. Already understanding the basics of the CCSS, this was a year of implementation and practice.

To sum of the two years, I put together an iBook resource manual for implementing the CCSS-ELA with Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. Although it is limited in content now, I hope to continue to add more content as it progresses, however the foundation is laid. I will announce once this is published and release to the public. I am working on the final stages as we speak.  This resource will include a glossary (later a sign-language glossary), model lesson plans with video clips in actual DHH classrooms, student outcomes (our interpretation of what “skills met” looks like), and of course a list of apps for the iPad (many of which can also be found on other platforms) for specific content standards.

With that all said, thus the beginnings of a new dimension, or direction, for this blog. While technology is still a critical component, I will begin discussing implementation practices and providing resources for teachers of the DHH and the Common Core. Look forward to having you, and as always, feel free to comment and share your own practices and resources.

References and Resources:

Enhancing Quality with Teachers of Students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

The Standards

California Department of Education and the Common Core State Standards and other resources

Fostering Digital Citizenship

I recently returned from the CAL-ED Annual Conference for Parents, Interpreters, Teachers and Administrators. I presented on Fostering Digital Citizenship. The goal of this workshop was to provide a basic understanding of Digital Citizenship as well as resources and ideas for application in the classroom (and at home). The second half of the workshop, participants walked through 6 stations focusing on Digital Citizenship topics including Digital Life 101 (9 Elements of Digital Citizenship), My Digital Footprint (online ethics), Do You Really Know Who You are Talking To? (safety and security), Cyberbullying, Who’s Is That Anyway? (copyright), and Successful Searching. The workshop ended with participants taking a summary quiz and receiving their very own Digital Driver’s License. You can view the presentation here.

Teaching in a classroom with 1-1 iPads, I have come to recognize the importance of teaching Digital Citizenship in my own classroom. It is ironic, however, that just as I was preparing for this workshop, I was called to back paddle and re-assess my own instructional methods. My finding: it is not near as important how “skilled” a teacher is in presenting material to their classroom as it is how “skilled” a student becomes in applying the material after the presentation.

In re-assessming my own instruction, I realized that while I provided guided instruction on topics such as messaging manners, personal vs. private information, digital commerce, and utilizing tools of the trade, students were not applying the knowledge in their daily lives. I decided to suspend all student Digital Driver’s Licenses and start from scratch (and vow to continue to discuss these topics on a daily basis as appropriate to our activities). Without a Digital Driver’s License, students are not permitted to utilize the iPads. For the next 2 weeks, we returned to traditional paper and pencil activity while exploring, once again, the topic of Digital Citizenship. As a cumulative project, students were required to create a video teaching other students about Digital Citizenship.

Rather than a brief overview, holding the assumption that students generally apply character ethics online, which I now realize is not the case, I began by introducing the 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship. Students participated in collaborative discussions, watched videos and organized vocabulary. We then explored topics in more detail. I attempted to create as many hands on and collaborative activities as possible, as well as giving opportunities to share real life experiences. We talked about Facebook, iTunes and Instagram (the biggest usage in my classroom). We Googled each of our names and found there was more information out that on each of my students than anticipated. They were shocked by seeing their pictures appear. We talked about the 3 Rings of Responsibility (Self, Family and Community) and even discussed the recent episode of “Switched at Birth” that demonstrated the irresponsible social media posting by high school students. (Due to copyright I can not include the clip here, however, it was Episode 9, Season 2: Uprising, which aired on . This was a full ASL performance. After the school board’s decision to close Carlton School for the Deaf, students took control of the administration building in protest. However, while inside, students used social media–specifically Twitter–to rally the support of the Deaf Community nationwide. Irresponsibly, students posts turned toward “partying” rather than then intended message of their desires to keep the school open. If you haven’t yet seen this, it was very well done. You can view the full episode at ABC Family or download from iTunes.

Student cumulative projects indicated they understood instruction in more depth than previously taught. Many students personally thanked me for teaching them the dangers of posting to social media sites, especially pictures of friends and family. They had no idea that their actions today effected their tomorrow and were permanent, lasting footprints of their character, that later may be used against them when interviewing for jobs or applying for college.

In retrospect, my teaching of Digital Citizenship will become more inclusive in daily lesson planning. Posters hang in our classroom, reminding us of the 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship beside our Classroom Pledge. The individual student videos are not being compiled into one overall video which will be utilized to remind, reinforce and reteach Digital Citizenship throughout the remainder of the year. Below are some links to resources for teaching Digital Citizenship in your classroom.

  • Common Sense Media: K-12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum This Scope and Sequence which encompasses 8 key areas of Digital Citizenship includes printable, detailed lesson plans, introduction videos, Family Fact sheets, and links to additional resources. Each lesson plan has applications to the Common Core Standards, key vocabulary and definitions, student practice activities, extension ideas and assessment. They couldn’t make our lives any easier. And the best of all…it is FREE!
  • Digital Passport This site, also provided by Common Sense Media, focuses on younger students from K-8. As a teacher, you can register for an account and create a class. Your students are given usernames and passwords to access their online account safely and anonymously, while you track their progress. There is also a printable student workbook and certificate of completion for students as they progress independently through a series of videos, online tutorials and games. (Unfortunately, these videos are not yet captioned for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, however, the remainder of the activities are easy to follow.)
  • YouTube Digital Citizenship Curriculum Videos and lessons addressed at understanding copyright, how to report content, protecting your privacy and being a good digital citizen. An excellent overview of the program can be found here. You can also download the full teacher’s guide here. (Unfortunately, many of the videos rely on Google Translator for captioning, which we know is not completely accurate.)

Are you teaching Digital Citizenship in your classroom? Do you have additional resources to share?I would love to hear your experiences, even the mistakes we have made can be learning milestones for ourselves and others. Thank you for sharing your open and honest communication.

The NEW Prezi!

I love the new Prezi, just released this past week! I give it 4 stars for both learning potential and helpful teaching tool (only because I would love to see the same features available to iPad users). I have been using Prezi for instruction for the past 3 years, however when introduced to my students, they always seem to stumble. Face it, the old Prezi (now called “classic” Prezi) was a bit difficult to navigate and often time consuming to use. Last year, they introduced templates which made the process a bit easier. However, the new Prezi, is so easy!

For those of you that are not familiar, Prezi is a cloud-based zooming presentation builder (also available as a desktop and iPad app - although the iPad app has limited features). The new Prezi puts the user tools right on the dashboard, similar to current presentation software available. Select a pre-determined theme and add frames. Insert media including videos, pictures, and shapes. You can even add photos and videos directly from the web. And now, add your favorite Power Point slides! Determine the path your Prezi will take, creating a zooming canvas of information that beats out the boring presentations of past. Save your Prezi as a printable PDF or share your completed Prezi in an email, on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Better yet, just embed it on your website or blog, all with the touch of a button.

Once you have created your Prezi, (or your students have created theirs), you can view them with the whole class. I frequently use Prezi as an alternative eye catcher to Power Point and Keynote. I encourage students to take care not to add too much motion as you can create dizziness and feelings of motion sickness for your audience. Have them work collaboratively (co-editing feature built it). Share presentations with the whole class, for those of you that are in a 1-1 program (tablet or laptop). This feature helps students maintain focus. As a teacher, Prezi saves time. You can search completed Prezis directly from the website, then copy to your dashboard and edit to fit your needs, thanks to all of those teachers that are so willing to share their expertise. I always attempt to give credit of creation back to the original creator to model Digital Rights and Responsibility with my students. Prezi brings the fun back into presentations. If you don’t believe me, watch the demo below. Anyone can be creative.

 

Global Communities

 

We are unleashing our newest project this year in our classroom. Our Global Community Project. We are so excited to be sharing our learning experiences with our DHH community around the globe. I am excited to be connecting with my Global members of my PLN from England, India, Israel and the US. What an experience we have ahead of us. Watch as we grow, visit our blog here.

We have had some hiccups this week in our collaborative efforts to join our new community of learners. Since we have the iPads, several activities have been a bit difficult. Viewing the blog itself was initially a challenge (thank you Arlene for your efforts to repair). We also discovered that Wallwisher does not work well with iPads since it is Flash based. We used our handy Rover app, however, still had difficulty adding posts to the wall via the iPad. However, the student have really enjoyed answering polls and reading previous posts.

I will continue to keep you updated on our journey. Looking forward to a great time.

Reflection on Goals

One of the things I ask my students to do each year is to create a set of learning goals. This is separate from their IEP, but sometimes is intertwined. When students set goals for learning, they are taking charge of their education. Each quarter, I ask them to revisit these goals and reflect on their progress. Sometimes goals are modified to fit recent accomplishments or lack of motivation. Sometimes goals are thrown out and new ones emerge as their desires and ideas change through the year. I always tell them the important part is that you have something in writing to remind you, and that you are in a state of continuous reflection. This past year, I personally shared myapproves signal goals with my students. Each quarter, I spent time reading my own goals and reflecting on my progress. I consider myself a life long learner. Even as teacher, I am constantly learning and striving to improve myself. As I began the process of he goal setting, I neglected an important step. Sharing mynresults. With that said…

GOAL #1: By the end of the school year, I will complete my coursework for obtaining my added supplement for Autism.
Reflection: I have met this goal. As of March, 2012, I obtained my added authorization for Autism as required by .

GOAL #2: Throughout the year, I will offer my students frequent opportunities to choose their own method of practice and demonstrating understanding. I will create a list of acceptable “options” for students which will be frequently reviewed and discussed with the class to increase engagement and motivation.
Reflection: I have met this goal. We began this past school year with a number of activities pre-determined. Through the year, several activities were added. On a side note, my students, especially the Freshmen group, needed much more guidance than originally anticipated. In my experience over the past year, given too much flexibility was not a good thing. They were often confused without clear expectations. Oncei recognized this, I began limiting their options to two or three and made sure they committed to selecting an option that fit their strengths, and assistend them in following through with completing the option they selected. In retrospect, I would not provide the variety of options I did at the beginning of the year.

GOAL #3: I will teach, enforce and frequently reward Lifelong Guidelines and Lifeskills for character development.
Reflection: I have met this goal. We spent the first month of school visiting each Lifelong Guideline word as well as the Lifeskills. We investigated exales of each. In addition, throughout the year, we discussed specific examples as students used these skills. Students also received rewards and “badges” through .

GOAL #4: I will commit to maintaining my class blogs on a daily basis and encourage students to do the same.
Reflection: I partially met this goal. I did maintain my blogs on a weekly basis initially. It was very overwhelming to maintain separate blogs for each class and in retrospect, I should have had ONE blog. However, my students did not utilize the blogs to their potential. I was disappointed in their response to the introduction and ongoing posts to the Blog. It was not an enjoyable experience for them as I had hoped, therefore have selected to do an alternatives to blogging this year in an effort to encourage more interaction and participation.

GOAL #5: I will impliment portfolios for student growth and commit to quarterly documentation.
Reflection: I have met this goal. Is was. Challenging activity for my students as they first, were not experienced at reflecting on their academic work in efforts to improve. Several students lacked the general motivation to maintain their portfolios independently as the year went on. Frequently reteaching had to occur which was time consuming as well. It was a work in progress for myself as well, so along the way, I figured out what worked, what didn’t and what is worth spending time on. However, I did see many students who learned the art of self-reflection and who did make marked improvements based on our focus. It also allowed us time to discuss the IEP process and their future goals, which to my surprise were strikingly different than their parents views. Students became empowered to speak out at their IEPs and became involved in setting their own academic goals.

Overall Reflection: I am very happy with my accomplishments is past year. I will continue to encourage my students to spend time reflecting on their academicaswell as personal goals. I will continue to use portfolios this next year, however with the use of iPads, I know hope to make them “digital portfolios”. I will also continue to work on providing options for students, however, I will limit those options and follow through more directly in completion of those projects that demonstrate learning. I will also continue to focus on Lifelong Guidelines and Lifeskills as they apply to college and career readiness. we will also spend more time looking at people in history and their personal strengths and weaknesses in these areas as they contributed to their success or demise (remember, I teach Social Studies).

Class Penpal Project

This is a call to all Teachers of the Deaf across the globe. I teach World History and would like to do a global Penpal project with my class. My desire is to give my students a cultural perspective of deafness around the World as we study history. We would love to share pictures and letters. This can be done as a class instead of individually. I would love to be able to Skype, however given time constraints, this may be impossible with some classes. We can pre-record messages, but again, this will be difficult given language differences. I think it would be a great experience nonetheless to SEE the languages of the world. Please spread the word if you are interested! I am open to creating this together!

iDownload

The iPad can actually be a bit frustrating for me at times. Any technology for that matter. I have clearly in my mind what I want to do, but often run into road blocks. One app does this, another that, but no one app does exactly what I need to do at the given moment. Recently, I ran into this problem with iMovie. I am learning more and more, the easy and intricate features of iMovie (at first glance, it almost appears to basic). However, a frustration that I have come across is that I want to be able to import pictures from another device. Well, if you have any experience with iMovie, impossible. You can import a picture from your camera or your camera roll. Period. Even Dropbox on the iPad does not integrate with the camera roll, so I was left frustrated. My only option was to export all of my photos and videos to Dropbox, then use my computer to create the movie. Given that my students don’t have this functionality, since they only have access to the iPads, I had to find another solution.

iDownload is a wonderful little app. You can download media content from virtually any website (including Dropbox!). There are two versions, the free version is rather simplistic. You can share media files with others, however you do not have the ability to download files to your camera roll. $2.99 (I recognized they just upped the price, I paid $1.99) is well worth the investment. I can now use photos and video content from websites, my digital camera and photos shared through email, and download them to my iPad Camera Roll. I love this little program! iDownload, you made my life so much easier!!

Jumbo Stopwatch

I know, it seems silly, but one of my new favorite iPad apps has become the Jumbo Stopwatch. It is very simply, just that. My battery ran out recently, so I downloaded this one for the fun of it. Students enjoy having the stopwatch in front of them when they are taking the timed math tests. I also use it during our collaborative discussions so that the “timekeeper” can easily keep the group posted on how much time is left for discussion. It has a lap timer as well as a countdown timer. And it is FREE.

i’M iPadded

Ok, I have been away for quite some time. Truth is, I have been overwhelmed. Huge learning curve this year as we began the roll-out of our 1-1 iPads in the classroom. I thought many times to come and share my story, but never seem to have enough hours in my day. So, here I sit today, somewhat more content (that and all my students are in speech right now). I decided to take the time to give you the run-down.

Adopting the iPads in the classroom was not as simple as I had originally imagined. I have gone through several phases of emotions: from, “Hurry up already, we ordered them last year!” to, “This is not working!” and back to, “Wow! This is great!”

I’m sure you have all dealt with district bureaucratic tape when it comes to technology. You order something, it needs to be approved. So, naturally, actually “getting” the iPads was a daunting task itself. I have no patience. I already started investigating programs and developing a list of apps I wanted to try. Many great sites are dedicated to the best apps for education.

Finally, we received the iPads. We had several days of exploring and playing and, well, just getting used to the iPads and the different applications. To tell you the truth, at this point, I wasn’t really impressed. I was actually very resistant. iPads are NOTHING like a PC, don’t let anyone tell you any differently. I am not an Apple person, so this transition came as quite a bit of a shock. Easy to navigate..yes. But here were the downfalls I found, quickly.

  1. I can’t just “try” an application, I have to purchase it. This was a bit costly for me because being Deaf, many of the applications were not compatible with my hearing loss (or that of my students). On another note, some application are listed as FREE, however after using them for a short time, they announced that if I want to continue using the program, or see other features (usually the reasons I selected the program in the first place) I had to buy it. I now have a list of my FAVORITE apps (all accessible to Deaf) which you can view below. (OK, those of you that are impatient, click here.)
  2. I could not display my iPad screen to my students, since I didn’t (actually still DON’T) have the AppleTV or VGA cable or digital AV cable. I love my SMART board, I must admit. I had to give up the idea that the iPad would replace my laptop.
  3. Homework has been a challenge. Often times, I assign projects which are done both in the classroom and at home. Dropbox is helpful to some extent, but let’s face it, when you create something in an iPad application, you will not be able to edit it, or maybe even view it, using a PC. Since all of my students have PCs at home, this has been challenging.
  4. Videos are not automatically captioned. Don’t let the “caption ‘on’” feature fool you. YouTube videos are not even captioned, which was a big bummer for me. I use YouTube regularly and was excited about having my students watch them on this YouTube app. Also, there are many apps (especially in education) that have videos. No caption options. Deep sigh.
  5. My biggest roadblock was that it seemed all the Web2.0 programs that I have been so comfortable using in my classroom and with students (which are all free, by the way), do not work on the iPad. I knew that the iPad did not run Flash content, but I had no idea how much this would impact everything I was already comfortable doing. I have found a few apps that are comparable (at a cost), but I have to accept that they are just different. Thus the learning curve!
There were several things I liked (still like) about the iPad immediately. It is very user friendly. Students love touching things, so the iPad is great for this purpose. Pictures are vibrant. There are several apps that are out of this world, amazing (you will see them in my list below). I love that my students are involved in the “searching” for answers. I now can ask a question and if they don’t know, they search for an answer.
After several months of debugging the iPads, and trial and error of several apps (at a cost), I have found a solution to some of my previous roadblocks. Rover is a great web browser app that allows you to navigate through flash based websites. I have tried several, but this is my favorite by far. And it is FREE! GlogsterEDU and Edublogs work great on the iPads now, using Rover (there are still a few minor glitches but doable). My students can even enjoy the flash based games at MangaHigh.
 
Jump to present. I am still figuring out ways to utilize the iPad in the classroom. Students are not skilled typists as of yet, so sometimes activities can be time consuming. In math we use them for calculators (I know, silly isn’t it?). I also use a whiteboard app for quick problem solving activities. When unfamiliar vocabulary comes up, students can use Google Images to figure out the meaning of the words. Students are given options to complete projects using the iPad, the PC or by hand. Some still elect to do it by hand. It just goes to show you, it is not about the tool. It is about the learning.
 
I am comfortable using this tool to support learning. I enjoy being able to say, look it up, and have my students come back with an answer instead of showing them the answer. There are several apps that we use on a regular basis. I am proud to say, we have a blended classroom. We use a mix of technology, hands on experiences and pencil paper tasks, and yes, textbooks within our room. See my list of my favorite apps below. I will continue to experiment and hopefully find the time to continue blogging:

Planbook for iPad (also available for Mac). This is a teacher productivity tool. I love the colors. Easy to navigate. You can include assignments, links, files with your lesson plans. You have the ability to “bump” lessons not yet completed or “pull” lessons. Save your files to Dropbox for safekeeping. ($9.99)
 
Dragon Dictation is an awesome app. Admit it, even though we teach DHH, we have those students who are Hard of Hearing and speak in English word order. Then something happens when attempting to get those words into print. They all get jumbled. This app works like a charm! And even with students with not so good speech! Say it, see it. That’s all I have to say. (Free)
 
Edmodo. There IS an app for that! I have used Edmodo for several years, so I was excited to see this app available. Easy access, same great features. (Free)
 
 
Diigo for iPad is a great tool for saving, and accessing your bookmarks. I have been a fan of Diigo for a long time. I have the app for my phone as well. This app does well. I would like to be able to search my bookmarks (they are a bit complicated to find unless you remember them all). From the app, you can install my favorite “web highlighter” which works with Safari. Follow the directions very carefully. (Free)


Rover is a browser that supports Flash and Java. Must have for any teacher or student using iPads. There are a few minor glitches, but overall a the best app out there for Flash and Java sites. (Free)

 

eClicker (host and student versions) is a classroom polling application. If you are using Promethian boards, you may already have a program like this. Develop questions, include pictures, draw images. This app has a variety of answer choices (tru/false, multiple choice, agree/disagree). Create question sets or a single question. Students log onto your host. Teacher sends selected questions. Teacher and students can see immediate results. (host: $9.99; students: Free)
 
CloudOn allows you to create MS Office documents on your iPad (docx, excell, powerpoint). I was struggling with using other word processing apps, so this came as a relief to me. And the best part is, its FREE. The toolsbars mimic Office 10 toolbars, so if you are familiar with that, you will love this application. I have Pages and it is very simple to use, however, there are many things it does NOT do. CloudOn solved my frustrations. (FREE)
 
National Geographic World Atlas in HD is a must have for social studies classrooms. I like Google Earth, and there is an app for that. But honestly, it does not have the same features as the PC version. The National Geographic World Atlas provides beautiful pictures in addition to providing country specific information such as flag, population, languages, currency, government and much more. ($1.99)
 
iThoughts is a great mind mapping tool. There are some free ones out there, too, but this app has much more flexibility. It takes a bit of time to figure out all the features. You can add pictures, icons, links, change colors, change fonts, so much more. You can send your mindmap as a picture, to email, or share via wifi with another user.

Remote Mouse is an app that allows you to use your iPad as a mouse. I love this application. You have to download the free app for your computer (works with both PC and Mac) to create the connection. Once you have established that, you simply click on the application. I have elected to purchase the paid version ($2.99) since it also allows you to use the keyboard feature. This is a great tool to get your students interacting with the whiteboard from their iPads. (Free or Paid:$2.99)

 

GoAnimate!

I love this program. GoAnimate is a great way to get students to write. I don’t know about you, but my students struggle putting ideas into words. Creating comics has always been fun because they don’t have to use as many words. Everyone enjoys comics. GoAnimate takes their comics online. Students create a storyboard. They create characters, backgrounds, add props. They can add speech bubbles and/or audio. They have so much fun creating and we have even more fun watching them. The final projects can be shared via email or embedded into a webpage or blog like the one below. See one student example below (We are working on defining Trustworthiness).

GoAnimate.com: rj by rjcoleman

Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate.com. It’s free and fun!