Creating Apps with Marvel

Use Marvel to let your students design their own phone app!

Ready to ditch the boring projects? Me too, and I can’t wait to try using Marvel in my classroom! This free app for iOS and Android lets you design your own app by adding pictures and seamlessly linking them to simulate a real app–no programming skills necessary!

**Bonus: You can also open the app online if students don’t own a smartphone!

There are several ways to add photos to a project, including uploading them from your phone or computer, taking photos within the app, or even using the app’s canvas tool (much like Paint) to draw your own picture. If you prefer drawing by hand, you can also download free templates to draw your own wire-frames and simply take pictures of your finished drawings to create your app.

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Because of its versatility, I think Marvel could be a great tool for many types of students, including introverts and extraverts, sensing and intuitive students, visual-spatial, logical-mathematical, and kinesthetic learners. After all, apps can be used to solve problems, tell stories, provide entertainment, teach, and of course, help people collaborate and communicate! Here are some project ideas for a variety of subject areas:

  1. Develop an app to solve a conflict within a novel–man vs. man, man vs. nature, etc.
  2. Create an app that tells an interactive version of a story or historical event.
  3. Devise an app to help write geometric proofs.
  4. Design an app that lets people create something artistic.
  5. Create an app that helps people communicate more effectively or write a speech.
  6. Develop an app that teaches people how to eat healthy or exercise properly.
  7. Devise an app to track or chart scientific or mathematical data.
  8. Create an app to show people what it would be like to live in a particular time period.
  9.  Design a puzzle or logic game to demonstrate critical thinking skills.
  10. Develop an app to market a new invention or idea.

Do you have other ideas? If so, let me know by leaving a comment!

 

A Graphic of Info on Infographics

Ever seen an awesome infographic and wondered how to make one yourself? Watch my short tutorial to learn how you and your students can create stunning (and free) infographics using Hubspot, Canva, and Adobe Spark Post for a fun way to differentiate process and product!

An infographic is a visual way to represent often complex subjects using few words and lots of flair. They are a great way to differentiate process and product, especially for logical-mathematical learners and visual-spatial learners. In addition, because infographics represent information in a holistic way, they require students to analyze and synthesize information in order to decide how best to convey their topic. Watch the video below to learn about ideas for use and watch live demos of 3 FREE tools for creating awesome infographics!

Finally, here are the links to the 3 free tools demoed in the tutorial!

  1. Hubspot: In order to download your free 15 templates, you must create an account. The website asks for some funky information, like how many employees work for your company and what CRM you use, so just fill it in to the best of your ability (and guesstimate for the rest).
  2. Canva: Easy and free to register, create, and share infographics. Plenty of free images, templates, and more; you can also purchase individual templates and images for $1 each (no need for a subscription).
  3. Adobe Spark Post: Create simple, but powerful images in minutes (for free)!

Enjoy, and happy infographic-making!

Games for One, Games for All!

English! Math! Science! History! Looking for a game to play in your classroom? Here is a list of resources with games for all different subjects!

There are two hot buzzwords surrounding gaming and education: gamification and game-based learning (GBL). Gamification involves adding game-like elements to a non gaming environment (like incorporating game mechanics, badges, awards, or achievements into your normal class activities), while game-based learning involves using games to reach learning outcomes. Both can be great ways to achieve better outcomes for all students, regardless of ability, personality, or learning style. Not convinced? Check out my infographic  on video games and learning, or read this article on gamification versus game-based learning by Steven Isaacs. The list below focuses on resources for game-based learning in all subject areas.

1. Gamindex: This website offers in-depth reviews of video games in all subject areas. Developed by Mallory Kessen, an English teacher and avid gamer (whom I happen to have the fortune of working with 🙂 ), Gamindex is easily the sleekest and most intuitive resource on this list–just click on your subject area and BAM! You will find a list of expert-reviewed games to use in your class. Reviews include everything from age level to game difficulty to educational and overall ratings, and even ideas for how to use the game in your classroom.

Sneak Peek: Fine Arts, English Language Arts

Review: Toren

“More and more indie games are being developed with a focus on telling a good story and experimenting with new styles of gameplay.  Toren is one of those games. Created by Brazilian developer Swordtales, Toren places players in the role of Moonchild, a young warrior who has lost her memories and forgotten her past inside a massive tower. Players lead Moonchild through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood as she climbs the tower and the Tree of Life on her journey to defeat the dragon atop it. Toren is a short myth that the player learns about and explores along with Moonchild as she grows up and recovers her memories.”

2. Steam Community–Extra Credits EDU: This site includes a list of games for all subjects, including descriptions of themes/ideas, difficulty, and time to play. Better yet, it is hosted by Steam, an online entertainment platform with over 3,500 games of all varieties. This means that once you create a free account, you can simply click to purchase or play any of the games on the list. You will also have access to the Steam Community, a social media platform where you can join groups like Extra Credits EDU to follow games you are interested in and to learn about new games.

Sneak Peek: History

Review: Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game

“[Darkest Hour] features a mixture of short and in-depth campaigns set across the darkest chapters of the 20th century. Play from the outbreak of the Great War up until the onset of the Cold War.”

“History. 3-4 hours. Difficult. Control an existing nation state during the first and second world wars. Play with student input in class to discuss WWII”

3. Games for Change: With a mission of “Catalyzing social impact through digital games,” Games for Change inspires a unique approach to game-based learning. They offer a wide array of games which can be filtered by age as well as subject, including (but not limited to): civics, conflict, economics, education, environment, family, fitness, gender, health, and human rights.

Sneak Peek: Science

Review: Bioharmonious

Bioharmonious makes the player responsible for the fate of two interconnected planets.  The Manufactured Planet, a place of clockwork machinery and choking smog, is on the verge of collapse, and its sister planet, the lush and diverse Natural Planet, will die along with it unless something is done.  Through a process of “bioharmony,” scientists from the Manufactured Planet are able to integrate the flora and fauna of the Natural Planet into their machines to improve the environment of their home world.”

4. “30 Ways to Use Minecraft in the Classroom”: This isn’t a website, but rather, a blog post about, well…30 ways to use Minecraft in the classroom. Minecraft is a popular block-building game (think Legos for your computer), and can be played online or on a mobile device. This post includes unique ideas for using Minecraft in all different subject areas. Believe it or not, you can use Minecraft to teach everything from sustainability to ancient history to probability, storytelling, or even foreign language! Check it out!

Sneek Peek: Math

17. Teach volume with Minecraft

“In this lesson from MakersFactory, students learn about volume using Minecraft blocks, measuring dimensions and calculating the volume of increasingly more complicated shapes. Students travel through a “museum” of progressively more difficult geometric shapes, and are asked to calculate their volume. After completing the museum, students measure a Minecraft recreation of the Parthenon of ancient Greece, and calculate its volume. To download the map and associated lesson plans, click here: http://services.minecraftedu.com/worlds/node/133 – See more at: http://teachwithict.weebly.com/minecraft-lesson-ideas.html#sthash.UqthF69T.dpuf”

Hopefully this gives you some ideas to get started! Of course, this list is nowhere near exhaustive, so if you have other resources for games to use in the classroom, let me know!

Step Up Your (Video) Game!

Be a part of the fun! Comment with your favorite game (and what subject area you could use it for, if possible). I’ll compile your input for a future post!

VideoGames&LearningInfographic

Altering Environment with an Itty-Bitty Classroom

Ever feel like the Genie in Alladin? “Phenomenal cosmic powers! Itty bitty living space!” Read on to learn how to differentiate environment even as a genie stuck in a bottle.

Differentiating environment means changing the way your classroom works and feels in order to meet the learning needs of students. This may include things like rearranging desks or providing alternative types of seating (like bean bags or a rug), as well as creating areas within your classroom for quiet learning and cooperative learning. However, if your classroom is anything like mine–the size of a magic lamp with 32 students and a bazillion bulky desks crammed inside–it can be rather difficult to alter the physical environment. Instead, use technology to grant the wishes of your students, and free yourself of the limitations of the magic lamp! Here’s the setup:

Let’s say your students are completing a practice assignment. Rather than make them all work independently or in groups, split your classroom into 3 learning zones based on personality type. To learn more about the Myers Briggs personality types discussed below, click here.

Zone 1: Extraverted Sensing Learners

Student Characteristics: Extraverted Sensing (ES) students learn best when they can move around, work with others, and use their hands.

Location: At the projector/whiteboard

Tools/Materials: whiteboard markers or sticky notes, OfficeLens (app), Post-its Plus (app)

Procedure: If possible, project the assignment onto a whiteboard. Using whiteboard markers, have students work together to complete the assignment. If you do not have a whiteboard behind your projector, you can project the assignment and have students add sticky notes to record their answers. Make sure students know that they are expected to work together on every question, though they may trade out who writes down each answer. You can also have students write their initials next to each question they helped with so you can quickly tell who has done what. When they are finished you may want to have them take a picture of their completed group assignment using an app like OfficeLens, which allows you to take a picture of a whiteboard and save it as a Microsoft Word document or PowerPoint (it also optimizes the photo to make it readable). If you have a large number of Extraverted Sensing students, you could split them into two groups, and have one group work with the whiteboard while the other group records their answers on Post-it notes, using the Post-its Plus app to digitally document and share their work.


Zone 2: Introverted Learners

Student Characteristics: Introverts (IN and IS) learn best when they have a chance to process information or practice a skill independently before sharing or discussing it with others.

Location: As far away as possible from Zone 1

Tools/Materials: Computers, device for listening to music (student’s preference)

Procedure: Have students work quietly and independently on the assignment. Allow them to listen to music (using headphones) if they like. You may want to have them turn their desks toward a wall or just away from other students to help them focus.


Zone 3: Extraverted Intuitive Learners

Student Characteristics: Extraverted Intuitive (EN) students learn best when they have a chance to experiment and be creative, as well as share their ideas.

Location: Anywhere there is leftover room

Tools/Materials: Computers, Google Drive/Google Docs

Procedure: Using Google Docs, share the assignment with all students in the group (to save yourself work, you could just share it with one student who then shares it with the other group members). If you are unfamiliar with Google Docs, watch this short video to learn how to share a document. Once the document is shared, all students will be able to type on the same document at the same time. Have students discuss and take notes on the questions together. When I do this, I have each student type their name in a different color font at the top of the page, then type all of their comments in the same color, so it is easy to see who wrote what. Because Extraverted Intuitives love to lead and come up with their own ideas, you may even let them decide how to structure their discussion. You can see a sample document below.

SampleAssignment

Do you have other ideas for tech tools to differentiate environment? If so, I would love to hear from you! You can leave comments to the left of the post.

 

Process: 9 Studying Tools for All Learners

Are students always asking you how to study for the test? This post shares some new and creative ways to help every student ace the test.

All students learn differently. Here are 9 apps and online platforms to help different learners study their materials. For more information on the types of learners mentioned in this post, go to the About Page.

  1. Quizlet: Featuring iOS, Android, and online platforms, Quizlet is a free application that lets you create study sets with terms, definitions, and even pictures. Once you have created a study set, you can review in a variety of ways, including flashcards, definitions, spelling, practice tests, and games. With the flashcards and definitions you can enable audio playback. You can also adjust the difficulty for several of the activities. This is a great study tool for virtually all students, including auditory, visual, kinethetic, low ability, struggling readers, Introverted Sensing, and linguistic learners.
  2. MindMeister: MindMeister is a mindmapping app available for iOS and Android. It also has an online platform. A mindmap is basically a graphic organizer/chart that helps you map out ideas or learning topics. With the online platform, you can create three free mindmaps, but the phone app is free, and lets you create unlimited mindmaps. MindMeister even allows you to collaborate and share mindmaps, which would certainly benefit extraverted and interpersonal learners. This app would also be particularly helpful for visual spatial, logical mathematical, visual, kinesthetic, and Introverted Sensing (IS) learners. You can see some of the features here:
  3.  Popplet: This app is very similar to MindMeister, but simpler. You can still share your Popplets by email or by downloading them to your phone or computer, but Popplet does not have the collaboration features that MindMeister does. While MindMeister isn’t difficult to use, Popplet is much more intuitive, so this would be a great tool for students who aren’t so tech savvy, or just want a tool that is quick and simple. There is no Android app, but you can download the iOS lite version free or full version for $4.99; Popplet also has an online platform which allows you to create ten Popplets for free. Like MindMeister, this app would benefit visual spatial, logical mathematical, visual, kinesthetic, and Sensing (ES and IS) learners.
  4. AutoRap by Smule: AutoRap is a free app for iOS and Android that allows you to create rap tracks by recording your voice. Auditory or musical students could use AutoRap to create raps for any topic they need to study. You can read my earlier post on other ways to incorporate AutoRap into your lessons here.IMG_1269
  5. Adobe Spark Video: This is a free iOS app that allows you to create beautiful slideshows with text, images, and audio (voice recording and background music) in in a matter of minutes. To start, you can choose an organizational template–promote an idea, a hero’s journey, show and tell, personal growth, teach a lesson, an invitation–or start from scratch. You can even export your slideshow as a video to share. Auditory learners benefit from hearing their own voice played back to them, and musical learners tend to retain information better if they study with background music. Visual learners can incorporate pictures to associate with terms they need to learn, and Intuitive (EN and IN) students will love the opportunity to be creative. As natural leaders, Extraverted Intuitives (EN) in particular would love the “teach a lesson” template, which they could use to study for virtually any topic. 
  6. Spotify: Students ask all the time if they can listen to music while they work. Spotify is one of many free music streaming services, but I particularly like it because you can search by genre or by specific songs. Instrumental music can help many students focus, but musical students in particular learn best with background music. You can listen to Spotify online, or download it for free on iOS or Android, although the free version does have adds.
    IMG_1266
    Voice Recorder (iOS)
  7.  Voice Recorder (iOS) & Audio Recorder (Android): There are many voice recording apps out there, but I chose these two because they are free and easy to use. Auditory learners could record themselves reciting terms and definitions, or spelling out vocabulary words to study from.
  8. Whiteboard (iOS) & A Web Whiteboard (online): Both of these are essentially free-form drawing canvases. Whiteboard (iOS) has some cool templates you can use as backdrops, or you can upload a photo to draw over. When you save your whiteboard in the phone app, it automatically stores it in your phone’s photos. With A Web Whiteboard (online), you can download your whiteboard to your computer or share via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit. Visual spatial and kinesthetic students would especially appreciate these apps!
  9. Post-its Plus: Kinesthetic, Extraverted Sensing (ES), and Perceiving students will love this free iOS app which allows you to take pictures of multiple Post-its at once, organize and rearrange them in the app, and even add new Post-its later. You can also share and collaborate with other users. This means that hands-on students get to work with real, physical manipulatives, and Perceiving students can explore new ideas in a way that lets them easily organize later. Watch this one-minute video to see this app in action!

Process & Product: AutoRap by Smule

Little Jimmy hate poetry? Not anymore! Use Autorap to engage musical and auditory learners by turning poems and more into beats!

AutoRap by Smule is an Android and iOS app that turns your speech into a rap. The app is free to download and includes free tracks as well as paid tracks. And don’t worry–you don’t need to be a rapper (or have any musical talent at all) in order to create some pretty cool beats.

This app would greatly benefit auditory learners, who learn best by “listening to what is being presented” and “hearing [their] own voice repeating something back” (mindtools.com). Of course, it would also benefit learners with musical intelligence, one of the seven distinct intelligences suggested by cognitive psychologist Howard Gardner. Carla Lane, author of The Distance Learning Technology Resource Guide, summarizes Gardner’s theory, stating that musical learners

“show sensitivity to rhythm and sound. They love music, but they are also sensitive to sounds in their environments. They may study better with music in the background. They can be taught by turning lessons into lyrics, speaking rhythmically, tapping out time. Tools include musical instruments, music, radio, stereo, CD-ROM, multimedia.”

You can read more about auditory learners here, or Gardner’s Theory of Multiple intelligences here.

Finally, here are a few ways you could incorporate AutoRap into your lessons:

  1. Have students write and record their own poetry, especially to learn and practice sound devices such as alliteration, assonance, consonance, rhyme scheme, or meter.
  2. Have students record vocabulary words, mathematical equations, scientific terms, or historical dates and figures to memorize.
  3. Host a rap battle with any topic by pitting teams against each other and having the class vote on the best rap. Use a basketball bracket like this one to keep track of the winning record.

Do you have other ideas for how to use AutoRap in the classroom? Feel free to leave comments!