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Mixbook: Yearbook/Storybook/Calendar/Card creator

What it is:  Mixbook saved us this year in a BIG way.  Being our first year as a school, we didn’t want to use a big yearbook publishing company to create our first yearbook.  We wanted to be able to get as much of the year in as possible (most yearbook companies have mid-year deadlines), we were only having 60 made (small potatoes for big yearbook companies), and we wanted to be able to print one-offs if we needed to.  We started creating in Shutterfly, it was a familiar program, most of our helpers had used it for personal books so the learning curve was small.  And then the world came crashing down. It was the day before the deadline to get our order in so that it would make it before the school year ended. Two of us logged in at the same time and apparently properly confused the system and lost the whole thing.  All 30 pages of it. After throwing a pity party, trying to get in touch with Shutterfly (unsuccessfully), and declaring that there would be no yearbook, I did what anyone would do- I took my pity party to Twitter. I never did hear from Shutterfly.  You know who did come to the rescue? Mixbook.  They saw my pity party tweet, apologized for our bad fortune, offered their assistance and let us know that they would be happy to help in any way they could.  I was familiar with Mixbook but hadn’t used it before. I hopped onto the Mixbook site and immediately liked what I saw: The interface is incredibly easy to use. It allows collaborative working and tells you when someone else is editing the book so you don’t override each other. It has great templates. It has great customization options. The customer service is unmatched.  Honestly, any time we had a question/comment/problem they helped within minutes.  During business hours they have  a dynamite online chat support system.  When it wasn’t normal business hours their Twitter genius would get back to me. Emails were answered within hours. Finished books can be viewed and shared for free online. They were incredibly helpful in keeping the price of each book reasonable for us.  They extended coupon codes, gave us bulk purchase discounts, and rushed our order so that it would get to us with plenty of time to spare. The books are GORGEOUS.  They look better than they do on screen (this hasn’t been my experience with other book companies). Mixbook is a free online scrapbook/calendar/card creator.  With Mixbook, you aren’t limited to pre made templates, everything is fully customizable. The online design software is extremely easy to use and works the way you would expect it to (no unwelcome surprises). Mixbook is integrated with many popular photo sites including Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, etc.  You can also easily batch upload from your computer. How to integrate Mixbook into the classroom:  As we experienced, Mixbook is a fantastic place to make school or classroom yearbooks.  Despite the short timeline, we enjoyed creating our yearbooks and are glad to have our first year commemorated so beautifully.  At the bottom of each page, we created a running timeline of everything that happened in our first year as a school. Because it is so easy to customize each page, students could use Mixbook to create “published” portfolios or writing.  Take pictures of student work throughout the year, keep a folder for each student.  At the end of the year, students can create a Mixbook of their work.  They can include the pictures of their work and add text boxes where they reflect on their learning or explain the project.  For original writing, students can create digital or hand drawn illustrations that get scanned and uploaded to the Mixbook pages.  Students can type the story directly in Mixbook.  The finished book can be shared for free online, parents will have the option to purchase the book if they would like to. A photo calendar would be a great way to commemorate a school year and would make an awesome end of the year gift to your students.  Each month can include projects and snapshots of what you did throughout the year. Create specialized cards and thank you stationary for your classroom.  Any time you need it, it will be ready to go and more special for your students. Group projects are easy to create with Mixbook.  The collaboration ability is wonderful!  You could use Mixbook with colleagues to create custom learning guides that you can get printed. Tips: As an educator, you get an extra discount for any order of 10 items or more.  OUTSTANDING! Please leave a comment and share how you are using Mixbook in  your classroom!

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Kids Picture Dictionary App

Posted by admin | Posted in Foreign Language, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Understand (describe, explain) | Posted on 30-07-2013

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Kids picture dictionary app- iLearn Technology

Kids picture dictionary app-iLearn TechnologyWhat it is: Kids Picture Dictionary is just what you would imagine it to be: a dictionary, for kids, with pictures.  This picture dictionary has something extra special built in, it includes a self record feature so that kids (teachers or parents) can record their own voice to record sentence examples.  Each word includes a picture, an audio recording of the word, and the ability for kids (teachers or parents) to record their own sentence.

How to use the Kids Picture Dictionary App in your classroom: This is a very simple dictionary app for young students.  It is organized well so that they can search words by letter and picture.  The words included are pretty basic, but would be perfect for an emerging reader/writer.  Students could use the dictionary to help them with spelling during writing time.  I’ve often seen kids who can tell a fantastic story, but their writing is limited because they don’t want to spell a word that they aren’t sure of.  Kids Picture Dictionary app could be just the confidence they need to let their ideas soar.

The Kids Picture Dictionary app could also be really helpful for ELL/ESL students who are learning vocabulary.  Each word not only includes a picture, but also a sample sentence.  Students can listen to the word used in context and then practice recording their own sentence using the new vocabulary.  The recording is saved within the app so students can work independently, and teachers can go back through the app to assess understanding later.

Tips: The Kids Picture Dictionary app is free; however, it does include advertisements at the bottom of each page.  For $1.99 you can get the app without the ads.  A strong suggestion for educational app developers: It is RIDICULOUS to put an in-app purchase option on an educational app.  If a school is going to buy your app, they will want to do it through the Volume Purchase program.  In app purchases are NOT education friendly!  (If you are purchasing this for school, the app exists in the app store twice, the free version always comes up first and if you dig, you can find the $1.99 ad free version.)

Price: Free

Device: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad with iOS 4.3 or later.

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