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What it is:  My Story Maker is an amazing interactive website created for the Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh.  My Story Maker is an interactive story book where students are in charge of creating a story.  Students choose characters, and a genre and then begin telling a story.  The students create...

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Dragon Box: a game for students to learn algebra…secretly

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Download, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Software | Posted on 22-04-2013

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      Dragon Box

 

What it is: Dragon Box has got to be the most brilliant game for teaching a new concept I have seen in a LONG time.  I am SO impressed with this app, I can’t say enough about it!  This is a math game that teaches algebra without you really realizing that it is a math game teaching you algebra.  It feels more like a logic card game than anything else.  There are 200 puzzles that secretly teach kids to solve equations.  They unlock each level by figuring out how to balance an equation (you have to isolate the dragon on one side of the board in order for him to emerge). After each level, he grows a little until he is full-grown.  Students learn concepts such as elimination, fractions and isolating variables throughout the game.  This is the best math app I’ve seen. It is NOT a drill/skill type app. It is actually teaching students to think like mathematicians instead of just asking them to solve a bunch of problems.

How to integrate Dragon Box+ into the classroom: I cannot say enough about this app.  The way that it gets kids thinking is completely fantastic.  Students learn algebra and how to think like mathematicians without even realizing it.  The game gives minimal direction, and invites students to explore and try new things to isolate the dragon.  The best way to use this app in this classroom: just let students start playing with it!  I love that this app could be played by students as young as six years old successfully, but also used by high school students where they would get those “aha” moments of understanding how algebra works that they may have missed along the way.

Put your students in teams, or let them explore Dragon Box independently.  Dragon Box allows for multiple logins, so you could even use it as a classroom center rotation.

Because you can download Dragon Box on multiple device types, you could even use this on a classroom computer connected to an interactive whiteboard or a projector and take turns playing as a class.  There are plenty of levels for every child to participate multiple times.

Price: $5.99

Devices: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPod Touch (3rd-5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS4.0 or later

Tips:  Dragon Box is also available on the Mac App Store, Google Play, PC shop, Amazon Appstore for Android, and Windows Store.  Even if you don’t have iDevices, your students can play with Dragon Box!

I’ve been nominated for a Bammy Award for Educational Blogger.  I’d appreciate your vote to help spread the word about iLearn Technology.  Vote here.  Thank you for your continued support!!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Dragon Box in your classroom.

Meraki: Manage Mobile Devices from the Cloud…FREE

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, iPod, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Technology, web tools, Websites | Posted on 20-11-2012

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What it is: Meraki lets you centrally manage mobile devices, macs and PC’s from the cloud based dashboard.  The systems manager makes it simple to centrally manage applications on iOS, Android, Mac and PC devices.  It integrates with Google Play, Amazon Appstore, Apple App Store and Apple’s Volume Purchase Program.  In addition to being able to manage apps, Meraki makes it easy to enforce and deploy restrictions on mobile devices. Choose how your students access the app store, gaming and content, how they connect wirelessly, security settings and remote VPN access.  Meraki has a virtual backpack where content can be shared with devices.  Files and documents can be added and sent wirelessly.  Separate backpacks can be delivered to different classrooms so that the correct documents are shared with the students who need it.  The cloud platform makes 1 to 1 projects and BYOD (bring your own device) roll outs manageable.  The best part?  Meraki is 100% free.  You just can’t beat that!

How to integrate Meraki into the classroom: This is one of those tools that I WISH I had seen before I spent $3,000 on another solution.  Blerg.  Live and learn, right?  Next year, this is the solution I will be using to manage all of our BYOD iPads at Anastasis.  It has everything that we need.  The integration with Apple’s Volume Purchase Program is pretty fantastic.  This is a great way for the school to purchase and manage educational apps that we want to share with students.  The cloud management means that we can manage devices from anywhere and we don’t have to have a dedicated server to do it.  I can do a lot of things, but managing servers is not one of those things that I want to spend my time doing!

Meraki is a great solution for whole schools or single classrooms that need to manage devices.  I love that Meraki can be used for a school initiated roll-out or in a single classroom BYOD initiative.  Either way the tools are easy to use and will make the integration of technology in the classroom run smoother.

Tips: Check out the FAQ page to learn more about how Meraki gets installed on the student devices.  The installation changes based on device.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Meraki in your classroom.

IDroo: Online educational multi user whiteboard

Posted by admin | Posted in collaboration, Download, Interactive Whiteboard, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Video Tutorials, web tools, Web2.0 | Posted on 07-03-2011

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What it is: IDroo is an educational multi user whiteboard that lets students instantly collaborate online.  Everything that is drawn or written on the whiteboard is visible to all participants in real-time.  IDroo supports an unlimited number of meeting participants, the only limitations are computer power and internet connection speed.  There is a professional math typing tool built-in making it easy to teach or work through math problems collaboratively. Best of all, IDroo can be used with Skype! IDroo is free for non-commercial use. Now for the downfall (and this is a HUGE downfall in my humble opinion), IDroo is currently only available for Windows.  I  know, disappointment for us Mac lovers. *sigh*  If you are using a Windows computer this is a great way to collaborate online!

How to integrate IDroo into the classroom: IDroo would be a great app for collaborating with other classrooms around the world.  Students can use the multi user whiteboard space to work together, share ideas, and brainstorm.  IDroo would also be fantastic as a way for teachers to tutor students virtually.  Set up an “open lab” time once a week online where students can drop in and get extra help.  Virtual lab times are especially helpful for elementary students who can’t dictate their own schedules and often can’t stay after school for extra help.

Tips: Don’t forget to allow IDroo to access Skype API after you download!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using IDroo in your classroom!

Custom Guide

Posted by admin | Posted in Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 08-01-2009

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What it is:  Custom Guide is a website that offers free quick reference cheat sheets for using technology (operating systems and applications).  The guides are two sided and remind me of Cliff Notes.  Custom Guide allows you unlimited distribution rights and they make great support handouts. References include: Microsoft Access, Excel, FrontPage, Internet Explorer, InfoPath, Office, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Project, Publisher, SharePoint, Visio, Windows, Appleworks, Mac OS, Entourage, Acrobat, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash, Photoshop, Elements, and Firefox.   My one problem with Custom Guide is that it is REALLY outdated for Mac guides.  I suppose that for some schools this would be okay since it can take a while to adopt newer technology and some of us are working with dinosaur computers and software, but for me it is no good.  Custom Guide also offers free online learning with interactive tutorials and you can even create your own custom courses.

 

How to integrate Custom Guide into the classroom:  Custom Guide would be very useful for the computer lab setting.  Print out and laminate the most used applications and operating system sheets.  Bind with a single ring and keep next to each computer.  As students have questions or issues, they can consult their cheat sheets for the answers first.  This is also nice for non-computer teachers who are using the computer labs or classroom computers with students.  The cheat sheets give them an added level knowledge quickly and easily.  If you are a computer teacher or a teacher who is known for using technology in your classroom, you undoubtedly get frequent questions about how to use applications from your colleagues.  I don’t always have time to sit down and give mini lessons, having these cheat sheets on hand could be a big help for those times.  

 

Tips: Even though the Mac Custom Guides are a bit outdated, the guides they do have are very handy.  When you sign up for a free account, you can ask for updates to be sent to you when they add a new guide.  In the mean time, Apple has some great support guides for their products.

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Custom Guide in your classroom.