Thursday, May 26, 2011

Educational Games for English

One of the biggest issues that I have faced is finding apps that are actually going to assist with the learning in the classroom in the core areas - reading, writing and mathematics.  I have found that some of the apps cross-over into all learning areas, especially the dictionary.  I have two different dictionaries on the iPods - one was a free app, the other wasn't, but is substantially better.  The one I prefer is 'Wordbook'.  It not only allows the children to find a words meaning in the dictionary, but it will also pronounce it.  This happens in a matter of seconds, so the user is not spending a long period of time trying to plow through a paper dictionary (which ultimately may not actually have the word needed) when they could be busy carrying on with what they initial task actually entailed.  I have found that with this particular app (and some other reference based apps) that you can change the filters (which is very handy).  We all know which words some children will choose to look up first!  You can choose to turn the profanity filter on, as well as the voice that they hear and the notation (accent).

So, here is the list of games that my children enjoy:
Chicktionary (a bit like the game, Boggle, but it has the letters on eggs and has a huge number of words to find.  You can also opt for a quick play option, or the longer, original game.  The first time my children played this, it took three days for them to find all the words - now some children can find all the words in twenty minutes!)
Scrabble (like the original - they can pass and play, or multiplayer wifi)
SpellDown (this lets them test their own words)
Boggle (like the original)
Word Bubble (different levels, they make words by popping the bubbles)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Taking the iPods on their own out of school adventure!

For four days in May, we take our Year 6 students to camp.  One of the activities that we like to do is something related to ICT.  In the past, we have taken digital cameras and laptops - they have taken a variety of photographs and uploaded them onto a document (we used The Printshop 2) and shared these at school on our return.  THIS year, I thought it would be great to take the iPods - we could shoot some HD video of the campers, take photos, and then use an iPod app to create a digital postcard of some description.  I found an app that would do the job called 'Lifecards'.  It was very simple to use - in fact, the parent helpers within the group were keen to have a go as well!  On completion of their card, they took a screenshot (home button and power button) and I synced their work onto my iPod laptop (The only criteria was that they had to have their name on it so they could find it later).  When we returned to school, I had over 5000 photos and short videos (and of course, 120 lifecards) for the children to use and upload to their digital portfolios, or create a new piece of work in class.  The children who were not in my class had a brilliant opportunity to use the iPods and were subsequently very enthusiastic (and I think a little envious).