Thursday, February 27, 2014

Make it - Create Interactive iPad Games

Make It

"Make It - Create and share your own educational games and activities with anyone, anywhere" (longest name of an app ever!) is a free app for teachers or students to create their own interactive iOS presentations and games.  For each game you create, there are 8 possible slide types:  
  • Connect (for matching)
  • Drag to Container (for sorting)
  • Memory (match game)
  • Paint (for drawing)  
  • Find Me (matching)
  • Quiz (a single question)
  • Fill With Letters (a question with an answer that you spell out)
  • Text (a blank slide for instructions or information)

Be sure to tap the wrench icon for additional settings and options for each slide type.

You can use your own images from the iPad camera roll, or the app comes with some built in clip art (you can even download additional packs for free!)

Final products can be shared via email.  Students can create their own games to show what they know and trade with each other to practice!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

QR Voice

QR Voice is a website to create a QR code that links to a recording of a voice.

  1. Go to QR Voice.
  2. Type text into the top box (where it says, "say what?").
  3. Press the QR code button to the right of the text box to generate the recording.
  4. The large, white box at the bottom of the screen is where the QR code will appear after it has been generated.
  5. Use the sliding blue button in the middle to adjust how large the QR code appears.
  6. QR Voice also generates a link to the playback on the web in case the recording cannot be accessed via a QR-code scanning app.  
  7. You do not get to record your own voice, however,  although you could link to a podcast with your own voice.
The voice does sound robotic but can also speak a variety of languages. It does not translate.

Use in:
ELL/Foreign language
Special Services
Pre-K/kindergarten classroom
Great for students that cannot yet read

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

WeKWL - Collaborative KWL Charts!

This is a special guest post from Megan Pettit, 1st grade teacher at Cannon Elementary.  You can follow Megan on Twitter or follow her blog at  Do you have something to share?  Fill out the "Tips from our Readers" form and maybe you'll be selected as our next guest blogger!

WeKWL is a free app that transforms a traditional KWL chart into an interactive collaboration tool. The collaborative aspect of this app allows students to build off of one another and learn together. Each student can open the KWL chart in a live session and add their ideas simultaneously. 

To create a KWL chart: 
1. Enter a display name. 

2. Select the green “Create a File” button on the bottom left side of the screen. This will be your KWL chart.  Here you can choose to add an evidence column to your chart. 

3. Now your KWL chart will appear. To create a live session, where your students can collaborate, press the orange “Create Session” button in the top right corner of your screen. 

4. Add a class name and a session name. You do not have to add a password unless you would like to.  Once you hit save the orange button in the right hand corner should turn green and say “In Session”.

To join a live session:
1. Enter a display name (student’s first name).

2. Select the orange “Find and Join Session” button on the bottom right side of the screen. 

3. Type the class name exactly as it was created by the teacher and hit the blue magnifying glass button to search. 

4. Select the session name from the active sessions list. 

Now you are ready to use your KWL chart! To add ideas to each column you can click on the letter at the top of the column or press the green “create” button at the bottom of the page. You can see one column at a time while holding your device in the portrait position or see all three columns at once by holding your device in the landscape position. When your students are ready to leave your session they can save a copy of the KWL chart to view at a later time. 

WeKWL is an Intergalactic Mobile Learning Center app. If you enjoy WeKWL, check out their other apps WeMAP and WeSketch.  Visit for more information about these amazing apps! 

Monday, February 24, 2014

SAS Read Aloud - Books for Pre and Early Readers

SAS Read Aloud

SAS Read Aloud is a great, free app for pre and early readers.  The app comes with 2 books but more books can be added (for free!) from the "Bookstore" by tapping the magnifying glass in the top corner. 

Each book has 3 reading modes:  Read to Me (reads the story aloud), Help Me Read (reads the story aloud as students tap on each word) or Read By Myself.  Students (or teachers) can also record themselves reading the book.  Additional users can be added by tapping the "voices" icon so it's great even for shared iPads.

Friday, February 21, 2014

iPad as Presentation Remote with de Mobo

De Mobo is a Chrome Extension and app that work together to allow you to control web presentations with your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. It is especially easy to use with Google Slides!

1. Install the de Mobo iPhone app on your iPad or iPhone. It is also available for Android.

2. Since de Mobo is a Chrome extension, you must have Google Chrome web browser installed. (I use Chrome, Firefox, and Safari - in that order - depending on what I'm doing on the web. Sometimes one browser works better than others with a particular site.)

3. Go to your Google Chrome web browser. If you just installed it, you will be prompted to log in with your Google account. If you already had it installed, you may need to go to the top right corner and log in.

4. Go to the Chrome Webstore and search for "de mobo"

5-Choice A. Install the de Mobo Chrome Extension. If you plan to use the extension with several different web sites such as Prezi, Youtube, Slideshare, and Google Slides then choose the de Mobo extension.
After the extension is installed, the de Mobo icon will appear in the top right corner of your browser. Browse to Youtube, Prezi or another supported site then click the de Mobo icon.

You will be prompted to shake the iPad to connect. Then you will be able to control the presentation from your iPad.

5- Choice B. If you plan to use it primarily with presentations created in your Google Drive, choose the extension called Presentation Remote for Google Drive. 

After the extension is installed, when you open a Google Presentation an icon will appear in the top right corner of your web browser. Click the extension a QR code will appear.

Open the de Mobo app on your iPhone, iPad or Android and scan the QR code. There is a SCAN QR button within the app. Do not use an additional QR code app for this.

The app will show a timer (tap the timer to use it), left and right arrows to control the presentation, and the best part....speaker notes!

Tip: Go to your iPad Settings>General and change the Auto-lock to NEVER before your presentation so your iPad doesn't go to sleep in the middle of your presentation.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Subtext is a free app for the iPad that can take books, PDFs, and Web Articles and transform them into a collaborative and social environment for your students. Using an Edmodo, Google, or Renaissance Learning login, you can create classes/groups for your students to join with their own accounts and group code.

In GCISD, all teachers and students have Google Accounts already created, so this makes using Subtext on its own quite a breeze. After adding a book or article, you can highlight a piece of text and create a discussion around it for students to respond to. You can also create assignments, quizzes, and track the progress of your students through the app.

There is a beta version of Subtext for the web, which would work well for BYOD environments. Currently, it only supports using Web Articles, but more features are being developed.

There are free, public domain books that can be found for your students to use, such as Feed Books.

Jack Leonard, from Heritage Middle School, uses Subtext in his 7th grade ELA classes. Watch below for how it has impacted learning in his classroom.
If you are viewing this in email, you can click this link to watch the video.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Blockly is a web-based, graphical programming editor. Users drag blocks together to build a simple computer application by programming “tag” blocks – no typing required. Blockly is open source and there are no 3rd party dependencies. (Not compatible with IE8).

The maze tutorial introduces students to programming.

Learn how blocks work and go together with this sample puzzle.

Friday, February 14, 2014

BatchGeo and Google Forms/Google Earth

Spreadsheets, tables in web pages or databases—anything containing location data can be pasted into BatchGeo to create a map. You can use the BatchGeo Spreadsheet Template (which is in Excel) on the BatchGeo website to enter your data, or, why not use Google Forms to collect data! Use the map to tell a story! The spreadsheet data is copied over to BatchGeo to create a pin map. When creating your map, you may choose your own options instead of using the default behavior. 

To use with Google forms:
  1. Log into Google Drive and create a new form in Google
  2. Have your students enter their data (they can do this from a computer or iPad)
  3. From the response spreadsheet, select the data and copy it
  4. Go to BatchGeo and paste the data into the provided area
  5. Click the Map Now button
  6. Click Save and Continue
  7. Enter a name for the map. An email address is optional. With an email address, you will receive an embed code so you can share the map

Using the Map with Google Earth:
After the map is created, you can also download a KML (open portable geographic data type) version. With this version, you can open your map data in Google Earth and Google Maps.
  1. Go to
  2. Paste your Google spreadsheet data into the fields
  3. Click Map Now
  4. After the map is created, click Continue/Save
  5. Give the map a title, description, and include your email address, then click Save Map
  6. At the bottom of the page, there will be a Download Google Earth KML button. Click that button.
  7. By saving your map this way, it can be opened in Google Earth to view!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Kid's Journal

Kid's Journal

Kid's Journal is a free app that allows students to create a journal (or even multiple journals) for reflecting on their day.  Students can choose their emotion (happy, okay or crazy), their location (home, school or away) and the weather (sunny, cloudy or windy).  Then they write a short paragraph to answer the question "What did I do today?"  They can also upload a picture from the camera roll.  Individual journal entries or a range of entries can be exported to PDF and opened in a variety of other apps like Edmodo, Skitch, Evernote or Google Drive.  Another option could be to screenshot the entry and insert into an app like 30Hands for students to record audio narration.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Schoolkit Math- Great Tools for Elementary Math!

Schoolkit Math

Schoolkit Math is a great free app with lots of math tools/virtual manipulatives for elementary students.  This would be a great app to layer into other apps to have students demonstrate their learning.  They can use the tools in this app to model their thinking and then take a screenshot of their model.  Insert those pictures into another app like 30Hands or Tellagami and have the students record their thought processes.  They could also organize their pictures into a Thinking Map using the Popplet Lite app.  So many possibilities!  

Check out some of the screenshots from the app below and download it today!

Number Lines:



Ten Frame

Fraction Kit

Number Houses

 Number Tiles

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Go Global with Skype, Twitter, Blogs and More!

Lots of GCISD teachers are "Going Global" with Skype, Twitter, blogs and more.  Check out some examples in this presentation Janie Stach and I did today at the annual TCEA conference.

If viewing this blog post via email, view the presentation with this link: 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

ChatterPix Kids

Chatterpix Kids is a free iPad app to make pictures talk.

  • Take a photo or use a photo from the camera roll.
  • Draw a line to make a mouth and record your voice. 
  • Recordings can be up to 30 seconds in length and saved to the camera roll.
  • Once in the camera roll, the recording can be used within another app.
  • Within the app there are 22 stickers, 10 frames and 11 photo filters to use with your pictures.
  • Use the recording to explain an idea, tell a story, read a poem and more.

Monday, February 3, 2014

GCISD Instructional Technology Resources

GCISD Instructional Technology offers several places you can go for ideas and resources.  Be sure to check them out (and bookmark them!) anytime you need tech help!

GCISD Tech Lessons
GCISD Tech Lessons has been around for many years and is constantly evolving. It began as a way to save time in computer labs by providing links to students rather than having to wait for them to type them in correctly. That can take a long time, especially with little ones! It’s a wiki site where we collect links to activities and web resources for grades K-5 (there are some middle school links as well) arranged by content area and topic.  There are also links to many websites that can be used by students of all grades.  You’ll find ideas for Daily 5 technology integration, keyboarding practice sites and resources for finding copyright free clipart and images for student projects.  There are also links to a variety of teacher resources from Thinkfinity that teachers from all contents and grade levels will want to check out. As with any collection of links, it’s difficult to always be sure that the links are active.  If you find a broken link or have a link of your own that you’d like to add, send it to me and I’ll take care of it! This site is a great homepage for student computers or choose “Add to Homescreen” on your classroom iPads for easy access.

GCISD Training

The GCISD Training wiki is a great place to find instructions, files and helpful links for all things technology in GCISD. Generally, any time we teach a class or do a training, we put the resources on this wiki for easy access.  There are iPad app resources, pages for many of our technology classes, pages with information about equipment you have in your classroom like  interactive projectors and computers, pages with help for district systems like Skyward, Outlook, Google and Safari Montage plus lots more.  It’s your “go-to” place for finding tech help.

Activities Server
Another place you can find resources for technology training and integration is right on your computer!  When you're logged in to any district computer, simply go to your Staff network folder and open the Activities drive.  Resource files for teachers and students of all grade levels are organized into folders by content area and topic.  One thing that teachers find especially helpful are the Light Pen 3 Backgrounds located in the Teacher folder.  You’ll find Thinking Maps templates, graph paper and notebook paper backgrounds that are perfect to use with the Light Pen software and your interactive projector.

Digital Portal
The Digital Portal can be accessed from the Departments and Programs section on the district webpage. Digital Classroom teachers (or those interested in being digital) can get access to information presented in our trainings as well as links to other digital teachers in the district.  All the sites mentioned above are also linked on our Resources page (

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