I've had a purge of the apps on my iPad this week and deleted quite a few but still have about 400 so didn't go too mad! I am often asked which apps I think are best (searching on the app store isn't exactly a fun experience - they really need to introduce a decent Boolean search on there!) so I thought I'd write some posts with some suggestions. Starting with Early Years today,I will have to prepare several lists because there too many to fit on one.
1. The Numberlys - Following on from the immensely successful Morris Lessmore app Moonbot have now released this app which is designed to help kids learn their alphabet. It is of course utterly beautiful, in the style of an old black and white movie and no iPad used by children (or adults in touch with the child within!) should be without it
2. Sound Touch - hours of fun with 6 different categories of pictures , a simple tap brings up another picture with an associated noise, each main pic having 5 behind it. Keeps young children amused for ages.
3. First Words Deluxe - lets learn some new words! touching each picture triggers the word to be said aloud. Basic, but words said very clearly
4. Mr Thorne's Phonics - couldn't leave out the excellent Mr Thorne and his phonics videos, such an engaging teacher and very good value
5. Sammy Squirrel Battles the Alphabet Robots - like the graphics on this , slightly disconcerted by the American accent ('zee' instead of 'zed') but fun to play and works on upper/lower case recognition
6. Talking Hippo/Talking Tom etc - popular with kids of all ages and good for doing some basic speaking and listening work!
I will cover books for younger children in a later post. If you want more, there's a great blog focussed on on apps recommendations for kids, called Apps Playground, well worth a look:
So another year, another BETT. Spent Thursday and most of Friday helping out on the Renaissance stand which was fun although nerve racking at times - the day is punctuated by the whack of Neo2s falling on the floor as colleagues demonstrate their durability. Friday afternoon at 3.45 I led a seminar on using social networking and web 2 to bring the world into your classroom, a subject I have spoken on many times so I should have been very confident but I wasn't - I was terrified! guess it was just because it was BETT , I had comforted myself that it would probably be poorly attended but then a friend came to tell me no, it was fully booked so that didn't help my nerves. In the end the session went really well with only 2 people leaving to answer phone calls and many people coming up to ask questions so I needn't have worried. Starting off with the excellent Gotta Keep Reading video helped I think! Spent some time with my friends at Rising Stars afterwards as they had sponsored the session and I was extremely impressed with their new Switched on ICT scheme, looks fantastic and I'm sure it will be popular.
I managed to slip away several times for a quick look round and was very happy to meet up with Bryan and the other guys from Bee-it, such a great website and all free! Watched a session in the Heppel zone about using Facebook as a sort of out of hours advice service with staff having completely separate accounts from their personal ones and groups set up for Work Related Learning etc The idea of getting people from different profession to 'guest' on the groups each week and answer questions was brilliant, and it's always great to hear the student point of view too. Colleague I was with had a try of all the different seats in the zone - wasn't brave enough to sit on a dolphin myself! Had a quick look at the new Eclipse .net iphone app coming from Microlibrarian - as a geeky former librarian I want it!
Saturday was the day for looking around and I brought my long suffering husband with me (he later commented "never again" and remarked that if it was you first BETT as a member of school staff it must be completely overwhelming......yep!) . Enjoyed hearing Children's Laureate Anthony Browne speak on the Scholastic stand and good to reconnect with Mike from I Am Learning and see their iphone app which I think is going to be very popular. Good to hear they are now selling to parents too, I would have loved this for my kids. I was very impressed with My Big Campus from Lightspeed which gives power back to teachers by letting them unblock sites themselves and use youtube videos etc as well as setting up directed access for blocks of time. Students would love the Facebook/Twitter like aspects of Big Campus too. Apart from this I was a little disappointed this year - products shown seemed very samey and I didn't find much else that caught my eye. Sadly didn't get time to go to any of the Teachmeet Takeovers ;0( ......next year must try harder, sounded wonderful from the comments on Twitter. I think many people only came for these awesome free demonstrations, probably not much money about this year but there are still diamonds hidden amongst the dross. Roll on next year!
I have always used Linkbun_ch to group urls but having spent time today on creating one then inadvertently closing the window and losing it I gave krunchd.com a go. I'm very impressed with it - I like the fact that you can create your own url instead of being given a random one and I'm very happy with the facility to have it emailed to you. When you open the krunchd url it comes up with the first url with a drop down on the right hand side of the others, again I think this is easier to use than the Linkbun_ch way of a simple list of urls appearing. At the top of the screen information about how many times the link has been viewed comes up which is great. I'm converted!
(Found krunchd.com from Phil Bradley's website www.philb.com - thanks Phil!)
Today I attended a Literacy Lead Practitioners day which was hosted at the Royal Geographical Society in London. On the way I was happy to renew my acquaintance with Shackleton ( I had taken his photo before for a set based on the statues in Charlie Fletcher's Silver Tongue book -http://tinyurl.com/yk8rtthweeblylink_new_window
My blog is a collection of thoughts and I hope you will learn something about me from the ramblings as well as finding some useful links. I'm Bev Humphrey and I'm a Literacy, School Libraries and Technology Consultant. I am self employed so views expressed are solely my own.