Wordbrush

Wordbrush

This is just one of those apps that makes you think “There must be a use for that”.

You type in a word or words and then you drag your finger around the screen and it draws using the words you chose. You can change colours, fonts, backgrounds etc and the words get bigger the faster you drag your finger.

You can import a background image too.

My immediate thoughts are:

  • Something to do with keywords (see below)
  • English could make use of creating a picture out of the words of a poem or an important passage from a studied text
  • Could science apparatus be draw using the words for that apparatus?
  • Art could create a picture based on the word “Hot”, “Spiky” etc
  • …I’m sure there’s more

TOP TIP: Put a space after the word you enter. (I put a space after the word Chord in the image below.)

TOP TIP: You can copy and paste text from Word etc.

Here’s an image I made by finding a picture of circles from the internet. I saved and imported that (using the stretch proportionally to fit option) and then wrote over the top.

Circle Parts wordbrush

Mathrathon

Mathrathon

Maths apps are often dreadful and although this does fall into the category of ‘doing arithmetic fast’ it’s actually good!

The beauty of this app is that you’re not actually answering questions, you’re evaluating whether written statements are correct or wrong. This means there are only two buttons to worry about pressing and the 60 questions will fly by. You gain points for getting it right and lose for getting it wrong and your total points for the round are calculated by a neat little formula that’s explained in the app. Even the points scoring includes some maths!

I’d prefer the correct and wrong buttons to be further apart but I’ve emailed the developer and the response I got was encouraging so here’s hoping that can change in an update.

I thoroughly recommend this app as it’s a change from the usual maths speed calculation apps and is incredibly intuitive to use.

Doodlepad

Doodlepad

 

This app looks interesting and at its basic level, I may well just use this as a simple ‘mini-whiteboard’ type app. You can, as the name suggests, freely doodle on it and change colours easily.

The features I’ve not been able to test yet are saving (which you could always do with a screen shot) or the ability to share doodle pads with other users. This is on my list of things to test out once my class actually have tablets but it’s interesting enough to warrant flagging up as an app to check out now.

Attendance

Attendance

 

The title of the app gives away what it sets out to achieve and I have to say it has some really nice features. The two best bits are easily the fact that you can add a picture of the student to their name and the pictures appear when you’re taking the register. If you teach a class that you only get to see once a fortnight, you’ll know how important this might be. The second is that the app has a ‘select random student’ button which is a nice bonus and also makes use of the pictures too. Another nice touch is that you can add in a comment for each student that will be displayed with their profile (see the one for Pooh bear in the picture). A further possibility that I’ve not had a chance to try yet is the option to email all students of the class directly from the app.

In terms of actually using this to take registers, I think it actually has potential. It’s pretty simple to take a register but gets a little fiddly (still do able though) if you want to take two registers of the same class on the same day. A good feature is that it will show you on the main page for each class how many present and absent marks each student has so high absence rates can be picked up very easily.

An obvious and probably fairly big downside is that the app almost certainly won’t connect to the system your school currently uses to take registers. This is a fairly big drawback but I’m happy to have this app even if I can only use it for school trips. I have used it on a trip where I was assigned a group of 12 students, 9 of whom I’d never met before and I can assure you the picture aspect was really handy.

I recommend getting this app but you probably won’t be using it for your everyday registers.

Logo For Windows8

Logo for Windows8

If you’re a maths teacher, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Logo. If not, it’s a computer program that lets you control a ‘turtle’ by giving commands such as FD 40 (Forward 40) and RT 90 (Right turn 90 degrees) so that you can build shapes. It’s a good introduction to programming since the students have to be very precise with their syntax and it also offers good opportunities for geometrical learning. For example, how many degrees do you need to turn to draw an equilateral triangle? So, in short, Logo is a good program but how is it on a tablet?

Basically, the app is good too. The main thing to bear in mind is that it’s far, far better with the tablet in portrait mode. Once a design has been finished, I’d take a screen shot to file as evidence and I think there’s value in taking screen shots of attempts that didn’t work to show progress.

I’ll be using this when my class has its geometry term.

Periodic Table

Periodic Table

Perhaps you’d like to guess what this app does?

While this is outside my teaching area, it looks pretty good to me and is visually appealing. If you touch on an element, it takes you to more details about it. Here’s the one for Sulfur:

Periodic table element

As I’ve said, this certainly isn’t my area of expertise but I think this is an app worth investigating if you’re a science teacher.

Nova Mind

Novamind

I have to confess I haven’t used this app extensively yet but first impressions are very good. As a mind mapping tool, it works pretty much as you’d expect and there are quite a few options in the (repositionable) tool wheel.

Certainly worth a look.