Friday, March 28, 2014

Appy Friday!

Appy Friday!!  I was watching the Today show this morning and saw their "Appy Friday" segment and thought that would be a great weekly post or even linky!  So here we go!

Each Friday I will be sharing my favorite app and how I use it in the classroom.  I also look forward to finding out about some other new apps from my blogging friends.  Have a blog?  Link up with your own "appy Friday" post.  No blog, but have an app you love?  Share with everyone in the comments.

So let me start with one of my favorite apps!  Star Walk!

We have been studying the sky.  Star Walk is an app ($2.99) that let's you star gaze, even in the day time.  You can find stars, planets, satellites, and the International Space Station.  Then by a simple touch you can access even more pictures and a wealth of information.  

I used this last week in class during small group centers.  I had it on my iPad and was air playing to a large flat screen through an apple TV.  This made it easy for everyone to see what was going on.  Students took turns using the iPad to select and learn about various objects in the sky.

At home, my girls loved using the app outside at night.  We laid under the night sky on a blanket and brought the sky to life through augmented reality.

Give it a try!  What is your favorite app?

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Dynamic QR Code

My class loves to scan QR codes!  I like to use QR codes as a quick way to get students where I want them to go.  My entire classroom is done in a Lego theme.  Lego bricks are such a great learning tool and can be used in so many ways.  Here is our class QR code students use in the "Literacy Plugged-in" center.  (Yes, it really works and it is made out of Lego bricks!)

It obviously took me quite a while to build this QR code on a 12"x12" Lego plate.  I can't make a new one every time I want to send them to a different place.  (I know I could pay to generate a dynamic QR code, but I was being cheap.)  This QR code takes students to a blog I set up on Blogger.  It is a no frills blog and simply called "Phillips QR".  Each time I have new information or links I want the students to see, I write a quick post.  I usually embed a video in the post as well.  When the students scan the code, it takes them to my most recent post.  During our unit on President's Day, I had links with information and videos on Presidents.  For our Seuss week, I had links to audio/video Seuss books.  The possibilities are endless.  I have also found by embedding the videos, the students aren't exposed to as many of the ads on YouTube.

I used to generate the QR code for free.  I liked this site because it will shorten the URL for you, and this makes for a simpler QR code.  Then I printed it out and started building.  One Lego stud for each pixel.

You can do the same thing, by just printing the QR code.  This would also be a great way to differentiate for students.  Different levels could have different QR codes and students wouldn't really notice the differences.

I am linking up on Tuesday with Technology Tailgate!