The following programs are helpful in a variety of classroom settings,
and can be downloaded for FREE, as open source programs.
This link will download a concept map creating program that is very useful in any classroom.
Claroline is a program very similar to Blackboard that allows teachers to administer classes.
Moodle is a program that can be downloaded by both students and teachers on any computer and works as a virtual classroom.
Open office is a group of programs that functions similarly to Microsoft Office. It includes programs Writer (Word), Calc (Excel), Impress (Powerpoint), Draw (Paint), and Base, a database creator. If you will be sharing files with others, be sure to change your preferences to save as Microsoft Word. Open Office AND Microsoft can open Microsoft saved documents, but Microsoft CAN NOT open Open Office saved in the Open Office Format. For more info on this visit http://www.mydigitallife.info/2007/01/25/configure-change-or-set-openofficeorg-to-default-save-files-in-microsoft-office-formats/
Twiducate (an in-browser social networking site for classrooms)
This website is a social networking site designed for teachers by teachers. It allows a teacher to create an online environment for their students to communicate and the teacher controls the privacy settings.
iTunes U is a wonderful course management system for teachers which allows teachers to create assignments (which can be turned in and graded in the desktop teacher side of the program), upload links and videos to share with classes, and even allows students to take notes right in the app.
Aurasma is a very advanced app that is available for free! The app allows students to create Auras (which I describe to students as a QR code that doesn't look like a QR code) that trigger a video to play, or even a digital character to do something when viewed on the ipad. Auras are shareable with other Aurasma users, so it is a very fun way to explore. Click here to view a video showing some examples of Aurasma. Click here to check out this video that shows an art teacher using Aurasma.
Animoto is FREE for education and allows teachers to create free student accounts! The program is an extremely simple video creator that makes videos of professional quality. There are dozens of themes to choose from, as well as Royalty-Free music - making this an awesome app when it comes to teaching/working with copyright. Students can import video clips, pictures and text and can even set their video to their own music if they choose! I've used this app with students as young as gr. 2 and they are easily able to create the videos.
Sketchbook X is a wonderful app when it comes to free art apps. The app allows students to make marks with all kinds of digital tools, from marker to spray paint, paintbrushes and more. The app also allows students to work with the idea of digital layers, and each project may contain up to three layers. Students can even import pictures to draw on or manipulate.
Stop Motion Studio is an app that allows for the creation of Stop Motion videos. In the app, students take individual photos, make small adjustments, and then take another photo. Once they've gotten quite a few images (my students are required to have at least 300) they can play their stop motion video, and download it for sharing. If doing stop motion in class I highly recommend this app, along with the following tools:
- iPad Gooseneck stand $25 - adjustable in thousands of ways, holds the iPad steady so that the images are all consistent. I also use this stand to take time lapses of students in art.
- Wire Rack $9 - I bought something similar to these for my students to use to create stop motion drawings/videos with paper cutouts. The iPad sits on top of the rack (with the camera aligned in one of the spaces) and the paper is taped underneath it on the table (so that it doesn't move). The way that my desks work, the legs that the rack has were not quite tall enough, so I used Snap Cubes to make the legs taller.
- Headphones with Volume Control Button $12 - Did you know that the volume control button on your headphones will trigger the camera if you're in the camera app (or Stop Motion Studio)? We used the headphones to trigger the image so that the ipad would have no movement from the actual touching of the button on screen. I did this project with wiggly wobbly 4th and 5th graders so this ended up being a crucial tool for our success.
As Khan Academy states, they allow you to learn nearly anything on their app for free. This app is great for individualizing learning and tailoring it to students' interests.
Nearpod is an awesome app that allows you to show an interactive presentation on every ipad's individual screen. The presenter has full control in which slides students view at what time, and can also survey students, quiz them, even have them draw a picture!
This is a great app for classroom management! It allows the teacher to give students points based on behavior and also allows for easy communication with parents.
Showbie is an awesome app for teachers looking to collect assignments digitally. Students easily access your course by entering a code on their student version of Showbie, and can upload anything from documents to pictures, videos and even audio files.
At just $2.99, this app is AMAZING for the creative doors it opens in the classroom! Students cam use the green screen to literally put themselves anywhere! You can even get creative with green screens (which can be as simple as a $1 green tablecloth) to make things look like they're floating!
Our students worked in the app to create a "Jeopardy" game in which they played the host, contestants, and special guests. We also used the app to make history come alive and put students in historical settings.