Tag Archives: tools

Apps for High School Students: Studying

FlashCards++

This app is perfect for studying, for all ages! It’s available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch for just $3.99. With this app you’re able to create cards on your device by using text and images from various files and websites. There are a lot of cool features within the app, one of them being Text-to-speech, which allows you to listen to vocabulary and learn correct pronunciation. This app is sure to come in handy for students throughout the school year.

 

Evernote Peek

This app is available for free for the iPad.  This app was designed for the iPad 2 Smart Cover. And no worries, if you don’t have a Smart Cover, there are virtual covers available within the app. In order to study, you choose a note from your Evernote pad, and the app tests you based on the information within that note. To see the clue, you peek under the Smart Cover, and then you lift the entire cover to view the whole answer. This app is perfect for studying, no matter what age! Be sure to check this one out!

 

Study Tracker

Having trouble getting your kids to study? This is sure to help solve your problem! With Study Tracker, your student is able to track the amount of time that they study for each subject, and they’re able to compete with other kids to see who studies the most and gets the best grades. And as their study habits improve, there are badges they can unlock. This app is a fun and interesting way to keep track of studying, and I’m sure your kids will love it!

 

 

Do you or your kids have any apps that you use to study? Let us know!

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We Have a New App!

The Campfire Apps team is so excited to announce that we have a brand new app that is finally complete! This is an app we have been working on since last summer. We are very thrilled that it is done and almost ready to be shared with the world!

We will be officially releasing the app this weekend and celebrating with a small little Launch Party on Facebook on Friday. We hope you will be able to join us. There will be more details to follow this week about our party on Friday.

However, for now, we would like the app to be a little bit of a mystery! We are going to share some clues with you about the app, and we would like for you to play along and see if you can figure out what our app is or does. Are you in??

Clue #1: Our app can be used by friends, families, and children.

Clue #2: Our app can be used by people young or old. Age is no matter here.

Clue #3: Our app will be used primarily outside.

Clue #4: A photo clue:

Clue #5: Our app is related to a particular past-time popular in Ocean City, Maryland and other vacation towns.

Ok, those are your five clues for figuring out what our new app is or does. Do you have any ideas? Let us know! Share your ideas in the comments here or on our Facebook page. You can also tweet us your ideas!

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Campfire App Newsletter

Are you signed up for the Campfire Apps Newsletter?! If not, you should be! Be the first to find out about new releases and other information! We send out a monthly newsletter to keep you up to date with what we’re doing. The monthly newsletter shares highlights from the blog and updates from what we’re working on. You can sign up to receive the newsletter here. We hope you’ll consider signing up to receive this bonus content from Campfire Apps!

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APPlied Club Progess

The APPlied Club at Patapsco High School has been working very hard on finishing up their first app, and it’s almost complete! Shawn and Connor have been finishing the app’s final touches and getting it ready to be sent to Apple for approval. As a group, the club has been learning the guidelines and steps of pre-marketing. They’ve spent time brainstorming ideas of how they can market the app and get people excited and talking about it. Some of these ideas include making video trailers, posts on social networks, leaking sketches of the app, and word of mouth. They will be submitting the app to Apple for approval within the next few days and then they will begin the marketing process. We are looking forward to sharing the app with all of you! You can keep up with us at http://phs.appliedclub.org/ or here at the Campfire Apps blog.

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Incorporating Technology in Education

Many parents believe that allowing technology in education won’t benefit their student and will only distract them. However, many teachers and educators disagree with that. Nowadays, you can’t even walk into a classroom without seeing some type of technology being used. The majority of teachers prefer to teach using tools such as laptops and PowerPoint programs because it mixes up the lesson and it’s something that will get students to comprehend the information better. Being a student myself, I can say that technology in the classroom is great. We all look forward to any chance we have of using the computers, and we enjoy not having to just copy down notes everyday. And different from many schools, my school even airs a daily video broadcast of our announcements every morning. I found a video on The Digital Generation Project that focuses on an elementary school in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. This elementary school is what they refer to as “wired.” They are very tech savvy and encourage technology use through all of their grades, kindergarten through 5th grade. This school is one of the many schools nationwide that are integrating even more technology into their education.

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Bringing Technology into the Classroom, Part 2

Last week, I shared Part 1 of this mini-series here on the Campfire blog. You can read Part 1 here if you need to catch up before proceeding.

In Part 1 of Bringing Technology into the Classroom, I shared reasons why it is important to utilize technology in classrooms and why now is the time to integrate technology as a way to teach and prepare students for the future. Part 1 also suggested that you need to start early with children, allowing them access to the tools and techniques associated with a variety of technologies.

I realize, having been a teacher myself, that many teachers are hesitant to try new technology tools or unsure about how to use particular tools in the classroom. Sometimes, the access to the tools is an obstacle in itself. Some schools are lacking in their resources and this makes it challenging for teachers. However, that doesn’t mean that you should abandon all hope or agenda. In the elementary school where I taught Kindergarten, which was quite a large school serving about 750-800 children, we had only one computer lab. This computer lab was run on a first-come, first-served sign up schedule and housed about 30 computers, which all may or may not have been properly functioning on any given day. This was less than an ideal scenario for such a large school where technology should be a big priority.

lab

However, I made it a point to get my class into the computer lab at least once a month to practice skills and complete learning tasks. We started in the very beginning of the year with a fun game-like introduction to the parts of the computer called “Simon Says, It’s Computer Time!” where students learned the correct terminology for the parts of the computer and their functions. Was it always easy? Heck no! Were these trips stress and frustration free? Absolutely not! Was it always worth the stress and frustration? Sometimes. Did the students love these trips to the computer lab? Every single time. Even when the technology didn’t work quite the way I had planned or set their expectations for. Most times they handled that better than I did.

The point is, I was making an effort. I am quite a computer savvy person, so it was something I felt very passionate about, sharing this with my students. It wasn’t always perfect, it wasn’t always easy, but I continued to do try because it was important. The key was that I started small. I didn’t jump right in with both feet and tackle every program and tool I had at my fingertips, each year I learned how to use one more program in a few different ways so that I could add a lesson that used it. I certainly don’t know how to use these programs in their entirety, but I didn’t need to. Because I had the youngest children in my classroom, I was able to progress as they progressed. With younger students it was all about introduction and exposure. Showing them how to use a computer, operate a mouse, type their names, these were the things that were most important for each child to know at the end of the year. Sure, it doesn’t sound like a lot, and we certainly learned more than just those simple skills, but it was a good starting point.

Today’s lesson is just that – Start, but start small. An article found on Edutopia, “Doing More with Less (and Other Practical Educational Technology Tidbits)” prompted this post. In the article, author Adam Bellow shares a list of ways to help you get started with technology in your classroom.

1. Start Small. New initiatives can be extremely overwhelming each year, especially if you haven’t exactly mastered the older initiatives your district has put into place. With technology these new initiatives can be downright hard to follow, especially if you are a “tech-challenged” individual. But you never accomplish anything unless you try. You cannot be afraid of failure. One thing that teachers are excellent at is self-evaluation, being able to look at a lesson or a piece of a lesson and evaluate how it went. If it didn’t go as planned, that’s ok, try it again.

Bellow’s tips:
Try one new thing a week, so you don’t become overwhelmed
Try only one new thing at a time, so that you are not cramming too much into one lesson

2. Collaboration Is the 21st Century Skill. Learning to work with others and share ideas is an imperative skill to teach our youngsters. This is one of the most valuable skills that they can learn that will help them and be useful to them throughout the remainder of their lives. talk about a real-world connection? It is also a good skill for educators to possess. Often to work around the limitations of our school’s technology, another teacher and I would pair up for a tech-based lesson. We would co-teach the content and our students would work together to complete the lesson’s activity. These lessons were some of the favorite lessons of the students and the teachers!

Bellow’s tips:
Use free tools, such as Google Docs or Skype
Find new ways to collaborate, both for your students and yourself and your colleagues

3. Training is Key. Schools should be making it a priority to properly train their teachers on how to use the technology tools that they provide. Training should be on-going. This is not always an option, but the internet is always an option. During my last year of teaching, I was lucky enough to have a SmartBoard installed in my classroom. My “formal” training never came through from the school, so I taught myself. I read how to use the software on the Promethean website, learned how to do some things from another teacher who had taken a class on using the SmartBoard, and when I had issues, I troubleshooted online. It certainly wasn’t ideal, but it was something that I was passionate about using with my students, so I was determined to learn it.

Bellow’s tips:
Look outside your school as some great PD that is free and easy to come by
Suggest that each faculty meeting include a tech-share, this is a brilliant idea

4. Go Mobile. Smartphones, iPods, iPads…all of these new technologies present wonderful opportunities to use technology in the classroom. Bellow’s makes the case that the days of the computer lab are gone, I very much agree. Why would you limit the technology to a certain space for a limited number of students? “Any investment a school makes in technology should be something that can be used in multiple settings for multiple purposes by multiple sets of students.”

Bellow’s tips:
Make the case for mobile technology, make a case to whoever is making the decision about how this technology would make your classroom a better place
Fundraise creatively, sometimes the money just isn’t there, be creative

5. High Tech on a Low Budget. You can do a lot with very little. There are tons of web-based tools out there that perform comparably to more expensive options, like PhotoShop.

Bellow’s tips:
Use Twitter, to find out about these tools

6. Rethink Who Should Be at the Table. This is a big one. When making decisions about what technologies would be best for classrooms, often classroom teachers are the ones left out of the conversations. This should no longer be the case. Classroom teachers, those who this new technology will impact on a daily basis, should be the first people invited to talks about new materials.

Bellow’s tips:
Invite all stakeholders to the table, to join in the conversation and discuss the various sides of the issues
Create a small representative committee of students, who can be involved at some point in the decision making process

Bellow’s article goes into much more detail than I have given here. I just came across this article and felt that it summed up how to step into using more technology in your classroom in a comprehensive way. No matter where you are in the process of integrating more technology, you are never alone. Reach out to your colleagues, as they can often times bet the best resources. Look for new ideas on the internet, through Twitter or blogs. And again, remember, just start small. Baby steps, learn to do one thing and one thing well, then move on to the next thing.

Whatever you do, don’t wait. Start now. What is one thing you have been waiting to use with your students? Or something that you would like to know more about how to use with your students? If you have something you want more information about, leave a note in the comments and I will try to point you in the direction of some resources that might be helpful.

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Meet Henry (and his Magic Headlamp)!

Today, we would like to formally introduce you to someone you may be seeing a lot of in the future. This is Henry…

Henry is the main character of our new app. Well not just Henry, his headlamp too!

Henry is a little guy who loves big adventures. He is loosely inspired by someone we know in real life, our own dear little Henry.

These are the sketches of Henry done by our designer, Susie, before he was made digital. Susie is quite the artist and a few weeks ago, I got to see her bring Henry to life in these drawings right before my eyes. Before that day, Henry was just a character we had talked a little about, he didn’t really have a personality or a look to him. Susie has really helped to bring the character we had in mind to life.

I can’t tell you exactly what the app is just yet, you will have to wait until next week to find that out. However, I can tell you that Henry is very busy preparing to delight and entertain his new friends!

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Teachers and Educators, We Make Apps for You, too!

Imagine if every day there was a parent / teacher conference. Would you tell the parent how their child really liked the science lesson you gave today? Would you tell them how their child needs some extra help learning fractions and here are some tools to help them? Would you remind them about the upcoming field trip that you need volunteers and signed permission slips for? What if you could communicate all of this to your entire class and it was no harder than taking attendance?

parent teacher conf

It’s time that we stopped meeting once a quarter (or less) to discuss childrens’ progress when progress is moving at a much faster pace. We need to stop sending home papers that are getting misplaced or lost in the bottomless pit known as the backpack. Teachers want parents that are more involved and parents are sometimes unsure how to help or communicate effectively with their children to find out what they do each day at school. How many times have you heard a parent say, “This is beyond what we did when I went to school”? We need to utilize the speed of communication that modern technology offers us and employ it in our learning efforts.

Our goal is to build applications that enable transparent communications between Teacher/Educator, Parent, and Student. We want to provide ways for teachers to send information to parents and families in a quick and timely manner so that they can be more involved in their child’s education and daily activities at school. We wish to do this in a way that makes life a little easier for teachers and educators. As teachers, we know what precious little time you have, we hope to make apps that give you more time to teach and spend time with your students while still tending to all the tasks you have to accomplish in a given day.

Ultimately, we want to empower families, help teachers communicate, and have children enjoy learning.

You can help us with building our apps by becoming a tester for Campfire Apps, you can let us know you are interested right here.

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