Monthly Archives: October 2014

Osmo: An Essential iPad Add-On for Schools

osmo for iPad header image

When I first saw Osmo, it was a Kickstarter project. I was curious. It looked like a great idea, but would it work in a classroom, and would it ever become a reality or not? Turns out the answer to both questions was a resounding “Yes!” Last summer at iPadU: Slide to Unlock Learning, our keynote speaker, the excellent Matt Gomez, brought one with him and let us try it out. Suddenly it made so much more sense. The Osmo is tailormade for a classroom.

Since then, I have used it several times at work, and showed it off to lots of teachers. They all love it! Part of the appeal is undoubtedly its simplicity. It takes no time at all to set up and can be used by just about anyone, regardless of their experience on an iPad. However, it is also somewhat unique in the way that it encourages collaboration and the use of manipulatives to solve a problem.

osmo games

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Get Creative in the Classroom with Canva for iPad

Are you a graphic designer? Me neither, but when I use canva.com it’s easy to convince people that I might be. Why? I’ve written about Canva before. It’s a website that allows you to create a variety of stunning flyers, posters and graphics for blogs and websites with a minimum amount of effort. I love it, especially now that they have now taken the wraps off the new Canva for iPad app.

canva for iPad

Canva for iPad is extremely easy to use, and if you have ever used the web version, there will be almost no learning curve at all. You start by picking the design template you want to work on, or enter some custom dimensions for a specific size. After that, everything is a simple drag and drop away from the design that you want to create.

using images on canva for ipad

You can search for images, icons, and shapes that you want to add to your creation using the search button in the top left-hand corner. There are hundreds of free, stylish elements that can be used in your image, as well as a variety of background colors and textures. There is also an amazing collection of designer fonts that you can adjust the size and color of, and the ability to add photos from your iPad. When your image is finished, it can be saved as a PNG or PDF and saved to the iPad, or opened into another app to use as part of another project.

So, if you are looking to design some new images for your classroom website, or need something to spruce up your blog, the Canva app is a great choice. It is also a great tool for students to create posters, infographics, postcards, flyers and more. Check out the video below for more information.

Keedogo: Child-Friendly iPad Keyboards for iOS 8

I’m a fan of the iPad keyboard. For me, it does everything I need it to, and it does it very well. It’s intuitive, predictable and got a whole lot better with iOS 8. However, I am an adult, and a proficient user of technology. Younger students may not find it as easy to use, and they may not be able to remember the hidden secrets and power-tips for using the iPad keyboard. Enter Keedogo.

keedogo keyboard

Keedogo is a third-party keyboard app that simplifies the keyboard interface and makes it more colorful and appealing for students who are learning how to type. It is optimized for ease of use. For instance, there are only two keyboard screens, as opposed to the three layers you get on the standard iOS keyboard. The exclamation point and the question mark get their own keys that don’t require the use of the shift key to activate them. It uses lower case letters, has the vowels highlighted in a different color and can be used in a QWERTY or ABC layout.

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Sway: A Brand New Multimedia Presentation Tool

Sway logo

Today, Microsoft took the wraps off a brand new, multi-platform presentation tool called Sway. It lets you create dynamic content that pulls media from a variety of sources like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and OneDrive. There are a variety of styles and layouts to choose from but if design is not your strong point Sway will suggest some layouts for you based on colors it finds in your media. Everything you do is built with a simple drag and drop interface and you choose a variety of navigation paths for your viewers.

Finished creations can be shared with a link, embedded on a website, or shared on social media. Better still, your Sway presentation will adapt to any screen size  so that it looks great on all devices. Check out more in the video below:

Find out more by visiting www.sway.com where you can sign up to be on the waiting list for early access and see some sample Sways. I for one can’t wait to try this. It looks like an incredible option for the classroom and will have broad appeal due to the fact that it works on all modern browsers and has dedicated mobile apps on the way. A more in-depth look at Sway with a demo of how to build one can be found below:

Source: Office Blogs