Puppet Pals HD is a highly regarded animation / storytelling app for iPad, which is suitable for K-10 students, and has a variety of educational applications.
To use Puppet Pals, students select characters, settings, and a title; and then narrate a story while animating the characters and props using their fingers. You can create your own backdrops and characters using pictures from your Camera Roll, and export the finished video files to iMovie, YouTube, etc.
The app itself is free, but we highly recommend purchasing the Director’s Pass (about $3 via in-app purchase), which allows you to download and use a wider choice of characters and backdrops, including any future content.
For: Students (Early Childhood – Secondary), English Language Learners
Comics and cartoons have a HUGE range of educational applications across the primary and secondary curriculum, and can be easily integrated into a range of subject or topic areas.
Comic Life for iPad is an easy-to-use comic / cartoon creation app for students from Grades 1-12. It provides a range of templates, and enables users to import pictures (from their Camera Roll, or Creative Commons sources on the Internet), captions, and special effects (thought balloons, onomatopoeia).
This app mirrors the Windows / Mac version of Comic LIfe, and allows users to print, email, or share their comics on Facebook. Comic Life for iPad also features an “in-tray” option, which allows users to share comics with other iPad users nearby).
The Elements: A Visual Exploration, by Theodore Gray, is a simply stunning iPad app with mesmerising high-definition graphics, videos, and detailed information for every element in the Periodic Table. While users can’t copy information out of the app, it is possible to save screenshots.
This app is available in American and British English versions, and is translated into French, German, and Japanese (check the description).
For: Secondary Science Teachers and Students, invaluable in Chemistry
Cost: $16 (Worth every cent, but be warned – it’s a 1.7GB download) (Download Link)
Requires WiFi?: Yes , but only to access online features)
Digital textbooks are becoming a highly discussed and contentious issue. I am not a huge fan of textbooks, but where we do use them, they need to be interesting and engaging.
My flight today was delayed due to a cyclone, so I took the time to catch up on my reading. A report on the plans for wide scale introduction of digital textbooks in the USA was very interesting: “Playbook:Digital Textbook direction in the US“. It follows the plans in the USA to use digital textbooks across different states, and describes the huge financial investment by the government in textbook creation, high speed Internet provision, computers and tablets for students.
The launch of iBooks 2 showcases Apple’s new venture in digital textbook publishing. I have reviewed some of the digital textbooks and have found them very disappointing – they are just glorified PDF’s.
The challenge for textbook writers is to exploit the interactivity and engaging nature of ePubs in textbook production. They can be rich multi-modal documents with the embedded multimedia.
Many students don`t approach text in the way we have traditionally, reading pages from top to bottom and left to right. They tend to scan pages with their attention moving to the embedded hyperlinks and multi-media. It is also important that digital texts allow the reader to engage with the text through annotation and highlighting functions.
Digital textbooks can encourage student collaboration through the sharing functions. The e-book “Our Choice” by Al Gore uses some of the engaging, interactive features of digital publications that can be used in textbooks.
There are a number of apps and traditional software that allow you to create your own e-books. You can create an e-Pub in Pages, but you need the full computer version not the iPad app. Book Creator is the best ePub creator for the iPad.
iMovie is an easy to use, touch based, video editing app for iPad. It enables students and teachers to create professional looking movies, incorporating video, photos, music, and sound effects. It was recently updated to enable users to create incredibly realistic movie trailers!
To get started, we highly recommend iMovie Basics, which gives teachers a great starting point for learning how to use iMovie in class.