As the close of the year draws near, we at IS&D have reflected on what we believe are the top four apps that we have utilized. So, from the vast apps that have presented to you over the past year I give you the top four:
Coming in at Number Four: Heads Up!
Heads Up! can be used as a study technique for vocabulary words, people, and places. The rules of the game are simple. First create a customizable deck of cards with the words you are trying to remember. Then gather a group of friends/classmates that have to learn the same words. Once everyone is ready, hold the iPad or iPhone up to your head so that you can not see the words displayed and let your friends give you definitions/clues to guess the word displayed. Now, your friends can not use any variation of the word while trying to get you to guess. This makes the people attempting to get you to guess to think about the word displayed in a new and innovative way. As the guesser, you also have new ways to identify the word displayed. If you guess the word correctly then simply point the iProduct at the floor, but if you don’t know it then point it at the ceiling. When the game times out (because you are on a timer) a list of words will show up and the ones in red are the ones you missed. Now you know which ones to go back and study and which ones you know well all while learning new ways to remember the words and having a ton of fun. It’s way better than flash cards!
While it’s a very useful app for studying and still having a good time with friends, Heads Up! is available only on iProducts and costs $0.99 for the app and $0.99 per customizable deck of cards. Therefore, it is relegated to the fourth spot in our app of the year countdown.
Coming in at Number Three: Thinglink
Thinglink is a great presentation tool, easy to use, and FREE! To use their service just sign up for an account with your e-mail address and password. To create a Thinglink, first choose or create a “base image.” Then simply click anywhere on the base image that you would like to have a multimedia file embedded. Once you click you will get options to change the “tags” to something more content appropriate (or if you purchase the full version you can upload your own photos to use as tags). If you wish to have a photo, recording, or video displayed when someone touches your Thinglink you do have to host it online as Thinglink requires a URL to embed those functions. You will also have the option to add text to your tag if you so choose. Once you have placed all of your multimedia tags on your base image it will be ready to be saved to the Thinglink servers. Then you are given a URL and Embed Code so that you can share your Thinglink with the world.
While it’s a useful presentation tool and is available both via the internet and as an app on both iProducts and Android, it is simply a tool to present information in a new and interactive manner. Therefore, it comes in at number three even though it has been widely used in this office.
Coming in at Number Two: Tellagami
Tellagami is a fun way to add a little personality to your online instruction. This app allows you to create an animated “Gami” to speak for you. Set up is simple, first you create your Gami with gender, clothing, hair, eyes, emotion, and even head size options. Then you can choose your background. Now there are preloaded backgrounds, but you can also either take a photo while in the app or access your photo library and use a personal photo as a background. However, if you want to get really fancy you can take a picture of a blank green paper as a background and then use a green screen app, like Green Screen by DoInk or Camtasia, to add video behind your Tellagami. Then all that is left is to record your message. You can use your own voice to record any instruction that you would like to convey, but you are limited to thirty second increments. However, if you purchase the full EDU version then you will have ninety second increments and many more options for customizing your Gami. Once you have finished, you can share your Gami via email, social media networks, or you can save it to your device to be used later.
While it’s a fun way to deliver online instruction, Tellagami only creates animated people that speak in your voice. For this reason, it has come in second place. Although it is incredibly useful and has features on several IS&D instructional videos.
AND THE WINNER IS: Nearpod
Nearpod is a great way to give instruction to a class (or schedule it for homework if you have the paid version). This app is available on any web-enabled device and allows for you as a teacher to keep the class at your pace, but there’s more. Nearpod allows for videos, photos, and recordings to be embedded within the presentation and you can use your already created PowerPoints! The lynch pin for Nearpod is its assessment potential. You can assess your students in real time through the Nearpod app and then address any issues as they arise. and you’re not just limited to multiple choice questions. You can add short answer as well as drawn answers!
Due to its ability to integrate everything and provide real-time assessment feedback, Nearpod has clinched the top spot for Alexandria Instructional Support and Development’s App of the Year.
Have a wonderful holiday break!