App of the Week: Paper

Looking for a way to express an idea on your iPad?  Looking for an app that is FREE?  Consider Paper.  Paper is an app that makes your iPad a ‘blank slate’ allowing you to sketch, write, draw, outline, and color.

Do you need to map out ideas for a project?  What about making drawings for work?  Whatever your idea or need is, Paper allows you to develop it in a variety of different ways.  Paper has a world-class palm rejection feature engrained in the app, making sure that you can rest your hand as you need to, without ruining your work.

Paper is FREE to download from the iTunes App store.  Be sure to watch some of the tutorial videos that come with Paper.  They were a great resource to learn how to use an even better one!

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App of the Week: Capti Narrator

1Capti Narrator can be used to listen to everything you want to read on the go and at your leisure. You can listen to any content from the Web, GoogleDrive, or Dropbox. Whether you are a student, a language learner, a commuter, a busy professional, a retiree, or a person with print disabilities, with Capti, reading can be enjoyable.

* Connected – get content from the Browser, Clipboard, Dropbox, GoogleDrive, and more
* Liberating – listen to e-books, documents, and web pages, instead of reading from the screen
* Organized – use the Playlist to organize your content, save it for later or listen to it right away
* Ubiquitous – listen on iPhone, iPod, or iPad; sync your Playlist and continue from the same spot
* Focused – listen only to the main content in webpages, skipping ads, menus, and other clutter
* Mobile – listen on the road, on the plane, in the gym, on a walk, even when you are offline
* Personalized – choose from many beautiful voices and accents, and set your preferred speech rate
* Intelligent – Capti reassembles the articles that are spread across multiple webpages
* Versatile – listen to content in PDF, EPUB, HTML, TXT, DOC, PPT, RTF, ODT, and more
* Accessible – Capti Narrator works seamlessly with VoiceOver screen-reader
* Social – share content with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, via Email or SMS
* Multilingual – listen to your content in any of the supported languages

Arabic, Dutch, Czech, Danish, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Norwegian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, and Turkish

Price: FREE

Link: [Apple]

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App of the Week: iBooks Author


Are you considering publishing a digital textbook, novel, or publication? iBooks Author, a free Mac App, allows you to create eBooks for iPad and Mac.  Using this tool will enable you to incorporate video, interactive content, graphics and more to give life to content that is typically flat. iBooks Author offers beautiful templates you can use and customize.  Adding content can take place by a simple click, drag, and drop process.  Imagine taking your completed Word or Pages file and dragging into a beautiful iBooks Author template to create your very own digital publication.  This is not your average ePublisher.  In addition to creating engaging digital content your students will not want to put down, students can highlight, take notes, create flash cards and share content with classmates.  iBooks Author is definitely an app you should consider highly if you are looking to publish you own content in a compelling way to enhance instruction.  To download this onto your Mac, go to


If you would like to know how to get started, check out this comprehensive 30 minute tutorial:



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App of the week – Magisto

If you are staying away from using your smart devices to create movies because you think the process takes too long or is too difficult, then let me introduce you to Magisto. Magisto is an app that will use your video clips or photos to create movies, complete with music and effects, “automatically”. I highlight the word automatically because it only takes 3 simple steps to create a movie:

  1. Choose your videos
  2. Select a theme
  3. Add music

Magisto does all the work for you. No editing skills are required. This is a great tool to use for class projects by amateurs who want to create professional looking presentations but who find other editing tools too complicated. Magisto works on both Apple and Android devices and it’s free.


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App of the Week: Desmos Graphing Calculator

A calculator comes in handy for a variety of situations including paying bills, converting measurements, or perhaps just solving homework.  But there comes a time when only a graphing calculator will do; and lets face it, they are not cheap.

And that is where the Desmos Graphing Calculator app comes in.  For starters, its FREE.  Secondly, its across multiple platforms, and users from both the Google Play store as well as the iTunes App store and download it.  But I will go a step further: not only is the app there, but it is also available as a Google Chrome app, meaning that you can have access to it from a web browser.  Therefore, by creating an account (which again is no cost to you)  you can sync it to not only your device but to your browser and your work can be saved in both places.  Using and saving your information with a graphing calculator has never been easier.

The Desmos Graphing Calculator helps you graph functions, plot tables of data, evaluate equations, and explore transformations.  It is a must have for any student not just because its free, because it is easy to use and Desmos works on any computer or tablet without requiring any downloads.

So the next time you are in need of graphing a function or  need a way to visualizer your data, use the Desmos Graphing Calculator app.


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App of the Week: Lensical

1a powerful Camera, Photo Library and Image Editor, within a simple, beautiful, gesture-based interface; shoot & share photos in any aspect ratio, easily browse and organize shared streams & photo albums, and get creative with a huge selection of non-destructive photo filters and face effects.

Tap to set a focus point, then drag to adjust exposure.
Quickly toggle between square & natural framing.
View, browse, and share photos simply.
Press & Hold photo streams and folders to organize them.
Get creative with Apptly’s famous face-morphing effects. Make 80 year old friends, add beards, grow mustaches, or even go bald. It’s awesome!
Select beautiful filters and photo presets that make it easy to be awesome.
Try paint effects and canvas textures.
easy to share to Instagram, Twitter, Email, SMS, Facebook, and other social media!

Price: FREE

Link: [Apple]


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App of the Week: RefMe

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 5.13.44 PMImagine with me, if you would, the ability to curate and cite resources using the reference style of your choosing (6500+ styles), with the simple use of a barcode scan or search.  Congratulations, one does not have to imagine anymore.  The app RefMe is the free tool for you.  RefMe allows you to use barcodes, ISDN numbers, URLs, and DOIs to create bibliographies and citations.  You can cite 35 different types of referencing sources (i.e., CD’s, Legal Cases, Journals).  All of your bibliographies and citations are stored in a cloud and easily accessible using any web-enabled device.  You can export your citations and bibliographies to Evernote, email them to yourself, or sync them to your account so you can export to Word or Google Docs.  To download this free app, available on iTunes and Google Play,  click on the hyperlinks listed:


Google Play

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App of the Week: AudioBoom

Alright, so you want to add a voice over or make a recording of something, but you need an embed code or you need to be able to email it out.  What do you do?  Well, you use AudioBoom!

Now some of you may be thinking that the name of that looks familiar.  You would be correct.  AudioBoom used to be AudioBoo.  I don’t know why they added the “m,” sorry.  However, the product is still very useful.  The first thing you need to do is set up your free account online.  Then simply download the app to you device and sign in using the same username and password.  Not only does it record your voice and give you an embed code, but you can also add a photo to your recording.

So what does that mean for you in your class?  Well, if you are teaching an ESL class you could create recordings for your students to translate.  If you teach English you could record readings of poems and such for when you can’t be in class (ie. in case of snowmageddon).  You can use it to do a voice over of an instructional video with bad audio.  The possibilities are endless.  Just come on in to Instructional Support and Development and we can help you figure out how to use it in your classes.

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App of the Week: Book Creator

A tool for the classroom, creating iBooks on the iPad, including picture books, photo books, art books, cook books, manuals, textbooks, etc., for designers, designing a fixed layout picture book on the iPad.

* Choose from portrait, landscape or square book sizes.
* Quickly add pictures from the Photos app, or grab them from the web, then move, resize and rotate them with your fingers.
* Edit text using the onscreen keyboard, and apply rich formatting to make it look great.
* Choose from all of the iPad’s fonts – over 50 to use.
* Import video and music, and record speech within the app.
* Draw and write in the books with the freehand pen tools.
* Layout the book exactly as you want it with guidelines and snap positioning.
* A quick tap and you’re reading your book in iBooks!
* Send your books to your friends over email, to iTunes on your computer, over Dropbox, or to a WebDav server.
* Print using AirPrint or other printer apps, or export as PDF.
* Export as a movie and upload to the web.
* With your books created using the international ePub standard you know they will be readable now and in the future.

Price: $4.99

Link: [Apple]

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2014 Year In Review: App of the Year!

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:

mzl.aossebpw 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.


thinglink-app-icon-o492x4-e1369521999854 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.


Slide1Coming 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.


Untitled-1 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!

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