Sunday, June 15, 2014

YEAH!! Mobile Thing 23

I was determined to finish on this last day, but thought it might take until midnight. ;-)  I like completing what I start, and having finished 23 Things on a Stick, I knew there would always be some advantage to finishing.

I did experience some frustrations with 23 Mobile Things though.  In the beginning I felt like most of the apps were ones that I already had experience with and either used on a regular basis or had decided I didn't care to use for a variety of reasons, and so it felt like I wasn't learning anything new or experiencing any challenge.  Well, this spring provided enough challenges in my personal and work life, so now I'm grateful.  Challenge from 23 Mobile Things would have been enough to make me quit. The other major frustration had nothing to do with the program itself, but with the way mobile technologies work.  A few weeks ago I got the e-mail from Springpad that they were shutting down.  At least this time I made a point of migrating my information over to Evernote (Springpad's recommended replacement app) before the deadline to avoid losing everything, like had happened to me before, but it's still not the same.  I know there were some poster sessions at this year's TIES conference about using Springpad in various instructional contexts.  Using this example, there was clearly some function in Springpad that was considered unique, since Evernote has been around so much longer, and so while their work done in Springpad is not completely lost, the functionality and purpose of creating in Springpad is possibly lost when moved out into Evernote.  I can see those types of things dissuading someone from branching out.  Going back to a comment I made in Thing 13 - Presentations, this supports the notion of learning and understanding the basic concept and function of the app because there is a great likelihood that that particular app won't be available or maintained and you'll need to move to another bookmarking, interactive whiteboard, photo editing, audio recording app against your choosing.

I would certainly participate in future 23 Things programs, as I always get something out of them!

Mobile Thing 22

So exciting...!  Apps Gone Free is like the app equivalent to BookBub and why pay for anything when there is a chance of getting it free?  A friend has been using Diana Photo quite a bit lately and talking it up like mad.  Today it was free!  It allows two photos to be layered over each other, adjusting the opacity and creating some interesting combinations.

Every year I like to check out AASL's top 25 apps for teaching and learning.  Many of them have been included either in these Mobile Things, or similar variations.

Mobile Thing 21

My favorites?!?

LibraryThing - Two years ago I found myself regularly purchasing books, only to arrive home and find it sitting on the shelf already.  After years of warehouse sales, conventions and conferences and general shopping, I had no clue what I actually owned versus titles I had heard about or read reviews of.  I decided one of my summer projects would be to catalog my home collection, and LibraryThing seemed to be the way to go.  It had a free account limit of 200-250 titles, and I'm glad I opted for the lifelong, one-time fee of $25 because by the end of that summer, I had 1400 titles cataloged.  It's now increased to almost 1700, and that is a list very handy to have available when standing at the store!

LOCPix - Kind of like what I was hoping LIFE for iPad would provide, LOCPix has all the photography collections digitized by the Library of Congress, available by collection.  Individual images can be saved as a favorite and prints can be ordered from the LOC.

Camera Zoo - Another fun photo app.  First graders used this app to photograph their partners as an animal (seven options to choose from).  Super cute and they had a ton of fun!!

Pocket - I've already mentioned this in one of the earliest Things, but Pocket can be attached to an RSS reader like Feedly, and with a single tap save blog posts into you Pocket.  Then within the Pocket app, folders and tags can be used to organize anything saved into pocket.

Mobile Thing 20

Alzheimers and dementia runs in my family.  Probably an unlikely start to a post on Thing 20: Games, but those in my generation and my parents' generation are interested in word puzzles and number games that aid in maintaining mental acuity.  I also have a old tetris addiction, which tends to lead me to the bubble/jingo type games.  That being said, I've added three game apps to my device: Word Abacus, Word Collapse and Word Warp.  All addictive.  I just finished reading Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library to the 4th and 5th graders and there were a number of word puzzles that could have been helped by practicing on these apps, especially Word Warp.  I need to continue practicing!

Mobile Thing 19

My hobbies tend to lean more toward the areas of handicrafts, so I searched for apps for knitting and bookmaking (book binding, as the first search brought up betting/bookie apps ;-).  In the area of bookmaking, there were mostly apps for how to create either digital books and photo albums to either be shared digitally or printed and bound.  I downloaded Mosaic and bookPress.  Mosaic allows you to choose 20 pictures to be printed and bound in a hardbound linen book for $25.  It is just the images on each page, with no option to add text or captions that I could see.  bookPress has a companion website called bookemon which is for k-12 educators to have a private, collaborative class section and be able to turn student works into printed books for purchase.

For knitting, I installed four apps.  I was rather disappointed with the Lion Brand Yarns app because while it specified searchable patterns (which I regularly download from the Lion Brand website as pdfs and store in iBooks), every search I conducted resulted in nothing.  Craftsy's Knitting app linked to a ton of patterns, some free and most at a cost, but easily allows for patterns to be added to a wish list or library.  Knit is a row and stitch counter that I have yet to figure out how to use.  Within the app, some of the menus and options are in an Asian font, so I can't read it.  Maybe I'll try to combine iTranslate (which I downloaded in Thing 18, but didn't mention in that post) with Knit to figure it out.  I'm currently working on a project that requires a cabled strip 83" long, so keeping track of my rows on that one would be very useful.  Lastly, Gaugefy Free is to help adjust gauges in knitting swatches (which I don't use as much as I should), so another app that could be useful in certain situations.

Mobile Thing 18

So many choices in the Education Thing!  A few I've used for years and love, like artCircles, Socrative and TED.  I will frequently show portions of TED Talks if done by authors we are reading or on topics that apply to curriculum.  Teaching at an arts school, artCircles provides fascinating articles connecting elements of art to other aspects of daily life, which always supports the importance and relevance of the arts in our world.

For my new exploration, I added Today's Document from the National Archive and Bill Nye the Science Guy.  Once again, I was really looking forward to using LIFE for iPad, but it wasn't available in the app store and round-about searching didn't result in anything.  Whereas Bill Nye's 20th anniversary app is full of fun (first thing I tapped on was his desk drawer and got a 9-step lesson in how to tie a bow tie), Today's Document is something that I'll be able to work into the classroom.  I'm working to include more primary sources into curriculum and think this app would give a good starting point.  I'm curious whether the documents for specific dates are ever changed out.  Another reason I interested in the LIFE app as it claimed to connect to the LIFE photo archive, an addition to primary sources.

Mobile Thing 17

I was very disappointed that the three apps in Connecting to the Community, I was not able to find or install.  Minneapolis Skyway and MN Museums could not be found in the Apple App Store.  I tried the links, searching directly in the app store and also navigating from the organization websites.  And what's the deal with MN Beer Activists only being available for Android devices?!?  I know a ton of beer enthusiasts that are Apple users, so they are losing out on a major section of the market!

The one app I did (will) find useful in this Thing was the MN State Fair app...although it is still shows 2013 information.  I hope this singular app will be updated for 2014, rather than creating a new 2014 app that people will need to search for and install.  A local, favorite bakery has recently reopened and applied for inclusion in the State Fair, so I'd definitely use the app to locate a Han's Bakery bee sting at the Fair this year!  YUM!!