Up in Pieces

image    Last week I trialled using the free app Up in Pieces with my Year 9 Indonesian class. Students really enjoyed the app and actually asked for more puzzles. Any app that can generate that sort of enthusiasm in a languages classroom full of 14 year old teenagers definitely needs to be considered.

Basically, Up in Pieces turns photos into playable jigsaw puzzles. You can import any image from your Photo Library into the app. This means your puzzles could come from photos taken with the iPad camera, images saved from webpages, screenshots taken in any app, collages made with a collage app like Pic Collage, etc.

Creating a puzzle is quite simple, click on the word Create and select the image you wish to use. At this point you may be required to crop a little from each side of your image, so you do need to be careful that no important parts of your puzzle will be removed. Next select the number of pieces you would like your puzzle to have, and by turning on rotate, pieces will be randomly rotated therefore making the puzzle a bit more difficult to complete. Your puzzle is then created and saved.

Once saved your Up in Pieces puzzle can be shared via emailing the link. Students must have the Up in Pieces app installed in order to use the link. When you choose to share a puzzle, it is uploaded to Up in Piece’s server and is available via a hyperlink. To get the hyperlink, your options are to share it by Twitter, Facebook, or Email. As I cannot use Twitter or Facebook at my school,  I chose to email the link to my students. Firstly by emailing the link to myself, and then using the bulk email function forward it to my class. I did run into difficulties as students were unable to open the link, though this could be due to permissions on my school’s network. So to make the link work I did have to manually email each student. A tedious process. Next time I might embed a QR code with the link. Though not sure this will be successful.

Whilst I did have a minor technical hitch, I am planning on using this app across all year levels that I teach as my students really enjoyed using the app and it is another way that encourages students’ communication skills.

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360Cities

image    Where shall we go next? What country can we explore? 360cities allows you to virtually visit many places of interest and view their spectacular panoramic photos. The photos are a full interactive shot of the scenery so you do get to see everything.  You are also able to create your own panoramic shots and upload your pictures.

The 360Cities panoramic pictures provide a vivid visual experience to enhance a languages lesson. Students can search and view the panoramic setting and bring a country to them. Images could be used to visit famous landmarks or interesting sites. As a teacher:

  • you could provide students an image and challenge them to create a virtual tour.
  • By using other apps you could get students to create travel brochures for the panoramic pictures, or
  • Record the tours as a screencast.
  • Use the “how-to” section to have your students create their own panoramic pictures.

At a cost of $1.99, this is an excellent app.

Tellagami

untitled  Tellagami is an app that allows uers to create video content on their ipad.  It allows for the the combination of voice and photo backgrounds to create customised 3D avatars.  It is another fun way of encouraging digital storytelling, as well as speaking, reading and writing in the languages classroom.  Last week I gave this app a go in my Year 7 class. Students were to write a script about our current topic “Kamu melakukan apa?”  “What are you doing?”, and then get their script proofread and corrected by me.

Once the script was completed, students were to create their 3D avatar Tellagami, complete with their voice recording.

This is a sample of my student’s work.

I really liked using Tellagami in my classroom as it is a very simple app to use, and the process of actually creating a movie similar to my student sample is quite fast and very easy. Users have the option of picking the gender of their avatar, and then have the option of changing their avatar’s facial attributes, emotions, clothing and background image. For the background you can use an image from your camera roll or select one of the apps pre-loaded options. There is a limitation in that you can only audio record scenes for 30 seconds. However, if you wanted to make a longer movie, you can save your 30 second scenes into your camera roll and then use them in another app like iMovie.

This is a really fun app and my students were very excited in the prospect of creating their own talking avatar. It is an excellent app that really engaged my students and assisted them in learning a language.

Cartoon Camera

 

image  Cartoon Camera Pro app is a really cool app that creates sketch like images from any image stored in your camera roll or from images taken with your iPad camera. Very simple to use: you upload an image, and once uploaded you can then resize, rescale, or crop. You then can select if you want your image to appear in black and white, coloured, or distorted and also add filters.

Your image will appear like a sketched cartoon. I created this cartoon image with no fuss at all.

Images can be shared via social network tools or saved to your camera roll.

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Students and Teachers could use the images when creating

Comic books
Posters
Worksheets
Flashcards
EBooks
Or absolutely anything

Whilst this app is not entirely “educational” it does allow the creative, and not so creative, to produce a document in a fun way. I haven’t yet used this app in my classroom, but I am thinking it might be quite hilarious for students to take a photo of themselves, turn that into a comic sketch and then use that image to create a poster that describes them. Definitely think that my year 8s will enjoy that activity and also sharing their creation, And while it might seem a bit frivolous students will still be talking, reading, listening and writing in the target language. Who said teaching and learning a language can’t be fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trading Cards

image   Trading Cards is a fun, easy to use and a very useful free iPad app. My younger students love to collect trading cards, so rather than just collecting cards, this app encourages students to create their own.

Trading Cards app is very easy to use, as within each stage in creating a Trading Card you are given question prompts which are very useful as it helps students with their writing.

This is a card that I made. It took no time at all.

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I love that my students now have another option and fun way to write in the target language.

Using the onscreen prompts students can create cards on almost any topic, and I really like that this app does encourage writing in the target language.  Some examples for use might be to create cards on topics such as

  • About me
  • My pets
  • Family members
  • Describing people

As you can see from my example images can be added to cards and once completed cards can be saved and shared via email and also saved to your camera roll.  Students then have the ability to share their cards with other students.

Best Sand Timer

image    While I have generally been reviewing apps that allow for student creativity, there are apps which can be used in the classroom just because its fun or puts a different spin on an activity. This is why I like using Best Sand Timer.

 

  • It allows students to know how much time they have left on an activity, for example you might say to students in the next two minutes write down as many words you can on a particular topic.
  • It can be used when playing class games or quizzes
  • Useful for project work

 

This digitised hourglass can be used to time anything for up to 60 minutes. You can customise your hourglass by changing the time, colour and set sounds to loop. If you set the alarm the sound starts to play when the time is finished. As an aside I quite like the kitch and nostalgic look of the hourglass as it reminds me of the one my mother used when I was little.

 

The downside is the free app does come with ads which I find irritating and distracting. However, if this doesn’t bother you then that isn’t a problem, but if you feel like me, you can upgrade for $0.99 to get the app ad free.

 

Phonto

image Phonto is a very simple and minimalistic free app that basically and very easily allows you to add text to an image. Once you have added an image you then add an “item”, which could be a text or thought bubble, rectangle or star shape, or a multiple of these. Once you have your item you can add text. There are more than 200 fonts are available, and text size, colour and gradient can be changed. The text can be rotated and background colours can be changed and moved to your desired position.

There are ads on the app which is slightly annoying, however, for a small fee there is an in-app option  to remove the ads. However, that annoyance aside, because of ease of use, I would recommend this app in the languages classroom. Students are able to use Phonto to:

  •  Write about an image you supplied
  • Have an image to use as a discussion starter
  • Work in groups to develop sentences, scripts
  • Revise target words or grammar structures
  • Create posters on topic

Images can be saved to your camera roll, emailed, shared via various social networking tools or open in other apps.