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Citelighter: an indispensable tool for academics and student researchers

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

citelighter

Citelighter is a very good web tool for student researchers, teachers and academics. It combines both the features of an academic search engine and an organizational framework for helping students with their research papers writing. Citeligther allows you to easily search for facts and information to back your arguments and it automatically cites your sources using different citation styles: MLA, APA, and Chicago).

To start using Citelighter, you will need to sign up. Once registered you can then download Citelighter toolbar to help you manage and organize your materials. Using the different functionalities of your toolbar, you will be able to start on writing your own paper. You can search for and capture important information to add to your paper, Citelighter takes care of the bibliograhic work for you. Watch this video to learn more about how Citelighter works and what you can do with it. Cite lighter offers both a free basic account with limited features and a premium account with more advanced features 

Halftone 2: a great App for creating comic books with students

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

halftone

Halftone 2 is a very good comic book creator app that you can use with students to create comic and scrap books using photos and sound effects.

The process of creating a comic book using Halftone 2 is simple and easy: Choose a page layout from the selection provided there, then import your photos from your photo library, Facebook or Flickr. Customize the look of your images using Aviary’s photo editing tools that include things such as automatic enhancements, filter effects, brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness, redeye, whiten, blemish, and selective focus. You can also add captions and speech bubbles to your photos or choose from over 80 professionally-designed graphical shapes. Next, mix in some sound effects then share your creation as an image, multi-page document, or high-definition video.

Other features provided by Halftone 2 include:

  • Over 30 unique caption and balloon styles (speech bubbles, thought balloons, banners, scrolls, and more)
  • A powerful 3D perspective feature lets you tilt your captions and balloons
  • A custom stamp feature allows you to add your own images (with support for alpha channels)
  • Choose from over 30 multi-photo page layouts 50 licensed sound effects are included that can be assigned to each photo panel
  • An optional soundtrack can be added by choosing a song from your music library
  • A document library lets you create, save, copy, and work with multiple projects
  • Output formats include image (JPG), PDF, CBZ, and video (MP4)

Watch this video to learn more about to use Halftone 2.

Insights. A new educational tool for creating paperless interactive lessons

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

tinitap

The popular educational app TinyTap has recently released a new tool called Insights. This is basically a data management tool to help teachers access real-time analytics on data related to classroom teaching such as which lessons students completed, how they scored on them and how they are improving.

Insights is designed to help you engage your students, improve grades, and save valuable time. You can use Insights for a variety of purposes including:

  • Formative Assessments: create tests, quizzes, and lesson reviews
  • Digital Homework: assign a lesson, track who played, see how they did
  • Project-Based Learning: let students build their own portfolios of interactive presentations

Some of the features provided by Insights include:

  • Build interactive lessons to engage your students
  • Assign lessons, quizzes and homework
  • Draw upon thousands of other free lessons created daily by educators worldwide
  • See how students perform and identify where they need help
  • Update students’ families with the click of a button

Here are some interesting video tutorials to help you make the best of Insights.

A great App to explore the human body in 4D

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

anatomy4d

Anatomy 4D is an excellent iPad app for science teachers and students. It provides an interactive 4D experience of the human anatomy using augmented reality technology.

Anatomy 4D offers an easy to use 3-dimensional learning environment ideal for classroom use. Students can utilize the app to virtually explore the human body and learn more about the functionality of each organ. The visual and interactive features of the app make the task of learning about human anatomy super engaging.

Here is how to get started using Anatomy 4D.

First, open the app and head over to ‘target library’ and email, print or save any set of images you are interested in. After that, you simply point your device at the target from the “Viewer” and watch the 4D Experience come to life.

Here some of the features provided by Anatomy 4D:

  • Learn about and explore the human body and heart in intricate detail
  • Highlight various organ systems individually, so for instance, you can focus on just the skeletal, muscular, or respiratory system
  • Change the view back and forth between a male and female body
  • Zoom in to experience each organ or body part in-depth
  • Use new image targets including the new heart target (this new app release still supports the original image target)

Get inspired about human anatomy!

ICDL offers tons of free eBooks for kids

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

interchild

International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL) is an iPad app that offers a plethora of free books specifically selected for kids and young learners. The app is a fruit of the partnership between the University of Maryland's Human-Computer Interaction Lab and the International Children's Digital Library Foundation.

ICDL features a large collection of children’s books from over 60 countries and in different languages. The books are provided in highly readable format with beautiful illustrations and graphics. The purpose behind this project is to “to excite and inspire young readers to become better world citizens by leveraging technology to reach underserved children who have little access to libraries. The ICDL is offered free of charge to everyone, everywhere with no advertising.”

Some of the features ICDL offers to its users include:

  • The full ICDL collection (thousands of books)
  • Completely free
  • Books in dozens of languages
  • iPad support for rotation (automatically shows two pages at a time in landscape view)
  • All books have summaries in English and the native language of the book
  • Special support for readability - by zooming text (for many books)
  • Many books translated into other languages 

Desmos: an excellent tool for Math Teachers

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

desmos

Desmos is a good platform for math teachers and students. Desmos is a graphing calculator that allows you to easily plot functions, create tables, add sliders, animate graphs and many more. Some of the features it provides to users include:

  • Graphing: Plot polar, cartesian, or parametric graphs. There’s no limit to how many expressions you can graph at one time - and you don’t even need to enter expressions in y= form!
  • Sliders: Adjust values interactively to build intuition, or animate any parameter to visualize its effect on the graph
  • Tables: Input and plot data, or create an input-output table for any function
  • Statistics: Find best-fit lines, parabolas, and more
  • Zooming: Scale the axes independently or at the same time with the pinch of two fingers, or edit the window size manually to get the perfect window
  • Points of Interest: Touch a curve to show maximums, minimums, and points of intersection. Tap the gray points of interest to see their coordinates. Hold and drag along a curve to see the coordinates change under your finger
  • Scientific Calculator: Just type in any equation you want to solve and Desmos will show you the answer. It can handle square roots, logs, absolute value, and more
  • Inequalities: Plot cartesian and polar inequalities.

Watch this video to learn more about Desmos.

A very good resource of educational posters for chemistry teachers

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

bad science

Compound Interest is a blog by Andy Brunning, a chemistry teacher in the UK. Andy creates and shares a wide variety of educational posters and graphics on everything related to chemistry and chemical reactions. We spent sometime browsing Andy’s collection of graphics and we found them really worth mentioning here.

Andy’s graphics are licensed under Creative Commons License, free for educational uses. You can find more about this site's copyright guidelines from this page. Also, the graphics are available in high quality PDF format which you can download and use with your students in class. Andy’s graphics have been featured in several popular media sites including:The Guardian, Huffington Post, Forbes, Business Insider and many more.

Here is an example of one of Andy's posters on how to spot bad science. We learned about this poster together with Compound Interest from Educational Technology Guy.

Mathcubes: Compare & Order For Kids

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

mathcubes

Educational app specifically designed for children to learn the decimal number system, while playing with cubes and listening smooth jazz melodies.

This app contains different math exercises, with three difficulty levels, to practice the concepts of:

  • Decompose numbers into ones, tens and hundreds.
  • Compare numbers.
  • Order numbers from least to greatest and from greatest to least.
  • Given a number, find the previous and next one.

All the numbers needed to solve the exercises are represented as classic wood blocks. The children will be able to solve the exercises in an intuitive manner, dragging the correct cubes into the solution boxes. The innovative proposal lies in the use of a physics engine, thanks to which, cubes seem to be the real world. While children solve the exercises, they are are able to throw cubes against each other, pile them up and drop them, interacting at a level never seen before with amazing results. Children will experience new emotions exercise after exercise.

Children are curious and they love experimenting with their surroundings. «Mathcubes Compare and Order for Kids» encourages this type of behavior, allowing children to discover the answer to the exercises that they find more challenging trying and following clues. You will see how in a short amount of time they will control all the numbers without hardly making an effort. They will surprise you!

Mathcubes series is part of School Cubes, a collection of educational apps developed with the certainty that learning should not be at odds with having fun. Fun lesson, learned lesson! For more information please visit www.schoolcubes.com.

Flocabulary: an online library of educational music videos to use in class

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

flocabulary

Flocabulary is an excellent educational platform we discovered through Graphite. Flocabulary provides teachers with a digital library of educational music videos (hip-hop songs) to use in class to engage and inspire their k-12 students. Flocabulary has nearly 600 units in all subjects for grades K-12. All ELA, vocabulary, and math units are aligned to Common Core State Standards.

As a teacher you can use Flocabulary videos for a variety of instructional purposes that include introduction, enrichment, differentiated instruction and test prep. Most of the music videos included in this site are accompanied with a variety of materials such as song lyrics, online activities, and exercises.

Here is a quick tour of Flocabulary lesson sequence:

  1. Flocabulary presents academic content in a highly-engaging, contemporary format. Videos let the topic speak for itself, providing students with both visual and aural exposure.
  2. Each video includes additional resources to review and enrich: Use challenge questions for a quick formative assessment. Learn more while building literacy skills with interactive lyrics. And review key terms with fill in the blanks. You can also print activities and tests to formally assess student learning.
  3. Now it's time for students to write. Students can write their own rhymes, and even perform them over beats. Additionally, you can extend any lesson with Common Core-aligned writing activities, lessons and games.

Flocabulary provides affordable individual plans for teachers and parents as well as discounted group plans for schools and districts. Learn more about pricing plans from this page.

Watch this video to learn more about Flocabulary.

Drawp for School: a great Collaborative Tool for teachers and students

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

drawp

Drawp for School is an excellent creativity and collaboration tool for teachers and students. It provides students with an intuitive blank canvas and a variety of drawing and painting tools to use for visualizing thoughts and for creating rich mixed media content. Students can collaboratively work on a drawing, add sticky notes, text, or even record audio clips and share them with teachers who, in their part, can provide feedback in the form of comments.

Drawp for School allows teachers to create classes and automatically add students. Once connected, teachers can create and share assignments and seamlessly manage their classes across different devices. Some other features provided by Drawp for School include:

  • Powerful creation tools: drawing, painting, photos, text and voice stickers.
  • SimpleShare™ technology: swipe to share and collaborate
  • Protects privacy: COPPA compliant and has the TRUSTe seal of approval
  • Unlimited storage in the Drawp cloud; compatible with Dropbox and Google Drive
  • Safe and secure: no email or in-app purchases.
  • Eases teacher workload: Drawp automatically collects, organizes and stores assignments
  • Common Core aligned tips and collaboration tools
  • Expedites teacher/parent communication
  • Easy: Ideal tool for K-8 students

Download the app for free in App Store or Google Play. Upgraded accounts let you create more classes, include unlimited assignments, student accounts and storage.

Watch this video to learn more about Drawp for School

Gianfranco D'Aversa

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