Thursday, March 17, 2011

"There's an App for That!"

When Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote the words, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways," she could not have imagined that one day millions may apply this sentiment in pondering their utter adoration of a little electronic gadget. I have never met an iPhone or iPad owner who had anything less than complete and unconditional love for it, nor any who could not ramble on about their favorite Apps quicker than making a list of admirable qualities in their loved ones (try it-it's true!). So, here's my quick list of fav Apps, plus a couple links to other App-lover education-specific lists.
  • Maps: Where would I be without my all-in-one self and destination locator? I never have to know exactly where I am headed until the moment before I walk out the door...brilliant.-standard, free; Also worth mentioning if you live in NYC is the NYC KickMap subway map (kick lite version is free and sufficient for navigating the underground) Educational Application: How many kids in Boca Raton don't know that the beach is East? Teaching kids to plan trips and navigate N,S,E,W before they learn to drive or have to travel the subways on their own is critical to keeping them safe.
  • Google Apps: access to my life on the go, enough said. -free Educational Application: Read, edit docs, check your email, plan your due dates...bring some level of organization to the chaos of teen life!
  • Good Reads: Social networking for book nerds (that's me!). I can plan my reading, see what other people are reading, form groups, discuss, and even read from full e-texts on my phone (often for free)! -free  Educational Application: Lit circles, virtual book clubs, blogs
  • Eucalyptus: Classics on the go in full text library. I bought this one before I was reading heavily on Kindle (which offers most classic titles for free), and thousands of literary and nonfiction classics can be downloaded into a personal library. You can annotate, highlight, modify the text color, size, and lighting...and even flip rather than slide pages (I found this thrilling).-9.99
  • Shakespeare: Let's face it, how many times have you been sitting on a train uptown or in a car and really needed to access some muse from the old bard? -free Educational Application: really?
  • Kindle: Yes, I do have four ways to read on my phone! Does this surprise anyone? This is now my go-to for reading because I can pick up right where I left off in my actual Kindle, and I love the shared notes feature. I can highlight, take notes, and even publish my notes. I've thoughtfully spared my FB friends this experience though as I'm inclined to highlight my favorite quotes frequently and might flood the news feed with them if I posted everything. Thankfully my daughter is as big a book nerd and we swap quotes from our Kindles. -free (just pay for the actual books, but many classics are f-r-e-e)
  • PS Express: I love posting pics on the go to FB, but touching them up with this lite version of photoshop is so much fun. -free Educational Application: mini projects done and posted in one class period
  • Wikipanion: All the wikipedia haters out there will be remiss to discover that I am a wikipedia fan. More on this topic in my next blog, but in the meantime, wiki lovers can rejoice in the availability of this easy-search wiki friend. -free Educational Application: research, even if you are not a proponent for the inclusion of wikipedia as a valid resource, it's certainly a good place for idea finding and thesis formation, and it contains a list of links to other, more "valid" sources
  • NPR News & Pandora: combined to represent my serious side and my fun side. Free news and free music. Educational Application: social studies class warm-up; current events
  • Training Peaks: Helps me chart my fitness and reminds me of my goals each day. -free Educational Application: PE
  • Fluid, DoodleBuddy, and Emoji Free: Absolutely pointless apps which children love to play with when they grab my iphone...though I have to admit they are remarkably captivating for me too when I'm in need of a mindless activity to release some stress. -free Educational Application: well...kill time after a test?
So there you have it, my (abbreviated) list of reasons I love my iphone aside from all its other wonders. The fact that I can't make a call with it right now without the call dropping, well, that's irrelevant isn't it?

Check out the Top 10 Apps as reported by Education Weekly here http://www.eschoolnews.com/2011/01/07/10-of-the-best-apps-for-education/ and a teacher-run wiki with a huge list of education-specific Apps http://theresanappforthat.wikispaces.com/

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