Review: Otus Learning Environment for iPad

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Otus positions itself as a learning environment for teachers and students who use iPads in school. There are two separate apps, a teacher app and a student app. The teacher app allows you to set up classes, log achievements or behavioural issues, take registers, set assignments and coming soon will be the ability to write blogs and have teacher led slide shows. [click to continue reading…]

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Review: Shakespeare at Play for iPad

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Shakespeare. A word that can strike terror, or delight into a person. For me, mainly terror as I endure flashbacks of my A-level English Literature teacher screaming “Potter! How is Caliban portrayed as evil?!” as I sat there looking shifty trying to adjust my Kurt Cobain style curtains (hair, not material).

The app Shakespeare at Play is an effort to use the strengths of the iPad to combine various types of media into one package to further the study of the Bard. The app comes with the text of several well known plays, and has the option to make an in-app purchase to upgrade to a video edition, and/or a notes edition, the latter containing lots of annotation which goes into depth with the text of the play. More on the in-app purchase issue later. [click to continue reading…]

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5 iPad Apps for the Productive 21st Century Student

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When I was at school, I struggled badly with random, un-filed bits of paper, leaky ink cartridges in my Parker Pen and terrible hand writing (as well as chronic laziness and an addiction to Cricket). I’m sure this approach to my organisation affected my school work. If I would have grown up in the iPad age I think things would have been different. The following 5 apps have been tried and tested by me and my students and rank highly as apps which work brilliantly to keep work organised in the cut and thrust of a busy school day.

Google Drive

The iPad is notorious in not having an accessible file structure. As we know, files are often saved in app, or to the camera roll or to iCloud where you can access the files on another device, as long as you have the corresponding app. The other problem is that the more files you generate, the more you eat into your precious iPad storage. [click to continue reading…]

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Roman Ruins HD for iPad Review

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I spent 4 years gaining two degrees studying history at university. After all this studying you could fit my knowledge of the Romans on the back of a postage stamp. I can bore anyone to death with tedious insight into Cold War politics, and Richard Nixon, but next to nothing about the Romans. Anyway, as a I sit in my centrally heated house, munching an apple with my cat sleeping on the sofa, I wonder; what did the Romans ever do for us? Thankfully, Roman Ruins HD can go some way to addressing my Roman ignorance.

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Apps to Get Your Kids Coding on the iPad Part 2

 

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This is Part 2 of my rundown on Coding with Your Kids on an iPad. Part 1 highlighted iPad apps that teach younger children the concepts behind programming. The following apps take these concepts further and introduce different elements to learning how to code. These apps are suitable for children aged 10-18 (or beyond!).

Hakitzu

Free + in-app purchases

Hakitzu is a fiendishly addictive app which teaches the essentials of Javascript. The premise of the game is you have to use Javascript commands to move robots around an arena to do battle, Robot Wars style. It’s a turn based game in which you are given a series of challenges like, ‘eliminate all enemies in one turn’. You then have to use your knowledge of Javascript to do this. You are also rewarded by coding efficiently, using less code to accomplish a task gets you more points. This is a nice nod to the ‘real world’ of programming where programmers want to avoid bloated code wherever possible.

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As you progress through Hakitzu, you can gain points which you can use to upgrade your robots with different weaponry and costumes.

I’ve used this app in the classroom and set up small teams to enable the students to have a ‘code off’ against each other. The nature of the app certainly brings out the competitive element in the students. The knowledge and programming that takes place in the game can also be directly related to Javascript coding and if your child is interested in this, Hakitzu compliments it nicely.

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Learning with Lynda.com on iPad

Even if you have been following trends in online education only casually in recent years, you will have noted that the advent of the iPad (and rivals) has opened up many avenues towards new interactive and mobile learning methods. It is sometimes hard to believe that we once lived in a world where Youtube, Khan academy or [...]

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