I spend some time most days scrolling through Facebook to see what my friends have been up to and check into some of the pages I follow in our local community. One such time I noticed a post that a friend from High School made about an app called duolingo. She said she is learning Spanish and her husband is learning Japanese. I decided I was going to check it out. I grabbed my phone and looked for the app in google play. Turns out I didn't have enough memory for it on my phone (surprise, surprise), so I grabbed my iPad and found it in the app store. I've found since then that you can also log in on the computer too!
I was so excited! I lived in Germany for a little bit growing up and I took Spanish for many years in school. I wanted to brush up on those languages and then maybe dabble in some others. I find languages quite fascinating. So, I started playing. I have to admit I am a bit hooked.
They give you the option when you start a course to take a placement test if you're not a beginner in the language. Turns out my grammar stinks, so I started at the beginning. The free version (you can also pay for it if you want) has quite a few pop up ads, but they didn't really bother me that much. Your play time is dictated by your health. Every time you get an answer wrong you lose some health. If you have enough gems you can buy more health and keep going. There are also times that you can earn more gems or health by looking at an ad--take advantage of those! If you can't get more health, you just need to wait until the next day (or spend a little money). The only glitch that I've come across so far that is a bit annoying is that there have been times I have gotten the answer correct, but they've counted it as wrong. You can report when a mistake has been made in the app, but your health isn't replaced. It hasn't happened since the first day though, so maybe they've worked some of the glitches out.
One of my favorite parts of the program in the app (I haven't found it yet in the computer version of the program) is the ability to have conversations with bots. Each one is a different scenario like helping someone in a modeling agency or visiting a restaurant. It gives you a chance to practice the language at a conversational level. You can type or use your microphone to speak your responses. The program will rate your response and give you a suggestion if there is a better, more appropriate way to respond or say what you were trying to say.
Go check this app/program out! There are so many languages to choose from. It is a great way for adults or children who can read/spell confidently to work on learning and/or practicing languages. I'm excited to be learning and practicing languages again! I hope you find some fun in it too!
I went to a tech conference organized by the wonderful ITRTs in my school district over the summer. I learned a lot! I have to say though, one of the things that I learned that has been most useful the ITRTs might cringe a littlte to find out. DUCK DUCK MOOSE APPS ARE FREE AND THEY'RE AWESOME!
I had known about ChatterPix/ChatterKids, but I learned that there are so many great apps. You need to check them out! Just search Duck Duck Moose in your App Store.
One of my newer favorites is the Princess Fairy Tale (and its super hero themed counterpart). My kids have spent hours creating stories on these apps. The apps have backgrounds you can pick from and "stickers" you can put on them. You can also write and draw too. Once you're done, you can record yourself telling a story. All of the stickers you put into your storyboard can be moved around while the story is being told.
The teacher in me loves the different ways you can be create in this app and use it for retelling stories and nursery rhymes that have been discussed in class. The mommy in me loves that my children feel like they're playing games when they're really creating!
Go check out those Duck Duck Moose apps. I can't wait to hear which one your favorite is!
Click here to learn more about a coding robot by KinderLab Robotics made for children ages 4-7 years old. So much fun!! :)
I recently got Reflector 2 installed on my computer at school that has allowed me to wirelessly connect my iPad to my computer (which allows me to display it on my classroom SmartBoard). This is something you could use potentially use at home too.
To read about how we've used it so far in my classroom click here.
I have been facing a challenge at home. My second grader has started to have trouble with her weekly spelling words. She is starting to get words that she can't just sound out. She needs to do more drills and pay more attention to patterns. She needs to start to learn how to more actively learn. She can also be very stubborn. There are some nights that I will try and explain something to her and her response is "Mom, I know!"
How do I help her learn to be a more purposeful learner while fostering her natural LOVE for school that she still has; I want her to hang onto that for as long as possible!
I recently got an iPad, so I did a search for "spelling" and one of the first hits in the app store was "A+ Spelling." I'm in love! It is so simple! It is the perfect way for me to set my daughter up to be able to study her spelling words independently each week. This app does not contain pre-set spelling lists, it allows you to create your own! As you are entering the list you are able to record each word as well. For younger learners, this may be a good job for a parent, but for older students they could even set up their own spelling lists giving them extra practice and added independence.
Once the spelling list is ready to go students can then practice the words, play a word scramble where they hear the word and then need to put the letters in the correct order, take practice tests in "Ace it," and take a spelling test. A wonderful feature of this app is that in the "Ace it" activity and "Test" activity it keeps track of which words the student got correct and which they got incorrect. It even will note how they incorrectly spelled the word if they got it wrong. For example, if the word played for them is "spot" and they type "spat," it will note that for you in the right margin of the spelling list. How great is that?! My child can independently work on her spelling words AND I can go back and see how she did!
We just started to use this app, but I am very excited about the possibilities. As we experiment with it more, I will have to let you know what cool things we do with this app....I'm already thinking about how I can use it to practice vocabulary words with that cool recording function. Until then, check it out for yourself!
Technology has taken the world by storm. It has changed the way we do EVERYTHING no matter what hat we are wearing.