Tag Archives: Apps

Engaging Math with Outwhiz

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The increasing expectations of a global society demand that our learners be highly proficient in Math. However, I am realistic and understand this subject does not come naturally for many of our young and adult learners including myself. Having said that, in this post I will introduce to you Outwhiz a new kind of Software as a Service (SaaS) product that aims to bridge the learning gap by motivating our students. Outwhiz is one of several products in the already crowded drill-based software industry.

For a quick Outwhiz overview from a kid’s point of view, please watch the video below.

One of the distinct features of this service is that it only focuses on two subjects English and Math. However, in this post, I will only address the Math feature. The learning goals here are simple; motivate learners to learn Math through a series of carefully scaffolded exercises based on their prior knowledge. The later as mentioned by Gagne, et al. (2005), help learners acquire “verbal information, intellectual skills, cognitive strategies, attitudes, and motor skills” (p. 17). All of which are essential to the construct of meaning when studying Math. Furthermore, the developers intent is to address the individual needs of elementary and middle school learners through a self-paced curriculum based on the current Common Core State Standards (CCSS) initiative (Outwhiz, 2016).

Above all, this service can help educators by reducing their workload, eliminating the use of worksheets, time spent grading, and to provide seamless feedback to the learner. Outwhiz can be used on their website (web-based) and through mobile device apps that are platform agnostic. They currently have apps for Android and iOS devices. Meaning learners can start working on an assignment on the website and then move onto an iPad or another mobile device to complete their work. Although Outwhiz advertises themselves as a free service, they are actually a freemium service. The later is a classification for websites, apps or software you can use for free but with certain features removed or crippled until the user upgrades to a paid version or have access to a corporate account.

To learn more about the analytics feature, please watch the video below.

Moreover, there is not a specific set of skills needed to use this service other than basic knowledge of the assigned Math topic. After a brief formative assessment when the service is first used, the website (app) adapts the learning experience based on the assessment results. Therefore, it is essential that learners have a desire to succeed and stick through with the assigned topics. Outwhiz (2016) recommends that students set aside 10 to 30 minutes daily to perform their practice exercises.

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Once students complete an assignment, they are rewarded with a badge and the opportunity to level up as an incentive to solve more complex problems. Admittedly this serves to entice the learner to try harder and to achieve the goals assigned by a parent or educator. There are three ways students are motivated. First by competing with other users and trying to get higher on the leaderboards (win gift cards), second by unlocking badges they can show to their peers and third through the competitive spirit of the learning environment. The rewards offered by Outwhiz can be earned through points or by purchasing coins when using the paid version of the service. After using this software, students are expected to have a better understanding of basic Math concepts; further increasing their readiness for their in-state assessment.

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When it comes to learning styles, Outwhiz addresses learner’s preferences through an adaptative platform that changes with the learner. As argued by Newton (2015), “Learning Styles do not work, yet the current research literature is full of papers which advocate their use” (p. 5). I agree with this statement based on my experience and the fact that all learners are different. What might work with one child might not work for the next. Thus, Outwhiz provides a viable solution that serves as a compromise to meet the needs of those learners needing support with their Math coursework. I would certainly recommend this service to students, parents, educators and even adults needing to refresh their basic Math skills.

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Website: www.outwhiz.com

Pricing Plans: Freemium / Paid Subscription

Technology Platforms

appstore  googleplay

Audience:  Parents / Students / Educators / Schools / Tutoring Center

Category: Personalized Learning

Subjects: English / Math

The Fusion of Learning Management and Educational Apps

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Chalkable is an exciting web based service transforming the way educators and administrators manage information. The front-end for this K-12 service allows you to manage grading, attendance and discipline online within their platform. They have an integrated app store within their platform, which allows educators to search for the best educational apps across the web. The store catalog apps by category, such as History, Math, Science, and more.

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Chalkable’s unique single sign-on system allows for the seamless integration of your school’s Student Information System (SIS) and includes tools such as analytics, news feed, calendar and messaging system that can be used with students, teachers, administrators and parents. They offer an open-ended free trial for up to five teachers and guarantee you will love their service.

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Chalkable was recently selected as a finalist for the 2013 SIIA CODiE Awards in the Best K-12 Course or Learning Management Solution. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Evan Kontras, Chalkable’s Vice-President for business development to learn more about their service and the company’s vision. I was impressed at Chalkable’s intuitive user interface and tight integration of the app store and admin tasks. These are distinctive features that make up a truly transparent experience for teachers and administrators. Please watch the interview video below.

The service is $10 a year per student, and this includes setup and integration for your school. This is a reasonable service fee considering you will get half of that money back into your apps purchasing budget. This is a winning formula for any school looking to transform student information management by signing up for this service.

To learn more about Chalkable and sign-up for a free trial please visit http://chalkable.com/

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Educators… There’s an App for that

We all love apps, but what is the relationship between app usage and how students learn? I set out searching for the answer to this question and came across this Infographic. It shows why students enjoy their mobile devices and the apps empowering their learning process. There has been a rapid growth in the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement and the adoption of mobile devices at all levels in education.

Apps allows to do things that were impossible 10 years ago and open new doors for students to explore their creativity and curiosity. There are many benefits to using all these technological advantages to engage students. We must also remember that, at the end of the day, we as educators must be able to connect with students on a personal level. Regardless of the technology  meaningful relationships and the human touch will always trump any device when it comes  to promoting student success.

Connecting Apps & Education

Provided By: OnlineColleges.net

Managing The Cloud with Hapara

The vast amount of information managed by our schools today is incredible. What if there is a way for us to manage all that information in one place. Google has done a pretty good job in developing and launching a unique suite of applications that work very well in enterprise environments. The problem is that, in an education environment, it requires a dedicated IT team to run. The other issue is that the system configuration is not a user friendly experience.

That is where Hapara, a New Zealand based company comes in. They have over twenty years of experience in the deployment and implementation of cloud based solutions at all levels in education. They have developed a very cool and innovative way to merge the best aspects of Google Apps for the enterprise into an easy to use platform for education. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with the company’s founder Jan Zawadzki to talk about the company and their visionary ideas.

Their flagship product is the Teacher Dashboard, a Google Apps for Education add-on that brings the various Google Apps under one system. Their product then goes a step further and tightly integrates Blogger, Google Docs, Gmail, Picasa and many of others. Jan demonstrated to me their product capabilities and showed me real world examples of how it is being used in an educational setting. The biggest advantage here being there is no hardware installation involved, and the whole system is cloud based. To learn more about Hapara and what they have to offer please visit their website at http://hapara.com/.

Jan Zawadzki, Founder, CEO – Hapara 

Hapara Teacher Dashboard

Educators… There’s an App for That

The new academic year just begun, and many of us are already scouring the Internet and its many App Stores in search for the next “It” app we can use in our classrooms. I am in favor of teachers doing this because most educational apps are great sources of information and come loaded with multimedia features that enhance the delivery of your subject.

I always get asked to recommend apps and am hesitant to do it because what might work for one educator might not be the right solution for another. With that in mind, the guys over at AvatarGeneration have developed a pretty awesome infographic to give you a feel for the current state of educational apps on the iTunes walled garden; by their count there are over 121,000 educational apps when you combine both iPhone and iPad apps. This number alone is a justification for pause, and the main reason why I suggest starting out small and taking the time to further research apps for your subject in order to see if it meets your needs.

The one thing we should keep in mind though is not to think of apps as bells and whistles, but resources that could further help with the engagement of our students. If you are thinking about integrating apps into your teaching curriculum start with one or two apps for your subject. This will serve you well during the experimentation process and help you manage the flow of information generated by students using the apps. I would also recommend keeping a list of what worked and what didn’t as this will help you narrow down the search for specific features you might be looking for in future apps. So go ahead have you pick and enjoy the thrill of the hunt for educational apps.

My Brain on Apps

Google’s Next Employee?

Nick D’Aloisio is a British-Australian computer programmer and entrepreneur that has got a lot of attention for two things, the creation of Summly, and the fact he is only 16. He has already been hailed as the next Steve Jobs by some. I sometimes question that kind of endorsement but I think the kid can deliver. After watching him being interviewed by GigaOM in London, I was blown away at his confidence, and business savvy at such a young age. If you wonder how long, before Google or another tech giant (of the fruit variety) buys him out you’ll have to wait a while. He says he want to stay in school, and continue to work on building his app. Here is the interview “Why Summly’s 16 year old CEO wants to stay in school” and the video for his app. Enjoy it!

GigaOm Interview 

Summly Demo

AirServer – iPhone and iPad Mirroring Mac / PC

AirServer is a powerful Mac/PC application that enables you to stream or mirror your iOS device, such as your iPhone 4S, to your Mac/PC. If your computer is connected to a secondary or alternative display, such as an HDTV or projector, your iOS device can use that display. If your iOS device allows Mirroring then anything you see on that device can be displayed on the big screen. — http://ow.ly/aS3rn