Friday, November 25, 2011

Quick Hits #3 - App Edition #Edchat

I hope everyone had a very wonderful Thanksgiving or a pretty good Thursday for non-American readers. :-)

I wanted to share some quick thoughts on some apps I have been playing with lately.

iAnnotate PDF - $9.99

I really like this app. I have been looking for apps to use on my iPad since I knew I was getting a class set and this app has been very useful. It allows the user to take any PDF and annotate it freely. You can use a variety of tools to highlight, underline, strike-through and even stamp. Once you are done annotating the document, you can save it with the annotations and email it to yourself or others. I like the app because it would allow students to annotate pieces I send to them and they could send it back to me with their thoughts.

The app also allows for Dropbox integration which I love. I can pulls documents from Dropbox and annotate them and send them back to Dropbox. I recently uploaded my class list to the app and used it to enter in grades while I check writing assignments. After I had completed all of the checking, I was able to quickly reference the grades on the app and enter them into the online grade book. I can keep the PDF there and continue to annotate it over time. I have found it to be very valuable.

The app might seem a bit pricey, but I think it is a fair value for how I want to use it and how I hope to use it in the future. If you are looking for ways to annotate PDFs of the go, I suggest you take a look at iAnnotate PDF for your iPad.

The Tower Pulse - Free

For those of you who do not know, I am a co-adviser to the the school's new online newspaper, The Tower Pulse. We started last year and have picked up steam this year. I help on the tech end of the paper and my co-adviser works on the journalistic end. It's been a great marriage and the kids have turned out an amazing product. I thought it would be cool if I could turn the paper into an app for the students to download for free to access the content on the go. After some searching, I found UppSite takes your WordPress site and converts it into an app. It will create a free Android app and help you set up an Apple Developer account so your app can be made available on OS Devices. I already had a Developer account, so I was able to create Android and Apple apps. After two weeks, the app was ready to go on all devices. The kids are excited and I cannot wait to see how many people download the app. If you have a WordPress site and are looking to create an app, take a look at

Charlie Brown Christmas - $4.99

This cartoon is one of my all-time favorites. There is no question about it. I love every part of this cartoon. I stumbled upon the app looking through the store and downloaded it without question. That is not the wisest of decisions for app purchasing, especially at $4.99, but I was not disappointed. It is the complete story told by the original voice of Charlie Brown and has all of the original voices from the cartoon. It is the complete cartoon with many different interactive elements. My son, Leo, is only 6 months old and he was mesmerized by the app. He would touch the screen and turn falling snow into giant snowflakes or touch one of the Peanuts characters and they would dance or talk. He loved it and that made the app priceless in my mind. If you loved the cartoon growing up, you will love this app, and so will your kids. Here is a video from the creator of the app with more details. 

 I wanted to share some cool apps I've been using the past few weeks. I will have some more app suggestions in the near future as my class set of iPads sees more action with the students. I hope all of you have a great weekend.

- @TheNerdyTeacher

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