Aug 042014

2014-07-25 12.48.04

My Favorites are some of the best part of the TwitterMathCamp experience, and this year was no different. I know one favorite I had was walking into this building and seeing that even a public high school could afford to build a dedicated Science & Math Center!

But inside the building, we were offering our own My Favorites. I had one my favorite that I offered, which is a cheap (free) way to record your class so you can observe yourself.

Take an old smartphone and remove all the apps. It is best to use a phone that has a SD card, but if you can clean enough space off of an internal memory phone that works too. Once you have at least 4 gig free, then you have enough space to record 45 minutes of video at 720p or 30 minutes at 1080p. Ideally you would want at least 8 gigs so there is extra space.

Once you have this phone ready, you can use whatever you have on hand to construct your own stand. Lego’s work great, a coffee cup, or even a paperclip. Learners will freak out at a tripod and video camera set up in the back of the room (I know, take it from personal experience) while they will not even think of the phone sitting on a shelf recording them.

Two other My Favorites that were offered by others that I really liked are Plickers and a very interesting and annoying problem that has incredible extensions.

Plickers are “Paper Clickers” and it is genius. Using a cell phone or tablet with camera and the paper funky symbols you can poll the class on a question and have the responses immediately tracked and recorded. You can show the class results in bar graphs, and later can use the results for data tracking and demonstrating what you are doing for your admin. Great discussion and engagement in class and  data tracking for later. It is a win-win.

Finally is this problem. IT is tricky, fun, amazing, and all around a well designed problem.


What proportion of the triangles is shaded?

That is it, just find the shaded area. The solution has extensions all over the place and is a great problem to try and work through.

I hope you Enjoy!

Jun 252011

Several months ago I wrote about 53 free android apps for education. Because technology advances and new apps come out and apps change, I will have to update that list. I know the Andy-83 app has been pulled and replaced because of demands of TI, so clearly some updating is necessary.

But this post is about the 5 apps I have spent the most time with over the last month. These are all free apps, although some of them have paid versions as well, and all of them have iPhone versions also.

First up is CardioTrainer by Worksmart Labs. I tried a couple of other apps for a short time, but this app does what I wanted. I am not an exercise freak, in fact I have exercised more in the last month that in the year prior. So, I am walking and biking, doing yard work and hiking a bit, and this app keeps track of it all. It uses the GPS to track where and how far I have walked or biked, has voice prompts (which I don’t really use) and music integration if you use the phone as your music player.

I really like how it uploads to twitter and facebook, so I can be public with my exercise routine, which keeps me honest and motivated. It keeps track of distance, time, elevation, sets checkpoints on the routes, and uploads all of this to the companies servers for online viewing, uploads to Google Health (oops that is being discontinued) and stores it on the phone. In addition, the online website allows for the entire data package to be downloaded as a .csv file to be imported into excel. Nice.  Basically, this one program works for 20 different exercise routines, is incredibly flexible, and accurate. I like it.

Second up is Push-ups by Rittr Labs. Yup, can you tell that health is a focus for me right now? My goal is to exercise every day for 1 year to establish a pattern and habit of health. Now walking, hiking, biking are good exercise, but they do nothing for the upper body. Push-ups helps you work up to doing 75, 100 or 125 consecutive push-ups. It sets up a routine of doing reps every other day, starting off from a beginning point you set, and at the end of the workout asking if the suggested rep count was too easy, just right or too hard. It then adjusts the next workout based on your answer. I am currently up to around 40 – 50 per day. Not bad, but my goal is 100 consecutive. I figure by the end of summer I will be close.

Third up is Common Core by MasteryConnect. It is a simple app, that has tremendous power for me. My district is going to be implementing the Common Core State Standards this upcoming school year, so having a quick and easy way to read the standards, find the standards and just have quick reference for the new standards is very important to me. This program serves that need, and I have been using it to find standards as I am building curriculum this summer.

Fourth up is Software Data Cable by Proid Mobile. Remembering to bring the cable with me when I need to hook up my phone to my computer is a pain. When I am at home and need a quick file from my phone this program is awesome. I make sure the wi-fi button on my phone is active, then I open the app. It takes a second and then shows the ftp address of my phone based on its address from my router. From there, I type in the address in my web browser and BAM, I have access to all the files on the SD card and memory. Need a photo, download it.

Yes the cable is faster and easier, if you have it handy. But walking down stairs and getting it from the charger is just so far to walk! (wait, … er, doesn’t that conflict with the first 2 apps? Yes, now stop asking questions.)

Finally, the last app I will talk about is TweetDeck. I had some trouble choosing between this or Words with Friends. I spend a lot of time with both, but more time with Tweetdeck. I use it to keep track of my Twitter and Facebook feeds simultaneously, both at home and away. It is easier to read both on my phone with this app than it is opening up the computer and reading there. If there is a long post I want to do on FB, then I use the computer. But for quick notes to friends, a short response, etc, Tweetdeck makes it much easier to manage the info stream. I have also downloaded the desktop client from and found it to be very usable and useful, especially when doing book clubs on twitter!

Feb 192011

The other day, this article popped up in my reader (really! I think they were recycling their content). It is from August 2009, and it is a list of 100 iPhone apps for education. It got me thinking, because I don’t use an iPhone. I really have nothing for or against iPhones. I use Verizon and when I bought the Android phone I have, it was the only smartphone for Verizon.

In the end, I love my Android (a moto-droid currently) and have no desire to purchase an iPhone now that it is available. But I still want some educational apps. In fact, a year and a half later,I wonder how good the list will be for Android apps? Without further ado, here is my attempt to create a list for the Droid. Why 53 do you ask? Because 53 is a prime number, and I like prime numbers. Here are my criteria for selection.

1. Must be free. Yes, I know that will immediately kick out a ton of VERY good apps. But I want a list I can give my learners, and I will never ask them to pay for something.

2. If I don’t use it myself, it must be highly rated (3.5 stars at least) by over 500 people. This will shove out the new apps that have 35 pp who rated it a 5 star, I know. But it is the only way to ensure a representative sample of ratings. [I break this twice with good reasons below]

The list is after the break.

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