Thursday, December 13, 2012

Apps Galore at the Apple Learning Tour

I took advantage of a great opportunity to attend an Apple Education Seminar today.  I learned all about Ibooks, Itunes U and lots of education apps.

To be honest, I almost feel embarrassed when I admit that I had no clue there were so many fantastic educational apps available out there that I didn't know about.  I usually consider myself to be knowledgable about using technology in general but I guess I missed out on this somehow.  I've downloaded my fair share of apps but never delved into the world of educational apps.  Here's how to do it in case you are also a bit clueless.

First of all, check out the Apple Education page for lots of useful resources.  For apps in particular, you can explore the Apps page.  You can find apps for various subjects there.  There were dozens of apps available on the IPads provided for us to use during the seminar.  I could have sat there for another week just playing with the IPad and checking out the possibilities of all those apps.  I took some photos of the ones they provided and plan on downloading some of the apps that looked the most useful for either my students or my own children.

Of course, you can also find education-related apps on the Itunes store.  If you go to "Apps" and then click on "Education", you will find hundreds of education related apps.  Some are free and some are much more expensive.  I expect the cost for useful apps will be covered for teachers depending on their funding for such things.

I hope to blog a bit about the apps as I use them and learn more about their effectiveness.  I am particularly excited about trying some of the language learning (ESL) apps with my students and seeing how their interact with the devices.  I expect that using IPads will really help engage some students and hopefully motivating them to learn! 

Finally, I am interested in trying out the Itunes U course manager and seeing if it would work with the devices that students have available.  Just for I am looking happy in my Itunes U course manager profile picture today.  More to come...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

He Gave His Life for Our Freedoms

Last year, I wrote a post about my uncle who died during World War II.  His parents received a series of letters to let them know what was happening.  You can read that post and the letters here:  Letters to My Grandma.  I still tear up everytime I read them as it is heartbreaking to consider what it would feel like for any parent to receive the news that their child is missing or has been killed.

When I was younger, I always remembered seeing the picture of my uncle at my grandma's house.  She hung it proudly in a prominent place in her home and she was also very proud to be The Silver Cross Mother in Yorkton for several years.  She laid the wreath on behalf of mothers.  I was pretty young at the time but I recall how important it was to her and she continued to attend the ceremonies even when she was in her eighties.

My Grandma passed away several years ago...she was born in the early 1900s and my Dad was born when she was in her 40's so that accounts for the large age gap!  One thing that I always thought was really special (and I am sure my Grandma did too) was that my Dad was born on the exact same day as his oldest brother.  George Alvin was born on May 22, 1920 and my Dad was born on May 22, 1942 and would have only been a few months old when his oldest brother went missing and was presumed dead.

This year, I asked my Dad for a photograph of my Uncle so I can continue to share the stories of war and peace with my own children.  I believe it's important to make a personal connection with someone you know or didn't get a chance to know.

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