I Education Apps Review - App Reviews and Educational Commentary
Entries in Notetaking (4)
App Title: MindBlowing
Grade Level: Elementary to College Level, students need to be able to know how to record their voices, make a video, and upload photos on the iPhone. It is in the context of a mindmap surrounding any topic or theme.
Purpose: A A multimedia mobile mindmap
Program Functionality: B+ Students type in an idea or concept and gather information and thoughts related to this concept through self-made videos, audio recordings, and images. These are organized as a concept map with branches of information surrounding a theme. Once the concept map is finished it can be emailed to the instructor or others. Students should be able to add text but this doesn't appear to work correctly.
Recommendation: Would love for the text function to work and for this app to allow sharing on various platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and more. The option to embed the mindmap would also be amazing. This app would receive an A if there was an option to label the various images, videos, and audio uploads. Moreover, I would like to be able to upload previous recorded audio and videos like I can with the images. The app makes you create a new video or audio. Without the labeling the e-mail becomes a mess to figure out since you only receive a picture of the mindmap with attachments.
Classroom Use Examples / Ideas: One of the great advantages of this app is that students can use this without being connected to wifi. Younger students and language learners can go on scavenger hunts related to a theme and collect information related to the topic by taking pictures, recording short videos, and conducting interviews. Students could also record observations or take class notes with this app. Students could collect research for a blog post or brainstorm for a paper. Students can easily record thoughts versus writing them down. Students can email the mindmaps to each other and compare. Students could also collect information and send the mindmaps to another student to guess the theme, character, or topic. Teachers could use this app to take multimedia notes at a conference or workshop.
Developer Website: http://sites.google.com/site/mindblowingcuhk/
Reviewer Name: Shelly Terrell
Reviewer Blog: http://teacherbootcamp.edublogs.org/
Hey, check out our Ning (Online Community) devoted to helping teachers utilize these devices to the their fullest. Please leave a comment if you agree, disagree, or have other creative uses for this app in the classroom, etc.
App Title: Simplenote
Grade Level: This one's primarily for the teachers. But could be used as a writing tool at any level
Program Functionality: A
Overall Educational Value: A
Cost: $ - Free, (ad supported, one ad at the top of your list of notes, I rarely even see it) Also you can purchase a pro account for $9.00 a year(gets rid of the ads and give a few more features). I don't see this as necessary in any way though. Simplenote is a Univeral App so the same download gives you the iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad versions.
Recommendation: I did a pretty awful demo of this app at the Bird of a Feather session, so I want to make sure I give Simplenote its proper due. Simplenote is one of my go to apps. I use it everyday for a variety of reasons. As the title infers Simplenote is just that, simple. The app itself is a one trick pony. It allows you to create plain text notes. Wow, you say, isnt' there a ton of note taking apps out there, and pretty dynamic ones. Yes there are, but again the key to this one is simple. Even at that the simplicity moves beyond the app because when you download and start using the app you create an account at Simplenote.com. Now what ever text you put into a note in Simplenote gets synched to your Simplenote account and you can access it from any computer. But wait, that's not all, Simplenote also syncs with several desktop apps on a Mac or PC. The one I use is Notational Velocity which is a free open source note taking app. You simply point the desktop app to your Simplenote.com account. So whatever I put into Simplenote is available 3 places, in the app, in the cloud, and on the desktop.
Also wherever you access your notes they are fully searchable. you can perform a search and easily find notes or information within any note. This search works in all 3 places.
Again, simple says it all, Simplenote and Notational Velocity do text only, but they do it very well. There are more robust apps like Evernote and the like, but for quick, easy, and yes simple, Simplenote is generally the first arrow I pull out of my quiver when I need to jot down a few ideas or take notes in a meeting.
Classroom Use Examples/Ideas: A great tool for teachers to walk around the room and take observation notes on students. A quick and easy way to file ideas. For student use, you can tie more than one device to a Simplenote account. So if you had a classroom set of devices, you tie Simplenote on each of the devices to the same account. Now a teacher could pose a writing prompt and have the students record their responses in Simplenote. The teacher and all of the other students would have access to the responses which would be great for peer editing or review. For a quick writing tool, I don't think Simplenote can be beat. The sync options however turn it into a true powerhouse.
Developer Website: www.simplenote.com
iTunes Link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/simplenote/id289429962?mt=8
Reviewer Name: Kelly Dumont
Reviewer Blog: http://www.theeducationalmac.com
Other: Don’t forget to check out our Ning (Online Community) devoted to helping teachers utilize these devices to the their fullest. Please leave a comment if you agree, disagree, or have other creative uses for this app in the classroom, etc.