A Matter of Trust

Yesterday, Brian, Bob and I took a hiking safari in Arusha National Park. I really didn’t know what to expect and to be honest I’ve seen giraffes and other animals before so my mind really didn’t fixate on the fact that this time I would be seeing the animals on their turf, not mine. My idea was that we’d have a nice little walking path and go around the park and see some animals. But I quickly realized that the day would bring so much more. The day would help me to understand the importance of trust – both human to human, human to nature, and to ourself.

Our driver to the park was Galieb. He arrived about 20 minutes late and we all figured he wasn’t going to show up. But the hotel clerk said just wait. Bad traffic which was unusual for a Sunday. He’ll be here. And sure enough, he arrived. He made no apologies for his tardiness but instead shook our hands, verified he had the right passengers, and stated “I am here now…” which I believed to be both a statement of fact and his acknowledgment of being late, but without need to apologize for something he couldn’t control. I liked this because I think at times we apologize too much for things we can’t control so the “sorries” and the intensity of them get lost when they are genuine sentiments about things we can control – or should have controlled.

The jeep was rugged and lacked air conditioning. But it didn’t seem to matter. The hot African air seemed to cool us all down through the windows as we started our drive to the park. The drive to the park was back towards the airport. In daytime, this city is completely different. The amount of stores, both open and boarded up and best mirroring our strip malls in the states, lined the landscape of our drive. They were too numerous to count, too improvised to know if they could sustain employment. And yet there was trust in their existence that perhaps for some it meant food for their families while for others a sense of community.

Trust in God was also apparent on this Sunday morning for this predominately Catholic community. Orthodoxy, Hinduism, and Muslim also are strong religions here. But as Galieb said, “we all worship in the name of Christianity… We respect all.” A statement that kept echoing in my mind as I watched so many women beautifully dresses in their African garb and men in their suits walk – some
for many miles Bible in hand – to pray. I was particularly struck by the sight of an elderly couple who hand in hand walked in the heat and the dust – to pray together and by the sight of the group of children near the orphanage who walked together, the older ones carrying the younger ones to church. If my spirit hadn’t been so moved by these two images, I would have snapped a photo, but instead they will remain pictured on my heart as a reminder of love and faith.

The drive to the park was about 45 minutes during which my mind was filled not only with images, but also with knowledge I learned from Galieb. He didn’t mind the many questions about population, education, and religion that I asked, and thankfully neither did Brian and Bob, although they may have mastered the art of tuning me out! In the absence of relying on the Internet for answers, I have rediscovered the art of asking questions and to trust myself as a learner and knowledge filter. Once we arrived in the park, we left our jeep and our feet allowed us to travel the next journey.
20130128-131641.jpg(Brian with our jeep).


Our ranger was Seyed. He guided us through the park enriching our understanding of Arusha’s natural beauty. The rifle casually slung on his back seemed to innocently remind us of the potential dangers that may lay ahead. And yet we trusted. In Seyed, in the animals, and in us.


Our walk started out as expected – on a tame path, across a bridge where we stopped to admire the “brown stream” that was the end of the waterfall’s river.


And then we came to the prairie and saw the giraffes in the distance. Camera raised I went to snap the shot – but with his hand raised Seyed motioned forward as we veered off the path straight onto the prairie — within feet of the giraffes, buffaloes, and warthogs. It.was.indescribable. Seyed snapped this photo of me when I was about 30 feet of the giraffe I named Gerald, a character from one of my favorite children’s books,Giraffes can’t Dance. The other picture I took as I braved closer, coming to trust in me and my surroundings.


Throughout our hike, which took us up part of Mt Meru, my thoughts were abundant as I was continually amazed being so close to all this natural beauty. In nature’s lesson, I learned that the animals have come to trust us though their own instincts as much as they know their predators, and we come to trust each other when our interactions bring harmony and peace to our soul. It is how we are complete and trust in ourselves, especially on those occasions when, like Gerald, we dance to the beat of a different drum and come to recognize that is perfectly fine.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

More realities

This is what I saw from my hotel room window this afternoon. It reflects a typical Saturday for the locals who are hanging out and shopping at the market. The majestic beauty of Mount Meru, which I learned this morning is an inactive volcano, even from behind the clouds makes you want to blend in to the landscape of mountains and people. And so it was that Brian and I ventured across the street to the market in search of bottled water. It didn’t take long to realize that despite wanting to engage and be a part of this life – we are the strangers. We are unfamiliar with language, dress, money exchange and everything that makes you naturally fit in. The store we settled on had a locked gate in front of it and we simply asked for 4 1.5 liters of bottled water through the wroufht iron bars. The exchange was quick and cheap – probably a buck a piece with the exchange rate (1600 shillings to the dollar) but the stares were deep and unsettling. And so it was that we quickly turned back across the street with the help of a soft spoke yet majestically beautiful African woman who made sure we crossed safely. She like the back drop of Mt. Meru painted an image of this land that is both undeniably fascinating and yet so very much unknown in its hidden dangers.

Language is another reality that is a reminder of things being just enough. Although English is spoke here an African dialect with French influences dominates. The unifying language is Swahili. The workers here speak enough English to be helpful but not enough at times to really communicate. Or perhaps I have yet to recognize the subtly in their talk because their words are limited but more defined in the meaning they represent. I am so use to flowery speech and descriptive details that perhaps I fail to recognize the directness of their few words. I imagine if I had, I would have understood why the hotel clerk directed me to the market at the center of town as opposed to the one across the street. It also explains why their “hellos”, and “thank you’s” seem so genuine. They don’t get lost in the trivialities of talk.

The abject poverty is also a hard reality to see. Life is simple here in part because of what little people do have. The workers here are attentive and wanting to please – at times aggressive with their helpfulness – all in hopes of getting a dollar or two – US money. I tipped our driver last evening $10 for driving 3 of us 45 minutes. His eyes teared and I am slowly coming to understand what that money must have meant to him. When I was in Austin in December, the hotel shuttle driver would get $5 just taking us three busy blocks. That was an expectation. Last evening, this tip apparently defied the drivers expectations as did the $2 a piece we gave to six people who insisted on helping with our luggage – all three pieces of it. For many, money here is existence, bordering on survival. It is a hard reality to see when thinking about my life back home. At times, it is difficult to remember how fortunate we truly are, but in watching the willingness of these worked to earn their dollar I am reminded that in the end, we all do what we need to survive. They may have just figured out how to do it in a way that hasn’t damped their spirit despite the reality of the moment.

And so as the evening approaches us here in Arusha, the clouds now seem to dissipate from Mt. Meru, reminding me that no work of art was ever created without the casting of shadows through the contrast of light and dark — much like my day here in Africa.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

So this is Africa ..

Shakira sings a song – Waka Waka – and while I never thought I’d reference her in my blog, when we landed last evening in Tanzania and I walked off the plane to the airport – yes walked off – in the moonlight – the bright moonlight, her lyrics shattered the silence of my anxious mind. “today’s your day, I feel it. Pave your way, believe it. If you get down, get up eh eh, When you get down get up, oh oh … So this is Africa. . And so my adventure starts – on on a moonlite night in West Africa where the warm breeze seems to blow away the worries of the Northern hemisphere and awaken you, despite the late hour, to the realities of life in the part of the world.




The first obvious reality is entry to the country. I travelled over 8,000 miles and my entry to this country relies on three sheets of paper, $100, and the hope that the immigration agent approves of my being here. The university wrote letters on our behalf to support our entry. I have yet to know if that was more comforting than disconcerting but I am grateful nonetheless. We forget that this country is surrounded by unfriendly lands and protection of its people in part has to do with who is coming here and why. Most arriving with us are tourist awaiting a safari adventure or to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. For us, we are here primarily for a water summit that Brian helped to organize. In the states, I’ve been to dozens of conferences and summits. But in reflecting on all it took for Brian to help coordinate this International summit and the fact that the Prime Minister and his dignitaries will be here Thursday, I believe that perhaps in the states we fail to recognize the true impact and influence of such things. For us, we can add “summit” or “conference” to any event at our whim, but for this countries and others like it, this summit represents hope. Hope for the people’s here that struggle with fresh water issues that someday they may have the same freedoms as we do to not think about our water. My fear is that we may have a greater chance of losing that freedom if we don’t start recognizing it than people here have of gaining it. Bottled water is a saving grace here but it is a conscious effort to not rinse your toothbrush with the faucet or open your mouth as you shower. Simple and crazy things, I know, but issues of great consequences.

Energy conservation is another obvious reality. When night falls, it is dark. No streetlights, porch lights, or shop lights. Even the airport had minimal coverage. But as I type that, I recognize that in fact it wasn’t minimal. It was what was needed. I am so use to overabundance, that until now, I failed to recognize that we had just what we needed – we just didn’t have more than we needed and at this moment I am comfortable with that thought and hope it is one I carry home with me and can share with my kids someday. Our trip to the hotel which was 45 minutes from the airport was made a bit frightening due to lack of streetlights and an apparent indifference at times to lane usage. Admittedly, I was glad Bob took the front seat. In the back at least my perspective wasn’t as crisp. Drivers are on the right in this country, a reflection of the British influence. They all seem to know each other too. Horns aren’t used in anger here but to beep a greeting to the passing
vans and mopeds. Initially I thought it was more of a “thanks for not killing us” gesture but soon recognize the true sprint of these people. There was a bus broken down at the side of the road, the main passengers were young adults. Our driver pulled over and said to us – “just making sure they ok” before we continued on our drive. A simple gesture but one which reminded me that in a land that it is easy to say doesn’t have “enough” has more than enough of a kindred spirit. It is how I imagine that Shikira recognized that these people would be able to get up eh eh …


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Power of the person

Atlanta International terminal. Waiting.

I am surrounded by technology. So much so that I recognize that I am drawn first to the device and second to the technology. Even the little boy sitting across from me is engaged with his iPad. The power of technology is evident. We are driven by our access to technology. People making last minute phone calls, expensive headphone done various heads as they beat rhythmically to their music, videos watched, headlines read, emails exchanges- yes, the power of technology is evident. And yet, here we all are about to embark on our own journeys only connected together by one destination – Amsterdam- and 8 hours in which we unplug,disconnect, and must rely on the power of the people – our ability to communicate and negotiate the minutes of our lives without our connection to technology. In a way, it seems liberating. The ability to think and just be is something that now typically is negotiated through various media and various screens. It is how we’ve come to live and be. We need to consciously chose to disconnect or be forced to – but in the end we always go back to the screen. For me, the next 8 hours may seem like 100 or it may seem like it was when I was a child – where I remember just sitting, thinking, and believing that anything I imagined was possible and anything I dreamed could quietly cushion the harsher realities of life.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We are infinite

We made it to Amsterdam without incident. The flight while not all that comfortable was unremarkable. And given the alternative, I am grateful for that. Getting off the plane was both literally and figuratively a breath of fresh air. After an 8 hour plane ride, everything was seemingly ripe with odor so my first deep breath of the cold Amsterdam air re-energized me. I have been to the Amsterdam airport once before. I was nine years old and returning from our family trip to Greece. We were stranded here – victims of the air controllers strike in the mid 80s. We could not leave the airport for fear of losing our flight and all I really remember is playing UNO and the seemingly anxious energy displayed by my parents and brother who feared he may miss his college departure. I also remember getting to eat chocolate for dinner. The first and only time that happened in my childhood. Despite the 28 hours I spent here previously, these few minutes I have spent here today going from gate to gate have made me think about our synergies of culture and the beauty that exists when form and function blend. I see this as my own growth because at age 9, I never would have appreciated this and perhaps not even at age 25 or 35. But this morning I am struck by the sharp angles that are in direct contrast to the soft curves that come together and that seem to make us all slow down, although we all are trying to make our connections, reminding us that life’s realities are often a blend of sharp and soft edges – that define us, our strength, our courage, and our grace.

The form and function of the design seems also to reflect the different cultures represented through dress, language, and customs and how we all join together towards our destinations. For many of us, I imagine it is both a professional and personal journey. We are all heading somewhere, leaving something or someone behind – all with purpose and some trepidation. On the plane ride to Amsterdam, I watched the movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The impact of the movie made me think about a conversation I recently had with a friend who was reflective about how the seemingly random and unplanned actions of life can change the path we once felt so comfortable walking. The catch is that we often don’t realize the connections of our new directions and these events until we recognize our own discomfort at the change that we experience and how it may redefine who we are, despite wanting to be who we once were. But this morning as I sit on the plane waiting for take off, I understand that we all are infinite. That those moments that define us and perhaps disenchant us, make us infinite to new possibilities, new discoveries, and if we are lucky rediscovering that we truly are amazing in our own form, in our own function, and in our own soul.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New perspectives

I leave today for Arusha, Tanzania. Three months ago when the opportunity presented itself, it seemed like a great idea — a chance to reconnect with myself – a new adventure for new perspectives. It’s been 11 years since I’ve had “me time” and since Brian and I have travelled together without kids. Three months ago – I thought this was well deserved time away. But last night, somewhere between shuttling kids to practices listening to them tell me about their day, and laying in bed with my younger two boys listening to Nick read the final chapter of book 38 of the Magic Treehouse series, I recognized that I have these beautiful moments that seen to get labeled as ordinary when really they begin to weave an extraordinary tapestry of my life. In the absence of the ordinary, I would not have the laughter, hugs, smiles – and yes, the yelling and the tears – which collectively make us a family. Functionally dysfunctional – we are a family – that despite what teasing may occur during dinner or what fighting may occur over the Xbox – still has siblings who hug each other good night and who when they think we aren’t watching will hang out in each others rooms as friends. So in many ways, although my expectation is that I will gain new perspectives half way around the world, it may be that the best perspective comes from the home and within my own heart. Perhaps what I truly value is not new insight but the realization that what really matters comes in four simple words, “love you, too, Mom” and the courage I have shared with my children that allows me to travel so far away, knowing that they will be remarkably resilient, funny, and loving to each other as they calm their own fears.

So as my adventure begins, I leave less anxious and with a bit of excitement … And of course with my travel companions – Brian and Bob – who I am affectionately calling B-squared …


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Making Connections

I have been asked to be one of several speakers presenting at the Chancellor’s Summer Academy which is a summer institute sponsored by my College’s Center for Education in Small Urban Communities.  For the past seven summers, over 100 teachers each year from the Champaign and Urbana schools come together to enhance their professional growth in partnership with our College of Education.  This year, the organizing committee is trying something new.  It’s called Campus Connections.  As it stated in the email I received:

We’re incorporating a new idea, Campus Connections, at this summer’s Chancellor’s Academy, and we’d love for you (or someone you work with) to be part of it.  We know there are many exciting research and service projects taking place in our area schools, and we’re setting aside time at this year’s Chancellor’s Academy to highlight these projects to the 120+ teachers who will be in attendance.

I thought this was a great idea.  I figured it’s a great opportunity both for me as a presenter and for the teachers who may stop by my table to listen to my 20 minute talk.   I readily accepted this invitation to be a presenter, knowing that I could share with them a pilot study I was completing at the University Primary School.  This study was examining what happens when you give teachers and students access to iPad technologies.  What changes occur in the process of teaching?  What observable, not test-measured changes in learning are witness?  Some pretty simple ideas, but complicated in what they mean in terms of impact, what we should be doing for our teachers and our students.  Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been looking through the data I received from UPS that included interviews, survey, and observational data.  I have some good data that will inform the study and help me contribute to this emergent field of understanding the impact of tablet technologies on learning environments.  And more importantly, I have enough information to talk for 20 minutes.  I could pretty much be done with this work and cross it off my “to-do priority list”.

But, as I reflected on what I was going to say, and what I could share – I realized that at a moment when we are all struggling to make the best use of our time – for me to talk about my experiences at UPS would be of little value to the CSA teachers not because it was a worthless study – but for those teachers brave enough to want to integrate iPads or similar technologies into their learning environment – they probably already have guessed what the data would tell them.  For example, young kids, even as young as 4 years old, can manipulate an iPad with ease and without trepidation.  They know what they want it to do and they will keep trying to figure out how to make it useful.  They are keen troubleshooters even when they can’t readily read an error message they know the visual cues and are observant enough to know at what points in time an error occurs and as such avoid those situations.  The Kindergarteners recognized a single login issue notorious as a “flaw” of the iPad well before the teachers know what was happening because they watched, they listened, and they thought – they made connections – when the error was happening, who was making the error happen, and what made the error go away.  In this case, when another teacher came to login in.  They didn’t need a manual, they didn’t need extensive training, they didn’t need an advance degree – they simply were kids who were doing what we profess they should do – be curious, be critical thinkers, be creative, and be willing to try – even when the outcome might be failure.

So what does this mean for me and for what I can share with the teachers?

It means for starters that I alone may not be the best one to talk to these teachers.  There’s no denying that I have expertise and talent in this area, but really – they need to hear about this technology from people who have grown up with it.  From people – ie kids – who don’t think about it as anything more than another resource or material that can help them learn, that will engage them, and motivate them to think.  For this reason, my 8-year old daughter will be sharing her experiences about how her teacher integrated handheld devices in her classroom.  They need to hear it from the student-perspective to recognize those moments of learning that inspire and excite an 8-year old on her summer vacation to want to come talk to teachers.

It also means that I need to help the teachers become curious again – not to think about the device but to think about the learning.  How do I do this?  I do this by asking them to think about who they are as a teacher.  What do they identify with – what fuels their passions and then how does that translate into a way in which the device will engage and motivate learning.  It’s about having them look at a resource and seeing what is the intrinsic value to it?  What’s its value added – what does it help us do that is empowering.

Take for example the AsthmaMD.  My son was recently diagnosed asthma and we needed a means to track his breathing.  We started old school – paper / pencil and marking down his peak flows.  But in reality – the numbers didn’t really mean much to me or to him.  So he – my 10 year old – went searching for a better way to do this and he found this app.  In using it, we began to understand what the numbers meant, why we needed to track at the same points of the day, why we needed to record what activities were being done – all important things that on paper just sat there.  All important things at a time when data informed decision making is critical and when we are trying to expose students to more mathematics and science.    But was really engaging about this app was that we approved that the data would be anonymously use by the CDC.  For me as a parent, the app helped us understand this childhood disease, but for Matthew it helped him realize that despite this condition which he struggled with and made him a bit depressed, his efforts could someday help other children not suffer as he has – this is a pretty powerful lesson for a 10-year to realize and something that could easily be transferred into the classroom.  As an interdisciplinary tool this app could be used in mathematics, physical education, and science —   and it could make a difference in a global perspective

I also need to help them become critical thinkers – when there are so many apps available, so many resources to consider – what questions do we need to ask ourselves to make informed decisions?  To me, the greater challenge is finding an app that doesn’t make me get stuck with proprietary software.  I look for tools that integrate well with other applications.  And I look for apps that help me do what I need to do and I look for apps that will change the way kids learn.  So what do I like?

Productivity Tools: When I look productivity tools, I look for tools that I can use in my daily work that may also be translated into tools that you can use in the classroom and that cost $4.99 or less.  My top choices are: Evernote for research, CloudOn for working on office applications, NotesPlus which allows me to take notes with my own handwriting, and DayOne for journaling.  I also look for universal apps – the ones with the + sign next to them so I can use them on more than one handheld device (iPad, iPhone, iPod).

Classroom Tools: Some colleagues of mine who are learning technologies specialists helped to put together this matrix of apps that seem to work with K12 students.  When I asked my own kids, they said we should also include DrawFree for Art and Literacy, and Operation Math for a way to get to know your “math facts” really well.

App Name


Category Description Integration Idea
Singing Fingers HD Free Music/ CrossCurricular Finger paint with sound Have kids narrate a story.  They can narrate as they illustrate and play the story back at any time.  Kids can also make their own instruments and play songs with them.
Number Sense HD $0.99 Math (K-2) 5 mini-games for pre-math Use in centers as reinforcement of the concepts you are teaching.
Robo Math $0.99 Math (K-5) Quiz for basic math skills Use as practice for timed math tests.
Math Bingo $0.99 Math (K-5) Fun game for math practice Use in centers as reinforcement of the concepts you are teaching.  Could also be used as a reward game or a free time activity.
Rocket Math Full Version$0.99 but there is a free version Math (K-5) 56 different math missions. Students get to build their own rockets to take on their missions. Use in centers as reinforcement of the concepts you are teaching.  Could also be used as a reward game or a free time activity.
Splash Math Full Version$9.99 There are free versions with sample content. Math (1-4) Different apps for grades 1-4. Math workbook app with several different concepts. Can be used as supplemental material for what you are teaching.  Each concept has various levels that students unlock depending on speed and accuracy so it’s a good app for differentiated learning.
App Name


Category Description Integration Idea
Graph Quick Free Math (6-12) Powerful, high quality, graphic calculator Instead of having a separate calculator, use this app.  It’s free and provides the calculator on a device that students are already using
iFormulas Free Math (6-12) Algebra, Calculus, Geometry, Trig formulas, definition, laws, properties Good reference for students to have all formulas in the same place.
Counting Coins Free Math (K-5) Fun games for counting coins Use in centers as reinforcement of the concepts you are teaching.  Could also be used as a reward game or a free time activity.
Monkey MathSchool Sunshine $0.99 Math (K-1) Fun games about sequencing, patterning, counting, adding, subtracting Use in centers as reinforcement of the concepts you are teaching.  Could also be used as a reward game, a free time activity, or for extra practice.
Star Walk $4.99 Science (K-12) Augmented reality app that labels all the stars, constellations, and satellites you point your iPad at. Make learning about the stars and constellations more interactive.  Have students use this app to study various constellations.  They can take screen grabs of the constellations and use them to make an iMovie project.
DiaMath $0.99 Math (6-12) Fun and challenging way to improve your problem solving skills. The goal is to find two numbers that add up to the bottom number and multiply to the top number. Can be used as an introduction to factoring quadratics in higher grades, but can also be used as a problem solving challenge for younger students.
Explain Everything $2.99 Cross Curricular Easy to use design tool that lets you annotate, animate, and narrate explanations and presentations. Have students create more meaning full notes.  Or, have students use the appto reflect on a certain topic or explain a concept to you.
App Name


Category Description Integration Idea
Educreations Interactive Whiteboard Free Cross Curricular Turns your iPad into a recordable whiteboard.  Allows you to create great video tutorials using pictures, audio, etc. Have students create a movie of them explaining a topic or working out a math problem.  If they work out the math problem while explaining whatthey are doing, you will get a better idea of what they are thinking.
Movable Write Free Cross Curricular It’s not like writing on paper, it’s like typing with your finger. Written words are fully editable. You can move words anywhere. Take notes by writing instead of typing. Have younger students practice writing their letters or words.  They can then submit their work to you.
SpellBoard $4.99 Spelling/CrossCurricular (K-12) Allows you to create spelling lists in any language (could use for Spanish vocab). You enter the spelling word, record yourself saying the word, and can even use the word in a sentence or show a picture of the word.  You can study from the list as well as take a quiz, do a word search or word scramble. The teacher can create the list at the beginning of the week and send the list to all of the students over email or bluetooth. The students can then study throughout the week. Progress reports are saved for all students and can be emailed to teachers/parents.
2nd Ed Manual for the United States of America $5.99 History (5-8) Government documents, presidential/state facts, news headlines, 2012 election center, etc.  Study the US Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Gettysburg Address, etc. Use as a complement to anything about US History or Government. Would also be a great app for talking about the2012 elections.
Google Earth Free Cross Curricular Hold the world in the palm of your hand. Explore the world with the swipe of a finger. Aerial imagery of various landmarks. Anytime you talk about a location or a landmark, use Google Earth to bring some perspective.  For younger students, have them locate hospitals, fire stations, schools, etc.  For older students, look at landmarks and different countries.
App Name


Category Description Integration Idea
Stack the States $0.99 Social Studies (K Have fun learning about the states.  Capitals, state shapes, abbreviations, bordering states, location, etc Use as reinforcement when learning about states and capitals.
iWrite Words $2.99 Writing (K-1) Teach your students handwriting as well as how to spell simple words. Use as a center activity to work on handwriting.  Could also be used as extra practice for students that are struggling with handwriting.
Toontastic Free Cross Curricular Draw, animate, and share your own cartoons. Have students storyboard and create their own cartoons.
Word Wizard $2.99 Language Arts (K Unique app that lets kids hear the sounds of letters and words using a talking movable alphabet.  You can also add your own spelling lists or use the built in wordbanks for spelling practice. This is a great app for emerging readers and can be used to help them form words and sentences. Since the app says the letter’s sound when you click on it, this would be a great app to have students beginning to form words.
Milly Molly and theTree Hut HD $2.99 Reading (K-3) Wonderful story book that comes to life.  Students can run their fingers over words to hear them spoken or spelled.  There are several games built into the book as well.  Students can also record themselves reading the book. Have students listen to the book and then record themselves reading the book for extra practice.
iTalk Recorder Free Cross Curricular iTalk recorder is a full-featured recording app. Have students record themselves reading so you can track their progress. You may also want to record directions for a specific center for non readers. That way when they get to the center they can click the play button and hear the instructions without you beingthere.
App Name


Category Description Integration Idea
Sentence Maker Free Reading (K-1) An interactive game that helps students rapidly learn to make and complete their own sentences. This would be a great app for emerging readers to begin thinking about forming sentences.  Could be used as a center activity or an app for free time.
iMovie $4.99 Cross Curricular Fast and fun moviemaking app that puts everything you need to tell your story at your fingertips. Could be used by your students to tell a story about anything! Whether they are doing an assignment reflection or creating a book trailer this app wouldbe great!  Very versatile and could be used to do almost anything.
Keynote $9.99 Cross Curricular The most powerful presentation app ever designed.  Keynote gives you the ability to create presentations, complete with animated charts and transitions, as simple as touching and tapping. Could be used anytime you want your students to create a presentation.  Very easy to use.
So at the end as I think about how best to end this post, and wonder if folks will even get this far – I realize that the campus connections idea does resonate with me.  What I do is try to make connections for teachers and students – helping them understand their connection with the technology they engage with so that they know how to strengthen it, to be empowered by it, and to keep learning from it.
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment