Well, since last week I spent a bit of time overwhelming the 10th and 11th graders with information about SATs and ACTs, I thought it might be kind if I started this week with some test prep options.
Khan Academy (iOS and Android)
Most of you are already familiar with Khan Academy from other classes. They are now the official test prep partner of the SAT. So, you can download the app and watch a number of videos on how to approach the different types of questions on the new version of the SAT. The app only has videos, but if you go to the website, you can also look at sample questions and take practice tests.
Daily Practice for the New SAT (iOS and Android)
This is the official app from the College Board. Get a random practice question each day. As with the practice questions on the College Board web site, you’ll get immediate feedback on your answers. The app gives the reasoning behind correct answers and will also explain why an answer is wrong. I haven’t had a chance to try it, but apparently you can download an answer sheet from the website, take a picture of it once you’ve finished a practice test, and the app will score it for you (although several reviews of the app indicated that this feature is still a little buggy).
ACT Question of the Day (web based)
The ACT also posts a question a day to help you prepare in short but regular intervals for the test. Like with the College Board, ACT will let you know why an answer is not correct and will give a detailed explanation of the correct answer. There is one official ACT prep app, but it is designed to work only with an online ACT test prep account, which is $40. If you’re interested in that, you can find more information about it here.
Happy Monday! With mid-terms just a week away, I thought this post I found on Tumblr was quite relevant. It lists a bunch of apps intended to help you focus, de-stress, and concentrate. Not surprisingly, a lot of them are centered around sleeping, because the better you sleep, the better you can concentrate and the less stressed you feel. I also thought the sleep apps were quite relevant since the alumni who were here on Friday stressed the importance of being able to get yourself up in time for class.
The links to the apps in the original post are to the iOS versions. A few of them have Android equivalents. The Android links are below. For a description of the apps, see the Tumblr post.
And as long as we’re talking how to handle mid-term stress, check out this TED Talk on power poses and confidence. It’s one of my all time favorites.
This week it’s an app! I’m sure most of you know this one by now, but it doesn’t hurt to remind you.
Yes, Google Classroom can be downloaded onto your phone or tablet. I actually like the layout on the app – with the classes loaded in one column, as opposed to the grid on my laptop. You can check your assignments, load papers, even type right into the assignment if you like typing on your device (I’m old, I don’t like the tiny keyboards on my phone).
You can download Google Classroom for free for both iThings and Android. (And while you’re at it, check out the apps for Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drive. You never know when they might come in handy.)
This is a repeat of an app from last year, but it will be a perennial one, so get used to it.
Library World is our circulation and catalog system. With this app, you can search for any book in the library, see if it’s available, and put it on hold. So, if you think of a book you really want to read at 7.30 at night, look it up on Library World and put a hold on it. When I come in the next morning, I’ll get an email letting me know that you’ve requested that book and I’ll grab it and check it out to you.
The app is available for iOS as well as Android. When you set it up, it will ask for a library name and password. Our name is “hill top” (two words, no capitals) and you can leave the password blank.
And don’t forget the web version of the Library Catalog! Go there now! Bookmark it!
This week’s App of the Week was discovered during the 5th and 6th grade Information Skills class a few weeks ago. We were exploring Infotopia (remember, that wonderful search engine that has been curated by teachers and librarians) and I started digging through the Games section. And that’s where we found it.
Draw a Stickman. Like some other apps, this has a web component and that’s where we started. But then we discovered there was also a mobile version and decided it needed to be shared with the community.
The concept is simple. Step one: draw a stickman. Step two: Follow the directions to take your stickman on an adventure. Draw well or your stickman may be singed by a dragon or eaten by sharks.
The app is free and available for both iThings and Android. And there’s also Stickman Epic (Apple and Android), where you draw a friend for your stickman and have to help save him or her from a book in which he/she has been captured. Both are free for the basic levels, but require payment for higher ones. You can play all levels on the web for free.
Thanks to Ben H. for making today’s announcement!
I stumbled across this game last night and I don’t even know what to think of it. I’m actually crying, I’m laughing so hard. And I predict that I will waste hours with this…not to mention that I have a new song for my running playlist.
The game is called Dumb Ways to Die. I downloaded and just started playing. The first screen is a fork inside a toaster. The goal: swipe up to remove the fork (and toast) without touching the sides. Then it’s on to a series of equally bizarre tasks: connect electrical wires, duck before the bear eats your head, tilt the phone to get a space helmet back on before the vaccuum of space makes your head explode.The games are fast paced, and as you complete each set, they repeat faster, and “fasterer,” and “faster faster faster faster.”
Here’s where the “I Don’t Even…” part comes in. If you die three times, it takes you back to the home screen, which is a train station platform (and some of the tasks are avoiding falling off train platforms). But before you get there, in the top right corner is a “Safety Pledge” which says you won’t do dumb things around trains. Turns out, the game is based on a public safety campaign by Metro Trains Melbourne (as in Australia). You have to check out their website. There’s a video with a song, which is totally going on my running playlist, and this is what had me laughing so hard I was crying.
The game is free, with, of course, some in-app purchases (although I haven’t come across them yet) and available on both iOS and Android.
Oh, and there’s Dumb Ways to Die 2!!! (Do you think Ms. Falcone will be understanding when I don’t get my final grades done?)
For me, there are two things I like best about my smartphone. First, I like being able to look up answers whenever I want. (That’s not surprising is it?) Second, I like having a camera on hand all of the time.
Continuing to look at “fun” apps for the summer, I tend to gravitate towards photo and video apps rather than game apps. This week I discovered one called Fyuse. This is essentially a “spatial photography” app. Once you load Fyuse and create an account (either with your email or through Facebook or Twitter), you can start taking pictures. Except, these are not your standard pictures, they’re 360 degree pictures.
Here’s how it works. You turn on your camera and there’s a “Press and Hold” button at the bottom. You press and hold that (surprise!) and then press one of the arrows so Fyuse knows which direction you’re going. Then you slowly walk around your subject or move your camera in that direction. When you’re done, release the Press and Hold and click on your thumbnail. It may take a little while to process the image, but when it’s done, you will now have an interactive picture. Bring the picture up to full screen and either tilt your phone or swipe across the picture and you’ll get a view from different sides.
It’s very, very cool. I’m going to waste a lot of time and a lot of memory on this.
Fyuse is free and is available for iOS and in Beta for Android. Even though the Android version is in Beta, I didn’t have any problems with it (well, except that my first picture was probably too large and was taking forever to process, so I just quit the app and started again).