Friday, August 31, 2012

Earn "Free Plays" with AutoRap App

Two days ago, I was very excited about the AutoRap App by Smule.  This app can turn an ordinary person into a rap star by mixing recorded phrases to create an instant rap. Last night, my daughter tried to record a new song and I discovered this "Free" App only allows the user to create and share one free song.  I was incredibly disappointed.

I wasn't sure that creating one free song hooked me into shelling out 2.99 for 60 plays, or 5.99 for an infinite amount of plays.  The price isn't really bad, but I wasn't ready to pay for it.

I continued to explore the app and discovered that you can earn additional "Free Plays" within the app.  I took a tour of they app and earned 10 more plays and watched an advertisement to earned 1 more play. This gives me more time to try it out.

The "Free Plays" allow you to record AutoRaps with the included "free style" music.  There are 3 songs to choose from.  There are also premium packs that include many beats from popular artists. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

AutoRap App

At Home

My 5 year old daughter and I have been using apps at night to make reviewing her day in Kindergarten fun.  Last night we laughed our heads off, as she used the app AutoRap App by Smule.   She sang the Months of the Year Song she learned in school.  AutoRap turned it into a rap.  I think I'll be hearing a lot of creations by Kaylee in the car from now on.

Listen to Kaylee singing the Months of the Year Song using AutoRap

At School

I'm very excited about all the different ways this FREE app can be used in the classroom.  If students use 1 to 3 sentences to review a historical event or summarize a story, they'll enjoy listening and singing to their new rap song.  I also see this app being used for science and reading vocabulary.

My only recommendation is to allow students the opportunity to create their own songs using AutoRap.  If they are given the opportunity to use their own voice to define a vocabulary word, sing a song, or summarize, they will have a great time learning with this app.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Teaching the Teachers

Last week, teachers at TMECHS had a day of technology training.  After my session, I heard that a student from TMECHS would be presenting and teaching teachers how to use Prezi.

I was very impressed with the student's confidence and introduction.  She had teachers create their own free account and guided them as she created a "How to be a Cool Teacher" Prezi. This was a nice role reversal.  I think we should give the power to our students more often.  This could open the door to learning about more tools to make us cool.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

eBook Share at New Teacher Orientation

Ten years ago, I was an excited teacher siting in the audience at EPISD's New Teacher Orientation.  Last week, I had the honor of presenting great features and favorites during my Ed Tech Talk, “What the Heck is an eBook.”

What the heck is an eBook?  At the very basic, eBooks are electronic books.  The biggest complaint I hear about eBooks happen to be that you can’t flip through the pages, write on them with pencils, or sniff the pages.  I believe eBooks are opening the door to a whole new way to interact with books.  Here are the examples I shared with our new teachers.

I Can Read: Axel the Truck  4.99

This book has read aloud capabilities.  Students can read the story silently or chose to have the story read to them.  I love the sound effects and excitement it brings to story telling.  Connect your eReader to a set of speakers and share it with the class.
Tip:  Check out the the link, Read aloud Kids Books, in iTunes Store and look for the free books.  Axel Can Read, Huff and Puff, and Dixie were all free at one time.  There are a lot of free classic books today.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter  7.99
I enjoy reading novels within the iBooks App on my iPad.  You can change the font, page style, look up a definition, highlight, take notes, and even us the speak option to listen to a passage or word.  Novels are available in the iBook Store.  Before you purchase a book, you can download the first chapter for free.

DK Natural History: Insects  4.99
eBooks can include multimedia.  This book has a video and close up photographs of insects.  It’s like having a microscope built into a book.

JibJab Jr.  FREE
eBooks can allow for personalization.  With this free iTune App, you can become a part of the story.  Add your picture and your name and enjoy the story, Starring YOU!

Here is a clip of my son saying his name for the first time when he was the star of the story.

Toy Story  FREE
This eBook App is available in the iTunes App Store.  Listen to the story or become the narrator by recording your own voice. It is sure to make rereading a story more enjoyable.

Oh The Places You’ll Go  4.99
Enjoy Dr. Suess books in an eBook App.  Choose to have the story read aloud, auto read, or to read it by yourself.  This app allows the user to explore.  When you click on a picture, you will hear what the item is, as the words appear.  If you click on text and listen you will hear the passage one more time.

Our Choice  4.99
eBooks are advancing!  The proof can be found in the eBook, Our Choice.  This amazing book has beautiful pictures, video, and a simulation.  In chapter 4, Harvesting the Wind, you will find a simulation.  By blowing air into the mic of your iPad, you are the wind energy that turns the wind mill and charges the battery to power the home.  This is a pretty amazing way to learn.