I recently learned of two new apps for the iPad that are free, fun, and have tremendous educational impact. I learned of these apps via Richard Byrne's terrific Free Technology for Teachers blog so for those of you on the cutting edge of ed tech this will be old news. Nonetheless, many have never heard of these apps and they deserve a place on the Pad.
My first recommendation is called 5 Dice: Order of Operations. This app makes a learning game out of the order of operations and involves HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills). Basically, you get 5 standard dice in a toss along with drag and drop addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division signs, as well as parenthesis, and exponent. You also get a target number. Your objective is to drag and drop the dice and operations so that they equal the target. Let me be honest, it took me almost ten minutes to figure out my first toss. The game is recommended for upper elementary but I believe it is a good enrichment activity for grades beyond fifth. 5 Dice is challenging, engaging, and free. Go on and get it.
Pixntell is another excellent learning opportunity. With Pixntell you can put photos in a slide show and record a voice over to go with each photo. There is no limit to how long your recording can be. However with a free account you are only allowed to create photo shows of five images. For a mere 0.99 cents you can get the premium version and create unlimited photo shows. Pixntell can be shared directly to Youtube or Facebook. You can also e-mail a copy and it will send the recipients an MP4 video file of the show.
There is tremendous creative learning potential for using Pixntell in the classroom. Students can easily gather fair use images on a topic, import them into Pixntell and explain their reasons for inclusion. They can use their own images to tell a story. Students as young as four can use it as a vehicle for show and tell. With five images students can record verbal and visual directions to step by step processes. Below is a video introduction.