Monday, June 9, 2014

#23 Evaluation!

It has been a great time doing 23 things this spring. I thought that I would do a thing a week, but it has been hit a miss. Here are some thoughts about the process. 
I have felt rather on my own with the blogging about each thing. It would have been nice to have a wiki where we could more easily share and read each others posts. I did go and look at a couple peoples blogs, but didn't get back to that regularly. I think that I could have learned even more if I were better connected to others in the program.
I liked being tossed several options for each thing. It is good to get out of your comfort zone and try new things, right?  So I did and learned that I like some of them. The one that I was glad to discover was Google docs for iPad. I have been looking for word processing app and that one finally does the trick!  
Another thought, is there are way to offer this program to teachers? Or could I copy/adapt it and use it in my school?  All of the teachers in one of my schools will have iPads next year and a program like this would be great. 
My thanks go out to all of the organizers of the program. It was a great learning experience!

#22 App discovery

I have been using Apps Gone Free all year to help the staff at my school find educational apps that fit our tiny budget.  It has been an easy way to find apps that I would like too. The apps may be for apple of android, iPhone or iPad. They are marked, so it is easy to tell what devise they are will work on. 
I also liked that there is a button that takes you to more information or to the app store of your choice for easy download. I was also able to click a button to send a link to staff who might like an app. We have discovered many apps that have been used in school this way. 
My favorite discovery was a brewery finder for my husband. He love to get a pint or a growler when we are on the road.  On our recent trip to Iowa, we found our way to Peace Tree brewing for a Hop Sutra. He was a happy guy. 

#21 What did I miss?

It is my turn to suggest an app?  I think that I have made lots of suggestions as we have gone along.  If I had to suggest an app that I use everyday, I would say Netflix.  I have loved being able to watch some of my favorite movies and shows without comercials. I am willing to wait for their release to DVD, too. I have recently tried Amazon Prime and like that as well. There is some corssover, but on a couple of shows Prime has newer seasons avaiable to stream. The apps are free but the content requires a subscription.  I think that I get my $8-10 a month out of each of them.  If my husband didn't want to watch live sports, I think that we would discontinue our cable subscription alltogether. 
The other apps that I use daily are Facebook and a couple games. I connect with friends and relatives regularly on Facebook, so that is a must!

#20 games!

Games are are great way to release tension or frustration. They can also be a nice way to take a short break from work that needs doing. I find that I can come back to a task and be more focused on it after a short game break. For this reason, I like games that offer short sessions or levels that I can work on and then leave. 
My favorite when I was in graduate school was Farmville. I would plant or harvest in between reading or writing or posting in my classes.  When Bejeweled came out I played that and tried all the variations, too. I still play Bejeweled Blitz once in a while on my phone. I love the one minute games that allow me to play as much as I like but give me a stopping place, too. 
My current favorites are Candy Crush and Farm Heroes.  They have the short levels that I like and challenging puzzles that keep me interested. 
I also have a free Sodoku game that I make myself play every week. I don't enjoy number puzzles very much, but I read that doing them is good for your brain. I can do it and if I pay attention, I can get a fairly good score. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

#19 hobbies

Ah, fun!  So nice to look for a thing for me!  I chose the Vivino wine scanner. It connects to Facebook where my wine club posts our events, so I hope that the others will want to use it, too.
I got started with a couple of easy bits of information. THe best part is that you don't have to key in any info on the wine!  Just take a picture of the label and the app finds it for you. A couple of times, I needed to adjust the wine or the year, but it always found the winery. Select the number of stars, add some comments and upload.  Connect with Facebook friends and find a store that sells it, too. 

#18 educational apps

I search for educational apps every day. At least I check Apps gone Free for educational apps daily. I do run across apps that are great and would be useful in the classrooms as well. I am surprised at many apps for education in that they are single user focued reather than mulituser. Schools need to be able to share devices and many app developers haven't figured that out yet. 
Some apps that I love for kids are from NASA, TED, Library of congress, National archives and the White house.
NASA apps are full of wonderful information in more easy to use bites than their website. I especially like the Earth app with its satalite images of volcanos, sand dunes, glaciers and other large landforms. There is excellent information to go with these images and some time lapse video that shows years of change in a minute or so. 
TED is just one of the best ways to find out what new ideas are out there. The fact that none are longer that 20 minutes makes them fit into my schedule.  The speakers are excellent the ideas are timely and the stimulation is wonderful. 
DocsTeach is a new one that I have only begun to play with. It is from the National Archives and has lessons available in connections with the digital versions of primary source documents. Such a great way to connect students with the real thing!
Another fun one for library and book fans is Storykit. This app lets you create and illustrate your own book.  Create the photos and text for a story and then load it for others to read on the website. Easy to use and professional looking product. 
There are lots more, but only so many that I can write about here. 

#17 local connections

I have been using the Mayo Clinic patient app since it came out. It has some great features for keeing track of your appointments and health information. I find it easy to use and helpful. I don't like it that I get sent out to Safari to refill my prescriptions, but it works so why reinvent the wheel? I especially like the test results section so I can see what my blood pressure levels are, etc. Good maps for getting to the clinic, too. I do remeber hearing that Google mapped the inside of the clinic, but I don't see those maps yet. It would be great to be able to input destinations inside the clinic and get directions. 
Today I added the Marquee Rochester app to my phone. I will enjoy that very much. I like the list of venues in my area and the daily line up of whats going on. I need to get out to more live music and this app may help with that. I will still have to plan ahead, get tickets and add the date and time to my calendar, but finding out what is happening is half the battle.