rAPPido Review: Goodreads

Good Reads

I know this will come as a shocker, but I am an avid reader.  I know. Do you need a minute to digest?

There. Better?

So I was thinking about what I was going to read for March Break. It takes careful planning you see. It can’t be something too heavy. Usually a nice fluffy series, or a mix of YA and Adult fiction. I have to get it just right.

Then I thought about how I was going to use the iPad during the break. How I am going on a whole bunch of minitrips and could use my iPad instead of my laptop.

But the problem is, I like to keep a list of all the books I’ve read. This is partly because I am a librarian with a bad memory and need something to remind me of what I’ve read so that I can then recommend the right title to the right person. It is also because I am obsessive and love lists.

So. I use two sites to keep track of my books. The first is Librarything, which I have been a member since 2007. The other is Goodreads. I only joined Goodreads because that is where the bookshelf for my Book Club lives, but I have since enjoyed its other many features.

I have been making half-hearted app searches to see if either one of these tools has come up with an App, and lo and behold, today I hit the jackpot! Though LibraryThing still has no iPad offering, GoodReads has a nice little app.

Price: free

If you don’t have an account already, it is very easy to create one:

Once you are signed in, you automatically arrive on the updates page. This shows you the activity in your community. As you can see below, my friends from across the country seem to be reading the new Murakami ( i have just downloaded it as an audiobook, so I am looking forward to some online discussion!):

The “My books” tab allows you to view the books in your library:

You can also sort your books in different ways:

This took a while to work- At first I was seeing random books from my library. I prefer to view them by the date I read them, but having the other options could be useful.

Weirdly enough, I’ve read several books between Montmorency and The Magician King. So I guess there are a few glitches, though I don’t think it is the app- I just went on the site and they seem to be having trouble at the time I am writing this. rest assured, it is not a normal event…

Most importantly, you can also add books from your iPad:

To do this, you have to tap on the Search function. Once you have found the book you want to add, scroll down and tp add to my books.

You can choose what “shelf” you want to put it on:

All of the functionality of the actual sight, the Goodreads app, makes me very happy.

And, if you are like me and wondering what to read during March break Goodreads’ has an awesome selection of user-generated lists of books by genre:

The More tab allows you to follow your firends as well as change the settings:

Check it out!

Spotted: Photoshop Touch for the iPad!

Adobe Photoshop Touch

Trolling through my RSS treasure trove I came upon this juicy tidbit from Lifehacker. Now, I am totally intimidated and scared by the regular old photoshop ( I use it only to crop images or resize them. Anything else I tend to get frustrated and want to throw things) so I am just passing on this info.

Price: $9.99

Here is the product description from the website:

Combine images, apply professional effects, share results with friends and family through sites like Facebook, and more – all from the convenience of your iPad.

• Use popular Photoshop features designed for the tablet such as layers, selection tools, adjustments, and filters to create mind-blowing images.
• Use your iPad camera to fill an area on a layer with the unique camera fill feature.
• Select part of an image to extract by scribbling with the Scribble Selection tool. With Refine Edge, use your fingertip to capture even hard-to-select image elements, like hair, with ease.
• Search and acquire images with the integrated Google Image Search.
• Share images on Facebook and view comments right within the app.
• Browse an inspirational gallery for the styles and results you’d like to achieve. Then follow step-by-step tutorials to easily learn techniques the pros use for great-looking results.
• Use AirPrint for wireless printing of Photoshop Touch projects.
• Upload projects to Adobe Creative Cloud* and open layered files from Adobe Photoshop Touch in Photoshop CS5.
• Maximum image resolution: 1600 x 1600 pixels

Reading the three customer reviews, the big problem seems to be the limited file size. Also the fact that it is not compatible with dropbox is mentioned. One of the reviewers mentions Photoforge which is only $0.99.

This might come in very handy with Mr. Scruton’s Grade 7 Photoshop Project…

If You Fall off the Horse…Find Another App that Doesn’t Kick You Off


I hate to fail. Which is funny because I spend so much time doing it…Still, I am not going to take it lying down and so imagine my delight when I came across this article on edudemics on the new whiteboard app entitled Educreations.

Whereas the post on Feb. 21 took me about two hours of misery to prepare, my little video with educreations took me about 15 minutes, plus the time to download the app.

Price: Free!

Educreations addresses all of the issues I had with screenchomp and show me. It allows you to have several pages (I used 8 in my lesson). It allows you to take images from several sources:

It is very intuitive-press the record button and go! I chose to stop and start the recording with each slide, but if you are giving a lesson in class you can just keep it running.

For the Water cycle lesson plan, this would have been ideal. I can also see students using it to show how you solve a math equation, or for my idea about illustrating the Greenhouse effect.

You can choose your colour of pen. The hand lets you navigate the screen without writing. There is no eraser however, like your computer, it is just the “undo” arrow.

Below are the editing options for your images:

Once you are done, you can save your lesson, and then choose whether to share it or keep it private. You can then either send it to Facebook, twitter, email it to yourself or embed it in your website. Your lesson also automatically goes into your camera roll where you have the option to upload it to youtube!

Here is my finished lesson:

Oh! And I just got this email in my inbox from Chris from educreations:

Hi Lina,

I see that you just signed up at Educreations and I thought I’d check to see if you need any help getting started or have any initial questions.

Thanks, and welcome to Educreations!

Co-founder Educreations

So freakin’ friendly.I think I’m in love.


The Trouble with using the iPads … Is time!

By Beth Wall

Yesterday, Ms. G did her blog on trying to adapt a water cycle lesson plan for grade 2 to the grade 7 level. It was a cool idea, and a very reasonable way to go about creating a lesson plan for a course. You look on the web, then try to adapt what you find. At first glance, it looked simple, and that it should take about 30 minutes to do. However, that was not how it ended up rolling out, as you know if you read the blog.

This is a great example of the difficulty of trying something new. You think, I am going to try this. You do your research, and then you experiment. You hope  you can use this in class next week, and don’t expect it to take too long. However, the research took a while, then the app you tried kept crashing, or it wouldn’t let you do what you wanted, and in the end, you’ve killed 3.5 hours of time and have no lesson plan in hand. The end result – you are frustrated and think iPads don’t work. What’s more, you still have to find time to plan out an alternative for your class.

Before you get to this point let Ms. G. or myself help you. Come talk to us about what you would like to do, and let us do the leg work to figure out what will work. Once we have it, we can sit down and show you how it works. It may take a bit of back and forth before the project is just right, but you avoid the “I want to throw this iPad out the window” moments.

Let us take you from


And prove that an iPad is good for more than just this:

Lesson Plan Spotted: the Water Cycle on the iPad

I came across this lesson plan via techchef4u. It was made for second graders but I think the same idea could be used to describe more sophisticated concepts, like the Green house effect.

Here is a screen shot from the blog:


Students used three apps to describe the water cycle: Screen chomp, Songify and Talkapella.

So, of course, I had to try. But how did they get the songify into the screenchomp?

Hmmm. They didn’t. They put the song beside the video… I


should really pay more attention.

Next problem- Screenchomp kept on quitting on me.  Still I managed to make a small little screenchomp of my Lost and Found pile. I couldn’t figure out how  to embed it – the only options were to email it, facebook it or Twitter it. No sticking in your camera roll which I think is an oversight.

Talkapella worked the same way as songify. A simple app where you record your text and it puts it to music. I would use earphones with a speaker for both though as it is very hard to hear. And, honestly, kind of lame, but that it is just my humble opinion.

I would love to share my “songs” with you, but alas, I am using a free version of wordpress and do not have the ability to upload sound or videos.

So. My enthusiasm for this project went down a little with the limitations of these three apps. Screenchomp only allows you to use one screen and there is no way to save your video to your camera roll. I am sure there is another app that could do the same thing with more capabilities like Show me, where at least you can embed your video:

Or not. Nothing seems to work today. I should just go back to bed…

rAPPido Review: Science 360 from the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Price: free!

What does it do?

Science 360 for iPad provides you with beautiful scientific images with educational text as well as short videos on a variety of subjects.

And that’s all.

The app is designed to look like a a large 360 degree screen:

Here it is loading. You must have good wifi for this app or it won't work.


Once loaded, it looks like this:

Although I had trouble loading this  video of scientists making silk out of goat’s milk ( I know! How cool is that?)

Most of the videos worked.  The grid of squares takes you back to the main page. You can star your favourite videos, email them to yourself or post them to facebook or twitter. The rectangle with the three dots gives you related videos.

The three lines gives you the educational text accompanying the video or image.

This is an example of an image available on Science 360



My only critiques are there is no way to search the resources available – your only option is to browse the 3D-like main page. Though they may have done this on purpose- there is something to be said about browsing these images and clicking on images that intrigue you. While researching this app I watched a video about Black Holes, How lice are being used by mammologists to trace human migration, and about healing materials (polymers that can repair themselves).

There is a veritable font of information on this app and could have many applications in a science class.

My only other critique is that you cannot save the movies or the images to the camera roll. But of course, there are always screen shots.

All in all, a very interesting and useful app!


Update: Articles from my Google Alert

There was some interesting articles today in my weekly google alert on the iPads.

1. Apple iPad Aims to Revolutionize Education from PC World.

Most intriguing part:

2. Can Education Afford the iPad? by Tony Bates (and judging by his domain, a Canadian! Yep. A Private Consultant in e-learning from Vancouver)

Most Intriguing part:
iPads vs. Textbooks
Created by: OnlineTeachingDegree.com

But he also counters this graphic with the argument that this graphic does not take into account all the other uses of the iPad- it is not just a content delivery system.

I would read the blog post- it has some interesting prognostications, including:

…eventually, textbooks as we know them (a single, comprehensive source for a whole course) will disappear altogether, to be replaced with modular collections of multi-media digital material that can be searched and combined at will by both teachers and learners. (These might even be called ‘open educational resources’.) Time horizon: 10 years. The problem is not the technology, which is available now, but the need for educators to understand the value proposition.