The Search for the Perfect Student Agenda App: MyHomework

I was perusing this article entitle The 16 Apps and Tools Worth Trying this Year on Edudemic (my new favourite resource for iPad related stuff) when I stopped at #7:

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Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 10.26.54 AM A new homework app to review! So I mosied over to the app store and checked it out…it looks like it might be free as well- I don’t see an lite or pro division!

The basic interface is simple enough. It asks you to add a class:



And here is where I get stumped and have to go into my account to choose either a period based schedule or a block schedule:


Okay. That done, let’s go back to my English class and add my times:


Period based. Definitely period based. But will they allow for our crazy alternative week schedule?


Why yes!

Okay. I’ve added my class time. I have a lot of English classes:


Now for adding homework:


I like the scroll down list for type of assignment….





You have a lot of options in terms of when you want to receive your notification for your homework.

You can go to your homework icon and view all assignments due:


Okay. So let us go through our criteria:

  • Easy to use: Check
  • Clean, intuitive interface:  Ads in the free version
  • easy to import schedules: There doesn’t seem to be any syncing with iCal  but it does sync with a program called If a teacher uses this free program, they can add their classes and assignments and all the students need to do is find their teachers and classes and sync.
  • It would be great if it could talk to our intranet, but that might be too much to ask: No
  • Easy to input assignments: Yes
  • Different colours for different classes: NO
  • Alerts for assignments: Yes
  • If not free, then cheap: There is a free version with ads but to get rid of the Ads you have to pay $1.99/year
  • Easily synced with your other devices: Yes
  • A space to add teacher contact info…(perhaps even sync with the contacts in iTunes?): You can add it in the description for the teacher of your class but there is no special place for contacts.


4 iPad Search Engines in Screenshots

Yesterday Ms. Thewhite came to me and asked if she could download Chrome on the school iPads. She wanted to access a certain video site but that site wouldn’t work on Safari.

So this got me thinking…I have been using the default Safari on the iPad but I am actually not a big fan of it. I mostly browse on Firefox on my desktop. What if I could do the same on the iPad.


Here are screenshots of 4 search engines you can download for free on your iPad. Which one do you like best?

1. Izik



I love this interface, but if you want to bookmark pages or do anything personalized you are out of luck. Still, for simple searching, this is a very elegant looking interface!

You can see what is trending:



Here- let’s try searching for something that will have more info:



Weirdly enough, I had to search for Lance Armstrong Videos to get a row of videos. Not sure why it isn’t on the bottom…

Still, I like the quick answer section at the top and how they divided the search results in categories.

2. Chrome

It looks a lot like Chrome on the desktop:



Although the interface is less jazzy than Izik, you have the advantage of signing in to your google account and accessing all your shtuff…Bookmarks, gmail, what have you:



3. Mercury Browser Pro (aka Firefox)

The first thing it asks you is if you want to sync your bookmarks:



But then it looks a lot like your average Google on Firefox interface search:



Oh and there is a lite version for free but the pro version costs $0.99. Not sure what the difference is- the descriptions look the same for both of them.

4. Atomic Web Browser

This one is billed as an “advanced web browser” and the first page that comes up seems to confirm it with its no-nonsense interface:



Yeah. A tad intimidating.

But then:



Wait…are we back in Safari?



Toto, oh Toto. We are not in Safari land anymore…

Atomic Web Browser is the browser for the discerning interface user, the one who likes to play around with fonts (of course, you might just have trouble with small print,in which case this might be a good option for you).

The settings give you another whole layer of choices. My brain is reeling:



And this is the lite version. The pro version will set you back $1.99.


Hacker Scouts! Why We Need to Teach our Students to Code

Via Edudemic

I am so excited about this for several reasons. One, I read this article about how academics in fields other than computer science who had spent some time learning code were more likely to get hired than those who didn’t (I can’t find the blog post at this moment but am working on it).

And then this:



I have no idea about it. But my kids will need to know about it. And thinking about how they will need these skills whether they become an English Literature professor or an engineer made me rethink how I was understanding the concept of creation online.

I have always viewed the idea of creation, one third of the holy trinity of technology in education (the other two are connection and collaboration and yes I am making this up as I go along) as meaning creating content on already built platforms. Blogging on blogger or wordpress, uploading videos to youtube and all the other myriad tools and templates available online (don’t get me wrong- I am a BIG fan of the WYSIWIG).

But I think it might go deeper than that. We scratch the surface of what it means to create with technology if we don’t understand the infrastructure of what we are using.

So yeah. I am excited about Hacker scouts.


Read Edudemic Article


To conclude, a little anecdote. I have a friend who had the benefit of participating in a pilot program in about Grade five. They were taught how to use Scratch, the program the TEd Talk dude above is talking about. She went on to get a degree in linguistics and then working in dot coms in San Francisco on the strength of her completely unofficial diddling around with code. I met her in library school and now she does knowledge management consulting work for the UN. She attributes her ability to learn and understand different coding programs to her initial introduction to coding at such a young age.

What do you think? Perhaps a Montreal Chapter of the Hacker Scouts?

More on the subject:

Should Kids Learn How to Code in Grade School?

Why all kids should be taught to code

36 Resources to help you teach kids programming



A Practical Example of Augmented Reality

Via Davy Hulme Primary School

This is the first time I understand how you could use Augmented Reality:

Although the lesson plan was designed for a grade five class, I think it would be easy to adapt it for older grades. I love this teacher’s use of the slow writing prompts for the children’s writings as well as the use of a fantasy app as a writing trigger.

I just thought of something! The YPI ladies could upload their videos and have them attached to the posters they made for their various charities. Oh so many possibilities!


Food for Thought: Creating a Course on iTunes U

Via edudemic

I just read this very interesting article on why teachers should create their courses via iTunes U. I know that some of our teachers have created ibooks and other course materials. Would they be willing to make this content free online?

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Read more

It sounds as if the main advantage for doing it through iTunes U is this:

With iTunes U, it’s easy to create your own custom courses for the iPad and teach them in your classroom. And the iTunes U app puts all the materials you create for your course— syllabus, videos, apps, iBooks, class assignments, and more—all in one place. Right in the app, your students can play videos or audio lectures, read iBooks, and view presentations. They can also see a list of course assignments, then check them off as they’re completed. One of the best features is that they can take notes within iBooks and on videos and they are all organized in one location within the course. It’s also nice that the course can continue to be changed after it’s been published. Any time you create a new post, students receive a push notification informing them of the


Check out the article, which gives you links to tutorials on how to create your own iTunes course and let me know what you think!

15 iPad Skills Every Student Should Have


This article was originally sent to me about a month ago, but as I had just reblogged the same websites list of skills teachers should have, I thought I would wait to post it:

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This will be useful in coming up with introduction sessions for the incoming Grade sevens next year. As we learned this year, we cannot assume the students know how to do basic things like take notes, or print from their iPad. An orientation for their iPad will be necessary.

I would also include these following skills:

  • Learn how to turn the darn thing off and why this is important.
  • iPad social etiquette
  • How to set up their mail account as well as share their files, from dropbox, to google docs to youtube.

What would you include?