So you love Adobe Voice? Then Check This Out!

Whoah. I just read this article about Adobe Spark, which consist of these three tools:

  • Spark Post (to make posters and graphics, like Canva)
  • Spark Page (to make web stories – think digital magazines)
  • Spark video (the old Adobe Voice)

and had to share IMMEDIATELY.

The best part is, these tools are now cross-platform! You can use your iPad or your laptop! I have downloaded all three and plan to try them in the next week. Stay tuned!

rAPPido review: Do Ink (featuring my first attempt at a green screen!)

So I bought a green Screen as part of the Maker Space in the library. Not only did I buy a Green Screen, but I  bought both a stand for it and clamps. In short, the whole shebang.

Today I finally took a minute to set it up. I did this because today is the last day of Staff appreciation week, where our lovely, amazing parents have been showering us with treats and decorations from the 1970s. As today was the last day, the staff was asked to dress up in their 70s finest, and well, I happen to look fabulous darling (cough, cough.)

Here are some terrible pictures of my very slipshod set up (I just wanted to see if it would work!)


Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 2.09.26 PMThen I downloaded an app called Do Ink, which I had seen demonstrated at the OLA Conference back in January.

Price: $3.99

Here is the description:

Green Screen by Do Ink makes it easy to create incredible green screen videos and images right on your iPad. The app lets you combine photos and videos from the camera roll with live images from your iPad’s camera.”

It took me a second to figure out how to use it, but once I did, it was easy peasy! At first, I tried to take the picture in front of the green screen (I used poor Marie-Claude as my guinea pig. She kindly gave me permission to use these outtakes).

When I took the picture before adding a backdrop the green simply went black:


When I added the background after, it took me a while to figure out that I had to play around with the colour wheel in order to get the background to show up:

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Then I got this psychedelic image, which I am quite fond of in its own right, though it wasn’t exactly what I wanted:


Ok. So maybe I need to stick the image in first. Marie-Claude had flown the coop by this point, so I decided to try it on myself. I added the backdrop and got Gail to take my photo. Even while taking the photo, the backdrop showed up in the background instead of the green screen and then it saved directly to my camera roll:


I know. Fabulous, nest-ce-pas? You can almost hear Hot Chocolate playing the background…

And then I was having so much fun, I roped some other fabulously appareled staff members to try it, as well as a couple of the lovely parents who spoiled us rotten this week!


Seriously. So. Much. Fun. I can see this being useful for so many projects. Life of the amoeba, perhaps? Jane Austen’s England? How about we swing over to Rome in the 1st century?

Now available for loan in the library!


rAPPido Review: Quizalize

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What is it?

Quizalize is a web-based application (meaning that you find it online and not in the app store) for disseminating quizzes to your student.

How much does it cost?

It is free, though they have a “marketplace” where you can buy ready-made quizzes and I think sell your quizzes too!

Do you have to sign up?

Yes. Both teachers and students must sign up. However, Quizalize works with the Google apps for education so Traf students and staff can sign in with their google account.

How do I make a quiz?

Once you have signed in with your google account, click on “create a quiz” in the big pink box:

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Add your questions:

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There doesn’t seem to be a limit to the amount of questions you can ask. You can even format it to only ask a selection of the questions in a quiz you have set up.

IMPORTANT NOTE: if you don’t put any incorrect answers, Quizalize makes the student have to unscramble the answer:

(this is how it looks on the student version on the iPad)


That is very annoying. I was using the Battle of the Books practice questions as a test case – these kind of questions are not multiple choice, yet I was forced to make them multiple choice to avoid the demonic word scramble:


Compared to Socrative where you can have either multiple choice, short answer or true/false, this is a major point against Quizalize.

However, the ability to time the question (that big number in the middle of the student page) was great as for this particular case, the students only have 20 seconds in the actual competition to answer.

Here are some interesting features:

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You can add images! They also give you a great guide on how to do that.However, when I tried to upload a picture, it didn’t work.

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Could be a glitch. Could be a bigger problem. Who knows?

Also interesting is math mode. However, I am so out of my depth in terms of writing mathematical equations that I will refer you to another one of Quizalize’s handy guides.


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Once you have entered all your questions, save your quiz.

Important note: once you have saved your quiz, for any edits you have to do to the individual questions, you have to save it every time you change a question. For example, when I realized the word scramble problem, I went back to each question and added incorrect answers. None of them took because I didn’t save them each time I edited a question. Also irritating.

Then you can either play in class or set it as homework. Type in the class you are using it for:

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Customize your settings:

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Share the code with your students (just like Secretive, except they have to sign in)

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And then you are set!

Here is what the students see:


This is how the teacher can view the results:

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If you go into your classroom dashboard, you can see the stats for the quiz by student:

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I am assuming this becomes more interesting and varied when you have a whole cohort and multiple quizzes. As for exporting the data, I do not see anyway to do that, but I suspect that is because it works with the google apps for education? Maybe it goes into Google drive?


Though Quizalize is pretty easy to use, the fact that they only let you do multiple choice or word scramble is an issue. Also, needing to save each and every question in a quiz instead of just pressing save for the whole thing is irritating. The fact that you cannot export the data (that I can see anyways) is a big problem as well. I think for our purposes, Socrative is still a better tool, though some may prefer Quizalize colourful and simple interface. Also, the math mode option and the fact that you can (theoretically) upload images is a plus.


hAPPy Halloween! Prepare for a Multimedia Scare with Haunting Melissa!

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 9.37.47 AMI have been very interested lately in the new digital storytelling format. The first one on my radar was written for kids by Kate Pullinger, an award-winning Canadian author. It is called Inanimate Alice and is an altogether different kind of manner of experiencing story. Not a movie exactly, not an audio book as you have to read the text, but sort of like text you experience not only through processing the words on the page, but through moving visuals and sounds as well.

As I was browsing for some Halloween fun to highlight, I came across this free digital story called Haunting Melissa. It was named one of Entertainment Weekly’s “best of” app as well as “Best new app” in app store.

I won’t lie. I downloaded it right now and had to stop watching it as I was afraid of letting out a scream and scaring the poor Grade 8s working diligently in the library to death.

Unlike Inanimate Alice though, Haunting Melissa seems to be a a high-quality move production. It is told in episodes, but I am not quite sure where the interactive part comes in yet, as I well, chickened out.

But maybe you are braver…

Caution: the app says 12+ for age. However, I watched two seconds of it and am totally creeped out so maybe only recommend it to older students or for those kids who love horror and can hack it.

rAPPido Review: Kaizena — A feedback app for teachers

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 10.51.26 AMThis morning I spent some time with the app Kaizena. First – Shout out to Ms. Jackson for having sent me the link so long ago. Although it might take me some time, I do always check it out!

NOTE: Kaizena is a web-based application, not an app that you will get on the app store. I tried out the teacher version on my laptop and the student version on the iPad. All functions seemed to work except for a few things, but more on that later.

In order to not re-invent the wheel, I would highly recommend watching the following introductory video, showing you how to use Kaizena. When I signed up, I bumbled around, wondering where to go. Watching the video made it very clear how to proceed even trying it out.

Warning: the Kaizena peeps don’t hold to our 5 minute max, flipped classroom video rule. The whole thing runs at 24 minutes. However, it is well worth it as I think this application could be very useful!

In a Nutshell:

Kaizena lets you give feedback in a variety of formats on students work. When you highlight certain passages you want to comment on you can:

  • add audio comments
  • send a link to a flipped classroom video you have created or that you have found on youtube
  • embed one of Kaizena’s curated lessons (eg. say a student keeps on misusing an apostrophe. Simply tap the lessons icon, type in apostrophe and the lesson will pop up. Watch the video for more info).
  • Of course you can also add text comments as well!

This is done by starting a conversation with your student. Each student has their own conversation and all the feedback you have ever given them will remain in that conversation.

Again. Watch the video.

Kaizena works with google drive and google classroom, so you sign in with Google:

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Our school was already listed! How cool is that?

Wait a minute…Is somebody already using Kaizena? If so, let me know!

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Then you set up your profile and your groups. And by groups, they mean classes.

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If you are using Google classroom, you can import your classes. If not, you can simply send a link and invite your students to join.

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Once they join, they should pick one of your classes. That way you have all your students in nice, manageable groups. Then they will send you a file. In order to test this out, I signed up to Kaizena with my personal gmail, so the screenshots are a little confusing because Lina Gordaneer is the teacher and Lina E. Gordaneer is the student. But aren’t we all both teacher and student? Aren’t we, I ask?

Ok. Moving on.

So this is how the teacher’s view looks like before students:

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Then I tried to add some lessons, so I added the link to my press I use for the Mindful Use workshop. Which worked fine! It totally embedded my prezi!

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But then I tried to add an audio comment and got this:

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And I couldn’t find what they meant by “on top”. And I couldn’t leave the screen. Very frustrating. But then I realized when I looked in the help sheet that there was supposed to be a pop-up by the URL. But Safari didn’t like pop-ups. As soon as I switched to Firefox it worked fine.

Here is how it looks from a student’s perspective on the iPad:

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All they have to do is tap the add file:

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They can easily add a file:

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It automatically takes them to their Google drive. I found this a little hard as the folders didn’t seem to work. But you could use the search tab. It worked okay.

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However, it didn’t allow me to open the file…Not sure why – file format? Temporary glitch? I  will try again…Nope. I tried documents from dropbox and a photo from photos and neither of them could upload, however I was using Safari on the iPad. Perhaps that is the problem? Let me try to log in with Chrome…

Ok. Crashed my iPad. This is not good…

Nope. Doesn’t work on Chrome. So only files in Google Drive can be accessed on the iPad…

However, opening something from Google drive was a cinch:

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Now back to the teacher’s view:

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I just have to tap on Lina to see the file she uploaded and start commenting!

I added a lesson, an audio comment and a text comment:

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You can see that as the teacher comments, it automatically appears on the student’s page as well:

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 10.36.36 AMAll in all, a very useful tool  if you are using google drive with your students.

If you decide to try it out, please let me know about it!

rAPPido Review: Inklewriter – Don’t just choose your own adventure; Write it!

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 2.31.35 PMEducational Gaming has been on my mind lately. But my brain had been thinking of it mainly in the context of an innovative, interactive way of teaching digital citizenship skills. But then I cam across the BBC’s heart-wrenchingly effective Syria Journey: Choose Your Own Escape Route, where you must make the devastating choices Syrians must face due to the civil war in their country. I know, I know. I have already sent the link to the staff at our school twice now. But it had so much impact on me that I’ve decided to hit you over the head with it.

But it isn’t just the fact that the game gave me a terrifying glimpse into what it must be like to be a Syrian refugee. It was because for the first time since I had been thinking of gasification, I realized how simple it could be to have a maximum impact.

Then I thought about how much I loved the Choose your own adventure books when I was a kid.

And then I thought about the Introduction to WWII project I was revamping for the Grade 9 English class to compliment their reading of The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.

Gaming. Education. Story-telling. There must be an easy digital storytelling tool I could use, right?


I was super excited to try Inklewriter. It is super easy to use – you don’t even need to sign in if you don’t want, though you will need to provide your email and a password in order to save your story.

I won’t bore you with a bunch of screenshots – instead just direct you to the following video tutorial:

I am going to use it for the group who will be researching resistance and collaboration in Nazi-Occupied Europe. We are going to ask the students to write a choose your own adventure story from the point of view of a young girl who is living in a small town in a Nazi occupied town. Her family is out of work, out of money and out of food. What are the choices available for her?

Here are a couple of screenshots at my attempt. I did it very quickly in order to see if the app was easy to use and whether it made sense, so don’t judge the writing too harshly:

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Well, you see where it could lead. The above literally took me about 20 minutes to make.It struck me as I was writing, that it isn’t just a good tool to highlight the greyness of hard, ethical decisions, but it is also a great, fun technical tool to teach students about plot and voice.

As a writer, it reminded me that stories are really a chain of decisions your characters make. It made me look at my own creative process in a new light and I am eager to use this kind of tool for my next project!

How could you use it in your class?

Free Online Infographic Maker by Canva

I like to use Canva to create posters about upcoming events at the library. But now I can use it to create infographics! Now I just need some info to graph…

There is a user-friendly app for free on the app store, but I just checked and it seems that the have not added the infographic template yet… hopefully it will be there by September so that we can begin info graphing with our students!

Design awesome infographics that go viral with Canva’s amazingly simple drag-and-drop tool. Free!


See on Scoop.itipadyoupad

Belated Earth Week Contribution: The World’s Most Amazing Animals in One App | Pages | WWF

WWF Together Now on iPad, Android and Kindle Fire Tablets


See on Scoop.itipadyoupad

I try very hard not to focus on such subject-specific apps as they have such limited value in the classroom, but this is such a beautifully designed app about animals that I couldn’t resist.

Just to give you an idea,I have taken some screenshots:

Here is how they introduce the animals they highlight:

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It is interactive:

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They give a photo essay with facts about the animal:

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Talk about the threats endangering the animal:

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Swipe the arrows and they reveal the threat:

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You can also stay current with the work the WWF is doing around the world:

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As well as a 3D world you can spin and tap on a dot to find out about an animal:

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The adjective that pops up in my mind for this app is…soothing.It is free and really worth a look!

Tickle: Learn to Program Drones, Smart Toys, Robotics, and Smart Homes

I saw this app right after getting out of a meeting about a potential Maker Space in our school. I have been thinking about getting a Sphero for the library- now I have the app that will help program it!  You can also program a parrot minidrone, Philips Hue (which apparently is personal wireless lighting- who knew?) or make your own video game.


See on Scoop.itipadyoupad

rAPPido Review:

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 9.17.37 AMAt the conference I attended, I dropped by The DK (Dorling Kindersley) booth to check out what’s new (Ok, Ok. They were giving away free bags. So sue me.)

I was checking out this flyer for their website, which looked chock full of information. When I enquired as to the subscription price, they told me it was free!!!

It is a regular website, but gives you that particular DK sense of design as well as a world of information. Though it is geared towards the younger crowd, there are still a lot of crossovers into our curriculum:

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I quickly checked out the Science tab and searched for “Cell” which I know the Grade 7s study:

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If you click on the image, it will take you to the site, where you will see that the black dots give you more info when you click on them:

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As a teacher, you can also sign in with your Google account and create lesson plans within the site:

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 9.27.00 AMIt works great on the iPad, the design is simple and elegant, and is especially relevant to the Grade 7 and 8 curriculum. Check it out!