Saturday, October 26, 2013

Typedrawing - drawing with words

Typedrawing is an app that lets you draw with words or sentences. Typedrawing users have come up with some amazingly creative images, but I think it could also be an interesting way for students to review vocabulary. You can choose from the fonts available on your iOS device, pick a color and a font size to 'paint' with.You can also change the way the text behaves (getting larger or smaller depending on the speed you draw at.)
Click to see a larger version of this image
There are paid versions of Typedrawing for iPod/iPhone ($1.99) and iPad (2.99) as well as a free version. The iPad version allows for higher resolution images. After playing with it for just a short time, I decided it was worth the money to upgrade from the free app to the higher quality version for the iPad. I was glad I did, because when I encouraged a colleague to download the free version and she had a student use it, the student accidentally clicked on the ad at the bottom of the screen and became very confused as to where her picture had gone. When we explained about the advertising she looked at us in disgust and told us to make it go away because it was in her way!!

In addition to creating an entire drawing with words, you could use this app as a way to annotate a photograph as the latest version has the ability to stop it from repeating text. Choose a photo from your photo album on your device to use as a background and then write on the picture. When you're done, save it back to the photo album as a new picture. (You also have the option of sending the finished image as a PNG file or a PDF file to iTunes on your computer.) Here's an example I made with a drawing that I'd previously scanned:

Annotate monster pic
Click to see a larger version of this image
It would be nice to have the ability to move text once you've drawn with it, but the app does have an undo button which can be helpful.

Unlike earlier versions, you can now save drawings in the app itself, so if you want to stop work and come back to an image later you can.

You can save a finished picture to your photo album, save to iTunes, email it, or share it to Twitter. You can lock the drawing to prevent it from being accidentally changed.

(Review originally written May 2012. Updated October 2013 to reflect upgrades since my first review.)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Teaching Table - a math app

Teaching Table ($2.99) is a math app that allows you to create custom lessons using a variety of manipulatives. It was designed by a real classroom teacher working with a couple of developers because she was disappointed in the apps that she had found to use with her students. She wanted a single app that would be versatile and that she could use throughout the school year.

The app contains a very thorough tutorial in how to create lessons, and a series of sample lessons.

Although I think kids will find the app fun to use, it is not a game. It does not contain any advertising.

One very cool feature is that once you have created a lesson, you can share it with anyone else who has the app. You can either email it directly to your colleagues or students, or you can share it through the 'store' in the app. I haven't tried this feature out yet, but if it is easy to use it will definitely make the app even more valuable.

There is a Lite version available for free which allows you to create and interact with custom lessons. The lessons you create in the Lite version cannot be saved or shared, but you can open lessons shared with you by others. To unlock all features, you can purchase the Teaching Table in app upgrade at any time. Even if you can only afford one copy for your classroom, I think it's worth it!

Here is the promo video from the developer:

Disclosure - I received a free copy of this app for evaluation purposes.