Cheat Sheet

iPad in Education For Dummies

Kids jump right in when given an iPad, and within minutes they start drawing, reading, or finding some other activity that motivates and engages them. With the freedom to explore and express themselves, students can be wonderfully creative with an iPad. Digital storytelling can bring out your child's creative side and be enriched through the use of multimedia. And iPad games can be as fun as they are educational.

Digital Storytelling with the iPad

Digital storytelling is the modern form of the ancient art of telling stories. Storytelling is how we make sense of the world around us. It's how we pass knowledge, cultural traditions, narratives, and fables from one generation to the next.

Storytelling is an integral part of education that spans all ages and academic disciplines. Digital storytelling simply raises the art to a new level of experience that can be a refreshing and engaging alternative to more traditional content and text-based educational practices. The following are some examples:

  • Producing an animated puppet show to demonstrate understanding of new vocabulary

  • Creating a video or screencast to explain a complex scientific concept

  • Interviewing grandparents on video or audio for a family history project

  • Creating a documentary of a pivotal event in history using images and audio narration

  • Using stop motion animation to demonstrate a scientific principle or experiment

  • Creating a mock audio presidential debate between two candidates at a pivotal moment in history

  • Producing a video political campaign ad as a means of analyzing key issues that influence voters, in addition to exploring and demonstrating the influence of media on voting trends

  • Keeping a first-person audio journal of an individual who lived during a specific period in history

  • Explaining a mathematical concept by creating a screencast tutorial

  • Creating a narrated video advertisement for travel to a particular country as a means of either learning history or practicing foreign language skills

10 iPad Apps for Educational Fun

Here are casual, fun games children and parents can enjoy. These aren't games with specific curriculum-based objectives, and they won't necessarily help students master long division or prepare for a geography test. The main objective is placed squarely on having fun, but with productive results. The apps are for young children, older children, and the young at heart. A complete list of educational iPad games is available at iPads in Education, where you can view the list, and vote for new additions.

  • Faces iMake - Right Brain Creativity: If you've ever made a face by moving fruit around on a pancake then you'll immediately connect with the simple concept behind Faces iMake. Faces iMake is an imaginative tool for creating collages by assembling pictures of every-day objects such as food and toys. Grab a few bunches of grapes, strawberries, and bananas and craft your own Mona Lisa! Within minutes you'll begin to appreciate the creative potential of this app. Combining a unique blend of whimsical play and visual expression, Faces iMake taps into the artistic imagination of every child.

  • Scribblenauts Remix: This is an app for the younger kids. Scribblenauts is based on a bestselling game where the assignment is to help a character move up levels by solving puzzles. Each level presents a dilemma that you can solve by typing the name of an object. After you type an object's name, the object automatically appears and comes to life. Drag it around and use it to solve the challenge. The game requires a degree of creative thinking, and there are usually many different ways to solve a challenge. Objects you name also behave in the manner you might expect of them. (Wings make you fly, for example.) Kids exercise their logical thinking skills, creativity, and enhance their spelling as they dream up innovative paths through their challenges.

  • Amazing Alex: Originally called Casey's Contraptions, this game was bought by the makers of Angry Birds, who gave it an interface makeover. Through the more than 100 game levels you have to set up objects to bounce, pop, ricochet, and crash into each other to create an elaborate Rube Goldberg device. You position objects such as pipes, shelves, balloons, and balls to create a chain reaction that solves a specific challenge. There's always more than one right answer, and you can come up with lots of creative ways to select and position objects to get your desired result. Alex is entertaining, challenging, and lots of fun. You learn simple rules of physics along the way as you come up with imaginative methods to create your chain effects.

  • Let's Create! Pottery HD: Become a true artist as you create "one-of-a-kind" pottery items and share them with your friends! Use this wonderful simulation app to throw some clay on the wheel, release all your artistic talents, and create your own unique ceramics. Select from dozens of materials, and don't forget to glaze and fire your pottery when done.

  • * Numbers League: Villains lurk in the streets of Infinity City. Our only hope is the Numbers League. Assemble a team of superheroes and use the sum of their incredible powers and ingenious devices to capture as many villains as you can. In Numbers League, which is for ages 5 and up, clever use of basic math skills saves the day. The Minion-level game can be mastered by a five year old; the Superhero-level game challenges even math-savvy parents and teachers; and Custom levels allow for a learning experience anywhere in between.

  • NineGaps: NineGaps is a math puzzle game that leans toward strategic mathematical juggling. You have to place numbers from 1 to 9 in the missing gaps of the math grid while matching the operations presented in the puzzle . . . all while a clock counts the time it takes you to crack the puzzle. It's similar to playing Sudoku, but with a twist. There are five difficulty levels, and you can compare your achievements to others on the global and friend leader boards. NineGaps challenges players to solve the math puzzle by projecting solutions to multiple possible expressions as they search for solutions for each of the six equations on the board. The need to evaluate multiple possible expressions is a great technique for fostering logical thinking.

  • Words with Friends: Words with Friends is possibly the most popular word game for mobile devices. Open an account and play this Scrabble-like game with people anywhere across the Internet. Push notifications tell you when it's your turn so you can rotate among and play up to 20 games simultaneously. Play with your friends or match-make instantly with a random opponent. You can save your games at any point and then continue them across your iPhone, iPad, and/or iPod touch.

  • W.E.L.D.E.R.: This is a very addictive word strategy app. The goal is to form words of four letters or more by moving tiles around a grid. You score points every time you form a word. The letter tiles that were used are removed, and other tiles fall into their empty spaces on the grid. There are 15 levels of difficulty. You get 25 swaps on the easiest level, and you have to form 20 words with them. Score 250 points, and you earn five more swaps. As you move up levels, the number of swaps decreases, and the words become more difficult to form.

  • DragonBox+: DragonBox displays two trays, each one containing a series of different cards. Look for the box with the sparkling star. Your objective is to add, delete, and rearrange the other cards in order to leave the starred box by itself on one of the trays. The mathematicians among you can immediately identify the algebraic logic. There are green spirally cards that disappear when tapped and day/night versions of cards that cancel out when you drag one on to another. As you progress, you're allowed the option of dragging cards to a tray, but, of course, if you add a card to one tray you have to also add it to the other tray — just as you might when solving an algebraic equation!

  • Civilization Revolution: Sid Meier's Civilization franchise has been one of the more popular strategy games for many years, and it is now available and updated for the iPad. Lead your civilization from the dawn of man to the modern age and beyond. Go head-to-head with history's greatest leaders as you wage war, conduct diplomacy, discover new technologies, inspire your nation, and build the most powerful empire the world has ever known. Choose from 16 Civilizations (including America, Spain, China, Japan, and Germany) to lead one of four different victory conditions: Technology, Domination, Economic, or Cultural. Engage in strategic combat across a randomly generated map or use the Scenario Creator to create your own challenge. Your quest to explore and discover will have you traversing the globe in search of long-lost relics, rival civilizations, technologies, barbarians, and much more. Civilization features multiple difficulty levels, an integrated tutorial, and friendly advisors to help out as needed.

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