I have been enjoying tutoring a few high school students for friends this past spring and summer. The students and I have been preparing for their ACT and/or SAT exams. The pleasant part of the experience is hanging out with some really interesting kids and as always I learn more than I teach. The first thing I noticed was all of the students had an iPhone and I did not need to make copies of anything as they simple take pictures of whatever problems I have for them to practice at home. When presented with problems such as having enough reading material to practice per my instruction, they first use technology to solve their problems. After a few weeks I decided there had to be "an app for this." HA! I have found a few apps I have recommended for my students and thought I would share these with you. I love exploring new technology, so I will add reviews as the year goes by if you, the readers enjoy the information. FUN!
IntelliVocabulary by Faqden Labs was developed by MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and MIT Web Semantics Labs. The app allows students to practice various SAT vocabulary words, take tests, and creates reports on mastery and needs. The words are arranged in alphabetical order, which allows the student, who makes deeper connections, to find patterns in the use of prefixes and suffixes. While the app is great for SAT practice, students can also just increase vocabulary while hanging out. I personally am using this to increase my Words with Friends power! Price: Free
Math and Science:
Formul8 is a formula app with formulas for algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, chemistry, physics and mechanics. This app is not a fancy-schmancy application, but is a great reference tool. I love having the formulas right in my hand and read to go. Price: Free
Mathemagics is a FUN (in a math nerd sort of way) app. The app teaches students to do math magically or simply quick tricks for computation. This app is great for increasing speed in computation and honestly is just fun. Younger children would love it and I could see it being really useful in a technology center with a "Magic" theme and a few iPads. Amaze your friends and wow your teachers become a mathemagician! Price: $0.99 (Currently on sale.)
YourTeacher.com Math for Pre-Algebra, Algebra, or Geometry is a tutor in your palm. The app allows you to choose a topic such as Factoring Trinomials. The app then offers several video clips of a teacher teaching how to perform the skill, a set of practice problems, a challenge problem, a self-test, and then a set of printable documents with problems and detailed solutions. SUPER APP! Price: Free (The extended versions for individual subjects are $9.99 each. I have not purchased one yet, but I plan to add at least one just to see what is available. This seems expensive for an app, but if you were to buy a math tutoring book at Barnes and Noble, you would pay at least $20.00. The book has no video.)
Learning in General:
iTunes U is the iTunes University app. So, you are bored with Netflix (another favorite app) and you just want to learn Calculus or how about taking The Hebrew SCriptures in Judaism and Christianity from Harvard? YOU CAN FOR FREE! Download this app and take the course. The courses vary in length and support materials. Some of the courses have only the lectures and some have lectures and support materials. You will not receive credit, but you will have learned something new. Price: FREE!
If this blog was helpful, please let me know and I will add more information about apps. Technology is enhancing learning and opening the world for those who have long been limited by miles or by culture. The world is changing rapidly. Be informed!
Today is my grandmother’s birthday. Memaw is cheering me on from her heavenly home as she cheered me on my entire life. I have these little notes from her I like to read sometimes. Her words are precious to me. She gave me good advice and great words of encouragement often by asking me questions rather than telling me what to do.
I remember when I was considering graduate school, I verbally pondered about the time requirement.
She asked me, “Well, at the end of two years what will you have if you go to school?”
I said, “A degree.”
She said, “And what will you have if you don’t go to school?”
“No degree,” I replied.
“Seems pretty clear to me, the two years will pass regardless, you just need to decide what you want at the end of the two years.”
I think about that conversation often, because it is a foundational conversation in my life. The time will pass. When making choices I have must decide what I want at the end of it.
Each school year I began with the same thought in my mind. The year will pass. I can either serve these children with all of my talents and all of my heart or I can do a half-hearted job. Regardless, the time will pass.
Our daughter, Jacy, is entering high school this year. We have four years, which will pass whether we are there cheering her on or not. Whether we spend time hosting her friends or helping her through opportunities, the time will pass. What kind of relationship do we want at the end of this time? Where do we want her to be in her life as she leaves high school and most likely home?
Kaitlyn, the nineteen year old, is finding her way into adulthood. We are trying to navigate the waters of parenting a young adult, which is hard. Our decisions are always about where will she wishes be at the end of the next five years or ten years. The time will pass, but how do we all best invest it?
My grandmother also told me to make my choices based on the people who would be those listed in my obituary as my survivors. I have fallen short on that advice plenty of times, but as our children grow up, the advice has become a grounding thought for me.
At the end, my bosses, my colleagues, my students, my church peers, and most of my friends will most likely not be listed as survivors. While all of these people have brought valuable things to my life and I am thankful, ultimately few will end the race with me. My finish line will be with those few who are my precious cheerleaders and God. My choices are made with this thought in mind.
School is beginning and teachers and principals are setting the wheels into motion. In honor of my sweet Memaw, my thoughts are simple for all of us.
First, great teachers always begin with the end in mind. Where will these students be on the last day of the year? The time will pass, so make the most of it and teach or lead with your whole heart. Students should not only grow academically, but also emotionally, mentally, and socially. How will you assist in these efforts? How can you spend the limited time you have each day with each child helping them to see a greater vision for their lives? How can you use your words to help them develop a greater sense of purpose for their lives? How can you use the academic lessons to teach great life lessons about what it means to serve others? The time will pass, how will you most effectively use it to make the world a better place?
The second lesson is in the midst of planning and grading papers, remember those you will be survived by in the end and sow into them as much as you can possibly sow. The time will pass regardless, but how you invest it now will directly impact the relationships you have in the future. I have worked so hard to find balance in my life in the past ten years. I have failed so often, but slowly I am learning to balance life. The difference is rather than making my “survived by” group one of the pans on the balance, they are the central pillar upon which the pans are balanced.
I am thankful for all of the comments and for those of you who have sent me messages asking when I would begin blogging again. I am back. I have spent the summer enjoying my family, reading for fun, and refreshing my heart. In a world that seldom appreciates rest, I can say the rest was much needed and precious. Now I am ready to blog, to work, to parent, and to serve God in all He calls me to be. The time will pass, I choose to be at peace and of service.
I am a teacher, which in a single word, sums up my passions and my belief in the future.