Phonics Connections

Get your kids on the right track for reading with Phonics Connections. The app contains motivating word games where the goal is to match vowel sounds to blanks in a word that describes a picture. This app is for beginning readers. Each of the activities feature color pictures illustrating words with short vowels, long vowels, special sounds like ar, or, er, ir and ur. In addition some of the words in the activities use the ou, ow, au, aw, and oo vowel sounds.
The app is designed to help students learn to read with ease and confidence. A connection from the vowel sound to the picture and word can be made using a finger, pointer, or Apple Pencil. Once the correct connection is made the word is pronounced and spelled using synthetic speech.

The app stores a record of the student’s progress as they continually try to improve their score. Speech and sound effects make using the app even more fun. Click the dice icon to get a randomly generated design and starting point for creative exploration. Hours of fun!

screen1

To use the app and make a phonics connection students drag with the finger from one of the items on the left to the matching item on the right.  The app also works with Apple Pencil.  After each correct answer an animated gold star appears on the screen. Every time an activity is completed a trophy is displayed.  The scoreboard keeps a record of how many correct answers were given within each topic.

This app can be used on iPads, iPhones and Apple TV.

Phonics Connections is available with a volume discount for educational institutions. This app can be purchased worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store.  The apps are also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of any of these apps. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’ website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.

Critical Thinking Activities

The development of problem solving skills and critical thinking abilities is currently a high priority in K-12 schools.  Curriculum development experts and experienced teachers who lead inservice programs recognize the need for emphasizing these important areas of learning. Helping students learn how to think and how to learn is perhaps the most important skills that 21st century educators can and do embrace.

Unfortunately in many cases critical thinking activities are overlooked or considered to be something extra to do — something beyond the basics, but many teachers realize that critical thinking skills are basic.  Critical thinking skills are actually a ‘critical’ component of a sound curriculum.

The Critical Thinking Skills app provides 10 different activities that challenge students to use, develop and improve their problem solving and critical thinking abilities.

Screen1.png

In the app a column of buttons on the left side of the screen launch the corresponding activity.  Shown above is a sample screen from the Hundreds Chart Patterns activity.  The set of activities include the following:

1. Hundreds Chart Patterns
2. What’s the Rule?
3. Find a Match
4. Cube Patterns
5. Dot Designs
6. Isometric Designs
7. Design Patterns
8. Reflections
9. Sum Patterns
10. Number Line

Algebra Portal AR

Algebra Portal AR

Apple’s new ARKit has opened the door to new kinds of app experiences.  My new app, Algebra Portal AR, creates virtual rooms filled with information about important terms and key concepts related to the Algebra I curriculum.  What is really exciting about the Algebra Portal is students stand up, walk around and experience a totally immersive environment that is filled with illustrated examples that are used to explain some of the fundamental ideas of algebra.

algebra_portal_title

The floor Algebra Portal is a standard Cartesian plane with the x and y axes labelled.  Teachers could develop lesson experiences that involve students walking into the portal and then moving to a specific (xy) position to learn about a particular topic from the algebra curriculum.

When a wall inside the Algebra Portal is tapped a menu of terms is displayed.  If a term is selected detailed information about the topic is displayed with examples.algebra_portal_4

Students and teachers will be amazed when they create virtual rooms filled with information about key terms and concepts from the middle school and high school algebra curriculum.

Explore algebra in a new way with the Algebra Portal AR. Use the camera view on your iPad to detect a flat surface and then tap the screen. Instantly a portal opens to a world filled with information about the terms and concepts that are part of the algebra curriculum.

algebra_portal_3

In an nutshell, to use the app, students walk around in the augmented reality algebra portal where they can tap on the walls and other objects in the rooms to get more information and to hear Siri read aloud information about the selected item. Students can scroll through an extensive list of terms related to the information on the walls of the rooms, walls and objects in the portal.

Algebra Portal AR creates virtual rooms that are approximately 4 meters by 7 meters. It is best used in a well-lit open space, perhaps in a school’s auditorium or multi-purpose room. If the Algebra Portal sounds interesting to you, you might also like the Geometry Portal AR.

Algebra Portal AR is available with a volume discount for educational institutions. Algebra Portal AR can be purchased worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store.  It also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of Algebra Portal AR. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’ website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.

 

Hide and Seek AR

Kids love to play Hide and Seek.  Hide and Seek AR is similar to the popular game with a new twist:  The players use the app to hide and find geometric shapes in an augmented reality environment.

Hide and Seek AR is a two player game.  The game begins when the first player closes his or her eyes while the second player uses the iPad to hide three geometric figures in the augmented reality environment.  When three shapes have been hidden, the first player passes the iPad to the second player whose task is to find the objects before time’s up (3 minutes).

It’s a great way to introduce elementary age students to the names of geometric figures.  Both 2D shapes and 3D solids are used in the game.  Synthetic speech is also used so students can hear directions and also the names of the geometric figures.

screen_1

A list of geometric figures is shown at the bottom of the screen.  Students can scroll through the list by swiping left or right. A variety of shapes are available in different colors.

cube
cylinder
hexagon
rectangle
sphere
circle
polyhedron
pyramid
square
star
trapezoid
triangle

Students can place a shape in the Augmented Reality by tapping places on the screen.  The virtual objects ‘magically appear’ and can be viewed from various angles by walking up to and around the object.

screen_2

Hide and Seek AR is easy to use.  Buttons are used to control most of the activity.  The app would be appropriate for most elementary age students.

screen_3

Hide and Seek AR is available with a volume discount for educational institutions. Hide and Seek AR can be purchased worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store.  It also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of Hide and Seek AR. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’ website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.

Other apps that use Augmented Reality are:

Solar System AR

Geometry AR

Molecules AR

Molecules AR

Molecules AR creates an Augmented Reality experience for view atoms and molecules in 3D.  While using the app students can tap icons to display the hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen or oxygen atom.  Protons, neutrons and electrons appear about 1 meter in front of the iPad came and can be experienced by moving forward, backward or around the virtual image.

Screen_2

To learn more about the atomic structure, students can tap the notebook icon to display information about the composition of the selected atom.

At the bottom of the screen there is a slider that allows the student to scroll through a list of atoms and molecules:

hydrogen atom (H)
carbon atom (C)
nitrogen atom (N)
oxygen atom (O)
oxygen molecule (O2 )
nitrogen molecule (N2)
water molecule (H2O)
carbon dioxide molecule (CO2)
ammonia molecule (NH3)
methane (CH4)
ethane (N2H6)
acetylene molecule (C2H2)
hydrogen cyanide (HCN)
ethylene molecule (C2H4)
formaldehyde molecule (CH2O)
nitroxyl molecule (HNO)

Once selected a 3D model of the atom or molecule appears about 1 meter in front of the camera in the augmented reality viewer.  The model can be rotated on its x, y or z axis.  In addition students can walk up to the molecule and view it from different perspectives.

Screen_4

Molecules AR is available with a volume discount for educational institutions. Molecules AR can be purchased worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store.  It also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of Molecules AR. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.

Other apps that use Augmented Reality are:

Solar System AR

Geometry AR

Hide and Seek AR

 

Geometry AR

When used in a curriculum based application, an Augmented Reality experience really pulls students into the subject matter.  There is a certain ‘magic’ about seeing and manipulating shapes that only you can see.  Geometry AR is an educational enhanced viewer for 2D and 3D geometric objects.  Here’s a screen shot illustrating an ellipse.

screenshot_1

Notice the xyz control in the bottom right corner.  This icon causes the 3D shape to start rotating on the selected axis.  This enables the student to view the shape in unlimited orientations.  Students can view the various faces of geometric shapes.  Tapping the center of the icon causes the shape to stop rotating.

icon_3D

Using the slider students can selected a variety of 2D and 3D shapes. Optionally they can tap the dice to get a random selection. Tapping the notebook causes textual information about the shape to be displayed.

screenshot_2

If sound is optionally activated the text from the notebook is read aloud to the student.

Geometry AR is available with a volume discount for educational institutions. Geometry AR can be purchased worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store.  It also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of Geometry AR. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.

Other apps that use Augmented Reality are:

Solar System AR

Molecules AR

Hide and Seek AR

Educational Apps for Augmented Reality

With the release of iOS 11 Apple introduced several new exciting tools for developers.  One of them is a new framework called the ARKit.  ARKit is a set of tools that allow developers to create augmented reality experiences for iPhone and iPad.  3D digital objects and other information can be combined with the immediate environment.  Learning how to use this set of tools enabled me to create several new apps for iPad.

The first project is titled Solar System AR.  Once the app is launched, Solar System AR brings a 3D model of the Solar System right into a classroom or living room.

screen1

The sun and planets all rotate.  The planets revolve around the sun and the earth’s moon is shown revolving around the earth.  In addition, any planet can be selected using the slider.  Once selected, the planet appears in the augmented view.

Detailed information about each planet is displayed icons on the left side of the screen are tapped.

icon_dayLength.png
The length of a day on any planet is shown when this icon is tapped.

icon_distance.png
Students can find out a planet’s distance from the sun by tapping this icon.

icon_diameter.png
Tapping this icon results in a table showing the dimensions of the planets in miles and kilometers.

icon_mass.png
A table showing the mass of each planet is shown when this icon is tapped.  Below is an example of one of the tables.

Screen_2.png

General information about the Solar System and specific information about each planet is available for students to read.

Screen_3
The Augmented Reality component of this app makes it very exciting for kids.  It is kind of a magical experience to have the Solar System appear in the immediate environment.  Students can walk around the room and move up close to any of the planets as they orbit the Sun.  Using the slider students can select any planet to study more closely.

Screen_4

Launch your students into the technology of the future by introducing them to the Solar System using Augmented Reality.

The Solar System AR is available with a volume discount for educational institutions. The Solar System AR can be purchased worldwide exclusively through the Apple App Store.  It also available through Apple’s volume purchase program. Schools get a significant discount when purchasing multiple copies of The Solar System AR. Contact Apple Education for more information about the volume purchase program.  Please visit Ventura Educational Systems’ website for more information about this and other iOS and tvOS apps for education.

Other apps that use Augmented Reality are:

Geometry AR

Molecules AR

Hide and Seek AR