November 26, 2015

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Top 10 Apps 2015


Daryl Grabarek, SLJ’s resident app guru, curates a stellar list of the best educational and story apps produced in the past year.

This article was published in School Library Journal's December 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

“World Wildlife Fund Together” | Touch and Go

Screen from WWF Together

Children love photo-essays and stories about animals and educators looking to introduce global issues into the curriculum often find endangered animals a good place to start. The World Wildlife Fund provides a digital offering on the topic, with an update to their WWF Together app, available free on iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire.

PromptSmart: a sweet utility for speeches and more

Public speaking is not only a part of our curricula, it’s a huge part of our lives. For some of us, it a serious fear. Founded by a Communications Fellow at Wharton Business School, PromptSmart, turns your device into a teleprompter.  It is a seriously handy tool I wish we had years ago, While I […]

On Tour Through “My Incredible Body” | Touch and Go


3-D perspectives, detailed illustrations, and narrated text features are just some of the features Zybright offers in its stunning tour of of the human body, available on a variety of devices.

WonderBox: Explorations in Science, Geography, Music, and Design | Touch and Go


The WonderBox app provides content, creation opportunities, and a mini social network—with features and safeguards that will please parents.

App Review: Image Chef

Recently, The Teen had to do a complex poetry assignment. One of the poems she had to create was a Concrete Poem, a poem that takes a shape. I would like to point out that the subject of her poem was me – go Mom! But we went looking for a way to easily create […]

MIT App inventor

  A few years back, in a powerful TEDx talk, Heidi Hayes Jacobs suggested, I think every student should design an app. I can’t think of a more practical, more challenging way to see if students could solve a specific problem, get it out there and make a difference to help people.  Or don’t. Instead, […]

Haunted Houses & Headless Horsemen: Halloween Apps | Touch and Go


Halloween is here! From classic to contemporary stories (and a bit of augmented reality thrown in for good measure) we have apps for every age and sensibility.

Dr. Seuss in a New, Digital “Read & Learn” Series | Touch and Go


When do you take an already successful app and improve upon it? And from a consumer’s point of view: does the new product warrant replacing a perfectly readable book or functioning program?

“iBiomes—Wetlands” | Touch and Go

Screen from iBiome ( )

A cheery professor guides students through “iBiome-Wetland,” an app designed to teach students about biodiversity through a series of gamelike activities featuring a fresh water marsh, a salt water marsh, and a mangrove swamp.

PopBoardz: a media dashboard for instruction and presentation

So, what would happen if Pinterest and Symbaloo and Blendspace had a baby?  Well, it might look a little like PopBoardz, one of my new favorite options for personal curation and presentation. PopBoardz allows you to organize the content you need and easily present from your iPad, iPhone or Mac desktop.  For educators, it can […]

Skill Building with “Fiete” Apps | Touch and Go


A cheerful sailor named Fiete invites children to join him on a number of his daily activities in a series of colorful apps produced by Ahoiii Entertainment. The apps will have kids flexing their pre- reading and numeracy skills and challenging their memories.

App Review & Blended Pic Tutorial: Fused (with an assist from the Silhouette app)

Monday my co-blogger Heather Booth sent me a text that said,” you might really like this app called Fused.” She had no idea what she was starting as I quickly became obsessed, for the MakerSpace and my teens of course! Using the app I was able to create these images: Now I have been seeing […]

Top 100 Tools for Learning 2015

Each year Jane Hart does some serious crowd-sourcing.  Earlier this week, she released her 9th annual Top 100 Tools for Learning.  Each year Jane’s list becomes a little checklist for me, actually a kind of shopping list.  I enjoy watching the trends and seeing what’s hot. To create the list, Jane surveyed more than 2,000 […]

Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” on the iPad | Touch and Go


Our reviewer Pam Schembri cites the performers’ commentary as one of the strengths of this production, and calls it “a treasure for both professionals, students of music, and dabblers.”

Google’s Expeditions Pioneer Program takes the road!

The Google Expeditions Pioneer Program launched today. In an email update this morning, the team shared: Expeditions is hitting the road! Expeditions teams will visit selected schools around the world, starting with The United States, Australia, New Zealand, The United Kingdom, and Brazil. Each team will bring a complete Expeditions kit with everything the teachers […]

App Review: Aviary (The quest for the perfect photo app continues)

Last week we got the final approval to make some big changes at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH) where I am working as the YA Services Coordinator. Namely, my proposal to move the YA fiction collection out of an enclosed space to a new location and to turn that enclosed […]

Moobot’s Back with “Billy’s Booger” in Digital | Touch and Go

billy's b

Billy’s Booger: As described on the Moonbot site, this “highly anticipated,” “completely (sorta) true story from William Joyce’s experience in the fourth grade” has been “40 years in the ‘picking.’” And it’s now available in digital.

The Bard Gets Bawdier “Ryan North’s To Be or Not to Be” | Touch and Go


Studying parody or William Shakespeare’s Hamlet in class? Looking for retelling of a classic with an unusual twist? Don’t miss “Ryan North’s To Be or Not to Be,” now in digital.

App Review: The Other Side by Mental Canvas

Foof!  It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these so forgive me while I stretch the old app-reviewing little gray cells for a second. There was a time, best beloved, when I thought this little blog would do it all. V-blogging.  Podcasting.  And, yes, app reviewing.  But reviewing apps is an arduous process […]