Friday, January 3, 2014

Appy New Year!

I hope you all had a great holiday and are ready to start the new year with your kiddos. It's my first day back to work and honestly, I would love to have a few more days off, but I do love my job.  So that makes it easier to get back in the groove.  I have  few items that might help make the new year easier for you, too.

First up is a fun little app I discovered about a month ago and since have seen several postings on others' blogs about it, so I though I would play around with it myself.  The app is called flipgrid.

Flipgrid, just like it states in the picture above, is unique.  It allows you to post a question and have students answer it with a short (90 seconds or less) video clip. I am trying out the demo version which is free for 21 days. If I decide to purchase it is $65/year.  This includes unlimited questions per grid and unlimited responses per questions.

The demo version allows me to create up to 10 grids, which are basically classes and then I can pose questions in each of those grids.  

It is very easy to create the questions and the on-screen directions tell you step by step what to do. Once you've created your question, you can share the link to it with your students. All they have to do is press the + sign to create their video answer.

One downside is that students have to have an email address in order to post their response.  If you are using this in your library or classroom, you could always use your email address, if you are comfortable with that.

Once an answer has been posted to the question, you will see a picture of the person who answered the question.  You can set the question to be private so that only those with the password can view and/or post answers.  This is helpful for privacy reasons.

Anyone who has access to the question can view other's answers and like them by clicking on the little heart button.  Your picture that you set up when you answer the question shows up first.  Please ignore my rough appearance.  It was late when I made this flipgrid.  =)

What I like about this app is that it is a different way to assess learning, one that doesn't involve pencil and paper. And one answer can lead to another question. I am going to try it out with some of my students to see if it is worth the investment.  The question I am posing is "How will you take care of your library books in the new year?"  If you'd like to take part in the discussion, you can access it here.  You do need to download the flipgrid app, first.  But the app is free.  I am excited to see what kind of responses I get.  =)

I was contacted a while back about reviewing an app called AnimMoby.  I admit, it took me a while to get around to checking it out, but I am finding it promising. For full disclosure purpose, I will tell you that I was given a promo code to try out this app in exchange for my honest review.  However, paid for the app outright and did not use the promo code.

My first impression of the app was very positive.  The navigation is very easy to understand.  This is a screen shot of the first page.

Creating a project is very simple as well.  It is similar to PowerPoint, but in some ways is much simpler to use than PowerPoint.  I think even kindergarten and first graders could master using this app.  I was told that you could convert PowerPoints from the computer to the iPad, but I didn't see a way to do that.  I will have to play around with it a bit more and maybe I can figure it out.  The final projects can be saved and viewed like PowerPoint or as PDF.

There are tons of images that you can use to create your project which you can access by clicking on the picture icon or by using the grid icon in the top left hand corner.  The images can be made larger or smaller by "pinching" the screen.  The pro version ($7.99) comes with 16 sets of images, but more sets can be purchased for .99 each.  I have found that the images it comes with was enough for my needs. There is also a free version of this app which comes with fewer images.

Another great feature is that you can import pictures from your device.  You can also crop them to the size you like.  This is a nice feature that older students may like to use to be able to customize projects.

Adding text is pretty simple as well.  Just click on the text icon (the large "A") and a red box pops up which you can then make larger or smaller by "pinching" the box.  You can also move it around to where you want it on the screen.  You can increase the font size and set it to be right, left, center, or justify alignment.  One downside is that you don't get a choice of fonts, but the font that is available is easy to read.  You can also write on the screen and you can choose the color of pencil to use.  Highlight is also an option.

You can record your voice and even your actions of making each slide by clicking the red circle at the bottom of the screen.  When you are finished, you can publish to the Animoby app, email your creation, or share it on facebook.  It is also saved on the Animoby website.

From the website, there are buttons that allow you to share your creation even more ways (Twitter, Google, and embed with a code, although when I embeded it, the screen was too wide for my blog). Here is the quick Animoby I created.  Please excuse my strong southern accent.   As much as I've tried to lose it, it has only gotten more pronounced since moving to Georgia.  =)

A neat feature about Animoby is that you can search through the app to find different projects.  I did a search for "Book Care" and the project I created showed up.  I also like that viewers can "like" a project.

I can see this as a great way of sharing book reviews or maybe even how projects.  Let the students make an Animoby project about how to choose a book using the 5 finger rule or how to check out a book.  These might be good for those students who are more visual and kinesthetic learners to create a book talk.

If you'd like to get a free download of Animoby Pro (a $7.99) value, just leave a comment below by January 14.  I will do a random pick from all the commenters. I will  announce the winner on January 15.  
The giveaway is now closed.  Click here to see who won.

Appy New Year, everyone!


  1. This sounds really interesting! I would love to test this out. :-)

  2. Looks like an app my co-workers could really like!! {The students too!!}

  3. I would love to try Animoby at my school. We have a class set of 10 iPads we are implementing and this looks like it could really be something new and cool to try in the library and our classrooms!

  4. Can't wait to try both these apps. Thanks for your blog.
    I'm going to try flipgrid now with a Tolerance unit I'm writing for MLK week at my school.

  5. I just found you a few weeks ago and I'm really enjoying your new techie ideas and apps! Thank you for taking time to post!!

  6. My New Year's Resolution is to work on more apps for the library! Thank you for all your wonderful information (all year!)