1. Elements 4D by DAQRI. This augmented reality app is a gem for science teachers who want to expose their kids to the interactive world of elements and molecules. There is a little setup required in that there are printable cubes that must be constructed ahead of time to fully utilize the AR portion of the app. Several sets of these paper blocks were made and the kids were put into groups. This was done, in part, so they could work together to complete the assigned tasks created by the teacher and also to prevent the insanity of creating that many sets of blocks. To begin, students point their device at the block using the connected camera. Students can see "inside" the cube to witness what the element looks like in its natural state (ie; carbon looks like a pile of charcoal bits). The exciting part comes when you introduce a second element. By putting the blocks together, you will see these two elements join and the material "inside" the cube change to the new molecule (ie; hydrogen and oxygen, both gases on their own, become water). Our superb chemistry teacher, Mrs. Hurst, used this in class with much success. Teenagers, the eternal skeptics, had to eat some crow as they oohed and aahed their way through the task.
2. ChatterPix by Duck Duck Moose. Yet another app that not only helps kids learn but makes me shamelessly giggle as I watch the results. The concept is simple. You take a photo within the app and mark out the location of the mouth. Then, you record up to 30 seconds of audio. Like a piece of twisted magic, the "mouth" will open and move to somewhat match the content of the audio recording. A bit like the website, Blabberize, you can make anything say what you need it to. Now imagine, if you will, a room full of kindergartners practicing their sight word sentences into said app. Pure hysterics! It served as the perfect medium for oral language practice that kids actually ASKED to do again and again. Too much adorable packed into that room, I tell you. Learning+Fun=Brilliant.
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