Thursday, December 6, 2012

5 free mobile apps to capture student work




Mobile technology has provided new opportunities for students and teachers to both capture and organize data.  With the advent of mobile technology in the classroom, students can do a number of things like capture notes from their spirals or the whiteboard to capturing pictures/video of a project they've been doing in class.        This allows students to both share and reflect upon their learning.

Here are 5 mobile apps to capture student work:

1.  Evernote (IOS, Android, Blackberry)


Evernote is a mobile app that is cross-platform friendly--so regardless if your students prefer the Iphone, Android, or Blackberry they will be able to install the app and use it.  With the Evernote app, students can take picutres of classroom activities (not to mention activities assigned outside of class) or they can take audio notes as well.  So if you have your students taking notes in a spiral or journal, they can make them into digital notes with the Evernote app and have access to them 24/7.  More importantly, once they've created the new note from the app, they will have it access to it on any other device which they have downloaded Evernote or they can simply access it from the main website www.evernote.com.  

2.  JotNot (IOS)

Jotnot is a very impressive mobile app which makes pictures or "scans" very crisp and clear.  Depending on how new your mobile device is (which I still have the Iphone 3GS so the camera on it is not as good as some of the new models) taking pictures may not exactly be as clear as you want--especially when reading text.  With JotNot, you can take a picture and change the settings on it to make it clearer to read.  
The only downside to the free version of JotNot is that can't share via Evernote or Dropbox--that is only with the paid version ($1.99).  With the free version, you can still save the image to your phone's photo library and upload it into Evernote or Dropbox app from there.    

3.  Whiteboard Share (IOS)

Whiteboard Share is a app that I just recently started experimenting with.  Essentially, with Whiteboard Share you can take a photo and share via Evernote or email.  The main benefit of this app is that it when the image is uploaded into Evernote, it makes the text more readable (evernote.com).  
The other benefit to using Whiteboard Share is that it gives you a "zoom" feature on the camera, which the standard camera on the Iphone (3GS model at least) doesn't allow for that. 

4.  Pinterest (IOS)

Pinterest is quickly becoming a fun and easy way to both capture and share photos.  With the Iphone app you have access to your previous "pins" and can take photos directly from the app and assign them to a "pin board" for easy organization.  The pin boards can be a easy way for students to organize photos into different categories (i.e. Group projects) and be able to reflect on what they did later on.  

Only downside with Pinterest is that at this time you still have to submit a invite in order to start using it.  That being said though, once you submit your request for a invite it only takes a day or two for it to process.  Other than that, you can send a invite to people who don't already have a Pinterest account via email or Facebook.

Updated 8/12/12:  Pinterest recently went open to the public, meaning no longer needing to request a invite! 

5.  Voicethread (IOS)

Voicethread is a very engaging tool that students can utilize in the classroom.  With the Voicethread Iphone app, you can take a series of pictures and categorize them into different "threads" and make them into a type of "slideshow" presentation.  
What sets this apart from the other apps is that once you take the photo, Voicethread allows you to make comments on it either by voice, text, or video.  So instead of students just making a caption description of the photo, they can also take audio notes or even actually video of them describing what is going on in the picture.  

Honorable Mention:

CamScanner (IOS, Android)

CamScanner is also another excellent app that students can use to capture there work.  With Camscanner, you can take a snap shot from your Iphone or Android device and save it as a PDF or upload directly into your Evernote account.

Thanks to Melissa Seideman (@mseideman) for suggesting the app!    
  
Conclusion:

If you are looking for a cross-platform app, Evernote is the way to go.  Of course, if students have the Iphone or even a Ipod Touch they have a few more options to choose from (for now at least). I'm sure that there are a few that I may have overlooked, which ones would you recommend?