App of the Week – Striding Bird


Striding Bird – “an interactive tale for kids, families and educators by Comicorp


Version: 1.8

Size: 49.2 MB

On the App Store Listing for Striding Bird, written over the screen shots are the words, “an original and inspiring story” and “dynamic and uniquely interactive pages.” Really?

Reviews for this e-book are fairly glowing except for mine.  Am I jaded? Have I seen too many e-books? I’m afraid I do expect more than this story, these graphics and this amount of interactivity.

The story is poorly written and didactic – not in a positive way.  I feel I have been hit over the head with meaning in this story. Bird wants something new, gets it, not as great as he thinks, sees someone worse off, counts his blessings.  I’m trying to think what to say about this story.  I don’t like it.  I don’t think kids will like it.

The graphics are old-school.  Even though Bird is “striding” the background seems to be moving right to left and the bird seems to be walking on a belt of some sort.  “Dynamic and uniquely interactive pages?” Click on the page and bugs fly up to the sky.  Not dynamic or even highly interactive.

Disappointing and not recommended.

App of the Week: Green Screen by Do Ink


Green Screen by Do Ink

Version: 1.9

Size 23.4 MB

Cost: $3.49 Cdn

Recently, we had occasion to set up our Green Screen purchased from Canadian Studio as part of an Alice in Wonderland Celebration.  It proved to be a popular hang out for guests to enjoy.  We supplied several photo booth type accessories including this awesome Mad Hatter’s Hat.imgres

After finding a few suitable “Alice-inspired” backgrounds on Pixabay and collecting them on the iPad, I downloaded the Green Screen app by Do Ink.  It only takes a few simple steps to match our photo set ups with a background and fine tune the image.  The resulting images were impressive and fun for guests to look at and email to themselves.

My experience is only with the image results and I did not do any movies but using the app in conjunction with our green screen kit was a easy and very successful.


Five Design Thinking Steps

Design thinking, to some teachers, may seem like a huge undertaking to introduce into a classroom but if we break it down, the individual steps may seem more manageable.

Let’s call the first step “Discovery.” The best problems come from student discussion.  Students who have input on the initial real world problem they are interested in solving feel some ownership of the work that follows.  Ask students to articulate the problem, including many details and specifics.  Look at the problem from many angles.

Step 2 – “Interpretation.” Define the problem using data. Keep in mind that the data that carries the most weight should be from the sources closest to the problem.  Is there an interview with the person who most benefits from this invention?  That information would rate a higher priority than some quantitative or qualitative data found on the internet about similar problems.

In Step 3, the “like” ideas from step 2 are “clustered” together to help see patterns in the collected data.  Are some ideas “outside the box?” Are many ideas focused on one aspect of  the problem? This step is “Clustering Like Ideas.”


Step 4 is the step that begins to show outcomes of learning.  In this step of design thinking, students begin to “Ideate” through brainstorming and collaboration.  Here, the sketching and drawing of a few solutions uses particular parts of the brain to interpret the outcome.  Without the use of words and writing, students are drawn to visualizing a concrete and realistic solution.

Step 5 is the creation of the “Prototype.” This step involves experimentation and evolution in prototype design.  Test drive the first prototype then revisit the challenge.  Does this prototype meet all the expectations of the challenge?  Does it need fine-tuning or major changes? Repeat this process until the outcome solves the initial problem in the most satisfactory way.

Discovery, interpretation, clustering like ideas, ideating, prototyping. Work through one step at a time.  See if students continue to be engaged through the process.

App of the Week – Dinopedia by National Geographic


  • The Ultimate Dinopedia by National Geographic Society
  • Version 1.2.3
  • $5.79 Cdn
  • 542 MB
  • Grades 2-6

This app provides about as much dinosaur information as a body could want.  Divided into Meat Eaters and Plant Eaters, this app provides information dino-stats, fun facts and pronunciation guides.

Students can access encyclopedic knowledge of dinosaur experts all in one place.  The app allows for wonderful browsing opportunities and also research specifics. Instead of computer generated “photos,” pictures are “animations” of dinosaurs, pictured for relative size and some habitat.  Some bonus video is included that show computer animated dinosaurs in battle. “The Story” can be read to the student as well read by the student for research notes.

A big app for those concerned with space and a little expensive but the book would be more money.  All in all I would purchase this app for an elementary school.