Archive for December, 2010

FreeAppAlert App

While attending the SLATE Conference in Wisconsin Dells,  teachers from the Pulaski School District in Wisconsin presented their use and experience of integrating iPods and iPads into their curriculum. One of the many gems they shared is an app for the iPod and iPad called FreeAppAlert .

FreeAppAlert is an app for the iPod or iPod that alerts you of yesterdays for pay app available for free! Daily updates of free apps are posted with linked descriptions of the apps, the app website for review and purchase. Information is updated regularly on the status of the offered free apps. Categorized by iPad and iPod, the website is clean and easily navigated for perusing.


Whether using the FreeAppAlert app on your iDevice or searching the FreeAppsAlert website, this is a great tool and resource that can save you time and money (we all know those are some of the greatest challenges in education)!

So, check it out – it is well worth it! And thanks to Pulaski School District for sharing their resources! If you know of more websites or apps that provide regular, updated information on free apps please share!



Bookshare & RFB&D Memberships – Free!

Free Resources for Individuals with Print Disabilities! 


Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic

Everyone should know about these free memberships made available through  grants by the US Department of Education – Office of Special Education. I often find people are not aware of Bookshare and Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic, both wonderful, free services for individuals with print disabilities.  Here is a quick lowdown of the services and links to the websites and membership information.

 Booshare – Bookshare provides books and periodicals for indivdiduals with print disabilities. Bookshare is free to all US students with a qualifying disability. Bookshare provides a free membership to K-12 US school districts through a grant from the OSEP. Bookshare provides a searchable data base of books by author, title which are available in different print or formats. It does not provide audio files. Individual memberships and organizational memberships are available. Check the membership qualifications through this link:

Bookshare Membership Options  – Find information on how to become a member, who is eligible through this link.

Recordings for the Blind & Dyslexic

Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic  (RFB& – Provides accessible materials to individual with visual and learning disabilities. From trade to text books RFB&D provides access to electronic and audiobooks to individual who qualify as print disabled. Free individual memberships are available to those who qualify, memberships to schools and educators are on a fee basis. RFB&D provides a searchable digital audio catalog to see what books and resources they have available. Samples are available on their website to experience the quality of their product.

RFB&D Membership Information  – Find information on individual, school and educator through this link.

And what is a “Print Disability”?    That is another web blog posting or two! Check on each organization’s website for their qualifications.

If you are interested in what qualifies as a Print Disability more indepth information can be found at Cast’s Accessible Instructional Materials website.

Accessible reading for everyone!!


Favorite iPad/iPod Apps

There are many, many resources for great apps for the iPad and iPod, but sifting through them for individual student needs and trialing them takes time. In the search for apps that are motivating for students but also meet their IEP needs in the area of  early writing development, a few favorites have emerged. Here are a few of my favorite apps:

iWrite Words

iWrite Words

iWrite Words

Focused on phonetic awareness, letter formation, letter  and word recognition, this app has a beautiful interface, is interactive and provide explicit instruction on the sequence of letter formation. Numbers guide the student in the correct motor sequence to form the letter. When the  letter is completely written it generates a floating  letter that isto be flung away at the bottom of the screen before another letter to be worked on is generated. Very interactive!

iWrite Words

It is a favorite of staff for its instructional qualities but more importantly a favorite of students.

Alphabet Tracing

Alphabet Tracing is a free app that also supports letter and number formation using a moving train moving in the direction of correct letter or number production.


Alphabet Tracing


Alphabet Tracing

Early childhood as well as kindergarten students were motivated to create letters using this app on an iPad. The visual sequence provided, along with its interactive – hands on practice helped students  recall the appropriate sequence to form a letter. Providing them auditory cues to the sequence further reinforced appropriate skill development.

ABC Pocket Phonics 


ABC PocketPhonics


Another favorite, ABC Pocket Phonics provides phonics development, letter formation and word games. It is interactive and motivates  students who are learning early literacy skills.

ABC PocketPhonics

Both ABC PocketPhonics and iWriteWords are available in lite versions  meaning they are free,  partial versions of the software allowing trial to determine if they provide the type of intervention needed.

The iPad and iPod provide so many wonderful apps for learning!



Where was PaperRater when I was in college? Could editing your writing be any easier than this? And it’s free?

PaperRater is a free  (yes its true for the time being)  grammar and spell checking tool that also will help you with proof reading and editing your writing. It is recommended for secondary and post secondary level students to help improve their writing. Created by grad students and linguistic professionals, the goal of PaperRater  is to proofreader services  for written composition.

PaperRater is simple to use.

1.  Copy your text and paste it into the PaperRater “Analyze Your Paper” field.



2. Select your educational level and type of paper you are submitting

3. Agree to the terms of services.

4. Click on the Get Report button

5. Proof reading suggestions are provided on  spelling, grammar andthe style of your writing.

PaperRater Analyzer

Although this may make your instructor cringe, for writers needing assistance, whether students, employees or for daily functional computer based tasks, I think this is a fabulous editing tool! Also instructor should know that this tool will detect plagarism.

Why not use a tool that will help you be a better writer?? Check it out yourself the next time you are sending an email, writing a proposal or a research paper!