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Technology for the Core – Apps and Tools for the Literacy Curriculum Viewing Strand


A Wealth of Web and iPad apps to help with Teaching the Common Core Literacy Strands

Dr. Melissa Comer and Dr. Leslie Suters are faculty members in the College of Education’s Curriculum & Instruction Department at Tennessee Tech University. They will be co-presenting the session “Common Core Literacy Integration with App Flows” at the 2014 Teaching and Learning with the iPad Conference this November in Raleigh, NC. Drs. Comer and Suters also wrote this excellent 3-part article series earlier this year on Apps and Tools for the Literacy Curriculum Reading Strand.

Reminiscent of the speaking/listening strands of literacy, the viewing strand is more than just the ability to see. Visual literacy, according to Barry (1997), is defined as the comprehension and use of images, including the ability to think, learn, and represent ideas in visual form. In today’s world, images no longer just accompany or reinforce text. In fact, in some cases, the opposite is true: text is added to reinforce the image. Teaching students to view critically — looking at the design elements utilized, the expressive forms used, the intended audience, and the purpose — aides them in understanding, in analyzing what they see, and ultimately in learning to apply what they view.

Viewing Web 2.0 Tools

Animoto (http://animoto.com/): This tool allows you to upload photos, add music, and insert text to share information in a visual form. Videos on the Animoto basic account are limited to 30 seconds but, with an upgraded account (teachers can get one for free usually) the time limit is lifted. Below are two examples of Animoto videos:

Photo Peach (http://photopeach.com/): Much like Animoto, this tool allows you to produce videos with photos, music, and text. Viewers can make comments after seeing the video. See example below:

Glogster (http://edu.glogster.com/): An online poster creator, Glogster lets you build a poster around whatever topic you choose. Designs are limited only by your own creativity. Text and pictures, along with URLs, work to reinforce various content focal points. For more information, including teacher planning sheets and step-by-step directions, see the Integrating Teaching and Technology wiki at http://integratingteachingandtechnology.wikispaces.com/Glogster.

Viewing: iPad Apps

Faker$ – The Wild Photo App lets you create fake magazine covers, newspapers, diplomas, name badges, cards, invitations, posters, and labels. (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/faker$-the-wild-photo-app/id479536255?mt=8)

Photo Card by Bill Atkinson allows you to create postcards using your own photos or the app’s built-in photos. You can then send them as eCards print and mail them. The app also lets you type or dictate a message on the back. (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/photocard-by-bill-atkinson/id333208430?mt=8)


Storehouse – Visual Storytelling uses photos, videos, and text to showcase your experiences. You can share your stories by email, Facebook, or Twitter. (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/storehouse-visual-storytelling/id791297521?mt=8)

Visual Poetry – Word Collage With over 24 symbols to choose from (or you can draw your own shape), this app lets you type your poem, text, or phrase and then arranges it as a mosaic. (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/visual-poetry-word-collage/id364299857?mt=8)

Infographic Tools

Infographics are just what their name implies: graphics & information. There are countless tools that allow you to create infographics. Some of our favorites are listed below:

Smore (https://www.smore.com/app): Free to use and several templates to choose from, help to make Smore an ideal infographic tool.

Easel.ly (http://www.easel.ly/): This site states that you can “create and share visual ideas.” Easel.ly offers various templates.

Piktochart (http://piktochart.com/): Make your own infographics for free at this site. Like Smore and Easel.ly, there are templates to choose among.

Suggested iPad apps for creating infographics:

Also see Kathy Schrock’s guide to using infographics as a creative assessment. http://www.schrockguide.net/infographics-as-an-assessment.html


Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
iPad Workflow in the Elementary Classroom – 6 Techniques and Tips
5 Tips for Using Google Apps on an iPad
Using TodaysMeet as a Formative Assessment Tool



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