iTouch the Future…I Teach – Social Studies

ThumannResources - Google Sites
ThumannResources - Google Sites

You don’t have 20 years of teaching experience if you’ve been teaching the same lesson the same way for 20 years. You have to revisit and revise every time you teach a lesson because there is ALWAYS room for improvement.

I’ve decided that one of the things that I can do to improve the professional development that I offer is to move some of my resources from my old eBoards to my new wiki. As I’m doing this I’m adding some of my presentations to SlideShare and of course editing and updating many of them as well.

On August 13, I’ll be teaching my iPods in Education workshop again. This is one of my favorite sessions. I always look forward to sharing all that you can do with the iPod and I have had a great time blogging about all the resource that are available to educators and students that have access to iPod Touches.

There are a few resources I’d like to share for Social Studies, including some for the upcoming Presidential Election. Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you’ve found any others.

iCandidate Poll

This is a set of 20 questions that you answer to determine which of our two Presidential Candidates is a better match for your political opnions based on your answers.


This site is Wikipedia for the iPhone / iTouch. iPodia does promise a new version is coming out soon, but I did not have a problem with the current version. Everything that you see on Wikipedia on the regular-sized monitor looks very nice and is readable on their mobile site. offers some interactive quizzes for the iTouch. Pictured to the right is the quiz for the location of the United States. The user can select whether they be given 2, 3 or 4 choices to respond to the red highlighted area.

This same website also provides a Country Quiz. The user has a half dozen or so regions to choose from before they have to respond to questions specific to that region.

Once again, I’ve published the Google Doc that I used to gather the Social Studies resources for this post. Don’t forget you can also view my wiki on iPods in Education at or click on the Google Sites button under my picture on the right side of your monitor.

iTouch The Future…I Teach Myself

It’s amazing how many applications are available for the iTouch / iPhone. So far, I’ve blogged about sites for music, math and science and I’ve only made a dent in what’s available to use with students. There are also many sites that we can use for ourselves for productivity and just for fun. Today’s post will be a little bit about all three.


· iDetect
This is an internet detection connector. If you have an iTouch, iDetect will automatically connect you to wi-fi if there is one available.

· Google Notebook – Mobile Version
If you have an iGoogle page set up for yourself, this is great to have access to on your iPhone or iTouch. You could use it in lieu of a Google Doc to access information on-the-go. I’ve used it to access sets of links similar to this Google Doc that I’m no interested in sharing or publishing as a webpage.

· Glide
Sync with your desktop to view Powerpoint and Word docs on your iTouch. It’s a complete mobile desktop. Here’s an article about it.

· Widgetop
This is the mobile version of Widgetop Check it out if you are a fan of widgets or if you are a developer and you’d like to submit one to them.

· Pogonotes
These “notes” are accessible beyond the iTouch unlike the notes that comes pre-installed – take a look at their site.

· iPhone Typing Test
Try it out – see how fast you type with one finger.

· iNetwork Test
Measures the speed of the network your device is attached to.

· iTouch RSS Converter
iPhone/touch RSS Converter enables you to bring your favorite audio and video podcasts without syncing with iTunes. This tool allows you more space for many music and video on your iPhone and iPod Touch. Try your favorite podcast and you can also discover many podcasts from other people’s choice.


· Quizzler
Preloaded quizzes for SAT prep vocabulary, Harry Potter Books, State Capitals, Animals and Nature and more. When you tap on the wrong answer it highlights in red. When you tap on the correct answer it highlights in green so you know to move on to the next question.

Purchase Quizzler Pro to create quizzes yourself.

WARNING: Quizzler was originally developed for Pocket PCs and Palm handhelds. You can adapt the quizzes for the iPhones and iTouches, but their website suggests contacting them directly with any additional questions. It makes me think they are working on developing software specifically for the iTouch.

· iBookmark
There is a function that allows you to import from


· iDoodle
I could have used this one in the iTouch Math sites for geometry. You can “replay” your strokes. New to this latest version of iDoodle – you can now add text

video tutorial found at:

· Free eBooks
They currently have about 20 books- supported by ads for Amazon. (There’s a link right on the main page for a “Deluxe eBook Reader”. It’s a link to buy the Kindle on

· iPhlickr
This site is not affiliated directed with Flickr -but allows you to search and view your Flickr photos or the millions of other photos on Flickr from your iPhone or iTouch.

· Google Talk
IM your Google contacts from your iPhone / iTouch

A few additional items I wanted to mention…

If you are looking to Jailbreak your iPhone – check out Mark Wagner’s blog. He is a fellow Google Certified Teacher that I had the pleasure of meeting in person at NECC in San Antonio last week. He has some great posts on the topic.

Wouldn’t it be great if Diigo had a mobile site?

Still to come iTouch Foreign Languages, iTouch Social Studies and you never know what else I’ll come across. Feel free to leave me a comment with some suggestions. And as always, there were a few sites I looked at that I didn’t list here. Feel free to view my Google Doc.

What’s New with iTunes U

This past Friday I attended the end of the year monthly meeting for NJECC. Members are asked to bring guests with them to present success stories of technology integration from the school year. We saw some great projects spanning the WII Fit to Scratch to Tablet PCs to the folks I brought from North Plainfield School District who spoke about their iPod and Podcasting initiative.

I Tweeted some new links while I was there. But what I couldn’t summarize in 140 characters or less was what Dave Marra from Apple demonstrated for us.

Among some other amazing tips and tricks Dave shared, he took us through a tour of iTunes U. I admit that I wasn’t as familiar with it’s offerings as I thought I was because I couldn’t wait to get home to starting searching around.

When you get the chance, take a look at these areas in iTunes U to see if there’s anything you’d like to subscribe to and remember – it’s all free.

·         Under the Categories section on the left, you’ll find a link for “Teaching and Education”
Within this category you will find so many wonderful things to view and listen to as an educator.

1.    Teaching and Learning – UMBC’s Hybrid Teaching Workshop

2.     Educational Policy from Stanford University

3.     Duke’s Digital Initiative

4.     Tech-Ease: Classroom Tech Help includes video podcasts on Inspiration, Wikis, Blackboard, podcasting as well as many others.

·         Under the Categories section, you’ll find links for Science, Mathematics, History and Fine Arts as well as other areas of interest. Check them out too.

·         iTunes U is SEARCHABLE!! Try it. I typed “Twitter” in the search box and got back 50 related podcasts.

·         Scroll down to the bottom left and you’ll find a link for the “Beyond Campus” category. Take the time to check these out. Here’s a few.

1.     Little Kids Rock – nonprofit organization that provides it’s curriculum and musical instruments to schools in need. They have guitar and drum lessons posted in podcast format as well as other videocasts.

2.    The New York Public Library – provides literature podcasts from the author visits as well as a business series on credit management and marketing.  They even have a teen program called “Turn It Up @ The Library” which you can subscribe to.

3.     American Public Media – offers a podcasts on the 2008 Election Issues

Take some time to explore and sync some these podcasts to your iPod or MP3 player. Have fun.


iTouch The Future…I Teach-Science

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get to my third post on the iTouch. June has been a crazy month of professional development, getting ready for NECC and playing with new toys.

On to the focus of the post – science. As I did with my post on iTouch music sites and iTouch math sites, I’ve published a Google Doc with the websites I tried on the iTouch. Not all of them were worth posting here either because of the layout, appropriateness in the educational setting, or because I just couldn’t access them, but you might want to see them, so you can through this Doc.

I tried to divide the sites into categories as I had with the math sites, but there would have been too many categories, so I’m going to list some converters and some miscellaneous.

There were several great science converter sites for the iTouch/iPhone.

iConvert – has 26 categories including torque, density, and clothing sizes. (I’ve never been able to convert US shoe sizes to European shoe sizes and now I can!)

Comoki Converter (only viewable on the iTouch/iPhone) – This one is AWESOME! It’s divided by categories (angle area, energy, temperature, time, length, speed, pressure, power, volume, weight ) You could spend hours here.  BTW – Thanks @Riptide_Furse for the suggestion.

Temperature Conversions

Culinary Calculator – weight converter


There were a couple of dictionaries for the iTouch.

There was a also a fantastic site that would be helpful for students working with the Periodic Table of Elements.

As I mentioned in my iTouch post on math sites, you’d probably start to see me repeat some of the websites. But that’s just because as educators, we are creative in how we use our resources. This time, I’ve used iFlipr to create a set of flipcards to review an insects unit my preschool-aged daughter is studying in school. You’ll see she doesn’t need much guidance from me on how to use the technology – or how to identify the insects.

Again, iFlipr comes with decks you can download, or you can make your own. Any suggestions for decks to create? Right now this site is free, but I’m thinking it won’t be for long. Already, one of my favorites, Mogopop, seems to have vanished from the internet. So you never know what’s going to happen.

Next time – iTouch the Future…I Teach – Social Studies

iTouch the Future…I teach – Math

Sorting through the insane amount of applications and mobile websites that are available for the iTouch has proven to be a time consuming task. But I am having a great time. There are so many that can be applied to classroom practice and of course, so many that can’t.

Again, I’ve created a Google Doc, that I’ve shared with you here. You’ll see that all the apps didn’t make it to this post. As I did for my last post, I used the Google Doc to access each of the links from my iTouch. Some of the reasons many of the links didn’t make it here are due to the advertisements on the site, the site was down, or I just didn’t think the layout on the iTouch was student friendly.

As promised, the focus of the second post in this series is Math. I’ve divided the links into four categories; Flash Cards, Converters, Calculators and Reference Tables.

You’ll start to see me repeat some of these sites as they should be listed in more than one category. I’ve posted below a video of my 6-year-old using one of the flash card applications on my iTouch. iFlipr has preset flash cards that you are welcome to use, or you can generate your own decks. I’ve created two as of the day I posted this. The first I create for simple math and subtraction reinforcement and the second you’ll see in an upcoming post (it uses pictures of insects).

Flash Cards

  • My First App – Kids Study Cards – Prek-1 pre-set flash cards –  for numbers, colors, alphabet and shapes
  • – It’s FREE (right now). Easy to use.  Check out their demo video below.



  • Comoki Converter (only viewable on the iTouch/iPhone) – This one is AWESOME – divided by category (angle area, energy, temperature, time, length, speed, pressure, power, volume, weight )- You could spend hours here.
  • Currency Converter – Easy to use
  • iConvert – 26 categories (a few more than Comoki) including torque, density, and clothing sizes. I’ve never been able to convert US shoe sizes to European shoe sizes and now I can!

Reference Tables

Please leave a comment if you know of any others and I’ll add it to the Google Doc. Or just to say you’re finding this information useful.

Next time – iTouch the Future…I Teach – Science 

iTouch the Future…I Teach – Music

We know that Christa McAuliffe was not referring to the iTouch when she made that famous statement during her training for the early 1986 shuttle mission to the moon. Technology had come so far and she was preparing to be the first teacher to set foot in space. It was an exciting time. Ms. McAuliffe’s words have stuck with me all these years that I’ve been teaching and I revisited many of the articles written about her as I was waiting for my 32 gig iTouch to arrive. 

I’ve been teaching a session called “iPods in Education” for the Center at Rutgers University now for about a year. I’ve brought it into many New Jersey school districts as well as they begin buying iPods for their teachers and utilizing the iPods that their students already have from home. I love it! There are so many things we can do to integrate iPods into the classroom.

We spend the day checking out Discovery Education, Mogopop, iWriter, iTunes, RSS, Google Reader, Bloglines, Flickr-Storm, and many other sites and applications. But I’ve noticed over the last couple of months that in each of my sessions, there’s at least one person that either has an iTouch or an iPhone and I was unsure as to ALL the differences except the obvious – how they looked and the access to wi-fi.

Pictured to the left is my white, 30 gig iPod Video Classic, which I love. To it’s right is my new, black, 32 gig iTouch. Each stores music, video, pictures, will sync with my Outlook contacts and will store information in the notes section. Theoretically both should allow me to attach a voLook at the difference in the recorder to record and store audio directly to the hardware, but my iTouch is not recognizing my Belkin TuneTalk Voice Recorder. Read here.

So…..there is an awful lot you can do with the iTouch that you can’t do with the Classic. Too much to write in one post, so I’ve decided to write a series, categorized by subject area. Since one of the teachers I worked with this year on podcasting and using iPods in the classroom happened to be a music teacher, I’ve decided to start with the category of music applications:

By the way, I used a Google Doc to compile my list of music apps and then narrowed down the list as I accessed the Doc from my iTouch to see what worked well and what didn’t.
Here are the apps in no specific order:


  • Piano Chord Dictionary – hold your iTouch sideways to select and see finger placement for a piano chord, turn it upright for help
  • Bearden’s Music Terms – The first screen is the alphabet – click on the letter that begins the term you are looking to define and it will navigate you to it
  • iPhone Lyrics – The first screen is the alphabet – click on the letter that begins the name of the artist or group you are looking for and it will navigate to a list of their songs

Please leave a comment if you know of any others and I’ll add it to the Google Doc.

Next time – iTouch the Future…I Teach – Math 

Shut Down Day-and-3/4

Well I had registered for Shutdown Day on May 3. (The link for seems to be broken now)  I successfully stayed off my computer, e-mail, Twitter, all my online networks for 24 hours. I enjoyed the time with family, friends and the outdoors so much I decided to extend the day a little longer and did not connect again until Sunday evening when I needed to complete a project for class and finish researching something for work.

I could do this again. I’m sure I missed something important, but knowing the wonderful people I’ve met in my network – they’ll fill me in.